THE FI­NAL CUT

The first sea­son for the 2-Litre Cup for pre-ʼ66 Fia-spec early 911s came to a close at the Peter Auto Dix Mille Tours du Castel­let meet­ing at Paul Ri­card. If you are go­ing rac­ing, a sunny late-sum­mer week­end in the South of France is not a bad time and p

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words: Robert Bar­rie Pho­tos: 2-litre Cup/jayson Fong

The 2-litre Cup race se­ries ends on a high at Paul Ri­card

Afield of thirty or so cars set-up, signed-on and scru­ti­neered on Fri­day, prac­ticed on Satur­day morn­ing, qual­i­fied on Satur­day af­ter­noon and, not for the first time, raced last thing on Sun­day. Hope­fully next sea­sonʼs timetable will be more var­ied now the se­ries has shown it­self ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing good grid num­bers and good rac­ing.

For those that havenʼt been to the cir­cuit, Paul Ri­cardʼs a chal­lenge to drive and, de­spite the fan­tas­tic lo­ca­tion, itʼs not ev­ery­oneʼs favourite. Lewis Hamil­ton was rather crit­i­cal ahead of the French Grand Prix ear­lier this year. Itʼs flat and, for all the vi­brant colour you see in pho­to­graphs, itʼs a bit fea­ture­less from the driver ʼs seat.

At times – not least the ap­proach to the chi­cane on the oth­er­wise flat-out Mis­tral Straight – itʼs not even clear where it goes. It is also, to use the jar­gon, a bit ʻtech­ni­calʼ. There are cor­ners that tighten awk­wardly, and un­com­pro­mis­ing kerbs. Itʼs easy to over-drive and itʼs tough on the car. Those are my ex­cuses, any­way.

The top crew of Olly Bryant and An­drew Smith had taken pole in the two pre­vi­ous rounds and Paul Ri­card turned out to be no dif­fer­ent. Their sil­ver His­torika-run car duly headed the time sheet. That said, the ever-re­li­able Nigel Green­sall was only a few thou­sandths of a sec­ond be­hind in Colin Pa­tonʼs light ivory car, while se­ries new­comer Ju­lian Lep­phaille an­nounced his ar­rival by qual­i­fy­ing third, in Jose Zanchet­taʼs re­cently-ac­quired sil­ver car with an Ar­gen­tinian flag on the bon­net.

Else­where, the heat, the cir­cuit and some hard rac­ing were tak­ing their toll. The at­tri­tion rate was rel­a­tively high again and a num­ber of cars did­nʼt make it to the race start – in­clud­ing one or two of the fan­cied run­ners who had shown good form in pre­vi­ous rounds.

As ever, the race started be­hind a pace car. As it de­vel­oped, a ta­lented mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist put in some quick times and moved into the lead. Sadly, it was­nʼt your cor­re­spon­dent, but Dickie Meaden who set a sear­ing pace – in­clud­ing a fastest lap – as he re­turned to the se­ries to share a car with co-founder James Turner. Could we be on for a late-sea­son up­set? Nearly, but not quite.

A longish pit stop by the green car and Turner ʼs stead­ier pace after the driver swap al­lowed Smith to ease back into the lead. The race went the full dis­tance and Smith and Bryant scored an­other win at the flag. A clean sweep for a

ta­lented and con­sis­tent crew in a well-pre­pared and re­li­able car – a per­for­mance made no less im­pres­sive by the fact that other car and driver com­bi­na­tions had at times been close and, oc­ca­sion­ally, quicker.

Ross Goodwin was sec­ond after an ac­com­plished solo drive in Sandy Wat­sonʼs car, while Turner and Meaden com­pleted the podium with a slightly emo­tional and wellde­served third. Fur­ther down the or­der, there were strong solo drives from Di­dier De­nat and Er­win van Lieshout. Steve Jones and Robert Bar­rie (who? – Ed) made a long over­due ap­pear­ance in the top ten as the lat­ter fi­nally al­most got his act to­gether. Fi­nally. Well, al­most.

Look­ing back at Spa, Di­jon and, now, Paul Ri­card, the first sea­son of the se­ries has been a re­mark­able suc­cess. Well done to all those re­spon­si­ble – you know who you are. If most of us wrote down what we wanted from a race se­ries this would be it. The grid num­bers have been good and so have the driv­ing stan­dards – the quick cars have been quick and the rest have been com­pe­tent.

The rac­ing has been close, yet con­tact has been min­i­mal. Some more estab­lished se­ries could use­fully take note. There have been com­pli­ance checks and, with very few ex­cep­tions, the cars have been cor­rect. Any­thing that has­nʼt been cor­rect has quickly been cor­rected. Just as im­por­tantly, the pad­dock has been a fun place to be right from the start, when none of us re­ally knew quite what to ex­pect. Cha­peau!

The plans for next sea­son are al­ready in the works – and so, as I un­der­stand it, are more cars. Itʼs pos­si­ble the se­ries will run at some ad­di­tional venues on the Peter Auto cal­en­dar and that the reg­u­la­tions will be tweaked slightly. If any­thing, how­ever, the theme is likely to be more of the same.

After such a suc­cess­ful first sea­son, itʼs not clear that sig­nif­i­cant changes are re­quired. For any­one who has been think­ing of join­ing the se­ries and wanted to see how the first sea­son turned out – come on in, the wa­ter is fine! CP

“SOME MORE ESTAB­LISHED SE­RIES COULD TAKE NOTE…”

Be­low: Paul Ri­card has to be the most colour­ful track in the cal­en­dar! Jo­han Dir­ickx’s ‘Art Car’ adds even more colour to the oc­ca­sion. A great im­age from the very ta­lented Jayson Fong

Above: The sec­ond-place car be­long­ing to Sandy Wat­son was solo driven by a de­ter­mined Ross Goodwin

Be­low left: Win­ning His­torikapre­pared car driven by Olly Bryant and An­drew Smith

Be­low right: From left to right, Ross Goodwin (third), Olly Bryant and An­drew Smith (over­all win­ners) and Dickie Meaden and James Turner (sec­ond) fill up the podium at Paul Ri­card

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