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Williams F1 victory kicks off Masters Festival at Brands Hatch

Saturday, May 28 2016

The Masters Historic Festival got underway at Brands Hatch today (Saturday), with classic cars spanning five decades of motor racing history on the majestic Grand Prix circuit.

Nick Padmore won the opening FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship race of the weekend, having started from pole position. However it was not a straightforward run in his 1981 Williams FW07C, for the fast-starting 1980 Tyrrell 010 of Loic Deman led much of the race.

The pair pulled away from the pack and settled into a tense fight for the lead, but a mid-race safety car period closed the field once more. Deman's start was judged to be a little too quick, and he was penalised, but not before Padmore had seized the initiative at the restart, and stormed into a lead he would not relinquish.

Behind the leaders, historic F1 ace Michael Lyons made excellent progress after taking over his father's Hesketh 308E after the McLaren M26 he qualified was unable to start the race. The safety car aided his cause, but it took him several attempts to pass Mike Wrigley's Williams FW07D. Nevertheless, with Deman excluded from the result having ignored a drive-through penalty for his startline misdemeanour, Lyons was promoted to second overall.

Greg Thornton's ex-Elio de Angelis Lotus 91 took fourth place from the Ensign of Simon Fish, who had been battling the Arrows A4 of Steve Hartley for the final podium place earlier in the race. Hartley fell to eighth place in the end.

FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship Race One
1, Nick Padmore, Williams FW07C, 17 Laps
2, Michael Lyons, Hesketh 308E, +16.137s
3, Mike Wrigley, Williams FW07D, +19.113s
4, Gregory Thornton, Lotus 91/5, +19.402s
5, Simon Fish, Ensign N180, +21.796s

Elsewhere, Andrew Newall's mighty JCB-owned McLaren M8F won the opening Can Am 50 Interserie encounter at a canter from Frank Beadley's March 717.

A huge grid contested the Masters Three Hour Race, which ran a shortened distance following an oil spillage earlier in the day. The opening laps were dominated by Ford GT40s, recalling the car's Le Mans success half a century ago.

As the race progressed, the three GT40s exchanged positions, with the car of Roger Wills and James Littlejohn powering into a decent lead, eventually winning by over 12 seconds from the Tony Wood/Martin Stretton car. Completing a clean sweep on the podium was the Jason Wright/Andy Wolfe GT40.

The Masters Historic Festival steps up a gear tomorrow, with eight races, including three historic F1 encounters for two eras of the sport; the 1930s to early 60s and the late 60s to early 80s. The day gets underway with a free pit walk at 9:05am, with racing commencing at 11:10.

The centrepiece of Sunday's entertainment will be a tribute to 1976 World Champion James Hunt. A display of cars associated with Britain's Grand Prix hero will be demonstrated on the track, and Freddie Hunt will be in attendance. Guest of honour at the event, Freddie will be signing a new publication about his father.

Main raceday tickets for the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch on Sunday 29 May are available on the gate for £26, with free entry for under-13s. For more information, please call 0843 453 9000 or click here.