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Contents October Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News Tour Auto, Rally Asturias, Scottish Malts, VSCC Mallory Park, Seven Questions with Jean Ragnotti, Monterey Motorsport Reunion, Oulton Park Gold Cup, French Championships, Historic Tour Val de Vienne, Hockenheim Historic, Vallelunga Classic, Goodwood Revival (four pages form Marcus Pye) and the Limonest Hillclimb

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Features and Reports

Only three short weeks after their visit to Le Mans, Peter Auto competitors met at the Nogaro circuit in southwest France on 23-25 July for a meeting arranged to make up for the cancellation of Spa Classic in May. Organising an event like this in the height of summer in the distant countryside was not easy and unfortunately only one hundred cars were present for this third Peter Auto race meeting of the season. However, no one blames the organiser. Health restrictions, the holiday period, this circuit, although attractive for historic cars, being a little far from everything, and the proximity to the previous meeting all taken together helps to explain the low number of entrants. Jean-Marie Biadatti tells the story…

Christian Dumolin, driving his beautiful Ferrari 250 GT SWB, quite simply had forgotten to make the obligatory pitstop!.  Photos PhotoClassicRacing.com

Due to a lack of combatants, the Group C Racing field was not present, the two Classic Endurance Racing grids were grouped together and a few regular 2.0L Cup participants were integrated into the Sixties’ Endurance field. As usual, it was this grid that welcomed the most competitors, however with 25 cars, there were fewer than half the usual number. If a few top names in this championship were missing, there were nonetheless a certain number of regular front-runners, all in Shelby Cobras, like Urs Beck, this time with Patrick Simon, Damien Kohler/Christophe Van Riet and Yves Scemama/Yvan Mahé. But the surprise came in qualifying for Armand Mille sharing a Jaguar E-type with Thomas Jamin, who was third fastest, the first six cars qualifying within 8/10ths of a second!

In the Fifties’ Legends, the Mini Coopers were very comfortable on the Gers circuit

For the race, the battle was intense between the three Cobras, the Jaguar E-type sitting in ambush, and another Cobra in the hands of Vincent Kolb, who unfortunately left the scene early because of braking problems. The sudden exit of Vincent Neurisse half an hour from the end brought out the safety car. This had the effect of regrouping the cars for the restart, after which the battle became even more heated. Always very strong in this kind of situation, Christophe Van Riet used his racecraft to steal second place from Mahé, but he didn’t have enough time to catch up with Patrick Simon, who finished 12 seconds ahead.

Serge Kriknoff took his Lola T212 to CER1 victory on a combined grid

A few drops of rain at the start of the Heritage Touring Cup race made the track tricky and there were many surprises when cars started braking for the school hairpin at the end of the long downhill straight. This was the case for Emile Breittmeyer (Ford Capri RS3100), whose lurid spin plunged him down the order in the second lap, leaving Christophe Van Riet and Yvan Mahé to slug it out once again, this time in Capris. It was, however, a short-lived battle, with Mahé out with engine problems on the fifth lap.

With 17 cars, the Classic Endurance Racing field was very slim compared to what we usually see. Here it is difficult to talk about a fight on the track, as the difference in performance between CER1 and CER2 is so great.

The Cobra battle at the front of the Sixties’ Endurance field was intense, with the Jaguar E-type of Armand Mille and Thomas Jamin sitting in ambush

In the Fifties’ Legends, the field most recently created by Peter Auto, the Mini Coopers were very comfortable on the Gers circuit, and though Christophe Beaudon's TVR Griffith was quickest in the compulsory pitstops and came out in the lead, a subsequent penalty put him back to third.

For its part, Endurance Racing Legends also suffered from a particularly low number of entries. One of the reasons for the low number of participants was also undoubtedly the fact that these cars were due to be present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans just a few weeks later, where no fewer than 56 cars were entered!

