Race Report: Hockenheim, 11 November 1973
The “Rheintal Rundstreckenrennen” was held over 20 laps of the 2.63 Km circuit, the runners were German national teams.
The “Rheintal Rundstreckenrennen” was held over 20 laps of the 2.63 Km circuit, the runners were German national teams.
This was the final round of the Lombard North Central Championship and 17 cars arrived at Brands Hatch on a cold, wet November day to decide the championship.
It began raining just as practice was due to start and although it only lasted for a few minutes the track was damp for the entire 30 minute session. Tony Brise took pole in his Kent Messenger March from the similar cars of Mike Wilds and Richard Robarts. Mo Harness lined up fifth in his March despite an off when he selected the wrong type of tyres, the right hand front of the car had to be rebuilt for the race but Harness wasn’t happy with the way the car handled after the repairs. Further back Brian Henton was having an outing in the ex-Jean Ragnotti March lent to him by the works as Ensign had decided to stop building F3 cars in order to concentrate on F1. Wella F. Ford champion Ted Wentz was having a go in the works Elden and qualified a good ninth despite a big moment at Clearways. Rod Smith non-started his GRD 372 after a huge shunt at Clearways, he was trapped in the chassis and had to be cut free. Brazilian “Teleco” was another to suffer a practice shunt but his March was repaired in time for the race.
Richard Roberts made the best start in the still damp conditions as the flag dropped hotly pursued by Tony Brise, Ian Taylor, Mike Wilds, Mo Harness, Russell Wood and Brian Henton. Brise made a determined effort to take the lead on lap 3 on the inside of Bottom Bend but wasn’t able to make it stick and the Kent Messenger car immediately began to fall away from Robarts and into the clutches of Ian Taylor and Mike Wilds.
Henton pushed Harness down a place to sixth on lap 16 and a lap later tried to dive inside Wilds at Kidney without success. Ted Wentz’s F3 debut was over on lap 17 when he did his Elden a power of no good with a big shunt at Druids. Meanwhile Wood had also succeed in passing Harness and on lap 18 he had Henton in his sights, both Marches then tried to take Clearways side by side, almost inevitably as a result of the slippery conditions the two cars made contact. Henton’s car was launched into the air and across the track where it hit the bank hard enough to damage the oil tank and rear wing, Wood’s car was also damaged and both were instant retirements.
Robarts was now comfortably leading the race as Brise grew ever smaller in his mirrors and on lap 22 Brise found some of Henton’s spilt oil at Clearways and he had a quick spin loosing a place to Wilds. Taylor now began to catch Brise and on the last lap as the two cars entered Clearways he pushed the Kent Messenger car down to fourth. Thus it was that Robarts took the victory after an excellent race that he had dominated from the flag, never putting a foot wrong in the tricky conditions. Wilds took the runner-up spot with Taylor completing the podium, Brise was a disappointed fourth complaining of fuel pressure problems.
After the race the Myson team of Richard Robarts lodged a protest that Brise had passed under a yellow flag at Druids following an accident by Val Musetti’s Royale. The protest was later denied which meant that Brise and Robarts tied at the top of the table with 52 points apiece but Brise took the Lombard North Central Championship on countback having taken more victories.
The final round of the French F3 Championship over the tiny circuit of Arras was held over two heats the result being decided on aggregate. Christian Ethuin won the first heat from Jacques Lafitte, both in Martinis with Alain Serpaggi’s Alpine third. Ethuin retired in heat 2 handing victory to Jacques Lafitte from Martini team mate Jean-Pierre Paoli with Jean Ragnotti coming home third. The aggregate result saw Jacques Lafitte take victory from Paoli and Serpaggi.
A small but good quality entry arrived at Thruxton for the final round of the Forward Trust Championship and at the end of practice it was Brazilian pseudonym “Teleco” who set the fastest time in his March 733 ahead of the similar car of Richard Robarts and the Dastle Mk10B of Barrie Maskell. All ready crowned champion Ian Taylor sat on row two, his qualifying blighted by fuel pressure problems. Further back Glen Eagling was having a one-off outing in the Modus March 733 usually driven by Mo Harness.
