18th June 2010
PRIX de PARIS, MONTLHÈRY
Finally, we come to the very last event in my 1958 season. This is an F.2 race on the partly banked Montlhèry circuit just to the south of Paris.
A reasonable entry has been invited, although of the sixteen cars only two are not Coopers. Ivor Bueb is bringing his silver Lotus 12 and Mike Parkes is having another outing with the unusual Fry Climax.
Jack Brabham showed sensational speed in first practice, lapping no less than 3.5 seconds quicker than second man Bruce McLaren. In final practice Bruce actually bettered Jack's best from the first session, by just a couple of tenths but the Aussie responded by going even faster although only half a second quicker than his young 1959 F.1 team-mate. Ian Burgess was a good 3rd, though three seconds slower than McLaren. Thereafter, times were much closer, with Jim Russell setting 4th best time, followed by Lewis, Marsh, Bueb, Collomb and Schell. Keith Ballisat went very well in his first F.2 race and lined up 12th, with Mike Parkes beating Bianchi into last place, mainly because the Belgian's engine failed in first practice and the newly installed motor was still not running well in final practice.
The rate at which Brabham pulled away from the rest at the very beginning of the race was quite breathtaking. By lap 8 the Australian was 27 seconds ahead of McLaren and the race was over. The gap widened all the way through the race and the final winning margin was 1 minute 26 seconds! After a brief duel with Ian Burgess' Cooper, which retired on lap 18, dropping oil on a tight left-hander, McLaren was able to cruise into 2nd place a further 40 seconds ahead of the third place man. Into 3rd came a jubilant Harry Schell who, for once, made no mistakes and had his best race since his victory at Pau with the B.R.M many many months ago.
There were a large number of retirements, mainly due to engine problems, the two long fast straight section out of and back into the stadium area taking their toll. Burgess' oil caused George Wicken to crash, the maroon Cooper turning over but happily without serious injury to its driver, while Tony Marsh lost it on the banking and was fortunate to hit the retaining wall and avoid a flying escapade. All the other retirements were mechanical.
Mention must be made of two very creditable performances; André Guelfi found his car going as never before and he stormed past several cars, eventually reaching 5th place. He was followed home by debutant Keith Ballisat who drove the Gibson Cooper beautifully.
HERE IS THE FULL RACE RESULT:
|1.||8||J. BRABHAM||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||1. 40. 16'63|
|2.||20||B. MCLAREN||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||1. 41. 42'39|
|3.||6||H. SCHELL||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||1. 42. 22'64|
|4.||12||J. LEWIS||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||39 laps|
|5.||4||A. GUELFI||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||39 laps|
|6.||22||K. BALLISAT||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||39 laps|
|7.||28||H. TAYLOR||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||38 laps|
|Fastest lap: B. MCLAREN, COOPER CLIMAX T.45, on lap 8, 2.25'47|
|2||B. COLLOMB||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||36 laps|
|30||J. CAMPBELL-JONES||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||33 laps|
|18||T. MARSH||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||33 laps|
|16||I. BUEB||LOTUS CLIMAX 12||26 laps|
|10||G. WICKEN||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||17 laps|
|26||I. BURGESS||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||17 laps|
|14||J. RUSSELL||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||14 laps|
|24||L. BIANCHI||COOPER CLIMAX T.45||11 laps|
|32||M. PARKES||FRY CLIMAX||0 laps|
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