Fr a full report of all the racing see our September 2021 issue

A twisted run of events saw the mid-July Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort eventually take place as the Zandvoort Race Classics – with a hastily revamped programme, and without spectators. Full grids from Holland and Germany ensured a busy paddock that worked to deliver a full three-day schedule with no fewer than 23 races, but despite the busy schedule, the fans were still sorely missed. Mattijs Diepraam reports…

Photos Peter Heil

For many of the British regulars, Zandvoort’s Historic Grand Prix summer fixture has also meant a short holiday break with a bit of racing on the side, and this time the weather proved perfect for just that. The sun was out with blazing guns on all three days, while a cool breeze caressed the sloping dune landscape to add to the pleasant camping life on the circuit’s infield. But the British weren’t there – instead, with less than a month to go, Masters Historic Racing, the HGPCA and the HSCC were forced to pull out because of the latest restrictions imposed on anyone traveling from the UK. As a result, the organisers turned to the FHR and other German series to come to the rescue. This they duly did, the FHR coming out with no fewer than six grids, upon which the Historic Grand Prix was renamed the Zandvoort Race Classics, a more suitable moniker for the sportscar and touring car-heavy programme that was now presented to everyone with a ticket. But then, with Dutch COVID-19 infections mushrooming after the country’s government mimicked the British situation by opening up society a handful of weeks too soon, a new about-turn followed, as the event was now forced to run behind closed doors. The only alternative permitted was seated attendance, but the organisers considered that being stuck on a grandstand all day would constitute torture for the knowledgeable historic motorsport crowd.

The start of Sunday morning’s two-hour Dunlop Endurance race, dominated by Swiss driver Felix Haase in the white Lola T210

In fact, German competitors had to rush home before the end of Sunday, as Germany also imposed fresh quarantine measures against their out-of-control neighbours that would apply from the Monday…

The racing was pretty good, though. Despite the grand arrival of all those German grids, the local NK GTTC (for ’66-’81 cars) and NK HARC 82-90 championships provided the core of the programme.

Race 1 winner, Peter Mücke had already left for home when Harry Schmidt won race 2 in his thundering McLaren M8C

For a full report see the September 2021 issue of Historic Motor Racing News.

The London Classic Car Show has led a nomadic existence for a year or two since leaving its long term home at ExCel in Docklands.  Having moved to the more central location of Olympia in early 2020, this year the organisers made the wise decision to move outdoors to Syon Park, the London home of the Duke of Northumberland.  As well as avoiding indoor COVID restrictions, 14,000 visitors attended - this allowed the return of the running of cars, on the old entrance drive.  Luck brought them good weather over the 25-27 June weekend.  John Whiteman was there...

There were three main themes this year, 100 years of the Bugatti Brescia and the Lancia Lambda, and 60 years of the ubiquitous Jaguar E-type.  

One of the original Lightweight E-types, 49 FXN, the car modified for Peters, Lumsden and Sargent, for Le Mans in 1964 was on display, along with further E-types, headed by ‘ECD 400’, the Tommy Sopwith-owned car which Graham Hill took to the model’s first race victory.  

The Bugatti Type 13 acquired the name Brescia when Ernst Friderich led home his three teammates, de Vizcaya, Baccoli and Marco to a clean sweep in the 215 mile race held on the fast 10.7 mile triangular circuit near Brescia in Ettore Bugattis’ native Italy 100 years ago on 8 September, 1921.  Many Brescias were gathered to celebrate and, on Sunday morning a live interview was conducted by Tiff Needell on the stage with Angela Hucke, curator of the Bugatti Trust at Prescott and Charles Trevelyan, former chairman of the Bugatti Owners Club during which there was light hearted banter with the Lancia Motor Club who were ‘garaged’ next door over the relative merits of the cars.

Described by Lancia authority Wim Oude Weernink as ‘Vincenzo Lancias first technical masterpiece’ the prototype Lambda was tested by the boss himself in September 1921 and after many months of thorough road work the model was debuted at the 1922 Paris motor show.  The car’s unitary body construction attracted much comment and the model enjoyed immediate success with the brakes much praised and also the light and precise steering, although not everybody liked the square look and low waistline.  Many different examples were on show at Syon Park, including a 1933 Lancia Dilambda with an 8 cylinder engine as opposed to the 4 of the Lambda, this one a 232 Sports Racing car with period racing history in Eritrea.  The car ran on Sunday on the Lime Avenue demo together with a selection of its fellows.

Aero-engined monsters attracted much attention on the runs with capacities ranging from a mere 10 litres up to a 27 litre Hispano Suiza engined Delage, with some taking advantage of the mixture of grass and gravel on the avenue.  Other classes included ‘Where it all began’ for very early cars; ‘1930s Style and Elegance’ (think Rolls Royce Phantoms and Bugatti Type 55); ‘1950s and ‘60s Americana’ embracing Cadillac, Corvette and Hot Rods; and ‘1960s and ‘70s Endurance Legends’ which were a little thin on the ground but included a very original ex-George Eaton McLaren M12.