There were two notable non -starters, Mike Wilds whose engine blew up after only a few laps and newcomer, Brazilian F Ford champion, Alex Dias-Ribeiro. The Brazilian had hired Leonel Friedrich’s March 733 with Hollywood sponsorship but after working his way down to a 1:21.8 a large accident at Village damaged the car, the driver emerging unscathed.
It was “Teleco” who got the best start as the flag fell and he led round the first lap followed by Richard Robarts, Ian Taylor, Barrie Maskell (who had been passed by Taylor at the complex), Tony Rouff’s GRD was next chased by Matt Spitzley’s March and Nicholas von Preussen who proceeded to have a big spin at the chicane in his 733. Robarts managed to grab the lead at the chicane at the end of the first lap but “Teleco” reasserted himself at the complex but Robarts hadn’t given up. As “Teleco” and Robarts entered the chicane on lap 2 Robarts tried for the lead on the outside, the two cars touched but both drivers managed to keep on the road without loosing position.
Once again as the two leaders entered the chicane on lap 3 Robarts tried for the lead and this time by braking as late as possible the Myson car scrabbled into the lead it would hold for the rest of the race. “Teleco” stayed a close second for the remaining laps despite coming under pressure from Taylor in the closing laps and he lead the Baty car over the line by 0.6 seconds.
Maskell lost his fourth place with a spin at the chicane on the second lap allowing Rouff and Spitzley through although the Dastle regained fifth from Spitzley at the chicane on the last lap. Nicholas von Preussen pulled back to seventh after his first lap spin to lead home Derek Lawrence in the Ehrlich.
This was the final round of the 1973 John Player Championship and over 40 cars arrived at Brands Hatch to do battle over the Grand Prix circuit. Any one of four men were in with a chance of the JP title: Alan Jones, Tony Brise, Masami Kuwashima and Jacques Lafitte the latter being many peoples favourite due to the general competitiveness of the Martini chassis and Lafitte’s consistency throughout the year.
There was a single 45 minute practice session for the cars that was somewhat delayed due to the late arrival of some fire-fighting equipment and when the cars did get out they found a wet and slippery track in front of them.
By the time practice was over it was the Baty March of Ian Taylor that had set the best time to take pole position from the March of Tony Brise and the Alpine-Renault of Michel Leclere who both set identical times to complete the front row. Championship hopefuls Alan Jones and Masami Kuwashima filled the second row in their GRD and March respectively, the Vegantune engine in Jones car was swapped after practice as a precautionary measure.
Of the other runners Brian Henton nearly stuffed the works Ensign into the bank at Druids and lost a lot of time removing the car from the ditch and pitting, he then found his clutch almost inoperative. Alain Serpaggi did not appreciate the conditions at all and had several spins in the works Alpine-Renault which helped explain his lowly grid position. Mike Wilds hit the sleepers very hard at Paddock and although personally unharmed this could not be said of the Dempster March, some hard work by his crew saw it fit for the race but with several bent pick up points on the tub it was unlikely to handle well. Both Leonel Friedrich and Hakan Dahlqvist crashed before they had completed the requisite three qualifying laps so were excluded whilst Matt Spitzley and Rod Smith were out with engine problems. First and second reserves Danny Sullivan and Per-Olof Zetterstrom got in the race but there was no room for Bernard Chevanne, Buzz Buzaglo and Alain Cudini.
There was some indecision amongst the drivers before the start as to what tyres to wear, most used wets or intermediates for the warm up lap but switched to slicks on the grid the exceptions being Leclere, Max, Harness, Lafitte and Serpaggi.
As the flag fell Leclere led from the front row, his wet tyres warming up faster and giving him more grip, Brise took second from Taylor, Perkins, Kuwashima, Max, Jones, Wood and the rest, and as the cars entered Hawthorns for the first time Brise dived past Leclere into the lead he would hold for the rest of the race. At the end of lap 1 it was Brise from Leclere, Taylor, Kuwashima, Max, Perkins, Jones, Wood, Ethuin, Robarts, Andersson, Paoli, Wilds, Rouff, Lafitte and the rest.
