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Contents December Issue Issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Carrera Panamericana - Rallye du Valais - Daytona Classic 24 - Deux Tours d’Horloge - Alfa Revival Cup - Jerez Historic Festival - Historic Tour Lédenon - MRL Silverstone GP - Goodwood Members Meeting - Algarve Classic Festival

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Features and Reports

They came for a relaxed meeting in the sun but instead their season-closer proved challenging in many respects – and not just meteorologically.  The Algarve Classic Festival turned into a soggy affair that became a struggle with the timetable and a handful for the drivers, although many enjoyed the slippery conditions on the fantastically undulating track north of Portimão.  

Photos Trevor Noble

Masters Historic Racing, the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association and the Formula Junior Association had travelled to Portugal from their Jérez meeting the week before to be joined by the GT & Sports Car Cup and the return of its traditional two-hour endurance race under the Algarve’s autumn sun.  All looked set for a grand finale but then months of drought came to an end, precisely during the three days of the Festival.  It could have been worse, though, as initial forecasts predicted 72 hours of torrential rain, while in the end Friday was mostly sunny with some dry spells on Sunday as well.

Lukas Halusa drove a miraculous race to finish third overall in his Bugatti Type 35B in the Pre-‘66 HGPCA race

In addition came the fact that the usual laidback but proper organisation the guests had come to expect from this F1-grade track over the past years seemed to have gone missing this time.  In hindsight, it probably wasn’t very convenient that the event took place right between the ELMS round the week before and the MotoGP the week after.  Several ELMS teams stayed on for private testing until late in the week while MotoGP began invading the paddock as early as Sunday morning, leaving its present incumbents with the impression that they had outstayed their welcome.  Moreover, it seemed that at certain times the Portuguese hosts had their eyes off the ball because of all these conflicting commitments.  Timekeeping suffered from an array of issues, one of the local series was allowed on track ahead of its time, and the extremely tight time schedule didn’t allow for any delays – and those inevitably came on a circuit that has gravel traps acting as run-off areas.

Andrew Haddon, David Smithies and John Watson do battle in the GTSCC race

Nick Padmore won Saturday’s F1 race in the Chrome Cars Lotus 92, a last-minute substitute

In the wet conditions the front-engined cars proved quickest in the HGPCA races

To see Mattijs Diepraam's full report, see our December 2021 issue....

Joel Wykeham joined the Sleep Shelby Racing Team for an attempt on the first Historic 24 Hours race in nearly 10 years.

L’Automne en Provence

Competitors were greeted with all the beautiful autumn colours in the vineyards around Le Castellet as the Circuit Paul Ricard was bathed in low November sunlight and vivid clear blue skies on 5-7 November.  Eric and Laure Van de Vyver and their very warm and welcoming V de V team deserve a lot of credit for bringing back the first 24-hour race for historic cars since 2012 despite suffering another year’s postponement due to COVID.  They were rewarded with an eclectic entry of diverse sports prototypes, GT and Touring cars from 1964 through to 1991 that would fight a long and determined battle for the outright win.  While the majority of entries were understandably French there was still a pan-European element, with teams from Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and even a well-used Porsche 906 from Italy.

Photos Gilles Chaulet

As drivers lined up for the pre-event Le Mans start, the Pascalou Porsche 930 Turbo of star driver Sebastien Crubilé - having maybe turned up the boost for qualifying – was on pole, closely followed by the Chateaux Sport Grac prototype of Belgian rally star Freddy Loix, Alex De Ferran and Bernard Zimmer.  Third place was the first of the numerous but fragile Sports 2000 prototypes.  Come the rolling start proper, in true 24-hour race tradition, on the very first lap an LD Racing 911 and the Capri of ‘John Doe’ collided, ultimately eliminating both cars.

No March for a Tiga

As the race settled down, the higher powered Grac was leading until numerous pit stops dropped it back and a race-long duel started between the S2000s of  Laurent Vallery-Masson’s  team Tiga  and  the March 81S of ‘Nelson’.  This was proper endurance racing as hares struggled against tortoises in a night of attrition in eleven hours of darkness.

Overall it was a wonderful event combining elements of the glamour and relative comfort of the Paul Ricard circuit with an entry suitably reminiscent of an obscure endurance race from the late 1970s.  V de V did a brilliant job and it was an electric experience to drive at night under floodlights.  As co-driver Alex Montgomery commented afterwards “Was that all just a sunny dream?”  With perfect timing, when the chequered flag dropped, the first drops of winter rain began to fall.

