Two weeks later, we remain in Italy. Only this time, we are set to race the Monza 1,000 Kilometers, at a very windy Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, outside of Milan, Italy. Lancia sweeps the front row in qualifying, with the #4 car, setting the pace in the hands of Riccardo Patrese and Alessandro Nannini, which should make the home fans very happy. The Lancia’s were on top in practice, and only the Brun Porsche could even come close. Things were going pear shaped, however, for Rothmans Porsche. It was more than pear shaped, it was catastrophe! Hans Stuck’s #2 Rothmans Porsche 962 caught fire and was totally gutted.
Stuck was quoted as saying, after the accident, “I hated to lose the car, but I didn’t want to go to heaven just yet.” Hans Stuck and Derek Bell will have to revert to their spare car, a 1983 spec Porsche 956. We have a close up look, at the engine’s brain, a computer chip, that will control the fuel flow into the engine. The field of the world’s greatest sports cars, winds its way down towards the Parabolica, on the pace lap, readying for the race to begin. The home crowd, expects nothing less than a victory for Lancia. This could be very close, this race. Lancia runs side by side into the first turn, as the race is underway! Riccardo Patrese jumps into the lead.
The Lancia’s run 1-2 and we see the #14 Canon Porsche 956 coming next, with the driving duo of Jonathan Palmer and Jan Lammers. Once again, this race is a fuel strategy battle. 510 liters in each tank. Stick to the strategy and you’ll do well. Jochen Mass has gone around Hans Stuck. Debuting in th C2 division is the Bovis sponsored Ecurie Ecosse team car, the Ecosse E285 with the Swindon Engines built 3.0 liter Ford Cosworth Vm8 in the back, shared by the British duo of Ray Mallock and Mike Wilds. Mallock and Wilds were supposed to share with third driver David Leslie, for an all British trio. But, it is a duo, as Leslie would never get into the car.
Their competition, Carlo Facetti, Martino Finotto, and Guido Dacco, in the Alba Giannini Carma AR6, is close at hand. There is also an early scrap between the Kremer Porsche and the Brun Porsche. Manfred Winkelhock, sharing with Marc Surer, is in pursuit of Thierry Boutsen, sharing with Stefan Bellof. It’s the new Porsche 962C vs. the former generation Porsche 956 that has been around for two or three seasons. Deary me! Its déjà vu all over again for Canon Porsche. Jan Lammers and Johnny Palmer have lost their left front wheel, look. Lancia runs 1-2 as Rothmans Porsche are in the pit lane. There’s a small brake fire on the #1 car. Hans Stuck has had a hard stint and is now out of the car, but he looks unhappy and needs some rest. Meanwhile, Derek Bell takes the #3 Rothmans Porsche back on track. Remember, their T-car, the #2, which they normally drive, was barbecued during practice.
Meanwhile, it is pit stop time as well, for Lancia, as Riccardo Patrese is set to hand the driving chores to Alessandro Nannini. Lancia Martini has found reliability and fuel consumption as Ray Mallock in the Ecosse retakes the lead in the C2 class. Martino Finotto and company for those boys, it’s arriva derci and game over, at least in their second home race here at Monza. Kremer Porsche comes in for a pit stop. Marc Surer, out, and Manfred Winkelhock into the car. Now, folks, we have a problem in the weather department. It is a gorgeous day here at Monza, but the winds are blowing at gale force. Gordon Spice and Ray Bellm have taken over the race lead in C2. Manfred Winkelhock and Marc Surer are fifth in the overall at this stage.
We’ll have to watch the wind speed. It’s getting pretty gusty out there. Pit stop time again, for the leaders, for routine fuel. Lancia will rejoin out of the lane, in third spot. Winkelhock and Surer, these guys are leading the motor race at this stage, the privateer Porsche. However, they have to dive to pit lane for fuel, soon. Hans Stuck and Derek Bell, they have the #3 Porsche up to second spot. Patrese and Nannini are hanging on to third. With each passing lap, each passing minute, the winds are blowing more fiercely here at Monza. The leaves are swirling all around, in the spring. Yours truly doesn’t like the look of this.
Branches are snapping off the trees because of the wind, and this is beginning to affect the cars as the #7 Joest New Man Porsche of Paolo Barilla of Italy and Hans Heyer from Germany, they pit for a new nose. The tree branches have damaged their primary nose. Suddenly, the race is stopped. The marshals have called off the remainder of the Monza 1,000 Kilometers. You aren’t going to believe this, but, after 138 laps of the race (494.5 miles), a tree has fallen… timber! It has fallen right across the circuit. The marshals clear away the sections of the trunk of the tree after it was cut apart. Would you believe that Manfred Winkelhock, and Marc Surer, are the winners of this race? It’s true.
Kremer Porsche wins it. Marc Surer replies to commentator Brian Kreisky’s comment, “the lucky tree, right?” “Yes! This tree was like a Christmas tree!” said Surer. So, it is all smiles for the team of Surer and Winkelhock, but all frowns for Thierry Boutsen and Stefan Bellof at Brun Porsche. Here are the Monza results.
- #10 Surer/Winkelhock Porsche 962C Kremer Porsche
- #2 Stuck/Bell Porsche 962C Rothmans Porsche
- #4 Patrese/Nannini Lancia LC2/85 Martini Lancia
- #1 Ickx/Mass Porsche 962C Rothmans Porsche
- #14 Palmer/Lammers Porsche 956 Richard Lloyd Racing with Porsche
Now, there’s a post-race twist. Stefan Bellof and Thierry Boutsen refueled their Porsche too fast. So, the #18 Brun Porsche is excluded. So, here’s the driver’s championship table after Monza. Surer and Winkelhock are tied on 35 points for the lead, followed by Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass on 30 points, and Hans Stuck and Derek Bell, tied for fifth with 15 points. Next up, Silverstone and the 1,000 Kilometers at the Northamptonshire, England, circuit in three weeks.