By lap 3 Brise was beginning to pull away from Taylor and Kuwashima who had passed Leclere who had Perkins, Max, Jones, Wood, Ethuin, Harness, Roberts and Andersson behind him. Lafitte was next a bit down the road followed by Nordstrom until the latter hit the barriers at Bottom Bend, next up was Lawrence, Rouff, Beguin, Paoli, Maskell, MacDonald, Svensson, Rousselot, “Teleco” and Albera. At the back Lombardi led Wunderink, Serpaggi (who had pitted to to swop to dries), Sullivan, Lewis (who had to have a push start), Fuller and Zetterstrom. Major retirements were Mike Wilds who spun at Westfield from thirteenth when his fuel pressure disappeared and Brian Henton who bent a front wishbone when he understeered off the track at Hawthorns.
As Brise continued to lead the battle for second was between Taylor and Kuwashima with Perkins, Jones, Wood and Ethuin squabbling over fourth. Wood soon began moving up and by lap 7 he was up to fourth and closing in on the second place fight, soon after Ethuin also demoted Jones and Perkins. Wood passed Kuwashima on lap 11 but the Japanese March driver stayed on his gearbox and regained the place two laps later also demoting Taylor and immediately pulling away. The Australian duo of Jones and Perkins were still at it and the two cars made contact at Hawthorns loosing Perkins quite a lot of ground. Kuwashima’s good run came to an end when he damaged a wheel following an off at Dingle Dell, this moved Wood up to second followed closely by Taylor with Ethuin in fourth and Jones in fifth which would be enough to secure him the championship.
Perkins was fired up after his run in with Jones and he soon clawed back the deficit and as Jones engine began to go off the Brabham passed the GRD for fifth on lap 23. Jean Max was next out when he retired his Martini with handling problems and Leclere retired his Alpine with a punctured wet tyre. Conny Andersson was lucky to escape injury when something on his March appeared to break, possibly as a result of contact with Lafitte at Bottom Bend, the car turned suddenly into the bank on the main straight. Lafitte himself was battling for ninth with Robarts and when Serpaggi tried passing Robarts to unlap himself at Stirlings he touched the Myson March and Robarts spun allowing Lafitte through. Lafitte made up another place shortly when Harness spun at Kidney whilst Robarts dropped further back into the clutches of “Teleco” as his engine began to go off.
As the race entered its last three laps Brise began to slow as his fuel pressure began to drop in the corners and Brise began to use a higher gear where possible to conserve petrol. From 6 seconds the gap dropped to 1.8 seconds but the chequered flag was out and Brise took the win and the championship with Wood leading Taylor home by 0.6 seconds. Ethuin just held on for fourth from a fast closing Perkins who lost out by 0.4 seconds, a frustrated and disappointed Jones took sixth loosing out to Brise in the end by just two points. Jacques Lafitte came home in seventh handicapped by his choice of intermediate tyres and thus ruling himself out of the championship race.
Sufficient cars arrived for this, the penultimate round of the John Player Championship, that the field was split into two heats to decide who would make the 20 runners in the final.
It had rained overnight and the track was still damp when the Heat 1 runners began their session, most of the drivers, Mike Wilds and Brian Henton being a notable exceptions, opting to run wet tyres. Tony Brise was fastest of the first group with Brise much happier with the handling of his Kent Messenger March now that a broken engine mount had been discovered and repaired. Second quickest was Russell Wood who had fitted the Novamotor from Buzz Buzaglo’s car finding it a big improvement over his normal unit, Richard Robarts completed the front row to make it an all March affair. Leonel Friedrich had been fourth quickest but on his final lap at Gerards the Brazilian had a huge off damaging his March beyond immediate repair. Further back on the grid Jac Nelleman was having an outing in a DART GRD as Pedro Passadore was apparently still afflicted with ‘flu, Wilds found his choice of intermediates was too optimistic whilst Henton tried slicks on his Ensign that still wasn’t properly sorted following a huge accident at midweek testing at Oulton Park. Stirling work by Mo Nunn and his team saw it rebuilt in time for qualifying even if it was wearing a 1972 Colin Vandervell nosecone.
It was a March on pole for Heat 2 also, this time driven by Conny Andersson who shared the same time as second and third men Jacques Lafitte and Jean Pierre Paoli in their works Martinis. Further back John MacDonald was running in the ex-Damien Magee Brabham BT41 and debutante Rod Smith was in the ex-Richard Knight GRD 372. Masami Kuwashima found his practice time severely curtailed when the Holbay in his March proved reluctant to start.
