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Previews of upcoming events, Race & Rally Reports, News, Reviews, Letters and Regulation Information from Historic Motor Racing News.

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 Contents September  issue:  Latest News - Bits & Pieces - Rally News - Classic Marathon - Rally Weiz - Lahti Historic Rally - Heroes of Historic Motor Sport - Insider’s Market Report - Zandvoort Classics - Seven Questions for Erik Comas -  Nogaro Classic - VSCC Prescott - NKHTGT - Classic Silverstone - Historic Tour Dijon - Alfa Revival Cup

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The Alfa Revival Cup drivers reconvened under sunlit skies for their tenth season on 29-30 May at the Autodromo Nazionale of Monza.  Many regulars were, of course, present, but there were also many newcomers, such as Gianmarco Rossi and Vittorio Mandelli in a 1958 Giulietta Ti; the very young Giulio Sordi, accompanied by the whole Sordi family, making his absolute racing debut in a Giulia Ti Super shared with Gilles Giovannini; the well-known Italian drivers Domiziano Giacon and Luca Rangoni in a GTV 2000; Swiss driver Daniele Perfetti, highly experienced in both modern and historic cars, driving a “giallo ocra” GTAM and, finally, the Senesi brothers Fabio and Federico Leonini in a beautiful and very well prepared Alfasud Ti 1.5. 

It was a GTAM 1, 2, 3

After a whole day of free practice and testing on Friday, it was clear that driver/preparer Franco Monguzzi would be the man to beat in his GTAM.   And qualifying on Saturday morning confirmed it.  However it was Davide Bertinelli who lined up on pole alongside the Benedini brothers, Gianpaolo and Emanuele, after Monguzzi was penalised three places for overtaking under yellow flags during qualifying.  The Giulia Sprint GTA 1600 Group 4 of Massimo Guerra and Giovanni Serio was the first car to qualify behind five GTAMs.   Bad luck for Bruno Mazzuoli and Amerigo Bigliazzi who crashed their Alfetta GTV Group 5 violently during qualifying due to a mechanical failure.

The qualifying setback didn’t affect Monguzzi, who was back in the lead halfway through the first lap of the 60-minute race, with Bertinelli following him all the way home, while the Benedinis encountered mechanical problems and retired after four laps.  A race-long battle for third place between Serio/Guerra, up from a sixth place start, and the GTAM of series regular Mathias Körber ended in the German’s favour. 

Gianmarco Rossi and Vittorio Mandelli collected maximum points by winning the Index of Performance in their Giulietta Ti

At the rear of the field were battles aplenty for the all-important Index of Performance points.  First prize went to the Giulietta Ti of Rossi/Mandelli, and second to the Giulia Sprint GTA of Crescenti/Mischis, seventh overall and first in class.  Young German driver  Niclas Ondrak took his Giulia Ti Super to third.  Six cars retired from the race, including the Perfetti GTAM.

Historic Formula One and Formula Junior competitor, John Delane, who you may have seen feature recently in our Heroes of Historic Motor Sport section, recently celebrated a milestone in his 34-year historic racing career, when he raced on his 100th different track.  Delane has competed in over 412 events in 21 countries.  With some 17 FIA titles on his CV, he was the first American to win the Historic Formula One Championship outright and the first driver to win two overall FIA historic championships, F1 and Formula Junior, in the same year.  In recent years he has concentrated on driving sportscars.

hn Delane celebrates yet another podium finish on his 100th track

May 14, 2021 marked Delane’s 100th track at Summit Point, WV, when he participated in the Jefferson 500 in the Cunningham Cup race in his 1972 Chevron B21.  He was cheered on by his wife of 55 years, Mimi, along with family and friends that travelled from various parts of the country to see him yet again on the podium, when he came third in the race.  During the weekend, Director of Motorsports Operations for Summit Point, Edwin Pardue recognised Delane with a Certificate of Achievement to commemorate the occasion. 

Rally the Globe has enlisted motor sport legend Ari Vatanen as its first Club President.  Now aged 69, the illustrious Finn was rally World Champion in 1981 and amongst other rallying successes won the Paris Dakar Rally no fewer than four times.  He was a part of the mythic Group B era and, more recently, served as a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009.  Though not Estonian, he is President of the Estonian Autosport Union.  He is also ‘Club Patron’ to Ireland’s Donegal Motor Club.  In 2009 he ran against Jean Todt for the Presidency of the FIA.