For Joel's full report see our December 2021 issue...

Cottingham/Girardo win at Snakes and Listers

The second Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall Cup race for Pre-‘61 sports racers and Pre-‘66 GT and Touring cars, over three hours on Silverstone’s Historic Grand Prix circuit, ended Motor Racing Legends’ season in style on October 31.  After a spin at Luffield on lap one, James Cottingham, starting Max Girardo’s late-built Lister-Jaguar Costin, regained the lead, which Girardo defended despite a gyration of his own at Stowe.  With Cottingham at the helm again, and the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe evocations of Roy Alderslade, Olly Bryant and Sam Tordoff on the same lap, fighting for position, this was a battle to the end.  The Lister pair won by 46 seconds, from George Pochciol/Matthew Wrigley/Bryant and Michael Cullen/Paddy Shovlin/Tordoff.  As the action unfolded on live-streaming, courtesy of DK Engineering and ADP Classic Racing, it can be enjoyed for posterity via YouTube and other platforms.      

Max Girardo and James Cottingham defeated all the Cobras in Max’s late-built Lister-Jaguar Costin.  Photo John Retter

The Pall Mall Cup is awarded to multi-car teams, not individuals.  The Hot Shots - Alderslade/Andrew Jordan, Chris Fox/Nick Pink (Lotus Elan) and Karsten Le Blanc/Christiaen van Lanschot (Austin-Healey 3000 ‘DD300’) - outpointed 10 rivals to land it.

Forty-three cars started the enduro, in which British Touring Car Championship star Rory Butcher (in William Paul’s Jaguar E-type) took over the lead when Cottingham rotated, only for driveshaft failure to strand him after four laps.  Recent Estoril winner Harvey Stanley took up the cudgels in DK Engineering’s Pre-‘63 Huffaker E-type but was quickly demoted by Cottingham and Gareth Burnett in Michael Birch’s ex-works/Graham Hill Lotus 15.  Miles Griffiths was harassing Burnett when his Lotus Elan burrowed deep into the gravel at Club, where it remained.

Popular winner Paul Mensley leads the HTCC pack in his Ford Sierra Cosworth.  Photos Eric Sawyer and Jeff Bloxham

Having served its second mandatory five-minute stop after a short stint by Birch, Richard Bradley took over the Lotus 15 with a cunning plan to go to the end.  As the pitstop stagger unwound this tactic looked promising until its rear suspension broke after a trip over the kerbs at Becketts.

Out front, Jordan eroded the gap to Girardo from a minute plus to 30 seconds before putting car owner Alderslade back in.  While nobody could now catch Cottingham, the Cobras re-ordered.  Alderslade - in his second full season of historics - was gobbled up by the younger hotshoes.  Gregoire Audi/Rob Hall and Nick Sleep/Alex Montgomery/Joel Wykeham (Cobras) completed the top six, ahead of class winners Stanley/Jeremy Cottingham and Will and Michael Schryver/Marcus Weller (Elan Shapecraft coupe).  Malcolm Paul/Patrick Watts (TVR Grantura) saw off the best of the Porsche 911s to ace their division by 18 seconds.  First tin top was Alan Greenhalgh/Simon Lane’s Ford Falcon.

Jeremy Cottingham drove with Harvey Stanley to 7th place in the DK Jaguar

Thirty-three cars started the 1950s’ sportscar race, the younger Stirling Moss Trophy division to the fore.  The contrasting Lister-Jaguars of Gary Pearson (Costin) and Rob Smith (in Steve Osborne’s Knobbly) and Richard Bradley - fresh from a fine European Le Mans Series run at the Algarve Circuit in an ORECA prototype - in Birch’s Lotus 15.  When diff failure ended Pearson’s aspirations, Bradley went clear, but Chris Ward hounded him down. A lap and a half from home the Lotus’ two-litre Climax FPF engine spluttered to a halt and Ward snatched victory.

Rob Smith and Chris Ward (Lister Knobbly) took victory in the Stirling Moss Trophy race after Gary Pearson (Lister no. 58) and the Lotus 15 (No 21) driven by Richard Bradley failed to finish

Saturday’s Jaguar Classic Challenge which rounded out the E-type’s 60th anniversary year was a two-cat scrap between Gary Pearson (roadster) and Richard Kent/Chris Ward in the former’s ex-Dick Protheroe Fixed Head Coupe CUT 7. 