It was dry for the start of Heat 1 and it was Robarts who made the best getaway to head Brise, Harness, Wood and Wilds who had made a great start. Ian Taylor was slow away being blocked by Wood and Nelleman only made it to Gerards on lap 2 before the Dane lost it in a big way writing the GRD off against the bank, new unscrubbed tyres were cited as the cause. Robarts continued to lead until lap 8 when Brise slipped through into the lead at the hairpin, Robarts fought back and regained the lead at Gerards, the Myson driver kept his lead for the remaining lap and a half to lead Brise home by 0.6 seconds, Harness was less than a second down in third with Wilds who had demoted Wood fourth. Henton pulled up well from the back of the grid to finish seventh despite loosing his clutch on lap 2.
There was chaos at the start of Heat 2 when Jean Ragnotti, in an attempt to make up for his back of the grid start, went off and hit the Armco by the pits fortunately without personal injury, also involved was Tom Hilliar who damaged the suspension of his Ensign in the accident. In addition Ragnotti’s team mate Albera punctured a tyre while further round the lap Francia spun his Brabham at Gerards so both men were pleased when the race was red flagged to allow the marshalls to remove the mangled remains of Ragnotti’s March. At the restart it was Andersson who got away the best and proceeded to leave the rest of the field behind him as the Swede pulled out a lead of over four seconds. It was Paoli who slotted into second as Lafitte made a slow start but by lap 6 Lafitte had recovered and he pushed his team mate back to third. Alan Jones was tenth on lap 1 but he soon began overtaking the cars in front and he moved his GRD up to third by the finish pushing Paoli back to fourth and closing right in on Lafitte. Retirements included Barrie Maskell with fuel pressure problems in the Dastle and Hakan Dahlqvist who damaged his Merlyn at the hairpin.
It was originally intended that the fastest 20 would take part in the final but Rousselot complained that the Ragnotti accident had slowed the second heat so it was decided to take the first ten from each race.
Once again Andersson made a great start and immediately opened out a small gap to the next bunch comprising of Harness, Brise and Robarts with a further gap to Jones, Wilds, Lafitte, Beguin, Wood, Rouff, Kuwashima, Henton, Perkins, Nordstrom, Taylor, Francia, Spitzley, Rousselot and “Teleco”. Paoli was a first lap retirement after hitting the bank at Gerards, Rouff loosing his nosecone in the incident, he quickly fell down the field with his car handling very strangely.
Brise was harassing Harness for second place whilst Robarts quickly lost places to Wilds, Lafitte and Jones, Henton was driving carefully further back in the pack, picking up places as and when he could. The unfortunate Andersson only lasted in the lead until lap 7 when his gear linkage broke near the lever forcing him into the pits and retirement. This left Harness in the lead with Brise still on his tail, the two leaders were briefly held up as they lapped the tardy Rouff allowing Wilds and Lafitte to close up a little whilst Jones and Robarts were dropping away. Henton was now flying, he had pulled away from Wood and on lap 15 he passed Robarts on the inside at the Esses and a lap later he repeated the move on Jones except this time on the outside.
Leader Harness was now finding understeer a problem and he was beginning to hold up those behind him which was benefiting the fast closing Henton. Lap 24 and Harness was reduced to weaving to try and keep Brise back the following lap and Wilds made his move pushing Brise back to third. Two more laps and Harness was finished both Wilds and Harness getting the better of him, Henton and Lafitte were next up, the works Ensign having passed the works Martini on lap 26 and two laps later both drivers pushed the poor Harness back a further couple of places. With a lap to go Henton was doing everything he could to catch the two leading Marches and on the final lap Henton took the inside line at Gerards and pulled level with Brise but along the Stebbe Straight Brise moved across on Henton pushing the Ensign onto the grass. The Ensign had a bumpy ride before it regained the track loosing a place to Lafitte in the process.
Therefore at the finish it was Wilds that took the win 1.2 seconds ahead of Brise, Lafitte and Henton but Henton protested Brise’s tactics, the stewards agreed and Brise was disqualified for some dangerous driving that could have had serious repercussions. Harness took fourth just behind Henton with Wood some way back in fifth, Robarts finished sixth after struggling to pass Jones who was suffering from a worn front tyre and a down on power engine.
