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The final round of the French Historic Championships took place at the 3.7km circuit at Le Vigeant in western France. There were still five candidates for the two French titles, so the weekend of 26-27 October was to be decisive. In the ‘Monoplaces/Protos’ contest, Arnaud Dousse (Van Diemen in Formula Ford Kent-Zetec) and Frédéric Rouvier (Martini MK34 in F3 Classic and Lucchini SP94 in SportProtosCup) were the contenders, while Didier Gruau (TVR Griffith 400 in Asavé Racing 65) was in indirect competition with Franck Quagliozzi (Honda Civic in Youngtimers GTI Cup) and Xavier Jacquet (Lotus Seven in Lotus Trophy) for the ‘GT/Tourism’ crown.
Reigning champion Frédéric Rouvier (no 59) ew from all the opposition to secure two F3 Classic wins and the 2019 Monoplaces/Protos’ title. Photos Guy Pawlak
The revived Estoril event, first started by Francisco Santos of GP do Porto fame, and now run by Diogo Ferrao’s Race Ready organisation, proved itself again a great success as part of what the local Municipality is billing “Estoril Classics Week”.
Classics Week kicked off with the Rally Portugal Historica, which started its tough 2000km route on Wednesday 9 October from the Casino Gardens in Estoril, for a finish on Saturday at Estoril racing circuit, where the rally cars took to the track to be time-tested through slaloms and laps. In addition there were celebrity exhibitions by drivers such as Ari Vantenen. Reputed to be one of the toughest asphalt regularity events in Europe, the rally was won by the Franco-Belgian team of Philippe Fuchey and Christophe Hayez driving a Porsche 911 SC.
Not everyone remembers it, but it is at the Paul Ricard Circuit that several years ago the format that the French organiser has so successfully brought to the some of the world’s most important circuits was first tested. This year was the 10th running of the Dix Mille Tours event. That the event was successful can be taken for granted. In fact it was a record year in terms of numbers of entries.
Didier Denat was an early retirement from the 90-minute 2L Cup race. Photos Courtesy Peter Auto
The Algarve Classic Festival is a most agreeable finale to the European historic racing season. Rain or shine, sometimes both, southern Portugal is warm in late autumn and the sensational Autodromo Internacional, opened in 2008, is a favourite among drivers and teams. This year’s event – promoted by Diogo Ferrao’s Race Ready concern – moved to the first weekend of November. While some grids were weak (in part due to cross-border movement uncertainty in what was supposed to be post-October 31 Brexit) the best action was tremendous.
GTSCC Tops the bill. Photos Eric Sawyer
Italian veteran ‘Lucky’ and his hugely experienced co-driver Fabrizia Pons were top scorers on the 53rd Mecsek Rallye in Hungary to finish the season as Category 4 champions in the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship.
In a dramatic final round for the pan-European FIA-sanctioned special stage rally championship, their Lancia Delta Integrale moved back to the head of Category 4 (pre ’92) as former leaders Will Graham and Michael Johnston retired their BMW M3 mid-rally with alternator problems. ‘Lucky’ emerged as the only category champion not using a Porsche 911.
Monza Historic, sixth and penultimate act of the 2019 Peter Auto opera, performed on some of the most famous European stages, brought many expectations for the weekend of 20-22 September. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is one of the stages on which every motorsport actor likes to shine, either because, after the mutilation of so many European circuits it still lives up to its sobriquet of “the temple of speed” on which many epic pages of motorsport history have been written, or because it is one of those where the difference, as Jarno Trulli recalled in an interview a few years ago, is in the “guts” and not just the technicalities, which is why many actors look more favourably at Imola or Mugello. In short, it is a stage as famous as it is unforgiving. To make everything more complicated, capricious weather, characterised by two days of summer sun, and typically autumnal rain on the final day added to the challenge
The Circuit des Remparts Angoulême celebrated its 80th anniversary on 13-15 September, attracting nearly 1000 classic and historic cars into the city. The only street circuit in France to have remained unchanged for eighty years, the anniversary celebrations included a series of exhibitions, a special grid showing the cars of the first race in 1939 and, as always, the Concours d’Élégance, as well as Sunday’s races and demonstrations on the famous circuit. Former racing stars were amongst the invited guests, including Jean-Pierre Jarier, Anne Baverey and Jean-Claude Andruet. Hundreds of cars took part in the tourist rally, while 80 Bugattis were present amongst the 400 racing vehicles and there were some 12,000 spectators around the circuit.
