Three Masters Champions Crowned at Dijon

The FIA Masters Historic Championships came to a thrilling close at Dijon-Prenois, with Andy Wolfe, Nick Padmore and Andy Newall taking championship success.
Loic Deman (Tyrrell 010) dominated the opening FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship race, the Belgian leading from start to finish. As Deman continued to illustrate his pace in his maiden season with Masters, historic racing stalwart Rob Hall (Ligier JS11/17) headed the chase and remained in a strong second, but couldn't dent Deman’s 5.5 second lead. Championship leader Andy Wolfe (Tyrrell 010) enjoyed a race-long battle with Darwin Smith (Ensign MN177), whose graduation from Historic Formula 2 was an impressive one. The former Formula Ford racer managed to keep Wolfe at bay, denying him third position overall, with Wolfe securing fourth to try to keep his championship hopes alive.

In the Pre-78 class, Masters newcomer Smith guided James Hagan’s Ensign MN177 to the top step of the podium, followed by Pre-78 championship contender Nick Padmore (Lotus 77) and Phil Hall (Theodore TR1) in third. However, Smith copped a post-race time penalty for a jump start which handed Padmore the win. Jason Wright, finished down in 10th place setting up a thrilling finale for Sunday’s race as he lost points to championship nemesis Padmore but worse was to come as mechanical dramas forced Wright's absence from the second stanza. That handed the Pre-1978 Championship chances to Padmore, assuming he took a class win.

Deman converted pole into a second win of the weekend on Sunday afternoon but his championship hopes rested in part on the result for main rival Wolfe.  Deman did all that could have been asked of him as he sprinted clear to win, chased again by Hall with Wolfe bagging third and with it the combined class win that would make him the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Champion for the Lauda and Head Classes.
With Jason Wright failing to start, the Pre-78 Championship went to Nick Padmore. He drove a storming race in the JPS-liveried Lotus to take fourth overall and with it the combined class win he needed to take the title. Darwin Smith bagged second place on the podium ahead of Phil Hall. 

Simon Hadfield headed the opening FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship from pole position in Leo Voyazides’ Lola T70 MK3B on a wet and oily road. Behind him, Andy Wolfe (Lola T290) and Jason Wright (Lola T70Mk3B) chased hard throughout, maintaining track position to take second and third respectively, but fourth-placed Manfredo Rossi di Montelera (Abarth Osella PA1), retired with a rear puncture. 

Championship leader, Andy Newall, could only manage a 14th position having had to race on dry tyres due to concerns about the ride height of his JCB Chevron B8 with a wet weather set up.

Voyazides led race two, but Daniel Gibson's continuation Lola T70 MK3B pushed him hard. The two ran together until Gibson forced a way past on the final lap. Behind the earth-shaking Lolas, Andy Newall guided the JCB-owned Chevron B8 to 11th overall and claimed the 2015 FIA Masters Historic Sports Car title. Pre-66 race honours fell to Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger in Ahlers' Cooper Monaco.
Despite an engine change after qualifying, Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield (Shelby Daytona Cobra) secured Gentlemen Drivers Pre-66 GT honours, even after losing places early on as Michael Gans (AC Cobra) battled with Diogo Ferrao's Bizzarini, with Andy Newall (Jaguar E-type) running fourth behind Voyazides.

When the Newall/Rhea Sutter E-type went off the road, the safety car was deployed which bunched up the field and allowed Hadfield to grab the lead and pull away with Jamie Boot (TVR Griffith) securing second place ahead of Mark Martin/Jonathon Hughes (Lotus Elan) third. Under 2-litre class honours fell to Keith Ahlers/Billy Bellinger (Morgan Plus 4 SLR) ahead of Urs Muller/Arlette Muller (Lotus Elan)and the similar car of Jean-Pierre Druguet third.The under 2 litre class saw another win for the Morgan Plus 4 SLR of Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger with 2nd and 3rd spot going to Urs and Arlette Muller in the Lotus Elan 26R and Jean-Pierre Druguet in the Lotus Elan S1 respectively.

Jose Beltramelli and Oliver Ford jousted for Pre-66 Touring Car honours as their Lotus Cortinas battled throughout the early part of the race, with Jonathan Lewis (Mini Cooper) third. Adrian Barwick's Mini lost a wheel and had to be recovered during the race and Beltramelli's Cortina expired handing the lead to Ford. However, Ford received a stop/go penalty allowing Enrico Spaggiari (Ford Mustang) and David Huxley (Ford Falcon) to break into into the top three. Spaggiari took the win ahead of under 2-litre victor Jonathan Lewis and Huxley.

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