Cobra heads the snake
Barrie Williams and Chris Phillips take victory after safety car delays the big race at Dijon
A cracking Gentleman Drivers’ victory for the AC Cobra of Chris Phillips and Barrie Williams was one of the features of the major historic race meeting at Dijon. From a 37-strong grid, Phillips started his AC Cobra in the 90-minute race, but an early tangle between the Lotus 11s of Guy Peeters and Michel Thoulouze meant a long safety car period. It was 20 minutes before racing resumed.
After the driver changes had finished, three cars were at the head of the race: the Cobra, now in the hands of ‘Whizzo’ Williams, the Philip Walker/Danny Wright Lotus 11 and the AC Cobra of Shaun Lynn/David Clark were all in contention.
With Wright at the wheel, Walker’s Lotus 11 chased after the Cobra, but Williams kept it all together. The rigours of Monaco and Pau had depleted the Grand Prix Masters field and it was Italian Manfredo Rossi who took a double win in his Brabham BT42. “My grandfather used to own this car,” said Rossi of the car that was sponsored in period by his family’s Martini Rossi organisation.
Peter Wuensch took the fight to Rossi in the opening race in his Wolf WR1 as James Hanson’s prodigious talent took Nick Rini’s BRM P160 to third. Race two was shortened after a mix-up between Wuensch and Simon Hadfield (Trojan T101). After missing pole for the opening race when the F5000 car refused to fire, Hadfield was romping up the order in the second race when a misunderstanding on braking points left the Wolf stranded on the kerbs. The result on count-back left Wuensch second from Hanson, with Rossi again the winner.
Some of the leading big-bangers were absent from the World Sportscar Masters grid, so the 2-litre cars had a field day with wins shared between the Chevron B16s of Martin Stretton and David Yates. Stretton deputised for Jose Albuquerque to win Race 1, David Ferrer having hit the barriers in his Lola T70.
Yates won Race 2 from Mark Hales (Crosslé 9S) and Chris Chiles (Chevron B8).