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2018 Zandvoort Historic GP report
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2018 Historic GP (September 1, 2018)

Caroline Abbou/Onno Vlaanderen, Austin Healey 3000/Apal-Porsche, 2018 Zandvoort Historic GP

The entry at Zandvoort’s seventh Historic Grand Prix meeting was down compared to last year’s but the track in the Dutch dunes delivered on its racing, one race even more epic than the other, including photofinishes and last-lap deciders. It was the best way to bounce back from the tragedy that struck in 2017.

The undoubted highlight of the weekend was the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race in which Andy Wolfe looked set for another win in Mike Gardiner’s Ford Falcon Sprint he shares with Gardiner this season but Tom Coronel was in hot pursuit in the Alex Furiani-prepared Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA now owned by David Hart. On the final lap, Wolfe came up to a duo of backmarkers and was baulked when he tried to pass them on the inside of the Gerlach kink. Blessed by his local track knowledge, Coronel darted to the left to stick on the outside of Gerlach, giving him the inside line into the Hugenholtz corner that followed immediately. The Dutchman was well into the run towards Scheivlak when Wolfe was still trying to free himself from the slower cars. In an identical move, also on the final lap, Calum Lockie’s Ford Falcon trounced Mark Martin’s Lotus Cortina to grab third overall. Chris Middlehurst, meanwhile, took an amazing third overall on the road but a time penalty for stopping short at the pitstops dropped him down to seventh behind Ian Curley, who as a consequence also took the Mini class win.

Georg Hallau, Theodore N183, 2018 Zandvoort Historic GP

Georg Hallau's Theodore N183 is pushed back into its garage on Friday morning, shortly after a cloudburst had hit the track. It would be the only rain of the meeting. (photo 8W)

Wolfe made amends in the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race, first hounding Nicky Pastorelli’s Ferrari 250 GTO/64 for an hour and then passing it one lap before the Ferrari retired with a broken diff. Driving solo at Zandvoort, with Michael Gans in the States to honour his business commitments, it was just reward for a hard fighter who got beaten in the final lap at the Nürburgring to relive it all again at Zandvoort three weeks later. The Dutch Pre-66 Historic Touring Car & GT Championship split its entry across the two Masters races, the Michiel Campagne/Allard Kalff Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport winning the GT section while Norbert Gross equally dominated among the touring cars in his Ford Falcon.

The local heroes did take charge again in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race, David Hart and Nicky Pastorelli taking an emphatic win after a faultless run in the Lola T70 Mk3B that proved so troublesome on many other occasions. The Dutchmen easily got the legs on Nürburgring winners Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield. Jason Wright turned it into three T70 Mk3Bs on the podium, having fought all race with with the Gonçalo Gomes/James Claridge Lola T212 and Henry Fletcher’s Chevron B19. Fletcher was an early leader in the race but a spin and a pitstop timing error dropped him down to fifth at the end.

Gianluca Candiani, March 783, 2018 Zandvoort Historic GP

Gianluca Candiani misses his braking point in an attempt to slow down his March 783 for Tarzan corner. (photo 8W)

With just eight cars, the two FIA Masters Historic Formula One races were a disappointment to the crowd, especially since Nick Padmore was so much faster than his competition. With two wins, the Williams FW07C driver duly crowned himself the 2018 post-78 champion. There was more excitement in the pre-78 class in which Greg Thornton (March 761) was at least made to work for it by Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) in order to claim both wins and the pre-78 title.

In the lower single-seater classes, it was quite the other way around, Zandvoort being treated to huge grids for the FIA Lurani Trophy, Historic Formula 2 and 500cc F3 races. Bruno Weibel won twice among the Juniors but involved in seemingly endless slipstream fights to do so. Equally, the 500cc races saw poleman Brian Joliffe (Cooper Mk9) and his young adversary George Shackleton (Cooper Mk11) in the thick of it, Shackleton prevailing on both occasions. In Formula 2, the 27-car entry was in stark contrast with the low figures that the rivaling Euro F2 Classic series managed to attract for the Paul Ricard round, Peter Auto having moved its Dix Mille Tours event forward to early September to clash with Zandvoort’s traditional date. One wondered about the use of that… Matthew Watts was a dominant victor in both races, his March 772 each time striding away from the older 712s driven by Manfredo Rossi and Robert Simac, both displaying huge amounts of courage to dispell with the much newer cars around them.

Robert Simac, March 712, 2018 Zandvoort Historic GP

Robert Simac took two F2 podiums in his March 712. (photo 8W)

The inaugural FIA Historic Formula 3 European Cup – a single two-race event to decide who is 2018 best historic F3 driver – was another interesting calendar exercise, the FIA acting as its own historic promoter for the first time. The 33-car grid was a huge success for the federation that managed to get the support of many French and Italian owners while Germany’s Marcel Biehl and his Historic Racing Assocation also contributed heavily. Christian Olsen (Martini MK39) won both races but faced strong opposition from Thomas Warken in the Ralt RT3. Tom Bradshaw starred on Sunday to take his Argo JM6 all the way up to third from 13th on the grid. This became second when Warken was excluded from the results.

Germans ruled the roost in the weekend’s most modern series. Daniel Schrey was a double victor in his Porsche 935 K3 in both races for the Dutch 1966-1981 Historic GT and Touring Car Championship, while Jörg Hatscher and his famous team mate Klaus Ludwig drove their DTM Mercedes C-Class to a dominant Tourenwagen Classics win, the German series making its debut on the Dutch track.

More pictures of the 2018 Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort