Historic Tour - Nogaro - Val de Vienne
The whole of the French historic racing season has been condensed into three exciting months with round four taking place at Nogaro on 11-12 September and the fifth and final round running at Val de Vienne only two weeks later. With the French championship titles at stake - one for drivers racing in single-seaters or prototypes, the other for competitors in GT or Touring cars - there are 14 distinct series in which to score points, a number of which are on shared grids, giving 9 grids with races run twice over the weekend to make an 18-race programme over three days.
A season-long F3 Classic battle has been raging between Frédéric Rouvier (March 783), seen here leading and father and son Valerio (March 783) and Davide Leone in the blue Alba. Photos Guy Pawlak
Single seat championship leader, Christian Vaglio-Giors, had bad luck (or was it planned?) in his bid for the title when ex-champion wunderkind Lionel Robert decided he’d like to come back to Formula Renault for a couple of races. Taking pole and winning both races ahead of the Swiss by a margin numbering in the tens of seconds in a demonstration of effortless driving, the interloper put paid to Vaglio-Giors’ ambition.
On the same grid, but in a different race, a season-long F3 Classic battle has been raging between Frédéric Rouvier (March 783) and father and son Valerio (March 783) and Davide (Alba AR1) Leone. The battle continued at Nogaro, but with the Leones not present at Val de Vienne Rouvier was able to score his third title of Champion of France.
Back in his own Porsche at Val de Vienne, a relaxed Laurent Sabatier completed the 14 laps and ran home joint winner of the French Championship GT title.
In the GT stakes, Franck Quagliozzi was invincible, and surprised no one by taking four wins out of four races at Nogaro and Val de Vienne, though the last one was a little bit tricky when the Honda Civic pilot was given a drive-through for jumping the start in the wet race. Having already distanced the Citroën AX Coupe of Samuel Vivas on the first three laps, the Mâconnais had the luxury of taking his penalty without even losing his first place! He flew to a new title by over 42 seconds to complete and a perfect score of ten out of ten.
Matthieu Châteaux was a double winner at Nogaro in his Debora SP91 BMW in SportProtosCup. He won the rst race at Val de Vienne too, but sadly retired from the last race
The only other contender for the GT title was betrayed by the double turbo of his Porsche 993 GT2 in free practice at Nogaro, but fortunately Laurent Sabatier found an emergency solution. In a true act of sportsmanship, his comrade from GBF Racing, Sébastien Mathieu, gave him the wheel of his own BMW M3 GTR to run in the GT Classic races. Back in his own Porsche at Val de Vienne, Sabatier took both races to run home joint winner of the French Championship GT title.
Formula Ford Historic
One of the most successful of the French series, the front battle for Formula Ford honours has been between two Swiss drivers. The first race at Nogaro got off to a bad start when Didier Mantz took a severe off-track excursion at the first corner and crashed into the concrete wall. The unfortunate ‘Didou’ was freed from the carcass of his Jomo and evacuated to Mont-de-Marsan hospital, then to Bayonne, where he was operated on for a fractured vertebra the next day. We wish him a speedy recovery.
In four poorly supported 45-minute ASAVÉ races with both groups ASAVÉ 65 and 75 running together on the same grid, the absence of a few regulars at Nogaro was partly offset by the arrival of the WG British Racing Ford Escort, now equipped with a formidable 300hp Ford BDG engine, in in the hands of Franck Julien, and the return of Gérard Besson’s Alpine A310 V6, seen on the Tour Auto a few days earlier. Though not competing for the same trophy José Beltramelli was able to bring his TVR Griffith home in first place overall and dominate the 65 category ahead of Julien’s Escort in the first race.
Absent from Nogaro, Jean-François Besson (Alpine A110) was back at Val de Vienne, and took the lead away from Sébastien Calas’ Cooper S
At Val de Vienne, the grids were not much better and with prototypes also allowed to race, François Derossi brought his magnificent Elva MK7S and German Roland Fischer unexpectedly brought out his AMS 2000, a car of Italian origin seen in its time at the Targa Florio, then at the 1000kms of Buenos Aires in the hands of Carlos Pace.
The Maxi 1300 drivers had a busy Saturday at Nogaro, with two races on the timetable. Philippe Gandini took pole with his Jem GT, but was penalised with a drive-through for jumping the start. This left Laurent Majou at ease up front. Halfway through the race, the Mini Cooper driver had a lead of over six seconds to Belgian
In the afternoon race, Gandini was immediately relieved of Laurent Majou, who lost oil pressure. After letting Falière lead for the first two laps, the Jem GT driver took command and drove to victory, with Falière and Jean-Pierre Destombes (Simca CG) completing the podium. Philippe Quirière won class 3 in his Mini Cooper in both races.
Absent at Nogaro, Jean-François Besson (Alpine A110) was back at Val de Vienne, and took the lead away from Sébastien Calas’ Cooper S on lap three of the first race after a bad start from pole.
The second race was run in the rain, which seemed to suit Calas, who took an immediate lead, followed by Jean-François Besson and Adrien Harang, both soon forced to perform drive-throughs for jumping the start. Halfway through the race, Calas had the situation in hand 11 seconds ahead of Laurent Poirier’s CG and 15secs over Besson, who had already returned to the fray.
Geoffroy Horion and Gislain Genecand (Trophée Formule Ford Kent), Augustin Sanjuan (Trophée Formule Ford Zetec), Matthieu Châteaux (Debora SP91 BMW) (SportProtosCup) and Anthony Delhaye (Trophée Lotus) were also double winners in their series over the two race weekends.
One of the biggest grids is the Roadster Pro Cup for Mazda MX-5s that regularly fields 25-30 cars and runs concurrently with the Youngtimers. Florian Cabarrou and Ludovic Bellinato shared the spoils in this, swapping first and second places in four races.
The newest cars of the Historic Tour compete on the Saloon Cars grid for Touring and GT cars up to 1999. Julien Grenet took his Dodge Viper to four consecutive wins in various conditions at Nogaro and Val de Vienne, leaving Alain Derognat (BMW 323i) and Patrick Delannoy (Porsche 996) to slug it out for second.
For a full report of both meetings, see our November 2020 issue