It was originally planned to run two heats on Saturday with a Sunday final for this round of the John Player Championship but a lack of entries meant just the one race on Sunday. Practice was split into two 45 minutes sessions on Saturday but it was the first session that really counted as it began to rain a few minutes into the second period.
One man who actually set his fast time in the second session in the 5 laps before it rained was pole sitter Larry Perkins, benefiting from some midweek testing Perkins had the Brabham flying to take pole by 0.2 seconds from Mike Wilds and Brian Henton who set identical times. Alan Jones was fourth quickest despite still suffering discomfort from his neck which he had damaged at Brands Hatch, initial fears that he had broken it were allayed when x-rays showed severely strained ligaments. Jones set his time in team mate Pedro Passadore’s car the Uruguayan missing the meeting due to a bout of ‘flu. Tony Brise found the handling of his March not to his satisfaction whilst Ian Taylor and Mo Harness were sorting newly rebuilt cars, Russell Wood as seems to be the norm recently was less than happy with his engine. The last two runners, Tom Hilliar and Andy McGregor failed to qualify, the latter arriving late and having to do all his practice in the wet.
There was chaos as the flag fell, Brian Henton was stranded on the line when the centre pulled out of his clutch, the front rows managed to avoid the stranded Ensign but an unsighted Wunderink slewed sideways and was hit by Maskell and Svensson, all four cars were instant retirements. Back at the front it was Perkins in the lead chased by Wilds, Kuwashima, Jones, Lafitte, Andersson and Paoli, Andersson soon loosing a place to Paoli as his Novamotor began to misfire. Friedrich was the next runner and the next retirement when his engine seized at Knickerbrook causing Robarts to drop down to fourteenth place when he had to try and avoid the slowing March. These incidents moved Dahlqvist, Harness, Spitzley, Brise, Wood and Taylor up a couple of positions. Robarts bad day at the office continued when he retired on lap 2 with a broken throttle cable.
Out in front Perkins was looking untouchable, both car and driver were going superbly and the Cowangie Kid was leaving the second place battle behind him. It was Jones who was now runner up having passed Kuwashima on lap 4 and Wilds on lap 6, Lafitte was fifth ahead of Brise who was quickly making up ground with the second Martini of Paoli seventh. There were two more retirements to add to the list when Andersson’s nose splitter broke off which together with the misfire was enough for the Swede, Mo Harness was out when he spun and hit the barrier at Knickerbrook, he continued but retired at Clay Hill with minor damage.
By lap 15 Perkins appeared to have the race in the bag as second place man Jones was busy fighting off the attentions of Wilds, Kuwashima and Lafitte. Spitzley was the next retirement when he lost his March at Cascades when trying to keep up with Taylor, Wood and Dahlqvist. It was all change at the front on lap 18 when the unfortunate Perkins had his engine loose all its oil at Knickerbrook, Larry switching off the engine before too much damage was done. Jones moved up to take the lead but he was still under intense pressure from Wilds, Kuwashima and Lafitte, Brise was next up but he was unable to get close to the leading foursome.
Kuwashima made his move on Wilds on lap 23 passing the Dempster March at Knickerbrook and immediately setting about trying to wrest the lead from Jones. Wilds lost a little ground and found himself under heavy attack from Lafitte, Mike went a little wide at Esso on lap 26, Lafitte drawing level with the March along Top Straight and he took third entering Knickerbrook. Jones and Kuwashima now found themselves joined by Lafitte and on lap 28 Kuwashima tried the outside line around Jones at Knickerbrook, he then ran wide at Lodge and Lafitte was instantly up to second. Jones found the Martini trying for first at Cascades but Jones wasn’t about to give up the lead without a struggle. Lafitte didn’t get a second chance at Jones as Kuwashima retook second spot at Old Hall on the final lap, all three cars ran nose-to-tail on the rest of the final lap but there were no further position changes and at the finish it was Jones from Kuwashima and Lafitte, the three cars only 0.6 seconds apart. Wilds took fourth a couple of seconds back with Brise well away in fifth with another gap back to Ian Taylor in sixth. The final runner was Tony Rouff two laps down, his disappointing result explained by having to pit with plug trouble as well as loosing the nosecone on his GRD as a result of getting involved in the first lap startline fracas.
