Race Report: Zandvoort, 20 May 1973
There were two practice sessions held on the Saturday for this round of the John Player Championship and the track was very dusty due to the modifications to the circuit that were still being completed as the teams arrived. The condition of the circuit meant that most runners did very few laps in the morning session which was unfortunate as it began to rain as the cars came out in the afternoon so all the best times, with one exception, came from the morning session.
Masami Kuwashima continued his recent run of form to set the fastest practice time with his March and annex pole position by 0.8 seconds from Alan Jones in his GRD, Tony Brise completed the front row with his GRD. Row two saw Mo Harness heading Russell Wood, Harness needed an engine change after an airbox nut was ingested by the motor. Most people felt that Wunderink benefited from home advantage from the timekeepers as he headed row 3, next up were Gunnar Nordström and Mike Wilds. Ian Taylor found himself back on row 9, his March suffering from a serious misfire that restricted his lappery, an incorrectly wired fuel pump was the culprit.
It was bright and sunny for the race and as the flag fell it was Alan Jones who got the jump on the rest of the field and led into Tarzan. The Australian pulled out several lengths over second placed man Masami during the first lap and as the cars crossed the line to begin lap 2 it was Jones ahead of Kuwashima, Harness, Wilds (a great start from row three), Brise (missed 2nd gear off the line), Andersson, Dötsch, Wood, Magee, Wunderink and Bülow. First lap retirements were Huub Vermuelen’s Royale that never left the dummy grid, Randy Lewis whose Brabham BT41 suffered from sand in its throttles and the Maco of Ernst Maring. Jac Nelleman had to make a quick pit stop after loosing the nosecone on his GRD.
Brise moved ahead of Harness on lap 3 and a couple of laps later he demoted Wilds a place when he overtook the Ensign behind the pits. Jones now lead Kuwashima by a couple of seconds with Brise closing up on the Japanese March, Wilds and Harness were continually swopping fourth place until Wilds had to retire on lap 14 due to sand clogging his gear linkage. There was a hairy dice going on for what was now fifth place between Andersson, Wood, Magee and Dötsch, until the German had a big off on lap 11. Taylor and Gerber were next but Taylor had to retire on lap 9 when his rear wing began to detach itself from his March.
Half distance, lap 12, and the order was Jones, a closing Kuwashima, Brise who was suffering fluctuating fuel pressure, Harness, a soon to retire Wilds, Andersson, Wood, Magee, Gerber, Nordström, Deutsch, Svensson and Catlow. Wood ran wide at Tarzan on this lap and made contact with the following Magee who spun loosing a place to Gerber and finding that his Brabham now had a bent steering arm. Kuwashima caught up with Jones on lap 14 as the leader came across some less than attentive back markers but as soon as he was clear of the lapped runners the GRD was able to pull clear of the March again.
On lap 17 Andersson tried diving up the inside of Harness at Tarzan braking very late, too late in fact as he hit Harness and the following Wood hit Andersson hard putting both cars out on the spot. The leading positions remained static over the closing laps although Kuwashima nearly caught Jones when the leading GRD was baulked by a lapped Magee but Jones pulled away again to win by two seconds from Kuwashima, Brise and Harness.