Lolas to the Fore as Bryant Takes Masters Sports Cars

Oliver Bryant’s Lola T70 Mk3B beat the similar car of Daniel Gibson/James Littlejohn to take FIA Masters Historic Sports Car glory at Spa at the weekend.
Bryant came to the fore after early leader Martin O’Connell crashed his Chevron B19 at the top of the Raidillon, 17 minutes into the race. Until the pit window opened, eight minutes later and still under the safety car, Scott Mansell led the field in the Lola T210 in which he harried O’Connell in the early stages, but the Lola faded later on with Nick Pink at the wheel. Both Lola T70 Mk3Bs of Nicky Pastorelli and Oliver Bryant were up next but they mistakenly pitted three minutes before the pit window opened. Bryant quickly corrected the mistake on the next lap whereas David Hart – having taken over from Pastrelli – did not. While Hart crossed the finish line first, he was given a post-race time penalty. Behind the Dutchman, Bryant kept James Littlejohn at bay to take the win.
After the first safety car, Manfredo Rossi quickly moved his Osella-Abarth PA1 up into third. He headed home Paul Gibson’s Lola T70 Mk3B, the Max Smith-Hilliard/Nick Padmore Chevron B19, Mike Donovan and Jason Wright in two more T70 Mk3Bs, with the Nick Pink/Scott Mansell Lola T210 in eighth.
A second lengthy safety car period followed when Steve Farthing’s Cooper Monaco went off at Pouhon on lap 14. When the green flag was waved on lap 19, just two more flying laps remained.
The Hulme class was won by Laurie Bennett’s McLaren M1B after the first safety car period eroded the 10-second lead created by Billy Bellinger in the Cooper Monaco ‘King Cobra’ he shared with Keith Ahlers. Rui Macedo Silva’s Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder then nicked second place in class, only to slow down on the final lap, handing Keith Ahlers the place back.
In the Bonnier class, Dion Kremer led throughout in his Elva Mk8, while on the final lap Nigel Greensall’s Chevron B8 moved past Alec Hammond’s similar Chevron to claim second place in class for himself and Graham Wilson.
Mark Bates was the convincing winner of the Pescarolo class. The Porsche 911 RS driver passed early class leader – the James Hanson/Paul Pochciol De Tomaso Pantera – on lap three and never looked back. The Klaus Horn/Pablo Briones Porsche 911 RSR was a distant third.
Jamie Boot took an easy Siffert class win, his Chevron B16 comfortably outpacing the other B16 driven by Philipp Schmitz-Morkhamer.
The Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield and Jon Minshaw/Rob Hall T70 Mk3Bs and Michael Gans’ Lola T290 were the most important casualties among the front-runners.
With one round to go at Jamara on October 14th to the 16th, Ahlers/Bellinger head the title race by just one point from Graham Wilson/Nigel Greensall.  

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