Ari Vatenen and Fred Gallagher took a podium place on the Sarfari Rally in 1998

The high-profile appointment also reunites Vatanen with his former co-driver Fred Gallagher, one of the founding forces behind Rally the Globe.  Together the pair won the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies with Citroën Sport in 1997 and also teamed up to score a famous podium finish on the Safari Rally when sharing an Escort WRC for the Ford factory team in 1998.

“I’m honoured and touched,” said Vatanen.  “These historic rally events have real appeal.  They are full of spirit, comradeship and enjoyment and that’s my kind of lifestyle.  I love going back in time and looking at all these cars from the past and I’m really looking forward to being part of this very special atmosphere when I attend future events.” 

The Beauty of Historic Italy

Gianmario Fontanella and Anna Maria Covelli won the 11th  Terre di Canossa, which took place on 20-23 May, in a 1927 Lancia Lambda Spider.  After two and a half days of tough tests alternating with picturesque stops at sites of historical interest, passing through historic towns and villages usually closed to traffic, interspersed with fine meals, the pair also took home the Pre War Cup.  Taking a route that consisted of 650kms, with 63 timed sections and six speed trials with secret controls, Michele Cibaldi and Andrea Costa in a 1948 Fiat 1100 Siluro took second, while third place went to  Alberto Aliverti and Stefano Valente in a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato.  Winners on the average speed stages were Winand Cremers and Nathalie Peeters in a 1955 Austin Healey 100/4 BN2.

 

Despite travel restrictions and the difficulties faced by participants just to get to the start line in Salsomaggiore Terme, competitors came from all over Europe and even from the US and were rewarded with a stunning drive along the Ligurian and Tuscan coasts, including the Cinque Terre and Forte dei Marmi.  Travelling through the hills of Tuscany for a finish in Quattro Castella in Reggio Emilia, the heart of the domains once governed by Matilda of Canossa, crews also took on some historic Italian passes and hillclimbs along the way.

The first major classic road rally of the year was the HERO Summer Trial which ran over three days, from 4 to 6 June, from a base in Telford.  Nearly 60 crews took part in pre-1986 cars and the winners were BMW crew Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane who have twice been runners-up.

Despite COVID restrictions, the event was judged a great success as competitors tackled a route that took in special tests and regularity sections in the Shropshire and Staffordshire countryside, with 18 regularities and 10 tests in a 400-mile route over three days.

A tremendous final day top ten battle included a three-way fight for fourth with just two seconds between the crews with one test to go.  Former HERO-ERA Cup champion Paul Bloxidge navigated by his 15-year-old grandson Oli Waldock, hauled themselves up from fifth to second place.  It was a remarkable performance by the young navigator in an event which the experts said was not easy.  As a bonus, Oli took the ‘Clock-watcher’s Award’ for the best navigator after his stupendous efforts.

Photo Will Broadhead

Winner McQueen (BMW 323i) had been knocking on the door of victory several times before.  Co-driver Cochrane said, “Being on time and not being pushed is important.  We like to stay on the clock and make it up if we have to, rather than have time in hand.  Our tests have been fantastic, it used to be a bit of weak point for us but we were fastest on test one and second fastest on test two, so it started well.”

Under brilliant southern sunshine the Iberian Endurance racers went to Spain and the Jarama circuit to support the meeting for the Super 7 Series and Super Cars, for the second round of their championships, on 5-6 June.

Porsche vs Merlyn, Rezende and Barbot take the fight to Jarama Photos Courtesy Race Ready


Joined by many local teams the Portuguese Iberian Endurance regulars had to concede two wins to Spaniards Jordi Puig and Fernando Navarrete driving their newly-acquired Ford GT40. With the GT40 circulating in the lead throughout the two 50-minute races, the 1000 socially-distanced spectators distributed in stands and viewing areas around the circuit turned their attention to the battle for second place between the Merlyn of Carlos Barbot and the Porsche RSRs of Pedro Bastos Rezende and locals Jesus Fuster/Alfredo Martinez. The battle ended in mechanical problems for the Spanish team, leaving Rezende and Barbot to continue their scrap from the race at the Algarve a couple of weeks earlier unabated. Rezende went on to finish 7 tenths of a second ahead of the Merlyn and also won the H-1976 category.

as socially distanced spectators look on

The second race took place later in the day, and everything picked up where it left off. This time a couple of safety car intervals mixed things up, but in the end did not alter the final results. What did alter the result though, was the time penalty incurred by Rezende for an out-of-window pit stop, which dropped him down to seventh place, handing second place overall to Barbot behind the GT40, and third to Carlos Brizido and Joäo Cardoso’s Porsche RSR, the pair having got the jump on the Porsche of Eduardo Davila to take fourth place in the closing stages of race 1.