There could not have been a more popular Historic Touring Car Challenge winner than Paul Mensley.  Driving the only Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 in the field, Mensley outlasted Simon Garrad’s Nissan Skyline, then had to contend with rampant poleman Freddie Hunt - 1976 F1 World Champion James’ son - in Ric Wood’s Skyline while conserving frazzled wet tyres on a drying track. 

Julius Thurgood’s Historic Racing Drivers’ Club members entertained each day

The packed autumn calendar reduced the second Amon Cup Ford GT40 race’s grid to seven.  Nonetheless, the battle for supremacy between Miles Griffiths and Gordon Shedden in Philip Walker’s machine and Spa Six Hours victors James Cottingham/Olly Bryant (in the former’s car) made compelling viewing, and listening, as their V8 roars melded in the air - until the mandatory pitstops. 

Julius Thurgood’s Historic Racing Drivers’ Club members entertained each day. 

To read Marcus Pye's full report on all the races, see our December 2021 issue....

For decades, it was usual that the international historic motor racing circus would annually retreat to the Iberian Peninsula for a sunny holiday bookended by a couple of race meetings.  COVID-19 put an end to that relaxing tradition, but in 2021 it made a glorious comeback.  With some having already done the Estoril Classics, the Jerez Historic Festival was the second leg in a triplet of events that would finish right on the cusp of November with the Algarve Classic Festival.  

Biggest grid was fielded by the HGPCA

Mattijs Diepraam Reports…..

The Jerez Historic Festival was held in the perfect weather conditions of an ‘Andalusian summer’.  That meant a cloudless sky, a cool breeze coming in from the sea and a temperature of 26 degrees, and as could be witnessed by the many dry lakes and streams in the region, not even the moist 26 degrees that make you sweat – unless, of course, you happened to be a racing driver.  Some entry lists included an encouraging number of cars, such as the Masters Historic Formula One and the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association grids, while others disappointed, Masters Endurance Legends, Masters Historic Sports Cars and Formula Junior among those.  Still, the Spanish crowd loved it all, their patience having been tested for too long already.

Single-Seaters

Some twenty cars had been transported down south to compete in the two Masters Historic Formula One races, but the spectators were disappointed to find out that the ultimate car on the entry list – Jonathan Holtzman’s Tyrrell P34 – had had its engine fail on the test day preceding the event.  Nevertheless, the turnout was pretty good compared to entry numbers earlier in the year, and the quality was high as well, both in cars and in drivers. One of the category’s long-time campaigners made short work of qualifying and race 1, Mike Cantillon powering his Williams FW07C to pole and a consecutive lights-to-flag win on Saturday.  The Irishman ran into trouble early on in race 2, though, leaving the initiative to Saturday’s third-placed driver, Jamie Constable. 

 Mike Cantillion leads out the first F1 race from pole position

Nick Padmore had been a dominant pre-78 class winner on Saturday, taking fourth overall after occupying third until lap 9, but on Sunday the class win went to Miles Griffiths in the Fittipaldi F5A, the Masters Historic Formula One rookie going one better compared to the previous day.

Max Smith-Hilliard was rather more pleased with his form in the two Historic Grand Prix Cars Association races for pre-‘66 Grand Prix cars, as his Lotus 16 streaked to a pair of front-engined class wins.

A 15-car Formula Junior entry completed a pair of races on Saturday and Sunday, Alex Ames in the Brabham BT6 racing six seconds clear of Patrick d’Aubreby’s Lotus 22 in race 1.  The Frenchman hit back the next day by passing Ames on lap 5 to win by 3.7 seconds.

Sportscars

Christophe d’Ansembourg was the man of the weekend in Masters Endurance Legends, his Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 bagging a double victory, while the Masters Historic Sports Car race proved to be a Steve Brooks/Martin O’Connell benefit, with Brooks stretching out a handy lead that O’Connell simply needed to bring home.

GT and Touring Cars

john Spiers and his new partner Greensall came out on top in a tense Masters Gentlemen Drivers race that saw Michael Gans lead away in Mark Martin’s Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, the American chased and then passed by Andrew Haddon’s Lotus Elan. 

Michael Gans (Cobra) and Andrew Haddon (Lotus Elan) in the Gentlemen Drivers’ race.  Photos AM Paquete

Adding a modern flavour to the event, the Portuguese Porsche GT3 Cup reeled off two races. 

For Mattjs Diepraam's full report, see our December 2021 issue.... 

 

Members and Maestros make Magic at Goodwood

Marcus Pye Reports

Not in the history of the second-tier events at Goodwood - under the British Automobile Racing Club’s banner from August 1949 to July 1966, and GRRC-badged from the spring of 2014 - had a Members’ Meeting been staged as late in the year.  Nonetheless, the 78th edition on October 16-17 marked its return to the calendar, 2020’s date having fallen victim to COVID. 

