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Lyons king, with imperious Historic F1 display at Masters Festival

Saturday, May 27 2017

Michael Lyons kicked off this year's Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch with a fantastic victory behind the wheel of his Williams FW07B in the opening FIA Masters Historic Festival race of the weekend this afternoon (Saturday). Lyons was rarely troubled during a virtuoso performance, which was a joy to watch in the summer sun on the legendary Grand Prix circuit.

In truth, a Lyons victory was always likely, as the racer is renowned as one of the quickest competitors on the historic racing scene, though he was kept honest in the earlier qualifying session, during which it seemed as though the Tyrrells of Andy Wolfe and Martin Stretton may be able to apply some pressure. It wasn't to be, however, as Stretton was eliminated from the front-end of proceedings at the first corner, whilst Wolfe as involved in an incident with Arrows A4 racer Steve Hartley mid-way through the race.

Wolfe and Hartley's coming together was enough to summon the safety car, and promoted Nick Padmore (Shadow DN5) to second position, with the Ensign N180 of Simon Fish completing the top-three. With just four minutes remaining, Lyons resumed his charge away from the rest whilst the chasing pair was forced to negotiate backmarkers, more than ten seconds behind. The leading trio remained in those positions until the chequered flag, despite a late charge from Christophe D'Ansembourg in a Williams FW07C in pursuit of the final spot on the rostrum.

FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship, Brands Hatch, Race 1 result

1, Michael Lyons, Williams FW07B, 17 laps
2, Nick Padmore, Shadow DN5, +9.227s
3, Simon Fish, Ensign N180, +11.111s
4, Christophe D'Ansembourg, Williams FW07C, +12.997s
5, Gregory Thornton, Lotus 77, +14.510s

Earlier in the day, Steve Dance (Ford Capri) was victorious in the first of the weekend's two Historic Touring Car Challenge with Tony Dron Trophy races for retro touring cars, in a race of attrition, which included bad luck for a number of front-runners. Mark Smith (BMW M3 E30) seemed certain to take the honours for much of the distance before retiring, whilst British Touring Car Championship legends Patrick Watts and Steve Soper were both blighted with reliability woes in similar MG Metros. There was good news for another BTCC name though, as current ace Adam Morgan shared a second-place drive with Ric Wood in a Ford Capri.

The final race of the day was an intriguing, 90-minute endurance affair for the Stena Line Gentleman Drivers, for classic GT cars, with Michael Gans and Andy Wolfe taking home the silverware in their shared AC Cobra.

Aside from the afternoon's three races, there was a full morning's qualifying, setting the scene for a thrilling seven-race programme on Sunday. The Historic F1 cars will return on Sunday, as will the Historic Touring Car Challenge, whilst older tin tops will join in the fun too with the Masters Pre-'66 Touring Cars.

Sunday's action will also include races from the Stirling Moss Trophy and RAC Woodcote Trophy to celebrate sports car racing of the 1950s, whilst the long distance discipline's '60s period will be recreated by the FIA Masters Sports Cars with a centrepiece one-hour enduro. The final race of the meeting will be an invitational Classic Formula Ford fixture, as the popular single-seater class celebrates its 50th anniversary at its spiritual home.

In addition to all of the above, there will be a Cosworth DFV extravaganza to celebrate the dominant engine's golden anniversary. This will comprise a display area of cars close to the Kentagon restaurant, whilst many will take to the circuit at lunchtime for a demonstration run. The illustrious list of cars appearing includes examples of the groundbreaking Lotus 49, the innovative Lotus 88, and cars from McLaren and Williams - don't miss it.

Photo: Gary Hawkins

Tickets for the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch on Sunday 28 May are available on the gate for £28 with free entry for under-13s. For more information, please call 0843 453 9000 or click here.