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Paul Lawrence Reports on one of the toughest rallies in historic motorsport
McCormack the third
Marty McCormack and Barney Mitchell won the 2019 Roger Albert Clark Rally in late November after a fabulous battle with Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke on the 13th edition of this unique event.
Marty McCormack on the way to a record third RAC win. Photos Paul Lawrence
For four and a half days, over 31 special stages, McCormack drove faultlessly to take a 52-second victory after more than five hours of flat out rallying. However, the result was in doubt until the very end as Pritchard never stopped chasing despite a puncture in Scotland on Sunday morning that proved a turning point in his rally.
Rosenberger Rules under the African Sky
Paul Lawrence Reports
Austrian driver Kris Rosenberger and co-driver Nicola Bleicher headed the Safari Classic Rally at the finish in Mombasa on Friday 6 December after nine tough days through Kenya and Tanzania.
Rosenberger, who last rallied in Kenya back in 1989, took his Tuthill Porsche 911 to a 93-second victory over the similar car of 2015 winner and rally legend Stig Blomqvist. Porsche 911s claimed the top eight places as Tuthill Porsche and Team Tido Race 4 Health dominated the leader board.
Kris Rosenberger and Nicola Bleicher head towards victory. Photos McKlein
The Silver Jubilee edition of Le Jog, the Land’s End to John O’Groats Classic Reliability Trial, was the UK’s final major classic rally of 2019, as 83 cars tackled the challenging and relentless 800-mile trek up the length of Great Britain.
The Porsche 356 of German crew Thomas Lundt and Dirk Adam makes a splash. Photos Will Broadhead Courtesy HERO
Perhaps perceiving a gap in the litany of quality historic car events in Italy, MM Srl, the organisers of the Mille Miglia since 2013, decided to turn their hand to running a winter rally in early December, travelling through no fewer than four countries during its four days.
This ambitious schedule involved a long counter-clockwise route starting in Brescia and heading towards the Trentino with the first night-stop at Bressanone or Brixen, depending upon your allegiances. After a brief doubling back the route headed east over the Passo Del Brennero, into Austria to finish the second day at Seefeld in the Tirol.
Winners Antonino Margiotta and Guido Urbino (Volvo PV444). Photos Couertesy 1000Miglia
NZ Tasman Revival Cup - Round 1
Local fans of New Zealand’s SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series had two of their own to cheer on at the opening round of the 2019/20 series at Feilding’s Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild. One – Tim Rush – is a series regular who drives one of the rarest cars in the field, a 1972 McLaren M22. The other is a more recent arrival, Kevin Ingram, who made his series’ debut last season behind the wheel of the ex-Ian Clements’ Lola T332. The Rush McLaren (M22-3-72) enjoys the distinction of being both the last McLaren built by the company’s early production partner Trojan, and the last McLaren customer car to be built.
Fastest qualifer Michael Collins dominated three races in the rst round of the 2019/20 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series at The Sound MG Classic meeting at Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild. His McRae GM1 led Grant Martin’s Talon MR1A on both days. Photos Fast Company/ Aaron Mai
The 2019 Classic 24 Hours at Daytona presented by IMSA was held on 13-17 November on the 3.56-mile road course at the famous Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Peter Falkner Reports from the North American ‘Temple of Speed’
Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) conceived the idea back in 2014 and after a successful inaugural running that year, the Classic 24 Hours has been a highlight of the US historic racing calendar and continues to draw an ever-increasing number of domestic and foreign competitors from as far afield as South America and Australia. No doubt many competitors are also looking forward to the warm Florida sun to wrap up their season, but much of this year’s free practice, qualification and racing took place under uncharacteristically cool, leaden skies.
Todd Napieralski entered a team of three Camaros in Group G and won the category with Lee Saunders
Photos John Retter
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