Photo Drew Gibson Courtesy Goodwood

It’s now a mini-Revival, condensed into two days, with professionals populating feature grids, rather than the period opportunity for enthusiastic amateurs to strut their stuff behind closed doors. Nonetheless, tremendous racing across the board entertained spectators as Saturday morning’s torrential rain gave way to unseasonably warm autumnal weather.

Superstars did emerge from Goodwood’s contemporary MMs.  Future F1 world champions Mike Hawthorn, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart, and Le Mans winners Roy Salvadori, Richard Attwood and Derek Bell were among those who won races on the challenging track back in the days.  And motorcycle ace John Surtees made a superb four-wheeled debut in 1960.

Lukas Halusa (Bugatti Type 35B) won the Earl Howe Trophy race.  Photos Eric Sawyer

Peter Arundell won here twice in ‘62 - narrowly on Easter Monday - and dominant on August’s Tourist Trophy programme when he beat Attwood’s MRP Cooper by 33 seconds after 20 laps.  He is regarded as the king of Formula Junior, having won British championships in 1962 and ‘63 with Colin Chapman’s Team Lotus.  He didn’t win on his only Goodwood MM start in one - crashing out with Ian Raby at the start at the 49th in March 1962 - but he triumphed in a Lotus 11 sportscar at the 37th in ‘59, before single-seaters were admitted.  This year, Arundell’s Lotus 22 was back, indeed it played a starring role in the race bearing his name, following a post-practice driver change that sat uneasily with some competitors.

Simon Diffey manhandles the Penske Zerex Special through the chicane in the Gurney Cup race

Former FJHRA UK champion Michael Hibberd qualified the car - repatriated from Italy and restored by the Rolls-Royce engineer’s team - well down the order.  But a back problem saw permission granted for son Andrew (a previous Goodwood FJ and 1000cc F3 winner) to race it.

Celebrating triple British F3 champion Don Parker’s Kieft and Cooper successes of the 1950s, the 500cc race attracted a wonderful miscellany of marques, including the bizarre Douglas flat-twin powered Buzzie built by Jim Bosisto, which didn’t get far.  A stop-start pre-race rigmarole - with Alex Wilson’s Mackson pushed from the grid and one last delay when Sir John Chisholm’s Arnott-JAP’s drivetrain broke - exacerbated the charismatic little cars’ temperamental nature.

Photo Jayson Fong Courtesy Goodwood

The earliest cars hailed from the Pre-1923 Edwardian era, a heady mix of thoroughbreds from hallowed marques Derrick, Mercedes-Benz and Sunbeam, and hairy concoctions, some with aero engines mounted in girder chassis, which appeared less rigid than their ballsy drivers.  These intrepid heroes practiced in, yet made light of, torrential rain, but mercifully were rewarded with perfect conditions in which to get their elbows out and fight for glory in two short sprint races honouring pioneer motorist SF Edge. 

Experiencing an Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Monza for the first time on track in a gruesomely wet Earl Howe Trophy practice session, Gary Pearson put German Christian Glaesel’s ex-works example on pole but was beaten into second by the increasingly impressive Lukas Halusa (Bugatti T35B) in the Pre-‘32 GP and Voiturette showcase.  

Runaway poleman Tom Waterfield (in Tim Ross’ Cooper- Norton Mk9) was outgunned by George Shackleton (Cooper Mk11)

Morgan’s Le Mans legend Christopher Lawrence won two MM races in his works SLR coupe, but Billy Bellinger was not likely to emulate the feat driving that car in the Ronnie Hoare Trophy GT race once Olly Bryant received a late invitation to race Kevin Morfett’s Historika-restored Porsche 904/6. 

The earlier Pre-‘63 GT set, for the Moss Trophy, was a Nigel Greensall masterclass, the poleman having driven David Gooding’s hooded Jaguar E-type roadster away from fellow front row qualifiers Mike Whitaker (ex-Bruce Larson AC Cobra Dragonsnake) and Olly Bryant (E-type FHC), whose order was reversed late, in a photo finish.  The fleet Jags of Jack Minshaw and Gregor Fisken outdistanced Gaye’s ex-Ecurie Francorchamps Ferrari 250 GT SWB in the minor placings.  

