3/4.8.2013

BRUSSELS GRAND PRIX

TRINTIGNANT UNTOUCHABLE

The writing was on the wall after Syracuse. Maurice Trintignant dominated there so there was far less of a surprise when he walked away from a high class Formula 2 field in the two-heat race at the Heysel circuit in Brussels.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

ENTRY

A slightly run-down area of the Belgian capital was chosen for this slightly unusual Formula 2 race. The circuit consisted of a run up and down both sides of a dual carraigeway before turning sharp left to wind through a series of tight corners, two hairpins joined by a long fast curve and then a long almost straight section before another hairpin set the cars through a fast left hand corner and back onto the main road again.

For reasons best known by themselves, the organisers decided that the race would be run in two separate heats. Nothing unusual about that but what was unusual was that it was a driver's finishing POSITIONS, not aggregate time that would determine his result. Thus someone with a first (1 point) and a 4th (4 points - total, 5) would be beaten by someone with two second places (4 points), even if the latter's total race time was slower....

Twenty-one cars arrived for the event with the local team, Equipe National Belge, pulling out all the stops with a three car entry. Two T.51 Coopers for Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi were supported by journalist Paul Frere in the team's older T.45. Jack Brabham headed the entry, hoping that the car would keep all four wheels attached this time. Ten other Coopers made up the majority of the entry; Schell and Bristow, the latter fresh from his fine victory at Oulton Park, were in the Yeoman Credit cars with single entries for Marsh, Lewis, Schlesser, Campbell-Jones, Seidel, Flockhart, Ballisat and last but not least Maurice Trintignant in his pretty blue, Syracuse-winning car.

Four Lotuses arrived - David Piper with his own bright green 16 and three rear-engined 18s from the Lotus factory with Ireland and Stacey being joined for the very first time by young Scottish driver Jim Clark. The other three cars on the entry were Porsches. Stirling Moss was to drive Rob Walker's dark blue car while Jo Bonnier arrived to give a debut to the factory 718. The third Porsche was one of the central seat RSK models, to be driven by Belgian driver Christian Goethals.

PRACTICE

Having gained much confidence from his Oulton Park victory, Chris Bristow topped the time sheet at the end of 1st practice. The Brussels lap is long and lap times were over the two minute mark. Bristow ended the session around half a second ahead of Trintignant who once again looked beautifully smooth in his Cooper. Bonnier was 3rd from Schell, Stacey and a rather surprised David Piper who was making up huge amounts of time through the twistier part of the circuit.

In complete contrast, although Clark settled himself in nicely in a brand new car Innes Ireland was having a nightmare. It didn't seem to matter what the Lotus mechanics tried, Innes simply could not get the car around the corners without huge oversteer and his time left him in 20th place on the list. Actually, 20th was last because the 21sr runner had no practice time at all. The Walker team simply could not get the Porsche's engine to run and so they set about installing a new unit. The second session saw considerable changes to the order with Jo Bonnier winding up the factory Porsche to take pole position by over half a second from Jack Brabham who finally found his self-run Cooper working as it should. Thus was Bristow relegated to 3rd on the grid but he maintained his slender advantage over Trintignant to cement another front row start. Joining Maurice on row 2 was Stacey in the quickest of the Lotuses but with newcomer Clark only half a second shy of the man from Essex. Piper improved his time but not by much and slipped to 11th while neither Schell nor Bianchi was able to lap quicker than they had in the first session.

And what of the two British hotshoes whose meeting had thus far been a disaster? Very little improvement in the case of Ireland. Innes managed to lop a huge 7 seconds from his earlier effort but that left him still down in 17th place and looking pretty miserable with the whole business. As for Stirling, he didn't push his new engine too hard and set 13th best time, 6 seconds off that of pole man Bonnier but he felt there was a lot more to come from the German car.

