Race Report: Varano, 27 April 1975
The latest round of the Italian F3 Championship.
The latest round of the Italian F3 Championship.
Round two of the BP Super Visco Championship and a wet practice meant that grid positions were a bit of a lottery, pole position going to the works GRD of Ian Taylor. Two casualties were Terry Perkins (brother of Larry) who damaged a corner of his Ralt when he aquaplaned off on a puddle and Bob Arnott who did the same with his March 743. Some hard work saw Arnott’s car nearly repaired for the race but sadly there wasn’t quite enough time.
It was still damp for the race but most of the front runners opted for slicks the only important exceptions being Patrick Neve who put wets on the Safir and Tony Rouff who tried wets on the front of the Ehrlich.
The start was a little ragged but Larry Perkins made a great start and had a big lead going into Copse with Danny Sullivan and Ian Taylor giving chase. Entering Becketts Alex Ribeiro decided to pass everybody in one go, he cannoned into Taylor which saw both cars out whilst Richard Hawkins found himself launched over the rear wheel of Stephen South’s Ray which damaged the tub on the March. Also out on the first lap was Neve, the engine on his Safir stopping for no apparent reason although it is unlikely he would have made any progress on his wet tyres. Out in front it was still Perkins from Sullivan, Rouff, Dick Parsons, Hervé Regout, Rupert Keegan, South, Pierre Dieudonné, Graham Hamilton and Mike Tyrrell.
Perkins was further extending his lead as Sullivan edged further away from Rouff in second as the tyres on the Ehrlich began to go off and Rouff slipped down the field. Parsons pitted on lap three to end his promising run and South now found himself in third spot ahead of the March 753s of Dieudonné and Chris Barnett, the latter two having made good progress up the field. Regout had a big spin at Woodcote on lap 9 and in his hurry to rejoin the track he nearly removed Pete Clarke’s Modus and Dyffed Roberts’ March 743, Mike Tyrrell took advantage of the confusion to move up to sixth.
Lap 14 saw the demise of the unfortunate Perkins as a front nearside tyre deflated handing the lead to Sullivan’s Modus. Perkins wasn’t the only one in difficulties as South saw his good run ended with an identical tyre failure one lap later. Dieudonné who had just passed South was now second and he was fighting off Barnett and with four laps to go local man Barnett passed the Belgian. Sullivan completed his 20 laps and took a comfortable win from Barnett and Dieudonné but the last two were both excluded in post race scrutineering, the wings on their March 753s were found to be too high. All of this moved Tyrrell up to second with Regout in third whose rear wing was surprisingly unchecked. Dyffed Roberts tried to oust Pete Clarke from what would turn out to be fourth at Woodcote on the last lap but he spun and stalled his engine when he tried to get going again.
Rupert Keegan failed to finish due to a flat tyre and Tony Rouff was similarly afflicted near the end of the race.
An excellent entry of 34 cars arrived at Knutstorp for the first round on the Swedish F3 Championship of which the fastest 22 would start the race. The runners included the works March of Gunnar Nilsson who was missing the clashing BP round at Silverstone for contractual reasons.
It began to rain heavily as the cars formed up on the grid and everyone quickly fitted their wets. Nilsson made a lightning start and was a huge 3 seconds up on second man Conny Andersson at the end of lap 1, Nilsson then proceeded to extend his lead by a second a lap to take a comfortable win by nearly 20 seconds from Andersson. Ulf Svensson challenged Andersson hard in his Brabham BT41 with Anders Olofsson in fourth in his GRD until the latter spun. Conny Ljungfeldt moved then moved up to third in his ex-Andersson March 743 and began to challenge the former owner but in the end Ljungfeldt settled for third.
To show the new found confidence in F3 this was the second non-championship race to be held and a very good entry of 20 cars arrived at Liverpool’s Aintree circuit for the Blakeford F3 Trophy race.
Gunnar Nilsson continued his excellent start to the season by taking pole position in the wet qualifying ahead of Brazilian team mate Alex Ribeiro, both men in the works March 753s. Danny Sullivan was a disappointed non-starter with a blown engine, a fate shared by Bob Howlings in his ex-Arie Luyendijk Ensign and Ken Silverstone in his self-converted FF2000 Hawke.
It was a clean start although there was a lot of brake locking into Country Corner and as they exited Beechers it was Ribeiro from Nilsson, Richard Hawkins, Mike Tyrrell, Stephen South and Tony Rouff with the rest of the field following behind. Nilsson had a big moment at Village on lap 2 with all four wheels off the track, he backed off and rejoined the circuit down in fifth with a damaged nosecone. Ribeiro now found himself under attack from Kiwi Richard Hawkins who was using his track knowledge to the full, in turn Tyrrell was trying to displace Hawkins making a determined if unsuccessful attempt on lap 3 at Club.
Nilsson was going hard to make up for his earlier indiscretion and he took Rouff for fourth on lap 4, Tyrrell at Country for third on lap 6 and Hawkins for second at Club on lap 8. Nilsson immediately moved onto the gearbox of Ribeiro and on lap 11 the Swede made his move at Club, the two cars touched briefly and Ribeiro spun ripping the nose off his March as he rotated. As Ribeiro motored slowly towards the pits it looked as if Nilsson had the race won especially as Hawkins spun off at Country on lap 13 with a broken gearbox. However Tyrrell who was now second following Hawkin’s demise was really on a charge reducing the gap to the leader every lap. Going into the last lap the two cars were nose to tail but despite all of Tyrrell’s efforts, notably at Club, Nilsson held on to take the win. Stephen South took a very good third in the Ray after running with Tyrrell for a large part of the race whilst Tony Rouff brought the Ehrlich home in fourth.