 James Cottingham/ Andrew Smith Ford GT40 scored victory in the Gurney Cup

With Ford GT40s numerically dominant in the double-driver Gurney Cup sportscar field the winner could logically not come from elsewhere.  As a topsy-turvy grid sorted itself out Chris Goodwin (Lotus 23B) - from P13 - spun in the path of Westie Mitchell (Chevron B8) and smote the bank backwards at St Mary’s on the opening lap, whereupon former F3000 racer Mark Shaw (McLaren M1A) gyrated to avoid the Chevron, which continued.  Following a safety car interlude to cover the clear-up, Rob Hall surged ahead in Andrew Wareing’s Nickey Chevrolet M1A.

Having won the Revival’s Sussex Trophy race for 1950s’ sports racers in the Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro-Jaguar, Cottingham’s hopes of an action replay in the Salvadori Cup contest were hindered when he was banished to the back of the grid for a technical infringement. 

An epic battle between Jake Hill (Ford Capri) and Craig Davies (Ford Mustang Boss 302) coloured the final of the Gerry Marshall Trophy

Pierpoint - who raced an 1100cc Fiat Special in the first Members’ Meeting and, 16 years on, won the ‘65 British saloon car championship in a Ford Mustang - was honoured by the V8 tin-top thrash.  Towards a third of it ran behind a safety car, Emanuele Pirro having come to rest upside down in Chris Clarkson’s Ford Falcon Sprint when it thumped the bank and was launched at ‘Moss Kink,’ the currently un-named entry to St Mary’s, while in fifth place on lap eight.

Three dramatic races decided the outcome of the Gerry Marshall Trophy ‘Group 1’ Saloon contest, in which the great showman’s son Gregor completed the final’s grid, only for his Vauxhall Firenza to expire.

For a full report of the racing and other track activities, see our December 2021 issue...

For Alfa Romeo cars built from 1947 to 1981, the final race of the Alfa Revival Cup season took place on the weekend of 15-17 October at the beautiful flowing circuit of Mugello with 29 cars on the grid.  It was a weekend in which not only were the overall victors of the tenth running of the championship decided,  but it was also an opportunity for organisers to clarify what the future of the series would be, now that GPS has formed a joint venture with Canossa Events to form Canossa Racing, the entity that will take over the running of the series from 2022.

Amongst the favourites Daniele and Ambrogio Perfetti were in the ‘giallo ocra’ GTAM run by the OKP Alfa Delta Racing Team.  New to the series, Sandro Hubar was making his debut in a beautiful Giulia GTA 1600 Sprint ex-Nanni Galli run by the Pastorelli Classics team. 

The qualifying on Saturday foretold a close race amongst the GTAMs at the front, with the Perfetti car head of the provisional classification until the ninth lap when Davide Bertinelli obtained and froze his second pole position of the season by only 2/10ths, the two front-runners were followed by brothers Giampaolo and Emanuele Benedini.  

 

Alfa Revival Cup winners Gianmarco Rossi and Vittorio Maria Mandelli and their Alfa Ti

At the start of the race Ambrogio Perfetti put a lot of pressure on Bertinelli who, impassive, managed to keep the lead for all 24 laps.  Behind these two, the battle for third was intense in the early laps between the GTAMs of the Benedinis and Mathias Körber, up from ninth place, and the GTA 1600 Group 4 of Massimo Guerra and Giovanni Serio, the latter taking the place and holding it until the closing laps, when first Gerald Grohmann, then the GTAM of Peter Bachofen/Roberto Restelli got past to finish third and fourth respectively.  The Benedini car  retired after 16 laps, and Francesco Pantaleo and Marco Guerra got the better of a fading Körber to take an excellent sixth place in their GTA 1600, while Matthias Ficht followed Körber home in eighth place. 

There were class victories for Luigi and Noccoló Mercatali in their GT VELOCE and for the Giulietta Ti of Gianmarco Rossi and Vittorio Maria Mandelli of the Scuderia Bologna Corse.  The Ti had a high co-efficient towards the final standings of the season, and thanks to their result in this round, the crew from Bologna jointly took the overall 2021 title with a 7.5-point lead over an impressively performing Davide Bertinelli, who finished his season in second place overall .  Series rookie and youngest participant, Giulio Sordi was third in the end-of-season standings with his Giulia Ti Super.

Mugello race winner Davide Bertinelli finished 2nd in the championship

Fourth for the second consecutive year was Fabio Gimignani, and in fifth, last year’s title holder, Marco Milla, handed over the GPS Classic Trophy to this year’s winners.  The winning team for 2021 was the AB Motorsport Scuderia with a lead of over 30 points to the OKP Alfa Delta Racing Team. 