HERE IS THE FULL GRID ORDER FOR THE FIRST 35 LAP HEAT:

   1.
12
J. BONNIER PORSCHE 718
2.03'60
   2.
2
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.04'25
   3.
18
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.04'83
   4.
22
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.04'97
   5.
8
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18
2.06'04
   6.
6
J. CLARK LOTUS CLIMAX 18
2.07'46
   7.
20
H. SCHELL COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.07'57
   8.
24
O. GENDEBIEN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.07'60
   9.
38
R. FLOCKHART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.08'25
 10.
40
J. CAMPBELL-JONES COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.08'54
 11.
46
D. PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16
2.08'65
 12.
42
T. MARSH COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.09'30
 13.
10
S. MOSS PORSCHE 718
2.09'50
 14.
44
J. LEWIS COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.09'74
 15.
36
J. SCHLESSER COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.09'81
 16.
34
W. SEIDEL COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.10'02
 17.
4
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18
2.10'15
 18.
26
P. FRERE COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.10'63
 19.
30
K. BALLISAT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.10'99
 20.
28
L. BIANCHI COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.11'22
 21.
14
C. GOETHALS PORSCHE RSK
2.11'55
THE RACE - HEAT 1

Jack Brabham set off like a rocket from the middle of the front row, seemingly determined to put the disappointment of Syracuse behind him. However, once his lead had stretched to 5 seconds, it grew no more as Trintignant hung on to the green Cooper and as half distance approached the gap hardly changed. Meanwhile, Moss was rattling through the field having reached 6th by lap 7 and just before half distance he passed Maurice's Cooper to move into 2nd just 6 seconds behind Brabham with the gap still just 5 seconds between 1st and 2nd. Trintignant was not far behind the Walker Porsche with Bristow running 4th ahead of the impressive Clark who had his team mate Stacey behind him, though there was quite a gap between the two. But what of pole sitter Bonnier? Jo Bo started steadily, falling to 4th early on but then the Porsche's engine seized solid on lap 11 and that was that for the works Porsche.

Ireland was making good progress and by half distance he had reached 10th place and was closing on Lewis. His forward progress was aided by the retirements of Bonnier as well as Schell and Marsh, neither of who lasted past lap 6. Bianchi had also disappeared, having left the road on lap 2. Just as it began to appear that Brabham had the race in the bag he went straight on at one of the slow corners when the Cooper's brakes failed. Brabham's retirement on lap 23 coincided with Trintignant suddenly speeding up and Moss beginning to lose pace so that as lap 25 came around the Cooper was back ahead of the Porsche which slipped very quickly back into the clutches of Bristow who was quickly past Moss and away into a comfortable 2nd place. Behind Moss the three Lotuses ran 4th, 5th and 6th with Clark still leading the trio, although Ireland in 6th was lapped as the race neared its end.

So Trintignant ran out a worthy winner, 23 seconds ahead of Bristow with Moss in 3rd, the same distance behind the light green and red Cooper. Behind the three Lotuses, Gendebien came home 7th well ahead of Piper and behind the older Lotus, seven more Coopers completed the finishers - Goethals having stopped with transmission problems on lap 28.

RESULT OF HEAT 1:

   1.
22
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1. 15. 54'28
   2.
18
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 16. 17'51
   3.
10
S. MOSS PORSCHE 718
1. 16. 43'06
   4.
6
J. CLARK LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1. 17. 24'62
   5.
8
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1. 18. 00'26
   6.
4
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18
34 laps
   7.
24
O. GENDEBIEN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
34 laps
   8.
46
D, PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16
34 laps
   9.
36
J. SCHLESSER COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   10.
44
J. LEWIS COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   11.
34
W. SEIDEL COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   12.
38
R. FLOCKHART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   13.
40
J. CAMPBELL-JONES COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   14.
30
K. BALLISAT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   15.
26
P. FRERE COOPER CLIMAX T.45
33 laps
Fastest lap:   S. MOSS,   PORSCHE 718,   on lap 12,   2.05'28