Code-switcher Heathcote beats Jordan

“Never heard of Nathan Heathcote?  You have now,” said Historic Racing Drivers’ Club founder Julius Thurgood after the 2017 British Rallycross champion beat fellow Mini Cooper S driver Andrew Jordan, the 2013 British Touring Car champion, in both Liqui Moly Jack Sears Trophy races at the third annual Historics On The Hill event at Lydden on July 4.

Nathan Heathcote ahead of British Touring Car Champion Andrew Jordan  Photos Eric Sawyer

Run by former national Mini 7 champion Bill Sollis, Heathcote broke 50 seconds to secure pole position, but come from behind on the first lap to counter JRT’s fast-starting ace in the 1958-‘66 opener.  Once ahead, Nathan coolly opened a lead and took the chequer 1.6s ahead after 18 frenetic laps of the one-mile speedbowl, to the amazement of around 1400 spectators.

The second finish was even closer, Jordan’s orange car shadowing Heathcote’s grey one over the line.  Dan Lewis made it a Cooper S 1-2-3 in both races.  Gerard Buggy (Ford Lotus Cortina) and Richard Colburn (Cooper S) bagged a fourth place each, chased by Richard Postins’ Austin A40.

The Colburn ‘junior team’ monopolised the other races.  Ben in his rapid locally-built Lenham Sprite GT aced both Dunlop Allstars races, leading Andy Jordan’s dad Mike, taking his turn in their Mini.  Third in the opener was Porsche specialist Andy Prill in the unique Pandora-BMC sportscar raced by Roger Phillips at Goodwood in period.  Tom Sharp (BMW 1800 TiSA) completed the second podium.

James Colburn had the legs on Classic Alfa Challenge rivals in a Giulia Sprint GT,

As at Thruxton, top qualifier James Colburn had the legs on Classic Alfa Challenge rivals in a Giulia Sprint GT, forging back ahead of Chris Snowdon (GTV) before the first race was stopped.  Snowdon led the restart too, but recovered to fourth, having stopped for a door to be secured.  Alex Jupe (Alfetta GTV) took second behind Colburn.  Brother Ben (1750 Berlina) chased James home in the second outing.

John Whiteman went to one of the first events in the UK to be completely open to the public.

Given the go-ahead as a pilot event by the UK Government’s Event Research Programme prior to opening all public events to normal capacity, the Goodwood Festival of Speed drew eager crowds keen to celebrate everything motoring and motorsport after a year’s hiatus, with a COVID secure event over the weekend of 8-11 July, entitled ‘The Maestros – Motorsports Great All-rounders’.  Mario Andretti was a welcome visitor again, driving several of the cars associated with his illustrious career including the Formula One World Championship winning Lotus 79 from 1978.  Mario may well be a popular returnee but another honoured guest, Roger Penske, had last appeared at Goodwood circuit in 1963 finishing eighth in a Ferrari 250 GTO with a unique 330LM Berlinetta-style body in the TT.  Much has happened to Penske in the intervening years following his driving career, including building a huge truck rental business in the US, many car dealerships, a highly successful Indy car team, a bewildering number of cars of which appeared at the Festival, and more lately, buying Indianapolis Motor Speedway and controlling the whole Indy Car series. 

Photos Eric Sawyer

How the man finds time to sleep amazes!  He appears to have lost very little of his driving ability, conducting the 2008 Sebring 12 hours winning Porsche RS Spyder up the hill at a rapid pace.  Unfortunately the third ‘Maestro’, Jacky Ickx was unable to attend.  There were several special classes including ‘50 years of Tyrrell’ featuring Sir Jackie Stewart and ‘70 years of BRM, including the first appearance of Hall and Hall’s recreated V16.  Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris represented modern GP racing albeit aboard classic machinery.