In the future, the Alfa Revival Cup will be in the good hands of Canossa Racing, a new company created by GPS Classic and Canossa Events with the aim of not only organising and promoting the eleventh edition of the Alfa Revival Cup series, but also to develop new content dedicated to collectors and racing car enthusiasts eager to compete on track, or simply to find themselves on the circuit for free practice days where they can share their passion.

The Classic 24, which ran for the seventh time this year on 28-31 October, is the brainchild of Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) based in Clearwater Florida.  Such is the 59-year lore of the official 24 hours of Daytona (now The Rolex 24 at Daytona), it is easy to see the strong attraction for the historic racers to come and test themselves on the 31-degree banking.  Even seasoned pros who have turned many a wheel here for a paycheque return on their own dime because it is so much fun.  As the late Jim Pace said, “There is nothing more magical than being in a race car at sunrise at Daytona”.

2

The event is actually two race weekends in one.  The Classic 24 and the Daytona Historics.  The Classic  is open to cars that raced or were eligible to race at Daytona in period.  The Historics are a series of sprint races and enduros for the many HSR faithful that don’t qualify for the Classic.  This makes for a non-stop, never-a-cold track four-day weekend.  If drivers don’t get their fill of track time at this event, they aren’t trying!

For obvious reasons, European entries this year were thin on the ground.  In fact, no cars and just 3 non-US drivers joined the always strong domestic field.  Special cars of note this year were the 1991 Jaguar XJR-16 GTP car, an absolutely pristine 1977 Porsche 935 resplendent in Martini livery and another Jaguar, the Group 44 1982 XJR-5 complete with wailing V-12.  Competing with the Jag XJR-5 for best noise were the pair of GTLM spec Corvette C7Rs.  Once you’ve heard the sonic boom of the Corvette engine on song, you will never forget it.

For Peter Falkner's full Report see our December 2021 Issue...

Two New French Champions Crowned

The French Championships reached their conclusion after a full season, at the undulating Lédenon circuit near Nîmes in the Gard on the weekend of 22-24 October.  Running to its usual rhythm of 10 grids, each getting two heats, over 300 drivers were entered for 20 races that would decide who the 2021 French champions would be.

The Historic Formula Fords line up with François Bell on pole.  Photos Hugues Laroche

In the Monoplaces/Protos category, the winner would succeed François Belle, while the winner of the GT/Tourism category would take over from Claude Boissy.  Having dominated the season in Formula Renault Classic with a Martini MK48, Lionel Robert arrived in the Gard as the favourite, needing to win just one of two races to clinch the title ahead of Matthieu Châteaux (F3 Classic, Ralt RT3) current champion François Belle (Formula Ford Historic, Lola T540) and Gislain Genecand (Formula Ford Historic and Formula Kent, Crosslé 25F and Van Diemen RF92).

Sébastien Mathieu (GT Classic, BMW M3 GTR) led the GT/Touring category ahead of Damien Benjamin (Youngtimers GTI Cup, Honda Civic) and three men competing for the Lotus Trophy title: Dominique Vulliez, Anthony Delhaye and Xavier Jacquet.

Josserand De Murard’s lovely Lola T70 Spyder was penalised in the first ASAVÉ race, and black-flagged for exceeding noise limits in the second, both times while leading the race

Sébastien Mathieu takes GT/Tourisme Title

Best performer in qualifying aboard his Dodge Viper, Julien Grenet confirmed his supremacy in the Saloon Cars race, run concurrently with GT Classic, with Patrice Lefebvre’s Audi Quattro in his wake.   Rid of the Porsches of Patrick Delannoy and Laurent Sabatier, self-eliminated in a collision, Sébastien Mathieu held a solid GT Classic lead.  Lefebvre then received a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits, which was enough to allow Michaël Desmaele’s Porsche to join the top three.  The race ended with the unsurprising victory of Grenet, 43 seconds ahead of Mathieu’s Porsche 964, with Fabrice Lefebvre and Michaël Desmaele completing the Saloon Cars podium alongside Grenet.

By winning the GT Classic race ahead of Belgian Patrick Hals’ De Tomaso Pantera and the BMW Z3 of Geoffroy Rosembly, Sébastien Mathieu has become the 2021 GT/Tourisme Champion de France.

Grenet repeated his untouchable performance on Sunday, ahead of Mathieu, Desmaele and BMW M3 driver Christian Danne, who took fourth place after Lefebvre was once again penalised.