This was the penultimate round of the French F3 Championship and victory in both the race and the championship went to Jacques Lafitte after the only other potential championship contender, Michel Leclere, who needed to win the race did not. The race was due to be held over 25 laps but was reduced to 16 due to failing light.
This round of the John Player Championship unfortunately clashed with the Nogaro round of the French championship which resulted in the absence of any of the French drivers, nevertheless a good entry still arrived at Brands Hatch to do battle over two heats and a final.
Practice for Heat 1 saw Brian Henton fastest, Superhen was having another outing in the works development Ensign that this week featured new wings, font and rear, and the engine cover was missing. Next up was Sweden’s Conny Andersson with Mike Wilds completing the front row. Buzz Buzaglo was showing good form now that he had a new rev counter fitted, his old one had been running 1200 rpm too fast so the Australian was now able to make better use of his engine.
Alan Jones should have been in Heat 1 but on leaving the pits and approaching paddock his left front wheel locked and the GRD hit the sleepers. It was decided rather than to rush things and to allow Jones to receive treatment for a sore neck he should take over Pedro Passadore’s car in Heat 2. It was perhaps then a little surprising to see Jones put his troubles behind him and take the fastest time in his heat ahead of Hakan Dahlqvist and Tony Brise despite not fitting into his team mates car too well. Times in the second heat were quite a lot slower than the first due to a heavy coating of oil around most of its length. Larry Perkins found himself at the back of the grid when a driveshaft broke on his Brabham before he had been able to set a competitive time. Barrie Maskell, despite a recent spell in hospital with a virus infection,was out again in a heavily revised Dastle which he felt was a definite step in the right direction.
Brian Henton and Conny Andersson made the best starts when the flag fell for Heat 1 but it was Henton who had the edge and he pushed the Ensign into the lead from Andersson, “Teleco”, Buzaglo, Wilds, Taylor, Kuwashima, Rouff, Nordström, Robarts, MacDonald, Santo, Vejlund, Elton, Musetti, Moffett and Lewis, the latter suffering from a bent fin following contact at Druids. Henton and Andersson were now involved in a fraught battle for the lead with Andersson taking over at the front on lap 3 when he passed Henton at Druids and the Ensign lost more ground when Henton understeered wide at Clearways but within a lap Henton was right back on Andersson’s tail. On lap 9 as the two leaders entered Kidney Henton aimed for a very small gap on the inside of Andersson and made it through and back into the lead. Once back in front Henton was determined to stay there and he hung on for the remaining lap and a half to take the win by 0.4 seconds. Third place had initially belonged to “Teleco” hotly pursued by Buzaglo, Wilds, Taylor, Robarts and Kuwashima. On lap 8 Wilds passed “Teleco” and the Brazilian dropped away to finish a second away in fourth with Buzaglo a similar distance back in fifth but 0.6 seconds up on Taylor in sixth. The only retirement was Barrie Maskell with a blown head gasket whilst Randy Lewis lost a couple of laps in the pits.
It was Dahlqvist from the middle of the front row who led the rest of the field on the opening lap of Heat 2 followed by Jones, Harness, Friedrich, Brise, Wood, Lombardi, Rousselot, Maskell, Perkins, Lawrence, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Preussen. Jones took the lead at Druids on lap 2 opening out a small advantage over Harness who was now up to second with Dahlqvist almost immediately loosing two more places to Brise and Friedrich. Harness and Brise then moved up to challenge Jones and although the positions did not change in the final laps this wasn’t from lack of trying by any of them. Jones found his damaged neck beginning to trouble him in the closing stages of the race but he hung on to win by 0.2 seconds from Harness with a similar gap back to the third placed Brise. Dahlqvist just headed Friedrich over the line for fourth and fifth with a battling Wood and Rousselot next up. Larry Perkins had made good early progress from his back of the grid start but then found himself bogged down in amongst midfield runners, Lella Lombardi had been running seventh but a spin at Clearways on lap 2 dropped her down the field.
