Results > 1st - 3rd September - Zandvoort
Chevrons on top at Zandvoort
HISTORIC F3 ZANDVOORT Historic Grand Prix
1st - 3rd September 2017
Chevrons on top at Zandvoort
Chevron drivers François Derossi and Steve Smith won a race apiece as Historic 1000cc Formula 3 returned to wow spectators at the sixth Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix event on September 1-3. Despite Derossi crashing out on the final lap of Sunday’s deciding race France lifted the annual Nations Cup element of the competition through his efforts and those of Gallo and Geoffroy Rivet.
In their contemporary 1964-’70 era F3 screamer competitors enjoyed one feature race per season on the seaside resort’s original circuit in the dunes, which had hosted the Dutch Grand Prix as a World Championship round since ’52. Jackie Stewart won the first Zandvoort Trophy in Ken Tyrrell’s Cooper-BMC T72, beating Piers Courage (Radio Caroline Brabham BT9) and local hero Rob Slotemaker, founder of the eponymous skid school long based at the track, in another T72.
Subsequent winners included Brabham drivers Kurt Ahrens Jr (BT16) and Chris Irwin (Chequered Flag BT18), future French Le Mans hero Henri Pescarolo (Matra MS6), John Miles (Lotus 41X), Francois Mazet (Tecno 69) and Jurg Dubler (Chevron B17) in 1970, when James Hunt started from pole in his Molyslip Lotus 59.
A tremendous 30-car field encompassing drivers from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland – aboard cars spanning nine marques in stark contrast to today’s FIA F3 series – arrived in the lead-up to Friday’s qualifying session, run in a heavy rainstorm which made it a lottery and rendered lap times meaningless.
Geoffroy Rivet seized pole position in the ex-Willi Deutsch Eifelland Caravans March 703, the Frenchman’s 2m09.833s (74.20mph) best more than three seconds quicker than UK championship leader Jon Milicevic (Brabham BT21B) making his first Zandvoort appearance since 1986, when he raced a Caterham on a previous version of the track.
Francois Derossi and Jim Blockley formed an all Chevron B17 second row, with Thierry Gallo close behind in the Tecno Jean-Pierre Jaussaud raced here in 1970. Five Brabhams were next up, the BT28s of Clas Muller, Mike Scott, Leif Bosson and Mark Pangborn heading the promising Gregan Thruston’s BT21B.
Returnee Marcus Mussa sat 11th in his ex-Lionel Noghes Tecno, a veteran of the ’69 Zandvoort race, with 81-year-old Jim Timms (BT21), long-time MGA racer Steve Smith (Jolly Club/Oliver Speight Racing Chevron B15), Paul Waine (De Sanctis 302) and Maurice Slotine (Merlyn Mk14) closely-matched in his wake.
Andrew Tart (ex-John Fenning Merlyn Mk9), Bert Smeets (ex-Peter Hanson Chevron B17), Barry Sewell (ex-Derek Bell Lotus 41) and welcome Dutch class debutant Floris-Jan Hekker – the Historic Formula Junior Cooper Rayberg racer saddling the red Tecno previously raced by Peter Hamilton – also lapped inside 2m30s.
It was mainly Brabham country from there, with Mark Linstone – whose silver BT21 resembled a submarine in standing water, captured brilliantly through snapper Jeff Bloxham’s lens – Robert Retzlaff (BT15), veteran Swede Ferdinand Gustafson (BT18A), Angelo Delea (BT16) ahead of Keith Messer in the one-off Vesey VF3.
Sadly, Christoph Widmer’s ex-Wal Donnelly BT18A was sidelined by a broken driveshaft, but Australian Peter Barclay made the show with his Radio London BT15, raced in period by Keith St John and his Dutch wife Liane Engeman. Philippe Bonny (Tecno) was taken ill thus did not reappear, thus the field was completed by Mike Pascall (BT21), Gerald Ludwig (ex-Rivet BT28) and Hans Ciers in his front-engined U2.
Disappointingly, Simon Haughton withdrew his ex-René Ligonnet Chevron B15 – a starter at Zandvoort in both ’69 and ’70 – before travelling.
