Two weeks after the Nurburgring, we are in Jolly Old England once again, at Brands Hatch in Kent, for the Brands Hatch 1,000 Kilometers. This race counts only for the driver’s championship. Not the manufacturer’s cup. Thus, the Rothmans Porsche’s are skipping this event, so the field is wide open. 23 cars will start, including some from Group B, and GTX. We are perhaps, in this race, going to find out who the mystery driver “Victor” is. Despite the absence of the Rothmans backed 956’s, Stefan Bellof, is still here. He will race at Brands Hatch, in the #19 Brun Porsche 956, now labeled as Team Warsteiner, with sponsorship from Warsteiner beer, teaming with Harald Grohs.
The #14 Canon Porsche has changed little, except for having an extra wing element placed to the front of the car. The #70 Wasp Eze Spice, the Spice/Crang/Bellm machine, is quickest in the C2 division. The field is formed up and ready for a start. We have gorgeous blue, sunny skies to race under, and fans have packed the stands for Group C action. Lights out, and we’re off and racing! The #14 Canon Porsche 956 takes the lead into Paddock Bend. In the absence of the Rothmans cars, Jochen Mass is drafted in to share the #8 Joest Racing Porsche 956, to drive with Henri Pescarolo, replacing Stefan Johansson for this round of the championship.
Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell are not racing at Brands Hatch this weekend. Flying downhill to Hawthorne’s bend, Johnny Palmer leads and Bob Wollek is hot on his heels. Stefan Bellof and Jochen Mass are next in the queue. The Canon Porsche leads, and there’s all kind of pressure from the Lancia squad. Jochen Mass is second, but Johnny Palmer, the man is off and running away from the rest of the field like a scalded cat! Bellof wants by Bob Wollek, but the Frenchman from Strasbourg says “non”, and slams the door in his face. The #33 Skoal Bandit Porsche is next in line with David Hobbs and Thierry Boutsen again, sharing the car. Mass is opening a lead as the C2 leader, Almo Coppelli also appears for the first time, in the #81 Jolly Club Alba Gianinni Carma with its 1.8 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine.
It’s been a good while since we’ve seen Coppelli at the sharp end in C2, sharing with fellow Italians Carlo Facetti, and Martino Finotto. Coppelli is battling with the yellow #94 Grid S1 Ford Cosworth. British drivers Steve Thompson, Tony Lanfranchi, and Divina Galica share the car, but they’d later be disqualified after the race, for receiving outside assistance, and being pushed over the finish line instead of having the engine running. Mauro Baldi has assumed the lead of this motor race, driving the Lancia around Stefan Bellof. Baldi shares #5 with Pierluigi Martini and Bob Wollek, and there is a third Lancia again entered here at Brands Hatch, car #6 which didn’t start the race. It was an extra car that wasn’t needed. A spare car, if you will, that would have had the same driver team of Baldi/Martini/Wollek at the wheel of it.
Pit stop time and there’s problems for the #33 Skoal Bandit Porsche who had been running in fourth spot. The leading Canon Porsche is in the lane, coming to the attention of team manager Keith Green and the rest of the pit crew. Ditto for the #8 Joest Porsche. Jochen Mass and Henri Pescarolo on the driver’s strength. Pescarolo won his fourth 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier in the year, and his first, in a decade. The race leading Porsche is back in the fight, tires screeching up the hill out of pit lane. Both the Canon Porsche in C1, and the Spice Tiga in C2, have been unstoppable today. It was game over for Lancia, their challenge evaporated.
Paolo Barilla experienced déjà vu. He crashed out of the race, in exactly the same place he had in 1983 here at Brands. Car trouble has dropped the #19 Bellof/Grohs Porsche to fifth. Thierry Boutsen changed over to assist Rupert Keegan in the sister #55 Skoal Bandit Porsche 956 and will finish fifth, while in sixth, his team mate David Hobbs, who he was assisting earlier in the race, has Guy Edwards assist in co-driving to the end. It’s a fair driver swap on the Skoal Bandit team. But, it’s joy for the Canon Porsche team! They will earn their first ever FIA World Endurance Championship triumph! Congratulations, Johnny Palmer and Jan Lammers!
So, here are the results from Brands Hatch.
- #14 Lammers/Palmer Porsche 956 GTi Engineering/Canon Racing
- #8 Mass/Pescarolo Porsche 956 Joest Racing
- #55 Boutsen/Keegan/Edwards Porsche 956 Skoal Bandit Porsche Team
- #10 Sutherland/Fouche/Wilson Porsche 956 Porsche Kremer Racing
- #19 Bellof/Grohs Porsche 956 Team Warsteiner
- #33 Hobbs/Edwards/Boutsen Porsche 956 Skoal Bandit Porsche Team
Well done, to fourth place finishers, David Sutherland, George Fouche, and lady racer, Desire Wilson, all from South Africa, driving for Kremer Racing. Jochen Mass takes the lead in the driver’s championship, and just eight points cover the top five drivers. Covered by the proverbial blanket indeed. We are headed now, for the second half of the season. Next up, a visit to North America and the great Mosport International Raceway, in Canada, a week after Brands Hatch.