Masters Historic F1 US Grand Prix Support Race

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Canadian Cal Meeker converted pole position into two victories in the Masters Historic Racing series at the Circuit of the Americas on 20-22 October, in support of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.  In the first race, which featured a 31-strong grid made of up Masters 1966/1985 F1 cars and Masters Formula Atlantic cars, Meeker faced an early challenge from Charles Nearburg, who dived into the lead in his Williams FW07C on lap 2.  But Nearburg’s advantage lasted only half a lap as Meeker’s Tyrrell 009 re-emerged ahead after the stadium section.  After several cars stopped trackside, necessitating a neutralisation, the race finished behind the safety car, with Meeker crossing the flag ahead of Nearburg, and Lotus 91 driver Steve Brooks.

But eyes had been on Mike Cantillon as he carved his way through the pack in the wake of an error in qualifying.  Starting from 21st on the grid the Brit was quickly up into the top 10 and eventually climbed his way to fourth spot in the Williams FW08.  Todd Willing (March 78b), in 12th place overall, took Formula Atlantic honours, just ahead of Bill Cord (Chevron B39) and Geir Ramleth (Ralt RT4).

Early on Sunday Meeker led the second race away as the early-morning mist rolled through the Texas landscape.  Cantillon was soon into second place after starting from fourth, his Williams FW08 glued to Meeker’s Tyrrell.  At half distance the Williams lunged for the lead into Turn 12, but Meeker was not having it and emerged ahead.  

The pair began the final lap separated by just a tenth of a second, with lapped traffic to contend with.  Cantillon used this to his advantage to prise the lead into the Turn 11 hairpin, but Meeker swiftly counteracted and the duo ran side-by-side along the back straight.  The Canadian grabbed the inside line and with it re-took the lead and preserved his advantage for the remainder of the lap to make it back-to-back victories, ahead of Cantillon and Nearburg, with Brooks fourth this time.  Bill Cord was F Atlantic winner, ahead of Saturday’s winner, Willing.

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