Pace notes

Estoril Historic Festival | Oct 9-10

Gallego chases home win

The final major European historic meeting of the season is the Estoril Festival over October 8-10. Headlining the programme will be the deciding race in the Thoroughbred Grand Prix Car series, with support from other FIA championships.

The destiny of the TGP's crown will be heavily influenced by events at Brno two weeks before (see page 115) but there is a strong chance that local ace Rodrigo Gallego could win on his home track in his March.

Both Gentlemen Drivers' series will feature, with a two-hour race on Saturday followed by an hour-long contest for the sports-racing cars on the Sunday. The races are their final events of the season.

Also reaching its conclusion is the FIA Lurani Trophy Formula Junior Championship (following the race at the Spa Six Hours). Denis Welch (Merlyn, right) is on target to claim the title after a great season, while Bo Warmenius looks to be unstoppable in the FIA Pre-1965 GT series in his Lotus Elan.

Finally, the FIA Pre-1965 Touring Car Championship is more open, but Nigel Vaulkhard (Mustang) is in the running for the crown in his first season in the series.

Contact: +351214135380

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VSCC | Loton Park | Sept 25-26

Demanding and worth a visit

This Shropshire hillclimb is one of the UK sport's best-kept secrets. And this is one of the venue's best meetings.

Over the weekend of Sept 25-26, up to 150 VSCC cars will be in action, along with competitors from the Aston Martin Owners Club.

The entry was to have been led by Mac Hulbert's ERA R4D until he savaged the Goodwood Chicane with it. This is how he would have tackled this challenging 1475-yard hill:

"Off the line you go slightly uphill and quickly into second before braking hard for Hall Bend. The next part is one of the trickiest --- a long left that winds up on you. You then go slightly downhill and it is very easy to get it wrong.

"Picking your braking point for Triangle is very important: I cut some grass there last year! Triangle is a tight right-hander and you accelerate hard --- and quickly --- in second.

"Next is a fast wiggle-woggle. It doesn't pay to cut too much here as it unsettles the car as you climb up to the infamous brow; you can't see the left at Fallow over it, and the car goes light.

"At Fallow I go from third to first, and stay in first round the uphill right at Museum, which is slightly banked. In R4D you have to watch the power application as the car can go every which way! Then you take second over the finish line.

"Loton is a lovely hill. It is a drivers' hill --- it's not so much about power as Shelsley Walsh. The flow is very, very important and there are lots and lots of things to get right!"

Contact: 01608 644777: www.vscc.co.uk

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TGP | Brno (CZ) | Sept 25-26

Historic F1s Czech it out

After a nine-year absence, the Thoroughbred Grand Prix Car series will return to Brno for the seventh and penultimate round of the season.

This eastern trek promises to be a crucial event in the battle for the title, with Rodrigo Gallego (March 761) and Mike Wrigley (Tyrrell 012) going head to head. While the latter is defending his title, the Portuguese is bidding for his first international success and is three points in front.

Both men dominate their classes: Gallego has won Class B in five of the six rounds to date and posted a single third; Wrigley is unbeaten in four races but has two non-finishes counting against him.

Gallego's big concern is the number of starters in his class; a shortage of them could cost him the chance of maximum points at Brno.

The contest for overall victory is expected to be an all-Williams affair between Fredy Kumschick, Joaquin Folch and Richard Eyre. Kumschick has victories at Bahrain, Monza and Lausitz to his credit this year, while Folch prevailed at Jarama.

Tyrrell 011 driver John Wilson, the winner at Donington Park and Zolder, is the other big contender, while Hubertus Bahlsen (Arrows A3) has the pace and determination to spring a Czech surprise.

Making a welcome TGP return after a year away is Paul Tattersall in his Ensign N179. The car is finally complete after a big shunt at Monza last summer.

Contact: Brno --- Tel/Fax: +420 (5) 46216111; www.automotodrombrno.cz. TGP --- Tel: 01621 892814; www.tgpf1.com

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Tour of Spain | Oct 15-19

Chiles play in Spain?

With an entry of around 70 cars, 25 of them in the regularity event, the Tour of Spain is not on the grand scale of France's Tour Auto, but it is an event which receives rave reviews from those who do contest it.

The 2004 edition has been brought forward a month to take advantage of longer days and warmer weather. It features a mix of timed sections on closed roads, visits to tracks and city centre halts.

Seville is the majestic setting for the start and crews return there after the opening leg. Cordoba and Granada host other night halts before the finish in Jerez. Two tracks feature, with races at Circuit de Guadix and two at Jerez, one at night.

Three pace-setting GT40 crews will start: Chris Chiles (below), Des Smail/ Richard Meins and Dudley and Sally Mason-Styrron. A gaggle of Ferraris and Porsches will give spirited chase.

Other British competitors include Michael Cowdray (E-type), Adam Richardson (Porsche 914/6) and Paul Knapfield (Ferrari 365GTB).

Contact: +33 (0) 142 597340; www.tour-auto.com