The final consisted of the fastest 20 cars overall and the grid lined up as follows:
Alan Jones was still being troubled by his sore neck and had to receive a painkiller injection before the start of the race but despite this it was his GRD that took the lead towards Paddock but he suddenly seemed to miss a gear allowing Henton to gain the advantage. Ian Taylor found himself pushed off and into the bank at Paddock and the luckless Jones had a spin at Druids resuming in last place. The order at the end of the first lap was Henton, Andersson, Wilds, Brise, Harness, Friedrich, Rousselot, Wood, Dahlqvist, Buzaglo (with a one minute penalty for a jumped start), “Teleco”, Kuwashima, Nordström Robarts, Rouff, Perkins, Maskell, Lawrence and Jones.
By lap 5 Henton had eked out a small gap over Andersson who was under heavy pressure from Wilds, Brise, Harness, Friedrich, Rousselot and Dahlqvist there was then a gap of a couple of seconds to Buzaglo, Kuwashima and Robarts then another gap to a battling Wood and “Teleco” next the similarly duelling pair of Rouff and Perkins. Jones had caught up with these last two but spun again on lap 8, he made up the lost ground again but after another spin on lap 16 he called it a day in too much discomfort from his injured neck.
Henton had opened up a reasonable lead by lap 10 and Andersson who had been clear in second now came under renewed pressure from Mike Wilds and on lap 11 Wilds tried to overtake into Kidney. Both drivers braked a little too late and Andersson ran wide causing Wilds to spin in avoidance, the closely pursuing Brise, Harness and Freidrich managed to make it through as Wilds resumed now down to fifteenth place. Andersson had only dropped to fifth but his nose had been damaged and he retired his March on lap 15.
By half distance, 20 laps, Henton had five seconds in hand over Brise, Harness and Friedrich all of whom were a couple of seconds apart. Next came a big group consisting of Dahlqvist, Robarts, Rousselot, “Teleco”, Perkins, Buzaglo, Wood and Wilds all fighting over fifth. Kuwashima had been with this group but he retired his March with handling problems. Not much happened over the next ten laps but on lap 28 it looked as if Brise had began to close on Henton as the gap dropped to three seconds but the Ensign driver soon opened up his lead again. Harness lost third place on lap 26 when he made contact with the GRD of Nordström when lapping him, he lost enough time for Friedrich, who had been dropping away, to catch and pass him. For the next fourteen laps there would be a tough battle between the two men over third position.
Larry Perkins was making good progress from his lowly starting spot, he was now up to seventh having started seventeenth but he had a battling group right behind him consisting of Rousselot, Buzaglo, Wilds and Woods. Robarts had been with them but he retired after a couple of pit stops failed to cure an electrical fault that caused his engine to misfire.
For the final ten laps nothing happened to the two leaders and Henton led Brise home by some six seconds. Third was not so clear cut, Friedrich, Harness and “Teleco” were all battling for the spot and entering Paddock for the last time there was pandemonium, what happened wasn’t clear but the track was certainly oily, some of it from Friedrich who had a leaking oil cooler. If the cause wasn’t clear the result was, Harness made heavy contact with the banking and Friedrich and “Teleco” had big moments allowing Perkins and Dahlqvist to go through. Thus it was Perkins who took third by 0.2 seconds from Dahlqvist, Friedrich should have been next but a half spin at Bottom Bend allowed “Teleco” to take the place, Friedrich recovering to sixth despite a puncture and no oil. One final incident saw seventh placed Buzaglo lock up on the oil at Druids, the following Wilds got sideways avoiding him and was rammed by Rousselot, Mike Wilds happily overtook all of them to gain the place.
The Coupe AGIP was held over two heats and a final, the first heat went to Jacques Lafitte in his Martini from the similar car of Bernard Beguin. The second heat went to pole man Michel Leclere in his Alpine-Renault from the sister car of Alain Serpaggi.
Leclere won the final from team mate Serpaggi who was hampered with a recalcitrant gearbox, third was the March of Italian driver Cerulli. Jacques Lafitte retired on the twelfth lap with damaged suspension, Pierre-Francois Rousselot had been third but a moment dropped him back, he recovered to fifth despite an unhealthy engine.