 

Lionel Robert Monoplaces Champion

From the start on Saturday, Davide Leone took his March 783 to the head of a healthy grid of F3 Classic and Formula Renault cars, keeping his direct rivals Matthieu Châteaux (Ralt RT3) and Frédéric Rouvier’s similar March in check.   But six laps later Châteaux was ahead, only for the Italian to re-take the place a few laps later, all under the watchful eyes of Rouvier, clearly on the lookout.  Eric Martin and Valerio Leone led the rest of the field more than ten seconds behind.  With the fight in full swing between the top three the safety car entered the scene six laps from the finish.  They were off again two laps later, but this time Rouvier got the jump on both Châteaux and Leone to finish 356/1000ths ahead of Leone under the flag, with Châteaux following a second later.  Seventh overall, Lionel Robert once again won the Formula Renault contest hands down, paving the way for the 2021 French Championship title.

Rouvier completed the first lap of race 2 in the lead, but a fast reaction from Châteaux put him out in front from the second tour.  A good start propelled Eric Martin into third ahead of Valerio Leone, the only representative of the Italian family after his son Davide was betrayed by his gearbox on the warm-up lap.  These four held station to the end, but with Rouvier only a second behind, Châteaux  was penalised 30 seconds for having overtaken at the start of the race under the yellow flag.  This bumped him down to fourth behind Rouvier, Martin and Leone Senior.  Finishing fifth amongst the F3s Lionel Robert won the Formula Renault race to clinch the 2021 French Monoplaces/Protos Championship title.

For full report of all the racing, see our December 2021 issue... 

With the record number of 215 entrants, exceeding event organiser ACI Livorno’s expectations, the Rallye Elba Storico and the concurrent Elba Graffiti regularity rally, counting both for the Italian and FIA European Championships, attracted competitors from 13 nations to the small Island of Elba in the Tyrrhenian sea.   Also comprising contests for the A112 Abarth Trophy and the Michelin Historic Rally Cup, reserved for Porsche and Maserati owners, the FIA inscriptions were also at their highest, with 62 entries.  This year, it was dedicated to the memory of Elio Niccolai, founding father of the event, who passed away suddenly in May.  Many of the top drivers of the Italian and FIA Championships were there, creating an air of expectation at the start in the rally headquarters in the town of Capo Liveri.

That said, after the traditional Thursday evening prologue, the rally lost some of its top protagonists on the first of two days, with the  Category 3 Audi Quattro of ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena crashing out on SS2 (without consequences for the crew), and the leading Category 4 Lancia Delta Integrale of ‘Lucky’ and Fabrizia Pons failing to make it to the end of the day after an oil pump failure.  Also out of Category 4 were the front-running Lucio Da Zanche and Daniel De Luis, the double winners retiring from the very first stage.  2018 Category 4 Champions Valter Jensen and Eric Pedersen, making their first 2021 appearance, had issues on the opening day when their BMW M3 ran out of fuel.  The car’s fuel gauge was recalibrated on Friday evening and the Norwegians re-joined the rally for Saturday’s final leg.

With the Prologue and stage 1 winning Lancia Integrale gone, and Karl Wagner struggling with fuel pump issues in his Porsche, Gabriele Noberasco and Giacomo Ciucci took the next two stages amongst the FIA crews to finish the day in eighth place amongst all competitors, and first in the FIA contest, with 44 seconds in hand to Category 2 leaders Paolo Pasutti and Giovanni Campeis in a Porsche 911 RS, ahead of Karl and Gerda Wagner, who, despite their mechanical difficulties, were still leading Category 3.  Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D‘Angelo led Category 1 by a large margin ahead of the BMW 2002 of Carlo Fiorito and Marin Bertonasco, the only other car in the category. 

Photo Courtesy Elba Storico

The tightest contest was in Category 2, where 21 seconds covered the first three cars, Ernie and Karen Graham (Ford Escort RS1800) behind Pasutti, followed by Czechs Vojtech Stajf and Vladimir Zelinka (Opel Kadett C-GTE).

The next morning, in foggy and slippery conditions, the Wagner Porsche was back – big time – the Austrian crew taking all five of the day’s stages.  Noberasco was out on stage 2 with a failed head gasket, leaving the Category 2 battle to rage in the leader’s wake.  Stajf was Category winner on the first stage of the day, ahead of the Grahams.  Pasutti countered on the second stage, but then Stajf, on a charge, took over to win the next three stages and finish the rally 16 seconds ahead of Pasutti, with a 50-second advantage over the British Escort, which still nonetheless, leads the overall season points table with two rallies left to complete.

