Round 5: Spa Francorchamps 1,000 Kilometers Circuit de Spa Francorchamps, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, September 4, 1983 & bonus coverage, Round 6: Brands Hatch 1,000 Kilometers Kent, England, September 18th, 1983

Round five of the championship is at the legendary, infamous Spa Francorchamps track in the Ardennes forest of Belgium.  In practice, it’s wet, and the conditions are treacherous.  Now, we have fewer entries for this race, obviously, than we did at Le Mans.  That being said, Ford and the Zakspeed team return to action.  Zakspeed have entered their Jagermeister sponsored Zakspeed Group C car powered by the 1.8 liter turbo four cylinder Ford Capri engine for Klaus Niedzwiedz and Klaus Ludwig.  Zakspeed isn’t a full on factory team, but they are here.

Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass have pole, with their team mates Stefan Bellof and Derek Bell, second. It’s a Rothman’s Porsche lockout of the front row.  Pole time for Ickx and Mass was 2:09.38.  Let’s look at the top qualifiers.

  1. #1 Ickx Mass Porsche 956        Rothman’s Porsche
  2. #2 Bellof/Bell Porsche 956        Rothman’s Porsche
  3. #21 Warwick/Konrad Porsche 956        Porsche Kremer Racing
  4. #4 Patrese/Fabi Lancia LC2/83     Martini Racing
  5. #11 Fitzpatrick/Hobbs Porsche 956        Fitzpatrick Racing
  6. #43 Ludwig/Niedzwiedz Zakspeed C1/4 Ford Jagermeister Ford Zakspeed Team
  7. #33 Stuck/Grohs/Brun Porsche 956  Brun Motorsport GmbH
  8. #6 Francia/Barilla Lancia LC2/83  Euro TV Mirabella Racing
  9. #8 Johansson/Wollek Porsche 956  Sorga S.A.
  10. #5 Ghinzani/Fabi/Alboreto Lancia LC2/83  Martini Racing
  11. #14 Lammers/Boutsen Porsche 956  Canon Porsche
  12. #12 Merl/Heyer/Wollek Porsche 956 Sorga S.A.

There’s your top dozen as we prepare to start the Spa 1,000 Kilometers.  We’re underway at Spa!  Flying towards Eau Rouge for the first time, it’s Rothman’s Porsche ahead, just as they started.  Jochen Mass and Stefan Bellof run 1-2 as Derek Warwick slots into third with the Kremer Porsche.  Michele Alboreto in the Lancia is fourth.  The Zakspeed Ford remains in sixth, where it started, Klaus Ludwig at the wheel of it to start this motor race, and John Fitzpatrick comes next in the #11 Porsche 956 he owns and drives, along with David Hobbs.

The intra-team rivalry at Rothman’s Porsche is well underway, as Jochen Mass and Stefan Bellof have scurried away from everyone else.  Through the La Source hairpin, down the straight, and up to Eau Rouge another time.  Derek Warwick has the Kremer Porsche into third, teaming with Germany’s Franz Konrad.  There’s a huge scrum though, for fourth on back.  Three brands fight for one spot.  That shows the mechanical variety in Group C racing.  Porsche vs. Lancia vs. Ford.  Oh dear!  We have a wreck.  Stefan Johansson has spun off the road in the Joest Porsche 956, the Sorga S.A. run car.

Johansson had a coming together with Michele Alboreto in the Lancia.  This could shake up the world championship standings, as we see the battle between Jacky Ickx and Stefan Bellof continue.  Now, Bellof is in the lane for a scheduled pit stop and a driver change.  He will hand Porsche #2 to Derek Bell.  The boys at Rothman’s Porsche are aware it’s game over for Bob Wollek and Stefan Johansson, and those two have already retired from this motor race.  Next lap, and the #1 Rothman’s Porsche hits the lane.  Jochen Mass, out, and Jacky Ickx in.  The battle is hot and heavy still, here at Spa Francorchamps.

John Fitzpatrick continues to run in fourth, having taken over the car he owns from David Hobbs.  Michele Alboreto is fifth in the sister Lancia.  Derek Bell and Stefan Bellof lead the Spa 1,000 kilometers for another 66 laps, between lap 26 and lap 82.  Bad luck for Kremer Porsche.  The flat six in the back of the Boss #21 Warwick/Konrad driven 956 has gone ka-blammo.  A great shame, because the duo was on the podium, practically, before the gremlins took over.  Porsche #2 is in the lane for what seems to be a routine stop, but a brake pad change is necessary on the car.

Plus, Bellof and Bell were struggling with fuel consumption, and thus, this hands the lead back to Mass and Ickx in the sister car.  More trouble for the competition.  Michele Alboreto is out as the Lancia has a transmission issue.  Bob Wollek also took over Porsche 956 #12 for Sorga S.A./New Man.  Wollek has crashed out, and it’s day done for he, Volkert Merl, and Hans Heyer.  Jacky Ickx has a minute lead over Derek Bell.  Onto the last lap, Jacky Ickx will win his home race!  Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass win the Spa 1,000 Kilometers!  John Fitzpatrick and David Hobbs bring the #11 Porsche 956 home in third!  A podium placing, is the best finish these chaps have had in all of 1983 so far.

It’s a Rothman’s Porsche 1-2.  Bell and Bellof come home second.  Lancia finish sixth and seventh, with the privateer car #6 of Paolo Barilla of Italy, and countryman Giorgio Francia, finishing ahead of the Martini backed factory cars.  Here are the results after the 144 laps that made up the Spa 1,000 Kilometers.

  1. #1 Ickx/Mass Porsche 956                        Rothman’s Porsche Team
  2. #2 Bellof/Bell Porsche 956                        Rothman’s Porsche Team
  3. #11 Fitzpatrick/Hobbs Porsche 956                        Fitzpatrick Racing
  4. #33 Stuck/Grohs/Brun Porsche 956                       Brun Motorsport GmbH
  5. #18 Lassig/Plankenhorn/Regout Porsche 956     Obermaier Racing GmbH
  6. #6 Francia/Barilla Lancia LC2/83     Euro TV Mirabella Racing
  7. #4 Patrese/Fabi Lancia LC2/83     Martini Racing

After Spa, Porsche are your manufacturer’s champions in the FIA WEC for 1983.  Lancia can still finish, but they have only scored a measly 11 points all year.  Jacky Ickx takes over the driver’s championship points lead from Bob Wollek, by 14 points, 70-56.  There was a race after Spa.  Round six took place at the Brands Hatch 1,000 Kilometers at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, England.  A smaller field entered that race, which was won by the #11 John Fitzpatrick Racing Porsche 956 of Derek Warwick and John Fitzpatrick.  David Hobbs did not drive the car, at Brands Hatch.

Mass and Bell are hanging in there, as we finish the European leg of the season, and move next, to Japan and the speedway at Mount Fuji.


Published by

the braking zone

International racing fan for over 20 years. I follow Formula One, Indycars, sports cars, touring cars and other varied forms of racing within and outside the U.S. I am a recent college graduate and have been following the world of car racing since childhood.

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