The H-1971 category podium was a Porsche 911 ST lockout, with Frenchman Alexis Raoux winning the class in race 1 ahead of Madrileno Antonio Gutierrez, who reversed the order in race 2. The Index of Performance, and the Cuervo y Sobrinas watch, went to Pedro Moryion and José Carvalhosa, who drove a Porsche 356.

Carrera los ‘80s, Group 1 and Troféu Mini shared one big colourful grid

Also on the programme, the new Carrera los ‘80s grid ran alongside the other grids from Diogo Ferrão’s Race Ready organisation, for Group 1 cars and for Minis, to form one big grid that had two 40-minute races. Won by Ford Escorts, Fernando Gaspar’s in race 1 and Carlos Dias Pedro and Ricardo Pereira’s in race 2, Daniel Cuadrado and Diego Candano scored second in a BMW M3 E36 both times at the front of the 40-car field. Nuno and Jos Dias lifted the Mini Trophy in both races and the Production class went Tomás P. Abreu in his Datsun 1200.

The Mitty? Wait, is it a person or a thing or more? Peter Falkner explains

In 1977 the Atlanta Jaguar Society and its members wanted to “exercise” their cars at a track and did so for a couple of low key days at Road Atlanta. The next year the Ferrari club asked to join the fun. The organisers were Steve Simpson and Howard Turner. At some point Howard’s wife, clearly unimpressed, said, “You’re all just a bunch of Walter Mittys pretending to be something you’re not.” Readers may recall that Walter Mitty is a fictional character often defined as an ineffectual individual who indulges in fantastic daydreams, convincing himself they are real personal triumphs. The next year the event was called the Walter Mitty Challenge. The name stuck, the event caught on and by the mid-‘80s it was one of the main attractions of the US historic racing season. In 1991 the organisers decided to branch out and put on more races at other tracks. That was the birth of the Historic Motor Racing (HSR) organisation. 2021 sees the 43rd running of The Mitty, making it one of the longest continuously running vintage events in the United States. For all those years, Road Atlanta, now Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, has been the home of The Mitty. Road Atlanta is a 2.54 mile, 12-turn track recognised as one of the finest road courses in the world. The numerous elevation changes and park-like setting make it a dream for drivers and spectators alike. For 2021, the featured marque was Chevrolet Corvette. 2021 also marks the 65th anniversary of the Corvette’s first professional race, the 1956 12 Hours of Sebring. Just a few years later, in 1960, Briggs Cunningham took the Corvette to Le Mans. Since 1999, Corvette Racing has won 113 races including eight 24hrs of Le Mans and 82 in the American Le Mans Series.

The paddock glowed with six of the lemon yellow Corvette Racing beasts spanning the years 2004 to 2016. Marshall Pierce/Eric Foss delighted fans with the unforgettable booming exhaust note of the 2016 Corvette Racing C7R as it put in impressive lap times, even in the rain. Altogether, over 60 years of Corvette coupes, roadsters and Daytona prototypes took to the track for the various HSR races. Please see our June 2021 issue for a full report........

Lights Go Green for German FHR Season

FHR held their first event of the season on 7-8 May at Hockenheim, bringing grids that included the Can-Am & Sportscars and the recently-announced Group C Classics, as well as the Gentle Drivers Trophy, GT Classics and Tourenwagen Classics. For this first outing, the Group C cars ran with the Can-Ams and sportscars with only two takers. Michael Lyons (Gebhardt C88) and Felix Haas (PRC 97), who twice stood on the Group C podium in that order. Georg Hallau went home with the most silverware, winning the sportscar category in the first of two races in his Lola T310, and taking both Gentle Drivers races in his Lotus 23. Runner-up in race one, Harry Schmidt turned the tables on Hallau in the second sportscar race in his McLaren M8C.

