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.
So, while Matthew Watts, on his first full F2 race weekend in his Martini Mk19/22, and Andrew Smith (March 742) took race wins during rounds 11 and 12, neither figured as one of the five category champions. On Sunday torrential rain hit the track and a number of drivers elected not to run in the difficult conditions, including Watts.
Though Julian Stokes won the division on Sunday in his Tecno, Robert Simac took a first and a second place in the Jochen Rindt Trophy class for 1600cc F2 cars over the two races to seal the category title and end the year as overall top scorer. Mark Goodyear (Lotus 59) wrapped up an outstanding campaign by winning the Vern Schuppan Trophy for the early Formula Atlantic cars despite a constant challenge from Paul Tonkin (Chevron B29). Australian racer Martin Bullock (Chevron B34) settled the Gilles Villeneuve Trophy for the later Formula Atlantics against a strong challenge from series newcomer Peter Micklewright (March 76B).
With Martin O’Connell (Chevron B42) and Miles Griffiths (Ralt RT1) absent from Dijon, O’Connell was confirmed as winner of the Giacomelli Trophy for later F2 cars. However, a strong weekend for David Tomlin in the rare Rondel moved him up to second at the expense of Griffiths. Another Australian commuter, Stephen Weller, was confirmed as winner of the Jim Clark Trophy for non-winged F2 cars in his Elfin 600B.
With three candidates still in the running for the NKHTGT Championship, points leader Erwin van Lieshout had to make sure he finished both Dijon races. With the track drying fast, horsepower mattered in Saturday afternoon’s race 1. Martin Bijleveld took the lead in his Ford Falcon, soon to be overhauled by Michiel Campagne in his well-known Corvette Grand Sport, with Alexander Schlüchter and Bob Stevens fighting over second in their Lotus Elans. In the second half of the 40-minute race, Campagne relaxed his pace, allowing the Elans to close the gap. On the last lap, an attempt by Stevens to pass the Corvette ended with him spinning in the last corner and gifting second to Schlüchter. Bijleveld survived a spectacular off-track excursion to slide his Falcon to a win in the big touring car class, while Van Lieshout finished a strong fifth in his Porsche 911, taking maximum points to just about secure the championship.
Robert Simac in his March 712M sealed the title in the 1600cc F2 class and ended the year as overall top points scorer. Photos Guy Pawlak
An eventful Sunday finale saw Schlüchter take the lead from Campagne in the first few corners, but soon Andy Newall was at the front, having taken over Rhea Sautter’s Jaguar E-type. He demonstrated his superb car control for a number of laps, until a misfire led to retirement, handing the lead back to Campagne, with Stevens and Schlüchter still in pursuit. A drive-through dropped Campagne to third, but a return to the front looked possible. That is, until he had to park the Corvette with a mechanical problem. Stevens stayed ahead of Schlüchter to win, with next up Jaap van der Ende and Norbert Gross in their Ford Falcons, battling for second in the championship. Van der Ende just managed to hang on to third, thus taking second in the final ranking. Rob Rappange in his Cooper S again enjoyed the slippery conditions and won the small touring car class.
The other Dutch series, for Youngtimers, ran three, 30-minute races, some 40 cars taking to the track, in an incredibly diverse field, from a Golf GTI to Walter Hoffman’s McLaren Can-Am car. In varying conditions over the three races, Christian Nowak took three race wins in his self-developed Cobra, with main rival Alain Derognat suffering mechanical issues in his BMW 323i in races two and three.
Mathew Watts (Mar ni Mk19/22 ) won Saturday’s dry race
Amongst other races, the new Maxx Formula International series for single-seaters including F1, GP2, Champ Car, Indy Car, F3000, WS by Renault, etc., produced a reduced grid for its fourth and last outing of the season. Under heavy rain Martin Kindler took his GP2 Dallara to pole, but two wins went to Christopher Brenier (Panoz DP09B), as the Jaguar and Super Aguri Formula 1 cars remained in their garages.
The Classic Sports Car Club ran two groups, for cars of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and another grid for cars from the ‘90s and 2000s. Jamie Keevill came out winner of the first in his Lotus Elan after poleman Matthew Lewis (Marcos Mantula) and second placed Sam Smith (Lotus Elan) received drive-throughs for jumping the start.
An eventful second race, that saw Keevil spin away his advantage, and more penalties dealt out, ended with a win for Ryan Mone and Peter Sloane’s Porsche 944 S2.
Erwin van Lieshout took his Porsche 911 home to win the GTS11 class and with it the 2019 NKHTGT Championship
For a fuller report, see out November 2019 issue.