Brands Hatch Masters Festival

Brands Hatch Masters Festival 2015

Starting on pole for the opener, Thornton powered away chased by Andy Wolfe (Tyrrell 011), while early contact eliminated Simon Fish (Ensign N180) and Loic Deman (Tyrrell 010) at Druids. In their stead, Steve Hartley (Arrows A4) moved up into second place and chased after Thornton and moved himself by, as did Wolfe, leaving pole-sitter Thornton with work to do.

Thornton put his head down and charged back into contention on lap four, retaking both Wolfe and Hartley to grab back the lead, his Lotus 91/5 winning by over six seconds from Hartley, while Silvio Kalb (Arrows A4) moved ahead of Joaquin Folch (Brabham BT49C) to secure third spot. Pre-78 honours went to Jason Wrights Shadow BN8.

Race two was a thriller: with the threat of rain looming, Hartley edged into the lead from Thornton with Deman carving his way up from the back of the grid. Kalb was also on a mission and he worked past Thornton, leaving the race one winner with work to do.

When Thornton arrived on the tail of the leader, Hartley, he spun, allowing Deman into the lead. Undaunted, Thornton hurtled after him and grabbed the win on the last lap ahead of Deman and Hartley with Nicolas Colyvas Shadow winning the Pre-78 race.

Honours in the opening FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship race fell to Leo Voyazides (Lola T70 Mk3B) but only after on-the-road victor Rob Huff was excluded for a technical infringement after he had dominated the race in Richard Meins Lola T70. Robert Oldershaw (Lola T210) took second ahead of Paul Gibson (Lola T70). Simon Hadfield took over the Voyazides Lola for race two and was chased by Nick Padmore (Chevron B19), the more powerful Lola prevailing for the win. A great fight for third raged between Paul Gibsons Lola and Roger Wills (McLaren M1C), with the Lola coming out on top. Pre-66 honours went to Australian Laure Bennett (McLaren M1B) in both races.

Second was Roger Wills (Mercury Comet Cyclone) after Leo Voyazides spun his Ford Falcon into retirement. Another spinner was Henry Mann who rotated his Mustang while running a strong fifth. Whitaker blasted clear in race two with Wills glued to his tail, with Mann joining the mix after a great first lap. Mann eventually caught and passed Whitaker, but he was adjudged to have jumped the start and was given a drive-through penalty. This he ignored and hence was disqualified. Two wins in the under 2-litre section went to Mini maestro Nick Swift.

Whitakers success continued with victory in the Pre-66 Gentlemen Drivers GT championship with a comfortable win in the opener from Leo Voyazides (Daytona Cobra) and Roger Wills (Bizzarini 5300GT), and his win in the second race was helped by the Voyazides/Hadfield Cobra sticking in first gear and retiring. Rob Huff (in Richard Meins Jaguar E-type) chased hard in second place but the Jaguar dropped back after the pit stops allowing Wills to secure second ahead of Huff/Meins with Chris Beightons Sunbeam Tiger fourth.

The Masters 70 Celebration grid raced on the Indy circuit on Monday, with Dan Brown (Ford Escort) on pole and bolting away from the grid, but Chris Beighton (Sunbeam Tiger) was too quick away and copped a 10-second penalty for his pains. Worse was to come after the pit stop as a section of the roof came loose, forcing retirement, allowing Mark Wright (Ford Escort RS1800) up into second after a slow start, but a late-ace misfire hit him hard. Up to second came Craig Davies (Shelby Mustang GT350) up from row three, while Wright hung on to third ahead of Bruce White (Porsche 911).

Brands Hatch Masters Festival 2015 [race results]