Georg Hallau - Lola T310 and Peter and Stefan Mücke in their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri.  Photos Peter Heil

Previously, the two-minute mark for Group A cars on the 4.574km track was more or less the limit, but this was pulverised, as low and medium 1:50 times were almost the rule on the monitors during qualifying for the Tourenwagen Classics. Sub 2-minute times up to and including 19th place were noted. With a long safety car period at the start of the 40-minute race that lasted all the way to the pit stop window, overall victory went to the father-and-son team of Peter and Stefan Mücke with their Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri. The leading pair had a bad stop, but Michael was able to recover from seventh place to beat Yannik Trautwein’s BMW E36 and Hans-Ulrich Kainzinger’s Porsche 993 GT2 to the line. Marc Seesing (BMW M3) and Michael Hahn BMW 325i, won the 88 and 86 Group A classes respectively.

Fully Booked

Packed grids characterised the Preis der Stadt Stuttgart meeting at Hockenheim on 16-18 April, where Youngtimers, HTGT for Touring and GT cars of the early ‘70s, and the HEC endurance series for cars up to ‘76 met up for the first time this season.

Brothers Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race. The professional stage manufacturers entered the historic racing stage without the backdrop of spectators due to Covid. Their Ford Escort BDA proved largely superior to the RS1600 of Heinz Schmersal and Mike Stursberg by a clear 49 seconds at the end of the one-hour race. Schmersal recognised defeat, “There is no match for this BDA, we had to be content with a class win.” Michael Wittge and Markus Diederich kept the Porsche 911 ST of the Sanchez brothers in check to take third place.

“There is no match for the BDA” Harald and Dennis Busch celebrated their FHR debut with pole position and overall victory from the 41 starters of the HTGT race.  Photos Peter Heil

 

The rapid Alexander and Vincent Kolb father-son combination secured overall victory in the final two-hour race for the FHR Dunlop Historic Endurance Cup in their beefy Ford Cobra 289. The road to victory was only cleared when the exhaust manifold of the leading Ford GT40 eliminated the Sanchez opposition halfway through the race. The Munich-based Alfa GTAm duo of Peter Praller/Clement Fromm skilfully kept the Porsche 914/6 GT of Wittke/Diederich within two seconds, which turned out to be seven after a time penalty was added for a pit stop infringement. There was bad luck for the reigning German champions (DHAM) Jochen Wilms and Christian Dannesberger, who were let down by their GTAm Alfa in both races.

The road to victory for the Kolb Cobra was only cleared when the leading Ford GT40 retired

 

Vice-Champion Kersten Jodexnis fared no better. His Porsche 911 S/R lost almost 14 laps due to a lengthy shift linkage repair, after which his teammate, Robin Chrzanowski, showed what could have been by taking fastest lap of the race on day that remained dry despite a thick cloud brew. Encouraged by the great popularity and the smooth running of the event under Corona conditions, the FHR is planning another event at the Motodrom to replace the cancelled Nürburgring Classic.

With travel restrictions lifted within Continental Europe, and hopefully for the UK as well, this major international event is scheduled to go ahead on 16-18 July with a slightly pared down programme of races from previous years.   

Most of the racing content will be supplied by the Masters, who will bring their Historic F1 and Sportscars, as well as the Gentlemen Drivers endurance series, their Endurance Legends for cars of the 2000s and the pre-’66 touring cars.  The HSCC’s International F2 series is scheduled for two 25-minute races, but as we go to press, the Club is still waiting for confirmation that travel restrictions will be lifted between the Netherlands and the UK.  The Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, who have many continental members, remain on the timetable and the home series on the schedule are the NK GTTC, and NK82-90 for Youngtimers.  The rest of the track time will be taken up with demos and track runs, mostly for local organisations.  Amongst grids missing from previous years will be NKHTGT and Formula Junior.

The only FIA Championship race on the programme will be the FIA Historic F3 European Trophy.  This has attracted a good continental entry, but in a changing situation, organisers have extended the entry deadline to 30 June in the hopes of attracting more British drivers.  Entries can be made online on the difficult-to-navigate FIA website or call +41 22 544 44 49 and ask for the link.