 It was the first appearance of Hall and Hall’s recreated BRM V16

Elsewhere there was a Cartier Style et Luxe concours showcasing 100 years of Amilcar, Hispano-Suiza, 60 years of the Jaguar E-type among others.  The winner was the 1974 Lancia Stratos of Marc Newman.  A rally stage was held at the top of the hill and late on Sunday the traditional ‘Shoot-Out’ was won by Rob Bell driving a 2021 McLaren 720S GT3X in a time of 45.01 seconds.  Bonhams held a major auction behind Goodwood house, selling a 1928 Maserati 26B originally supplied to Juan Malcolm in Argentina and with an extensive history file culminating with Corrado Cupellini, for £967,000.  An identical amount secured the Ferrari Dino 246/60, also an ex-Cupellini car.  But the ex-works 1971 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT3 driven in period by Andrea de Adamich and Nino Vaccarella failed to find a new owner.  The c.1950 RA4 Vanguard with extensive New Zealand racing history changed hands for £41,975.  Together with extensive car manufacturer presence and many trade stands there was plenty to keep the large crowd amused.

Just a part of the display of Penske race cars

Peter Auto has been hard hit during the pandemic.  Their following is very international, and they have always produced meetings that include other activities surrounding the on-track action, such as Club displays, vendors’ areas, auctions, parades and VIP activities.  Events like Le Mans Classic just couldn’t happen under the kind of restrictions that have been in place for over a year.  So it was with a sense of relief and joy that the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or took place on its scheduled date of 4-6 June under pretty normal conditions.  Sadly, though some did cross the Channel, the Brits still could not be present in any numbers, so the championship rules were changed to count only four of the five 2021 races, meaning everyone could exclude their worst result, which for the absent Brits automatically meant Dijon.  Fortunately the continentals could travel, and they produced somewhat reduced grids, but with the usual Peter Auto quality.  There were some 550 cars in the club areas and the atmosphere was relaxed and congenial.

 

 Dirk and Leon Ebeling took victory in the wet Greatest’s race in their Bizzarrini 5300 GT.  PhotoClassicRacing

Good for some, and not so good for others,  the rain also attended the meeting and racing kicked off on Saturday with The Greatest’s Trophy starting in a downpour.  Dirk and Leon Ebeling in a Bizzarrini 5300 GT led the race, initially challenged by Vincent Gaye in his 275 GTB Ferrari, and Carlo Vögele, up from sixth place in his nimble Alfa Romeo TZ.  Gaye spun away his chances, leaving Hans Hugenholtz to take third in his Ferrari SWB.  In a dry second race Christian Bouriez moved his Bizzarrini to the front, and another error by Gaye made the Frenchman’s win even easier.

An enthralling Sixties’ Endurance two-hour race, Cobras to the fore, in which mechanical difficulties, pit stop strategies, a pace car interval and rain halfway through affected the outcome, ended in victory for Maxime Guenat and Guillaume Mahé.  After a carefully choreographed pit stop, young Mahé also took second place, with his father Yvan, in a Cobra Daytona Coupe.  Third home was also from the Equipe Europe stable, driven by Pierre Alain and Erwin France.  Christian Van Riet and Damien Kohler put up the best resistance, but an uncharacteristic off by Van Riet lost them too much time and they finally finished fifth behind Urs Beck and Ralf Kelleners.  Sébastien Berchin drove his E-type Jaguar, the first non-Cobra to cross the line, into sixth.  In all there were 13 Cobras in the race.  The Index of Performance was taken by Sandy Watson and Martin O’Connell, who drove Watson’s 1500cc Lotus XI, the only car in the SP2 class and only one of a handful of prototypes in the race.

 The first two of Pierre-Alain France’s three victories was in the Group C races, driving his Nissan R90 CK

Having aced both Group C races, Pierre Alain France added victory in his Lola T70 MKIII B in the 60-minute CER 1 race to his tally after main rival Tony Seiler retired his similar car.  Early on, Martin O’Connell had managed to tail the leading pair of Lolas in Sandy Watson’s Chevron B8.  The eagerly-awaited Ferrari 312P of Remo Lipps, co-driven by David Franklin, which had qualified fourth, and Mr John of B’s Matra MS650 were both late to the grid.  John of B worked his way back up to fifth and the Ferrari retired eight laps from the end.  

CER2, run on Sunday morning in mist and a lifting fog provided Guenat’s second victory of the weekend, with the winner at the last two meetings (Estoril Classics and Dix Mille Tours 2020), Yves Scemama (TOJ SC304), romping away at the start.  However Guenat, in a Lola T286, found his feet and was glued to the TOJ’s gearbox after only a few laps.  Brother Philippe Scemama was determined in his Lola T600 and looked threatening in third place.  Finally Guenat slipped past and continued to increase the gap. 

