Martin Stretton and Steve Hartley took a win apiece in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, Hartley’s Sunday success enough to give him the title. Stretton, in Andrew Haddon’s Williams FW07, overcame understeer in qualifying to secure a second win of the season having battled early in the race with Simon Fish (Ensign N180) and Steve Hartley’s Arrows A4 which was flying after an overnight engine change.
Fish succumbed to mechanical problems allowing Stretton to win by three-tenths of a second from Hartley with Christophe D’Ansembourg third in his Williams FW07. The best of the Pre-78 cars was the Brabham BT42 of Manfredo Rossi di Montelera, clear of Gregor Fisken (McLaren M23) and Alex Furiani (Surtees TS20).
Stretton skipped Sunday’s race, which was led initially by Hartley’s Arrows. The race began behind the safety car due to wet weather, but when the cars were released, Hartley built an advantage over Christophe D’Ansembourg with Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012) third. Simmonds, though, spun down to 11th on the wet track allowing Manfredo Rossi di Montelera up to third. That allowed D’Ansembourg to hold second from Rossi and they enjoyed a great tussle, the two trading places. D’Ansembourg, however, caught Hartley and began a challenge for the lead but it ended with a spin and contact with the barriers. That allowed Pre-78 winner Rossi di Montelera up to second ahead of Simon Fish’s Ensign with D’Ansembourg recovering for fifth.
“That was tough: typical Spa weather,” said Hartley post-race. “We didn’t do badly considering that engine was the last one on the shelf!”
There are still two more races to run in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship, at Jerez, Spain, on October 10-12.