Race Report: Estoril, 18 June 1972


Race Report: Estoril, 18 June 1972


This was the first race meeting to be held at the new Estoril circuit which was opened by the President of Portugal. The F3s were the star attraction and were racing in the grandly named Taca Joao Ortigao Ramos Formula Three Race, they were allocated two practice sessions on the Saturday afternoon, one of 30 minutes and one of an hour.

Practice was dominated by the two Alpine-Renaults with Alain Serpaggi heading team-mate Michel Leclere by half a second, joining them on the front row was the Gitanes GRD 372 of Pierre-François Rousselot who was concerned with the way his car was weaving on the track and was relieved to find most of the other runners suffering from the same problem on the new surface. Row two saw Manfred Möhr’s Brabham BT35 fourth fastest despite having three pistons fail in his Novamotor during the second session, next to him was local driver Ernesto Neves who was going very well indeed in the Ross Ambrose Lotus 69 he had hired for the race. Leading the third row was the first of the Martinis, the Holbay Mk9 of Jacques Coulon, next to him was the Novamotor powered Mk9 of Bernard Beguin which had a suspect piston ring and there was doubt it could last the race, completing the row was American Ken Mackintosh in his Ensign F371. Row four was all Ensign with the F371 of Ken Sedgley ahead of the similar car of Antiguan Mike Tyrrell.

Joel Auvray’s Martini was next up which was odd as neither the Frenchman or his car were at the circuit but the timekeepers still gave him a time! Auvray’s grid space was left empty so the other row five inhabitants were John MacDonald’s March 713 and Randy Lewis in his new Brabham BT38, the American was suffering brake problems in the untested car. Brian McGuire was the next timed runner which again like the imaginary Auvray was interesting as he was at Thruxton. Next up was Jorge Pinhol who suffered a leaking water pump during the first session, an old Holbay was fitted to his GRD for the second session but a burnt out starter motor and a flat battery meant he missed the faster second session completely. Joining Pinhol on row seven were American Cliff Haworth in his Martini Mk9 and Tony Binnington in his March 713M. Final runners were Italian Togna Fiorenzo’s Brabham BT35, Bob Shellard in his ex-Peter Hull Brabham BT28, Portuguese runner Carlos Azevedo’s hired BT38 and Ray Caruthers Martini Mk9 which had all sorts of engine problems.

Not surprisingly it was the two Alpines that led away at the start of the 50 lap race, at the end of lap 1 it was Leclere, his nose cone bottoming badly, with a healthy lead over Serpaggi, Neves was third from Coulon, Rousselot and Beguin with a gap back to Mackintosh, Sedgley and Tyrrell. Möhr’s good grid position was negated by a terrible start that left him tenth at the end of the opening lap. By lap 5 the two Alpines were well in the lead, circulating a couple of seconds apart, behind them there was a big battle for third between Rousselot, Neves, Coulon and Beguin but the latter began to fall away over the next few laps, next came Mackintosh from a recovering Möhr followed by Sedgley, MacDonald, Pinhol, Lewis, Binnington, Fiorenzo, Powers and Haworth. Retirements by this stage were Tyrrell with a broken throttle cable and Caruthers and Azevedo both of whom were out with engine problems.
The status quo remained over the next five laps although Möhr was beginning to suffer from a broken petrol breather that was spraying petrol over him, Pinhol had pulled himself up to MacDonald but was out on lap 11 when his engine lost all its water. By half distance up at the front Leclere was extending his lead as Serpaggi was suffering from chunking front tyres whilst Coulon was pulling away from Rousselot in third. Neves promising run came to an end a couple of laps later when his engine blew and Möhr was forced to retire with a bad petrol burn on his thigh leaving Mackintosh an untroubled eighth.
The rest of the race was an Alpine demonstration run, by lap 41 Leclere had lapped everybody up to and including third man Coulon and he crossed the finishing line on lap 50 some 14 seconds ahead of the Serpaggi car. Coulon, Rousselot and Beguin finished a lap down in third, fourth and fifth with Mackintosh sixth and Lewis who had passed MacDonald on lap 33 and Sedgley on the last lap a pleased seventh.



Race Report: Estoril, 18 June 1972

Race Heat 1

1 Vittorio Brambilla

Birel Alfa Romeo 20:09.40

2 Fabrizio Noe

Lotus-Ford 69 20:09.50

3 Luigi Fontanesi

Tecno-Ford 20:13.10

4 Carlo Franchi (Gimax)

De Sanctis-Alfa Romeo 20:23.40

Race Heat 2

1 Giovanni Lo Voi

Brabham-Ford BT28 15:05.00

2 Adelmo Fossati

Brabham BT28 15:05.00

3 Patrice Compain

Martini-Ford MW7 15:21.00

4 Manfred Möhr

Lotus-Ford 15:34.10

5 Marcello Gallo

Brabham BT28

Race Final

1 Vittorio Brambilla

Birel Alfa Romeo 30:44.30 144.318

2 Marcello Gallo

Brabham BT28 30:44.34

3 Fabrizio Noe

Lotus-Ford 69 30:45.10

4 Adelmo Fossati

Brabham BT28 30:55.40

5 Patrice Compain

Martini-Ford MW7 31:08.00

6 Carlo Franchi (Gimax)

De Sanctis-Alfa Romeo 31:11.50

7 Manfred Möhr

Lotus-Ford 31:59.60

8 Giovanni Lo Voi

Martini-Ford MW7 31:08.00