Though Cobras ruled the roost in the Sixties’ Endurance race, there was no lack of variety in the other classes

Philippe was classified second after Yves was penalised one minute for pit lane speeding.   

Guenat’s third victory came in his Ford Capri RS 3100 after one hour of eventful racing in the Heritage Touring Cup.  Christophe Van Riet led the race in his similar Capri, shadowed all the way by the Frenchman, only for the gearbox of the GipiMotor’s boss to fail.  A ferocious battle of the BMW 3.0 CSLs ended with Christian Traber’s taking second ahead of Guillaume Mahé’s Ford Capri.  Marc Devis and Martin O’Connell drove an AMC Javelin to fourth.

The newest Peter Auto grid gave the earlier cars a chance to shine, including the  TVR Grantura of  Eugène Deleplanque, which won the race by a good margin after challengers Romain Guerardelle (MGB) and David Barrere in his Mini Cooper S, both encountered problems, Barrere’s car stopping just metres before the finish line and gifting second place to Louis Zurstrassen in his Elva Mk V 

 It felt like the good old days, with the clubs and the enthusiastic spectators back in the infield.  Photo Julien Hergault

The one-make 2.0L Porsche race seems to have suffered most in terms of absent Brits to make up the numbers.  Xavier Dayraut and Damien Kohler battled for the lead, and finally finished in that order with a big gap to the rest of the 15-car field.  

Pierre Alain and Erwin France were on the top step of the podium again, this time driving a Nissan R90 CK and winning both Group C races after favourite, Christophe d’Ansembourg (Jaguar XJR14) dropped out both times with gearbox trouble.  Lars Erik Nielsen (Porsche 962), Bertand Rouchaud/Antoine Weil (Olmas GLT 200) and Tony Sinclair (Spice SE90) were other top finishers in the two races.

Guest Grid HGPCA 

A good size grid from the British-based HGPCA, saw a full turnout of the Association’s continental members, many of whom were double-heading off to Paul Ricard the following weekend for the Historic GP de France.  Will Nuthall dominated proceedings in a Cooper T53, with Rudi Friedrichs’ similar car finishing second in both races.  A full house of Rettenmaiers took part, with Josef Otto (Maserati 250F), Jakob (Alta F2), Stephan (Osca F2), Klara (Cooper Bristol) and Rebecca (Alfa Romeo Monza) all enjoying themselves in the family car collection.

It’s been a long while since we’ve seen historic racing at Spa and, while the Spa Summer Classic went ahead on schedule on the weekend of 26-27 June, it did so without an audience, and without the participation of the usual Brits. Absent was the Historic Sports Car Club, usually an integral part of the meeting and co-organisers of the feature 3-hour race. As a result the Belgian, German and Dutch grids got to make hay on the beautiful Francorchamps circuit.

The winning Gipimotor Cobra, driven by Gipimotor boss Christophe Van Riet and Fred Bouvy was way out front in the 3-hour race when fuelling issues set them back to 14th place  Photos Carlo Senten

Despite the missing cross-Channel entries, the other co-organisers of the 3-hour race, Diogo Ferrao of Iberian Endurance and, of course, meeting promoters Roadbook, provided a grid of nearly 40 cars, and it was a chance for the home-grown Gipimotor team of Christophe Van Riet and Fred Bouvy to shine in what turned out to be a tough contest. As in 2019, the last time the race was run, Van Riet made pole, his main rivals being the two Porsche 911 Carrera RS of the Danish Rolner family (Lars and Andreas in one, and Annette Rolner coupled with Michael Holden in the other), and the Lotus Elan of Christian, Lando and Alexis Graf Von Wedel, who would have to stop for driver changes, but would not have to take on fuel.

The Devis family Mustang was racing for a podium finish until it ran out of fuel and had to be towed back to the paddock

It looked good in qualifying for an Elan in the NKHTGT race, when Jos Stevens was faster than the massed ranks of Corvettes, Mustangs and E-types, and even Armand Adriaans’ GT40. However moments later he rolled his car at Raidillon, fortunately without damage to driver and with little damage to car. Long-standing NKHTGT competitor Michiel Campagne took his Corvette Grand Sport to a convincing win in the one-hour race after closest rival Kaj Dahlbacka retired his similar car when the wheel fell off! This left Adriaans’ GT40 in second place. Third on the podium was Roelant de Waard, who dominated the busy GTS12 class in his Shelby Mustang.