Jensen and Pedersen, with fuel issues sorted on the BMW, scored four out of five of the day’s Category 4 wins, but had started the day too far behind to worry Alfons Nothdurfter and Juergen Nolte (Ford Sierra Cosworth 4X4), the new – after Noberasco’s retirement from SS6 - Category leaders.  The Austrian driver has now come within striking distance of 2021 Category leader Daniel Alonso Villaron, while Nolte has moved up to lead the Co-Driver points table.  Parisi and D’Angelo kept their Porsche on the tarmac to claim Category 1 honours and consolidate their Championship lead.  

Wagner won the FIA rally by bringing his Porsche home in sixth place overall amongst all the different classes and categories.  Overall winners of the rally and Italian Championship top scorers were the crew of Alberto Salvini and Davide Tagliaferri driving a Porsche 911 RS, who finished ahead of locals Andrea Volpi and Michele Maffoni.  Already winners in 2019 and 2020, it was the third consecutive win for the Sienese Scuderia Palladio Historic team.  For three quarters of the rally, Salvini, however, had battled the Sicilian Salvatore “Totò” Riolo, a great admirer of the island race, who was participating for the 20th time.  Back with his Subaru Legacy, the Sicilian had won the first two stages, only for a puncture to set him back by six minutes halfway through the second day, dropping him down to seventh place at the finish and third in the Italian Category 4 Championship.

Home run for Casanova

Frédéric Lombard Reports

For 21 years, the Tour de Corse Historique has become a must-do event in historic rallying, and many drivers, some of whom have a prestigious track record, eagerly return each year to its mythical special stages. This year a record 330 crews, 162 cars in competition and 168 in regularity, were enough to delight the public and the Corsican spectators, who came in large numbers to cheer by the side of the road, to admire and listen to the melodious song of the engines, and dream of the glorious years of rallying that continue to perpetuate this passion on this island and around the world.

2020 winner Alain Oreille crashed out on the final day.  Photos Courtesy Tour de Corse Historique

For several years now, the start has been from Porto-Vecchio, a city that also hosts technical and administrative checks, and the rally’s final podium. The star names of Dumas, Vaison, Mourgues, Foulon and Padrona were absent, but Philippe Gache, winner in 2011 and 2012, was back and Alain and Sylvie Oreille were putting their victory of last year on the line. There were also local heavy hitters on the start line, like Christophe Casanova, second last year, and Youness El Kadaoui, who knows these roads particularly well, having won the Rallye Régional de Porto-Vecchio four times. The fight for victory was therefore very open in the VHC category with a lot of talent in the line-up. On the programme for this 21st edition was a 1004km route with 18 specials, totalling 382kms of speed sections over five days - more than enough to make for a meaningful competition.

 

Marc Vallicionni led the rally twice before also crashing out.

The twists and turns of the roads were matched by the twists and turns in the fortunes of the drivers, as first one, then another leader crashed out. On the last day it finally came down to a re-match between Christophe Casanova and Alan Oreille. But the long-awaited duel was not to take place. At the end of the day's first special stage, Oreille left the road and the door was wide open for the driver from Corte to take his revenge. Christophe Casanova, with co-driver Stéphane Delleaux, finished 2’9” ahead of Period E winners, Anthony Agostini and Jérôme Royer in their Ford Escort 1800. Completing the podium, 2018 winner Pierre Manuel Jenot, with ‘Slo” on the notes, finished 4’45 ’’ behind the winners. In the Classic category, Jean-Michel and Anne-Laure Rouquille drove their Porsche 914/6 to the category victory ahead of Dominique Frossard (R5 GT Turbo) and Robin Leyssens (Porsche 911).

Alain Faymonville took low average regularity honours in one of the oldest cars in the event.

In the regularity categories, with three-time winner Christophe Baillet absent, the succession was open. Equipped with the Tripy system that constantly tracks the average speed of each team at every moment, Jean-Claude Kauffman won the high average speed category in his Porsche 911. Jean-Louis and Marie-Christine Albertini imposed their Peugeot 205 GTi in the medium category with a gap of only three points to Dominique Larroque (Ford RS 200), who won the intermediate category ahead of Stéphane Blaise (Golf GTI). Alain Faymonville won the low average category in his lovely DB2 Aston Martin. The fight was hot on the winding Corsican roads and, in the end, the leading trio was separated by just 10 points and the first ten overall by only 26 points.

For a full report, see our November 2021 issue