Saturday dawned fine, but there was drama on the green flag lap when first Bosson spun out, damaging his BT28’s nose, then poleman Rivet gyrated out in the dunes. The March was undamaged but Geoffroy returned to find the grid already re-formed. Rather than start from the back he calmly drove down the middle and retook P1, for which officials unsurprisingly awarded him a drive-through penalty. Mussa’s Tecno was stranded on the grid with clutch problems, but everybody avoided it.
Milicevic made the best start, with Rivet and Derossi squabbling over second ahead of Blockley, Gallo, Scott, Muller, Pangborn, Smith and Thruston chased by Waine, Slotine, Linstone and Timms. Sewell had a big spin at the Gerlachbocht behind the pits second time round, but piston failure spelled the end of Milicevic’s race on lap three.
Derossi and Rivet’s duel was thus for the lead now, but having gone ahead into Tarzan on lap five Geoffroy had repeatedly not seen the Drive Through board with his number against it. He was eventually black-flagged and pitted after eight laps, putting Derossi back into the lead as the tussle between pursuers Gallo and Smith intensified.
Francois won comfortably, while Smith grabbed second from Thierry on the penultimate lap for a Chevron one-two. Blockley guided another of the ‘Bolton wanderers’ home fourth, ahead of Pangborn in the first Brabham and Waine, whose de Sanctis – looking like a scaled-down F1 Ferrari on its gold wheels – was well down on power.
Muller, Ludwig (who jostled through well from the back), Thruston and Tart completed the top 10, ahead of Tart and Slotine, then Smeets and Delea who were split by 0.005s at the chequered flag. Among the retirements, Scott’s BT28 lost its header tank cap but would be good to go again on Sunday. Derossi set fastest lap at 1m55.081s (83.71mph).
Sunday afternoon’s sequel – the grid for which was determined by each competitor’s best lap in race one – received an extra injection of intrigue when Waine sportingly-offered Milicevic the chance to start his De Sanctis from the rear. Bosson was back in action, now with a spare red nose on his orange ex-Sten Gunnarsson Gullringshus BT28, while Rivet started from the pits with Mussa. Unfortunately Barclay and Muller did not make it back out, leaving the field at 26.
Derossi got the jump on Smith and Gallo and was almost four seconds clear starting lap three when Steve, confidence growing, really began to get his clog down. Blockley, Scott and Pangborn led the chase, with Linstone, Tart, Thruston and Ludwig jostling behind. Milicevic was already 11th at the end of the opening lap, having avoided Slotine’s lairy spin out of Tarzan, and continued to make strong progress for a while.
Gradually Smith reeled Derossi in, closing to within striking distance [no artificial DRS zones necessary!] by lap eight when the Brit, pulling almost 130mph in the leader’s slipstream, set fastest lap at 1m53.28s (85.05mph). Gallo’s race was lonelier, clear of the Blockley/Pangborn dice, with Scott, Milicevic, Ludwig and Bosson next up.
Rivet retired the Eifelland March mid-race, and there was further change when Bosson abandoned, then Blockley pulled off with engine problems, shortly after having been repassed for fourth by Pangborn into Tarzan. The dogfight up front tightened in the closing stages but was decided dramatically on the final lap when leader Derossi came over the brow towards the Hans Ernst chicane to find Gustafson and Slotine duelling.
Francois, committed to diving down the inside, tangled with the Swede and ended up in the gravel with the left front corner of his Chevron twisted. Smith, with the luxury of a second in which to decide what to do, calmly picked his way through the melée for a surprise win – with the welcome bonus of a limited edition commemorative watch from event sponsor Tudor who presented one to all ‘final’ winners!
“I could run close to Francois but if he hadn’t got caught up in the incident I doubt whether I could have got him,” said the winner, whose previous Historic 1000cc F3 came at Donington at the end of last season. “I love this circuit and would certainly come here again given the opportunity. It’s been a great weekend.”
Gallo and Pangborn joined Steve on the podium, with Scott, Milicevic and Ludwig next home ahead of Tart with Smeets on his gearbox and veterans Messer and Sewell just behind. Derossi was classified 12th, poor reward for his weekend’s efforts, although the French team’s Nations Cup victory softened the blow.
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