THE RACE - HEAT 2

With Bonnier and Brabham not being allowed to start, the second heat proved to be a much more straight forward affair for Maurice Trintignant. Starting from pole position, having won the first heat, the pale blue Cooper led away and was never in any trouble for the entire 35 laps. His lead simply grew and grew maxing out around lap 25 at almost 50 seconds. From that point on, Bristow in second place began to reduce the gap by Le Petoulet was in complete control despite the Londoner setting fastest lap on lap 26. At the end the gap was still a massive 46 seconds. Jim Clark moved into 3rd place as early as lap 5 when Moss suffered transmission trouble in the Porsche. The Scot led Stacey in the second Lotus until lap 24 after which he allowed Alan through. The two Lotuses finished close together in 3rd and 4th places. Following his fine effort in the first race, the Ireland copybook was blotted by a spin out of the race on lap 8 although brake problems were blamed.

Olivier Gendebien looked comfortable in 5th place but a stuck throttle caused his retirement leaving David Piper to take that place ahead of the Coopers of Schlesser, who had a splendid race, Campbell-Jones, Lewis, Flockhart, Seidel and Ballisat. Frere had retired with engine trouble after 10 laps.

Once the results were announced, a remarkable fact emerged; the second heat turned out to be a huge amount faster than the first. Trintignant's winning time was not far off TWO MINUTES less than in heat 1 while both Stacey and Clark, who were well behind the leading two, had times faster than the heat 1 winner. Bristow's fastest lap was also almost a second and a half quicker than Moss' is the first race.

RESULT OF HEAT 2:

   1.
22
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1. 14. 01'57
   2.
18
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 14. 45'73
   3.
8
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1. 15. 47'50
   4.
6
J. CLARK LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1. 15. 50'24
   5.
46
D, PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16
1. 16. 14'92
   6.
36
J. SCHLESSER COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   7.
40
J. CAMPBELL-JONES COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   8.
44
J. LEWIS COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   9.
38
R. FLOCKHART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   10.
34
W. SEIDEL COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
   11.
30
K. BALLISAT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
34 laps
Fastest lap:   C. BRISTOW,   COOPER CLIMAX T.45,   on lap 26,   2.03'89

The method by which the overall result was decided gave rise to one anomaly but overall there was no doubt about the first two as Trintignant and Bristow had finished 1-2 in both races. Clark's 8 points achieved as a result of two fourth places trumped Stacey's 8 points, a fifth and a third, by virtue of a shorter total time. The one oddity was that Campbell-Jones was classified ahead of Flockhart and Seidel - as can be seen in the overall result below - despite having completed one lap less than the other two. Curious!

OVERALL RESULT:

   1.
22
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2 points
   2.
18
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
4 points
   3.
6
J. CLARK LOTUS CLIMAX 18
8 points
   4.
8
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18
8 points
   5.
46
D, PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16
13 points
   6.
36
J. SCHLESSER COOPER CLIMAX T.45
15 points
   7.
44
J. LEWIS COOPER CLIMAX T.45
18 points
   8.
40
J. CAMPBELL-JONES COOPER CLIMAX T.45
20 points
   9.
38
R. FLOCKHART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
21 points
   10.
34
W. SEIDEL COOPER CLIMAX T.45
21 points
   11.
30
K. BALLISAT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
25 points
Fastest lap:   C. BRISTOW,   COOPER CLIMAX T.45,   on lap 26 - heat 2,   2.03'89

Retired:
 
24
O. GENDEBIEN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
21 laps - heat 2
 
26
P. FRERE COOPER CLIMAX T.45
10 laps - heat 2
 
4
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18      7 laps - heat 2
 
10
S. MOSS PORSCHE 718
4 laps - heat 2
 
14
C. GOETHALS PORSCHE RSK
27 laps - heat 1
 
2
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.45
22 laps - heat 1
 
12
J. BONNIER PORSCHE 718
10 laps - heat 1
 
42
T. MARSH COOPER CLIMAX T.45
6 laps - heat 1
 
20
H. SCHELL COOPER CLIMAX T.51
3 laps - heat 1
 
28
L. BIANCHI COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1 lap - heat 1

Back to my home page.