23.4.2013

GRAN PREMIO di SIRACUSA

MAURICE SURPRISES EVERYONE

NOT MANY WOULD HAVE NOMINATED THE LITTLE FRENCHMAN AS A LIKELY WINNER IN SICILY BUT FROM THE VERY START OF PRACTICE TO THE DROP OF THE CHEQUERED FLAG IT WAS VERY MUCH MAURICE TRINTIGNANT'S RACE.

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ENTRY

The first F.2 race of the 1960 season saw a very good quality entry assemble under the hot Sicilian sun for the 56 lap race around the triangular circuit on the western edge of the town.

Just as they did last year Ferrari sent one front-engined Dino 156 to the race. It was hoped that Wolfgang von Trips would be able to repeat the success that Jean Behra achieved a year earlier. This year there will be a very serious challenge to Ferrari and the British cars from a completely new source. Although we have seen converted sports Porsches quite a few times in the past and even a number of appearances by a factory-built single seater, this season Porsche are making a real effort to join in the fun. Eventually, we are told, there may be as many as five of the German cars at some races but leading the advance party in Sicily was none other than Stirling Moss himself, in a German car painted in the colours of his regular entrant Rob Walker.

Lotus led the British contingent with two of the tiny rear-engined 18s that ran so well in F.1 form in Argentina. There were two Coopers one in factory colours and Brabham's red nosed car. The one driven by Jack Brabham was entered by the driver himself, while Ron Flockhart's car was an Alan Brown entry. Yeoman Credit brought two of their light green and red cars for young Chris Bristow and their new recruit Harry Schell. Tom Threlfall came along with an old Cooper and the British entries were completed by the ungainly lump of a car that goes under the name of the Hume Climax - though apparently it is a re-bodied Cooper. They should have left it alone! This battleship grey car was driven by Ian Raby.

Five more Coopers completed the entry; three from France and two from Belgium. Olivier Gendebien and Paul Frere were in the yellow Belgian cars while Maurice Trintignant, Jo Schlesser and Bernard Collomb came south from France.

PRACTICE

Innes Ireland set the pace in the first practice session, topping the times with von Trips and Trintignant quite close behind him. Gendebien was a very encouraging 4th fastest but Moss was unhappy with the speed of the Porsche which was handling very nicely but lacking acceleration out of the corners, especially the slow hairpin at the eastern end of the track. Flockhart headed a bunch of five Coopers, all of who were ahead of Stacey, who Lotus seemed to be rather a handful. Behind Stacey, Threlfall was delighted to be ahead of Collomb, Frere and the lumbering Hume.

Later in the day the serious business got started and it was quite a surprise to see Trintignant's name at the top of the list but it was no fluke - Le Petoulet had the pretty blue T.45 flying around and he annexed pole position by just over three-tenths of a second from von Trips' Ferrari with Bristow producing a magnificent lap to join the blue car and the red car on the front row. This relagated Ireland to row 2 upon which he was joined by Stirling who lapped almost five seconds quicker than earlier but said that he could not compete with the cars ahead of him. Gendebien, Brabham and Flockhart made up row 3 with the new World Champion appearing rather subdued - probably thinking more about how to make the new F.1 T.53 more competitive. Stacey moved up to 9th from 11th in the morning, getting ahead of Schell and Schlesser and the rest followed on with Raby managing an improvement of over 6 seconds, to pop ahead of Frere whose Cooper was not running at all well despite much time and effort expended by the Equipe National Belge mechanics.

HERE IS THE FULL GRID ORDER FOR THE 56 LAP RACE:

   1.
14
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.57'65
   2.
16
W. von TRIPS FERRARI Dino 156
1.58'02
   3.
4
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.58'72
   4.
30
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1.58'98
   5.
20
S. MOSS PORSCHE 718
1.59'28
   6.
24
O. GENDEBIEN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.00'96
   7.
22
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.00'97
   8.
6
R. FLOCKHART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.02'11
   9.
18
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18
2.02'21
 10.
2
H. SCHELL COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.02'88
 11.
28
J. SCHLESSER COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.03'83
 12.
32
B. COLLOMB COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.05'03
 13.
36
T. THRELFALL COOPER CLIMAX T.45
2.07'98
 14.
30
I. RABY HUME CLIMAX
2.08'38
 15.
10
P. FRERE COOPER CLIMAX T.51
2.11'08
THE RACE

From the start Trintignant eased away from von Trips, Ireland and Moss, who initially hung on to the Lotus very well. Around a dozen laps in Trint seemed to take a breather, allowing the Ferrari to lead the race, raising the hopes of the locals, only to dash them ten laps or so later as he retook the lead and gradually pulled further away, slowly at first but towards the end Maurice seemed to be enjoying himself as he equalled the fastest lap that he had set as early as lap 6, on lap 54. Von Trips and Ireland ran close together for the rest of the race after the German lost his brief lead on lap 23. The Ferrari and the Lotus were never more than 5 seconds apart but the Scot was unable to get on terms with the red car, finishing less than 4 seconds behind.

Stirling Moss was a very frustrated 4th, quite depressed with the performance of the little blue car and he started his final lap just a couple of seconds before Trintignant took the chequered flag, so far behind had he slipped. At least he remained ahead of Bristow who was somewhat mystified at his inability to stay near the leaders. Chris ran 5th for the entire 56 laps. Brabham was in 6th place right behind the light green car early on and looked threatening but a front wheel departed on lap 13. When Flockhart retired his Cooper on lap 15 with brake problems it allowed Gendebien into 6th place where he stayed throughout the remainder of the race. Schell and Schlesser trundled around steadily to finish just one lap behind while Ian Raby was delighted to make it to the end, which Collomb, Threlfall and Frere didn't manage.

HERE IS THE FULL RESULT OF THE 56 LAP RACE:

   1.
14
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.45   1. 52. 18'46
   2.
16
W. von TRIPS FERRARI Dino 156   1. 52. 50'00
   3.
30
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18   1. 52. 53'88
   4.
20
S. MOSS PORSCHE 718   1. 54. 14'82
   5.
4
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51      55 laps
   6.
24
O. GENDEBIEN COOPER CLIMAX T.51      54 laps
   7.
2
H. SCHELL COOPER CLIMAX T.51      54 laps
   8.
28
J. SCHLESSER COOPER CLIMAX T.45      54 laps
   9.
30
I. RABY HUME CLIMAX      52 laps
Fastest lap:   M. TRINTIGNANT,   COOPER CLIMAX T.45,   on lap 6 & 54,   1.56'50
Retired:
 
36
T. THRELFALL COOPER CLIMAX T.45      33 laps
 
18
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18      32 laps
 
32
B. COLLOMB COOPER CLIMAX T.45      28 laps
 
10
P. FRERE COOPER CLIMAX T.51      15 laps
 
6
R. FLOCKHART COOPER CLIMAX T.45      14 laps
 
22
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.45      12 laps

SYRACUSE SNIPPETS

  • It will be very interesting to see if Trintignant can continue this excellent form in Brussels and Pau.
  • Hopefully the Porsche factory will be appearing with some cars in the near future. One is entered at Brussels.
  • Brabham made a very good start and was running really well when a front wheel departed.
  • As it is a self-entered car, Jack only has himself to blame.
  • Ireland had a good battle with the Ferrari but had to settle for a close third.
  • Neither Bristow nor Gendebien were able to maintain their practice speed and both were a little disappointed to be lapped.
  • Frere struggled for a few laps but there is a fundamental problem with the Belgian car.
  • Before the next international race in Brussels there is a British race at Oulton Park, at which no foreign participation is expected.

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