The last two months have provided March Engineering with a pretty successful spell in Formula Two, for as well as their works driver Ronnie Peterson winning the European Trophy qualifiers at both Rouen and Mantorp Park, their private owners have been getting into the results as well.
After Spring Bank Holiday’s Crystal Palace meeting there was a two week lull before a couple of Italian non-championship events took place. Francois Cevert arrived at Rome’s Vallelunga circuit for the first, his Tecno now sporting revised suspension and inboard rear brakes, to face plenty of opposition from privateers. Wilson Fittipaldi’s Bardahl March proved to be Cevert’s strongest opponent, winning the first heat by dint of some crafty blocking tactics, only for the Frenchman to show him the way in the second heat and secure aggregate victory.
The following weekend at the Monza Lottery Dieter Quester proved that the idea of a fast BMW motor in one of the efficient 712M chassis was a winning combination and Peterson took his first ever Formula Two win at Rouen a week later. This time Quester followed him home in second place while the young Austrian Niki Lauda was fourth.
It was very much a battle amongst Brazilians at Imola in July where, after Cevert’s Tecno retired with damaged valves (a malady which put it out of the Trophy race at Mantorp Park a few weeks later) Carlos Pace took the laurels for Frank Williams’ team. It was Pace’s first ever win in Formula Two. Finally Peterson won on home ground at Mantorp Park, although Cevert had his measure before the Tecno retired and again at Kinnekulle on August 22nd.
Certainly March seemed to have a dozen or so extremely satisfied customers racing their cars regularly in Formula Two this year, a pleasant contrast to 1970, although an increasing number of Brabham BT36s are appearing as the season passes. In fact Peterson tried the Rondel car usually driven by Schenken in unofficial testing at Mantorp Park and by all accounts (even though he remained tight-lipped on the subject) seemed favourably impressed.—A. H.