It is the penultimate round of the 1985 World Sports Car Championship. Can Lancia repeat what was a hollow triumph, last time out, at Spa, after Stefan Bellof’s death? The Brands Hatch circuit ought to ideally suit the Lancia’s. They have swept the front row and likewise, it’s an all Rothmans Porsche second row, and an all TWR Jaguar third row. Green flag and we’re racing, at Brands Hatch! The cars have all gotten away from the starting line well and into Paddock Hill bend and the rest of the lap, for the first time. When the cars were in their race trim there was only ¼ of a second covering the top six! How close do you like it?
The familiar battle is taken up. It is Martini Lancia vs. Rothmans Porsche. Hans Stuck and Derek Bell know they must win this race to secure the world driver’s championship. Riccardo Patrese is inching out ahead of the Porsche’s right now, but the two of them also have the sister Lancia LC2, with Bob Wollek at the wheel of it, to contend with. Wollek is sharing in a three driver team with Mauro Baldi and also, Italian Andrea de Cesaris. Meanwhile, the sister car, #4, has its customary two driver lineup of Riccardo Patrese and Alessandro Nannini. Stuck and Wollek are side by side into Druids corner, and Wollek slams the door in Hans Stuck’s face, spinning him around like a top!
This won’t help Stuck’s aspirations for the driver’s title as he does a quick 360 handbrake turn, and keeps on trucking. Here’s a word of advice. Never believe a commentator, because they don’t have handbrakes in Porsche 962’s. Rothmans Porsche has already locked up the World Teams Championship, as we see the sister #1 car of Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass, also engaged in battle. They earned the teams title by finishing second in that depressing race at Spa, last time out. Porsche #2 is going for it, trying to get back on terms with the race leader as Jochen Mass tries inside Riccardo Patrese, look. Side by side and Jochen Mass takes the lead of the motor race from Patrese.
Hans Stuck in the #2 car has also made a fair pass on Patrese, demoting Lancia to third. It’s a Stuttgart steamroller so far, here at Brands Hatch. Not good for Jaguar. They are out of their home race here at Brands. The #51 Jaguar XJR6 with 1980 Formula 1 champion, Australia’s Alan Jones at the wheel of it, had a stuck throttle and the engine went ka-blammo as a result. Jones was sharing the car with France’s Jean-Louis Schlesser. This leaves just a sole Jaguar still in the race, the #52 car driven by Dutchman Jan Lammers, and Hans Heyer of Germany. Lammers used to drive for Porsche, and Heyer, used to drive for Lancia, but now, both are racing in British Racing Green colors for Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw.
Meanwhile, there’s a verbal sparring match back in the garages. Bob Wollek can’t help venting his frustration on Hans Stuck for the earlier dust up. Stuck is quite displeased with Wollek slamming the door right in his face and causing him to loop the Porsche around. The finger pointing and blame games begin. “It’s your fault! No, it’s your fault! Why did you slam the door on me?” “Oh, you call yourself a professional racing driver? In your dreams! Learn how to drive a sports car, buster!” Listen, lads. When you’re racing, you’re racing. That settles the argument. Now, both of you just forget this little kerfuffle, please.
So, after two rounds of pit stops, Lancia leads the race with the Patrese/Nannini #4 car. Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass run second, but Derek Bell, having taken over from Hans Stuck, he is now flying towards the front, storming along in third spot at the moment. Pit stop time, for Lancia. It’s scheduled fuel, tires, and a driver change to Patrese’s countryman, Alessandro Nannini. It’s surely game over for Jaguar. Now, the #52 car’s engine has cried enough. Jan Lammers and Hans Heyer are out. More trouble for Lancia. Their new recruit Andrea de Cesaris, the flamboyant Italian, he has had a clatter with the sister car. This cannot please Cesare Fiorio and the brass at Lancia. The team has had to come in and replace the turbocharger on that car.
The C2 class has seen domination, and will see a win by the #79 Ecosse, a car that has been at the front in C2 on a few occasions this year. But, the British team with two British drivers, Mike Wilds and Ray Mallock, they will win their home event, their second home event, since the WSC also raced at Silverstone earlier in the year. It’s not a good race for their rivals, world champions Ray Bellm and Gordon Spice. They retire from the race with suspension failure. In the meantime, Porsche #1 is in the lane. It’s a battle between the Rothmans cars to determine the winner here at Brands Hatch. The #1 machine had the upper hand for a good chunk of the race. However, they get dinged by the stewards with a ten second penalty for having fuel flow that is too fast.
It is the final round of fuel stops, and the Rothmans Porsche scrap is going right to the end of this thing. #2 is in the lane for service. Derek Bell will take it to the flag, and the #1 car if it crosses the start/finish line will be a lap up on it’s sister car. Derek Bell has now taken over #2 after the pit stop. They are just ahead of Jacky Ickx in car #1. Bell and Ickx are racing each other. Ickx closes to within 12 seconds, but it’s not enough. Derek Bell and Hans Stuck win at Brands Hatch! Not only do they win the battle, they will almost certainly win the war, and pocket the 1985 World Driver’s Championship, too.
Here are the results, from Brands Hatch.
- #2 Bell/Stuck Porsche 962C Rothmans Porsche
- #1 Ickx/Mass Porsche 962C Rothmans Porsche
- #5 Wollek/de Cesaris/Baldi Lancia LC2/85 Lancia Martini
- #4 Patrese/Nannini Lancia LC2/85 Lancia Martini
- #3 Schuppan/Holbert Porsche 956 Rothmans Porsche
A good result, too, for the 1983 spec Porsche 956 that Rothmans Porsche has kept around, to test the PDK semi-automatic gearbox, driven to fifth place by Vern Schuppan from Australia, and American IMSA Porsche racer, Al Holbert. In C2, the winner finishes in sixth overall.
#79 Mallock/Wilds Ecosse C285 Ford Cosworth Ecurie Ecosse
Derek Bell is extremely happy and grateful for a home win in front of his fans. Hans Stuck says the Brands Hatch triumph is their first real triumph. Only two races left in the season. All Bell and Stuck need to do, is finish in the top four in the next two races, to secure the crown.