It's time to deliver...

Historic Racing

_Q0C0770

OK, I’m back.

Apologies for the silence but it proved to be somewhat tricky to send dispatches from the Grande Festival de Classicos at Portimao, this being due to the internet service suffering from intermittent failures without any warning. We, that’s the man from Autosport and I, considered demanding our money back, but we’d had such a good time at this terrific historic event in Portugal that we struggled on in silence.

Thankfully we were able to file our stories on Sunday night. Otherwise the editor in London would not have been impressed. Suffice to say, this is one of the highlights of the historic calendar, along with Goodwood, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. It is also a highlight for those who participate for two main reasons.

One, most racers like to play golf, and the Algarve coast appears to have more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Two, the Portimao circuit is a modern classic. Designed by former bike and car racer Paulo Pinheiro, it is a spectacular challenge for drivers and a wonderful place to watch. There’s a full report in the next edition of the magazine but I do urge you to get to this event if you can.

POR_SAT_DL5152

All in all, quite a weekend for us racing fans. In the media centre at Portimao we could watch MotoGP in Australia, DTM in Germany and the Rally of Scotland – simultaneously on three separate screens… what a remarkable world we live in today.

And that’s not to mention all the football. Not a good weekend for my aforementioned colleague and I. He being a Liverpool fan and I being a Manchester United fan, it would have all been rather depressing had we not had to go outside and write about some great motor racing

There was much talk in the paddock about Mark Webber going to Ferrari next year and about how Valentino Rossi will struggle to get to grips with the Ducati. I’m not saying the former is true, and I’d be surprised by the latter, but both are good things to gossip about at the bar after a day’s racing.

Rumours are rumours until they come to pass. Back in reality, Skoda did another great job in Scotland with yet another win for the talented Juha Hanninen who’s had a fantastic year in the highly effective Fabia. Guy Wilks was fast too, but failed to get to the finish. Only nine cars got to the end of this extremely tough rally. And what about Casey Stoner? A much-needed boost for Ducati and certainly Mr Rossi will have taken note of Stoner’s pace. Not one of the greatest MotoGP events but nonetheless an interesting result, Stoner and Ducati having been much stronger in the last two races. And the win moves the Aussie into third in the championship with two races to go, just eight points ahead of you-know-who…

IMG_0841

We move on this weekend to what will be a very intriguing Grand Prix in Korea. The fascination is partly because nobody’s been there before, so all the pre-race data will have come from simulators, and partly because it will be interesting to see just who works best under the mounting pressure. The wire is fast approaching and this season will go all the way. Now is the time to see who can handle what is a very tense situation. Will the Red Bulls get tangled up in internal strife and allow Fernando Alonso to come through? Will the McLarens come good just in time?

_G7C9107

These and other questions will be answered by Sunday night. But we won’t have all the answers for another few weeks. Ah, the anticipation… just how racing should be, and has been all season long.

Back soon with more ramblings as winter lurks on the edges of autumn here in England. And it could be an interesting winter. Will F1 testing be restored? Possibly. Will F2 champion Dean Stoneman get a drive at Williams? Will Webber go to Ferrari? Will Michael Schumacher be sufficiently impressed with the new Pirellis and his new Mercedes-Benz?

I’m not making any predictions. Not yet, anyway.

You may also like