Historic F1 cars star at Monza


Two Formula 1 events on one day, about 400 miles apart in neighbouring nations. The difference? One drew a massive crowd, 20 cars and colossal global exposure, the other attracted a small but passionate audience, 35 cars and about 100 media representatives. While Nico Rosberg spearheaded another Mercedes 1-2 in the Styrian foothills, Loïc Deman (CGA Tyrrell 010) took a brace of FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship wins at Monza.

Monza is one of the most atmospheric tracks in the world and the 62nd Coppa Intereuropa (19-21 June) is the venue’s major historic race weekend of the season.

Deman and former F1 racer Paolo Barilla (Williams FW07C) had a tremendous duel in race one, Deman leading from pole until Barilla outbraked him at the first chicane on lap three. The Italian almost lost out when he tripped over Bruno Ferrari’s Merzario – being driven with period-accurate lethargy – but held on until he ran out of fuel with two laps to go. “You always have to be extra careful around here, with cars on full throttle for about 70 per cent of the lap,” said Colin Bennett of CGA, “so we’d put extra juice in our car, just to be sure.”

Simon Fish (Ensign N180) moved up to second when Barilla slowed with a lack of fuel pressure and so Stefano di Fulvio (Tyrrell 012) took third.

With Barilla condemned to row eight after his problems at the end of race one, Deman was able to build a cushion in the second stanza chased by di Fulvio and Andy Wolfe (Tyrrell 011), while Barilla made it up to fifth behind Joaquin Folch (Brabham BT49C). Italian-domiciled American Jason Wright also claimed a double top as he scooped a second win in the Pre-78 division, his Shadow fending off Mark Higson (March 761) and Rick Carlino (Hesketh 308C).

Group C cars complement Monza perfectly, so it was a shame that only 11 materialised. Some were still undergoing repairs following the previous race at Spa – and a few more now require remedial attention.

Henrik Lindberg crashed his Porsche 962 early in the first race, triggering a safety car that was still circulating when leader Rui Aguas suffered a turbo failure in Kriton Lendoudis’s Sauber C11. Richard Eyre (Jaguar XJR16) led from the restart, and to the end resisted fierce pressure from Christophe d’Ansembourg (XJR14) and Steve Tandy (Spice SE90). D’Ansembourg led the second race initially, but all the erstwhile front-runners hit trouble and Tommy Dreelan (Porsche 962) took an unexpected victory from Tandy, who had to recover from the Parabolica gravel trap. Frank Lyons (ALD) was third – and the only other healthy finisher – in the sole C2 entry.

Piero Tonetti (Brabham BT6) and Westie Mitchell (De Tomaso) won the two FIA Lurani Formula Junior races, with Mitchell famously coming through to give his ex-Regazzoni car a first win. In fact, it was probably the first major Junior victory for De Tomaso.

Matthew Watts (March 772P) beat Mark Dwyer (March 742) in both Historic F2 races. Martin O’Connell (Chevron B40) tussled with Watts early in the first race, but retired after an oil filter seal popped out, while a series of engine problems thwarted Darwin Smith (March 722) as he tried to build on his double win at Donington Park.

O’Connell was partially compensated by an aggregate FIA Masters Historic Sports Car victory, the Englishman taking his Chevron B19 to second places behind the Lola T70s of Leo Voyazides and Jason Wright. Simon Hadfield was on course to win the second race in Voyazides’s car, but fuel pick-up problems brought him to a halt.

The combined Gentlemen Drivers Pre-66 GT and Pre-66 Touring Car grid was big on variety but it became an AC Cobra fight for overall honours Rob Hall (in for Andy Wills) and Andy Wolfe (in for Michael Gans) fought it out in the second stint, with Hall securing the win from Wolfe, while Jamie Boot (TVR Griffith) went solo for third. Up to 2-litre laurels went to Ron Maydon/James Hagan (Ginetta G4) and Chris Beighton topped the touring cars in his Ford Mustang.

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