Win on debut for young Japanese star, Yamauchi in Historic Formula One
Hideki Yamauchi won the FIA Historic Formula One race at Brands Hatch over the weekend driving a March 761 from John Wilson’s Tyrrell 011 and Richard Eyre’s Williams FW08. Peter Wuensch finished second in his class to give him enough points to move into the championship lead, a position he previously shared with Bobby Verdon Roe.
Round 5 of the 2011 FIA Historic Formula One Championship saw Yamauchi make his debut in HFO driving the March 761 belonging to his mentor, Katsu Kubota. The young Japanese F3 racer, who was partnering Kubota in his Group C endeavours this weekend, was not expecting a ride in the March but took to the machinery with some style, setting a pole position time of 1.19.786 – some 2.5seconds faster than the returning John Wilson (Tyrrell 011) who impressed with his pace despite not having driven the car since last year.
The grid was significantly depleted following the late withdrawals of a number of competitors. From the front runners, Verdon Roe was still suffering on-going issues that plagued his McLaren MP4 at the previous round in Monza whilst Joaquin Folch, a stalwart of the Championship was expected with the Brabham BT49 but injury has forced him to sit out much of the season to date and he failed to recover for the meeting. Peter Meyrick’s Arrows A5 suffered rear wing failure just days before the race and was withdrawn under safety considerations. A number of other drivers were unable to participate due to commitments elsewhere and it robbed the strong Brands crowd of the usual high quality field of Historic Formula One cars that the event has come to expect.
The racers that were on display did not disappoint however and the grid included ‘new’ machinery in the shape of Laurent Fort’s Ensign MN180 in its first outing since restoration. The Esprit Motorsport team worked hard to get the car to the event and Laurent is set to compete ate future HFO races. The car suffered from spark plug issues in qualifying and he was forced to retire from the race despite showing good potential. Likewise, Ian Simmonds in the pretty Tyrrell 012 was showing good pace in this his debut HFO outing in 2011 but at the end of the first lap of the race the car lost fourth gear and he pulled off at the top of Paddock Hill.
Simmonds’ Class D competition came in the form of Terry Sayles’ pretty Osella FA1. Sayles has raced the car for many seasons having been with HFO for over a decade and despite fuel pump issues managed the car home to take class honours. The oldest car on the grid was the ex Jackie Stewart Tyrrell 002 of John Delane. The American is an enthusiastic racer and supporter of the Championship and the crowd love seeing the Tyrrell in action. John battled with Terry Sayles’ Osella in the opening stages before pulling out a gap. He was close behind the Class B battle between Peter Wuensch’s Wolf WR2 and the Fittipaldi of Richard Barber for the opening skirmishes but the later era cars pulled away, their enthralling scrap seeing them run nose to tail for the duration. Barber had qualified faster than Wuensch but a self-confessed ‘sloppy start’ saw the German get ahead and despite his best efforts, Barber could not pass.
Out front, Yamauchi was peerless, controlling the race pace comfortably. Eyre and Wilson gave chase, the two ground effect cars running close on track just over a second behind the March. Eyre looked close enough to challenge on several occasions but Wilson’s Tyrrell, prepared by Terry King, was well hooked-up and soon Eyre’s challenge faded, allowing Wilson to focus on the young Japanese ace. By lap thirteen of 18 the gap was down to just over a second and it seemed Wilson would be in with a chance but Yamauchi took all in his impressive stride, pulling out a 6 second gap over the last few tours to win his second race of the day having already picked up honours with Kubota in the Group C race.
Peter Wuensch leads the championship by three points from Delane with Verdon Roe a further three points back and Eyre and Sayles lying in 4th and 5th separated by a similar margin. Once the summer break is over, HFO returns to the track at the Nurburgring on September 9-11.