Kaj Dahlbacka retired his Corvette from the NKHTGT race when his wheel fell off!

Other grids were for Youngtimers of various descriptions including, amongst the Belgian grids, the Belcar Cup, for cars built up to the year 2000. Marc Duez, at the wheel of an IMSA Chevrolet Monza and Luc Moortgat’s Porsche 964 Cup put on the show for this, with Moortgaat taking the first of two races and Duez being black flagged for exceeding the sound limits in race two while in the lead. The German-based Colmore Youngtimers Touring Car Challenge (YTCC) produced a huge grid for three 30-minute races and offered two wins to Peter Mucke in his Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri and one win to Roger Bolliger driving a Pontiac Trans AM after two DNFs in races one and two, and in the absence of Mucke in race three. Two Gentle Drivers Trophy races went to Swiss driver Marcus Jörg driving a Lotus XI and a Tourenwagen Classics race went the way of Dane Steffen Lykke Gregersen in his BMW M3 E30.

Donny Wagner and Joel Prim finished 7th overall and 4th in class

Read a more detailed report in our August issue

Fully Booked

Packed grids characterised the Preis der Stadt Stuttgart meeting at Hockenheim on 16-18 April, where Youngtimers, HTGT for Touring and GT cars of the early ‘70s, and the HEC endurance series for cars up to ‘76 met up for the first time this season.

Brothers Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race. The professional stage manufacturers entered the historic racing stage without the backdrop of spectators due to Covid. Their Ford Escort BDA proved largely superior to the RS1600 of Heinz Schmersal and Mike Stursberg by a clear 49 seconds at the end of the one-hour race. Schmersal recognised defeat, “There is no match for this BDA, we had to be content with a class win.” Michael Wittge and Markus Diederich kept the Porsche 911 ST of the Sanchez brothers in check to take third place.

“There is no match for the BDA” Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race.  Photos Peter Heil

 

The rapid Alexander and Vincent Kolb father-son combination secured overall victory in the final two-hour race for the FHR Dunlop Historic Endurance Cup in their beefy Ford Cobra 289. The road to victory was only cleared when the exhaust manifold of the leading Ford GT40 eliminated the Sanchez opposition halfway through the race. The Munich-based Alfa GTAm duo of Peter Praller/Clement Fromm skilfully kept the Porsche 914/6 GT of Wittke/Diederich within two seconds, which turned out to be seven after a time penalty was added for a pit stop infringement. There was bad luck for the reigning German champions (DHAM) Jochen Wilms and Christian Dannesberger, who were let down by their GTAm Alfa in both races.

The road to victory for the Kolb Cobra was only cleared when the leading Ford GT40 retired

 

Vice-Champion Kersten Jodexnis fared no better. His Porsche 911 S/R lost almost 14 laps due to a lengthy shift linkage repair, after which his teammate, Robin Chrzanowski, showed what could have been by taking fastest lap of the race on day that remained dry despite a thick cloud brew. Encouraged by the great popularity and the smooth running of the event under Corona conditions, the FHR is planning another event at the Motodrom to replace the cancelled Nürburgring Classic.

The 29th running of the Historic Vltava Rallye, round 2 of the 2021 FIA European Historic Rally Championship, as well as counters for local and national Czech championships, finished with a victory for the Italian duo of Andrea ‘Zippo´ Zivian and Denis Piceno, who drove their Audi Quattro in a nail-biting duel that was only decided on the last stage of the two-day event.

It was reigning Category 3 champions Karl Wagner and Gerda Zauner at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of the 7-8 May event, based in the Bohemian city of Klatovy.  Their Porsche 911 SC finished the day with a 17 second advantage over the chasing Audi.  The lead pair were far ahead of the rest, with third-placed Anders and Ingrid Johnsen 54.7secs behind in their Porsche 911 RS, leading the category 2 field, ahead of the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera, which was the fastest Category 4 competitor.

Karl Wagner had led the rally from the start.  Photos Rallyservice.cz

 

There were several retirements on the opening day.  James Potter and Geoff Jones retired their Ford Escort before SS1, while their Flexifly teammates Ernie and Karen Graham had an engine issue on the first stage and missed the rest of the day.   On the second day, with seven more stages to run, the fight grew even more heated.  On the first few stages Wagner extended his lead over the Audi, taking a full six seconds from the Italians on one stage alone.  ‘Zippo’ took the next two stages, with Wagner responding to the challenge to take SS8 and head to the service park 29 seconds to the good, with three stages to go. 