Local man Damien Kohler won the Plateau Henri Greder in his Lotus Elan. Photos Agence Austral
“I’ve never started last and won before. It was an amazing race,” said Will Leverett after his
famous victory in 70s Road Sports with his father’s Lotus Elan. Photo Eric Sawyer
Cameron Jackson and Adrian Langridge were crowned champions at Brands Hatch on 21 September, as the Historic Sports Car Club’s one-day race meeting on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit delivered some first class racing in warm sunshine.
Marcus Pye Reports
Victories for Jonathan Abecassis (Austin-Healey 100/4) and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash Super Sports) evoked memories of the past at Castle Combe’s seventh stand-alone Autumn Classic event on Saturday, October 5, by common consent one of the best (maybe the best) CCAC yet.
Photos Eric Sawyer
The French Historic Tour resumed in the Auvergne at the undulating circuit of Charade on 20-22 September after a long summer break with 300 entries competing in 20 races. Clement weather on Saturday gave way to rain on Sunday afternoon, as the pilots wrangled for the two French Championship titles.
With Formula Ford forming the biggest grid of the meeting, 37 starters were headed by reigning F Ford Champion François Belle in his Lola T540E, ahead of Alain Girardet. These two distanced the rest of the pack, led by Alexandre Fournier and guest driver, Frédéric Rouvier, getting into his stride and moving firmly into third place. Half way down the pack, Brit Alan Crocker took Class A. The second race was a re-run of the first, Belle, taking it by 7/10ths of a second. Crocker took his second Class A win, ahead of Lombardi and Didier Mantz.
This time it was the turn of Alain Girardet to try a new formula, the Swiss taking a Ralt RT3 to third place in qualifying behind regulars Rouvier and Davide Leone in his March 783. A long safety car period two laps in, after Gianluigi Candiani went off, saw the trio circulating in that order, with only three laps left to run once the safety car retired. The sprint to the chequer saw Rouvier finish by a 7/10ths margin to Leone and Girardet, with Eric Martin (Martini MK39) and Ian Jacobs (Ralt RT3) completing the top five.
In the F Renault division, Tony Boudreault was the winner when Fabrice Porte, who had started from the back of the grid after his engine blew in qualifying, flew to the front in the few available laps, only to break again within sight of the flag.
The Dutch NKHTGT, the British Classic Sports Car Club, The Triumph Competition and British HTGT series, the Colmore Youngtimers and the new Maxx Formula grids brought an international cast to Dijon Prenois to do battle in some tough weather conditions on the weekend of 5-7 October at the traditional Dijon Motors Cup meeting.
Playing a starring role, the Formula 2 International series also had its final two rounds at the former French GP circuit. The category has gone through somewhat of a resurgence this year, with grids increasing in size at each meeting bringing new entries in throughout the season. This left those who began at the beginning with hopes for the championship title.
Sixty years after Belgian hero Jacky Ickx scored the last Le Mans 24 Hours victory for Ford’s GT40, with Jackie Oliver, 14 late-built versions of the icon started odds-on favourites to win the 27th Spa Six Hours, highlight of the Historic racing season, on September 28. The following day 70 plus GT40 evocations lined-up in echelon along the Formula 1 pit wall and were flagged away by Jackie Ickx for a two-lap celebratory cavalcade.
The FIA Appendix K-spec GT40s filled the top 10 places in qualifying. Another Belgian ace and former F1 driver, Eric van der Poele, secured pole, from which Ford Motor Company’s President, New Business and Technology, Jim Farley had the honour of starting at 15:55 on the Saturday, in the damp with 98 cars behind him, from the period downhill grid preceding the daunting Eau Rouge left-right and the ascent to Raidillon. No pressure then!