EHRC newcomers Vojtech Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka, (Opel Kadett) scored an excellent fourth overall in the FIA contest, just 2.2secs behind Anders and Ingrid Johnsen’s 911 Porsche RSR

 

On stage 10 the Audi closed the gap by 11secs, and on stage 11 the gap was down to just 0.7secs with just the 22.71km Stransinska stage remaining.  ‘Zippo’ put everything he had into it, improving his stage time from the morning run of the same stage by an incredible 41 seconds for a time of 12m37.4.  But Wagner improved on his morning time too, and finished the stage in 12m42.6.   It was just not quite enough to keep the lead, and the Audi Quattro  finished the rally just 4.5 seconds ahead to take the overall victory at the last gasp.  This also gave Zippo his second category 3 win of the season.

Third overall, and the Category 2 leaders, were Anders and Ingrid Johnsen, the Swedes fending off a late challenge from the Opel Kadett C GT/E of EHRC newcomers Vojtěch Štajf and Vladimir Zelinka, the Czech crew finishing just 2.2 seconds behind the Porsche at the end of the final stage. 

Spaniards Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera won Category 4 in their Ford Sierra Cosworth.

The Ford Sierra Cosworth of Daniel Alonso and Candido Carrera finished the day in fifth overall and the winner of Category 4.  The Spanish crew finished the rally 1m41.9 seconds ahead of the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Austrian Alfons Nothdurfter and his German teammate Jurgen Nolte.  Ville Silvasti and Risto Pietilainen (Audi Quattro A2) came home eighth overall and completed the Category 4 podium.

The familiar Porsche 911 S of Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo finished in 15th place overall to add the Category 1 victory in the Czech Republic to the one they took in Sanremo last month.  With some 22 registered competitors, the EHRC seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival and will no doubt pick up even more competitors as the championship moves further south after the next round in Hungary in late June.

May 15-16 marked the return of VdeV Historic Endurance racing when 26 crews and 65 drivers gathered at Nevers Magny-Cours to participate in the VdeV 6 Hours of Magny-Cours. Despite tricky weather conditions, with alternating showers and clear skies resulting in ever-changing track conditions, everyone was delighted to be there after the long winter break and all the many cancellations and postponements caused by COVID.

After two free practice sessions and the qualifying session, the competitors set off on Sunday at 12:40pm for six hours of racing on the 4.41km Nivernais track under heavy rain, resulting in a rolling start with five initial laps behind the safety car.  In total, the event would see no fewer than ten different leaders during the 6 hours and also a number of safety car interventions, brought on by a heavy rain, or shorter interventions caused by racing incidents.

The winning Porsche did 644 kilometres and 146 laps.  Photos Jacques Letihon Courtesy VdeV Racing

 

Starting from pole, the team consisting of Damien and Matthieu Alfano, Nathalie Seigneurin and Maxime Tandel was long delayed when their Porsche 911 3.0 SC was stopped by an oil leak an hour in. Others also experienced reliability issues, like the Ford Mustang of Dutch crew Bas Jansen and Jacques Meeuwissen. The victim of engine overheating during free practice, the team made an overnight return trip to the Netherlands to bring back an identical Mustang, an effort that was rewarded with a sixth place finish.

Overall and GT category victory went to the Swiss-Belgian team of Serge Libens, Henrique Gemperle and Marc De Siebenthal at the wheel of a Porsche 964 RS. The crew completed 146 laps and 644 kilometres over the six hours. They were followed home by the Châteaux family BMW 635 CSI, which took Touring Car honours, and the Mk 1 Ford Escort of José Beltramelli, sharing with sons Brady and Viny. Two more Porsches, the 944 S2 of former rally champion Jean-Claude Andruet, co-driven by Christian Noret, and the 964 RS of the Pelletier family, with Christophe Peyrat, made up the rest of the GT podium.

The Beltramelli family took third overall in their Ford Escort MK1

Contested until the last laps, first place in the Saloon Car class was finally won by former tennis pro and winner of the Davis Cup, Henri Leconte, in the Van de Vyver TVR Griffith 200 shared with Léo Mothe and Alex Meynard.  The Sport Prototype category saw the Chateaux Sport Auto team clinch another victory in their Grac MT 14B, driven by Axel De Ferran and Bernard Zimmer.