Jerez is a fantastic circuit with good facilities but this is where my friend Martin Donnelly had his horrendous accident in the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix on a corner with way too little run-off and I can’t help feeling angry about that. The circuit has changed as a result of the accident and there is a chicane and large gravel trap where Martin’s Lotus speared off the road and into the Armco just a few feet from the track edge.
Anyway, enough of that! A slight bounce in grid numbers from a week ago saw 8 cars take to the track. Still not what we expect for HFO but with a number of drivers planning to get back into action next year, we look forward to better grids in 2013.
In the past few years, the title battle has gone down to the wire but with the overall Championship and all class Championships decided before arriving, there was a very relaxed atmosphere in the paddock. I think the 26 degree heat helped!
With the return of Bobby Verdon-Roe in his McLaren MP4, Q1 produced a battle for pole with local hero Joaquin Folch. BVR came out on top but this circuit, with it’s many corners, is tough on transmissions and Philippe Bonny in the Trojan suffered an input shaft failure. To his dismay, the spare was the wrong length and being the oldest car on the grid using a unique gearbox, no other team had a suitable spare and so Philippe’s weekend came to an early end.
Q2 saw BVR struggle with a re-occurence of a fuel pressure problem which had dogged him at the end of 2011 and was thought to be cured. Folch closed the gap but couldn’t quite match BVRs Q1 time to take pole. Abba Kogan driving the gorgeous Omnium Ventures owned Ligier JS17 with it’s fantastic sounding Matra V12 engine was towed back to the pits having run out of fuel.
According to Hall & Hall mechanic Andy Willis, having not run for some time, the team did not have accurate fuel consumption data for the car. Abba was enjoying himself so much in the cars first race following a complete restoration, that he failed to come into the pits for a quick check over. Sadly a thorough check later in the day revealed that a driveshaft had started to disintegrate and running out of fuel had actually saved the car from potential significant damage. Unfortunately that meant we also lost the Ligier from the grid along with the Trojan.
Following a thorough inspection, BVR’s team thought they had found the fuel pressure problems in th MP4 when a loose pipe was discovered inside the fuel tank. A quick run in the Sunday morning warm-up confirmed that…….the problem was still there! Bobby had brought his McLaren M26 along to the circuit and it was agreed he could run that car but would be relegated to the back of the grid. The good news is the MP4 problem was finally identified, we think, but BVR did not want to take the chance of a problem in the race.
As the race got underway, BVR made an impressive start to be third at the first corner and second by the end of lap 1. However Folch, in the Brabham BT49 was not going to be easy to beat. Behind these two, Richard Eyre in the Williams FW08 and Nico Bindels in the Lotus 87B were closely matched.
The gaps between the first 4 cars ebbed and flowed but Folch and BVR were pulling away from Eyre and Bindels. On lap 10, BVR closed on Folch but the Spaniard responded and held the gap to finish the victor. Meanwhile behind these two, Bindels was steadily closing on Eyre and the gap continued to come down as they crossed the line with just a second between them.
To the delight of the large Spanish crowd, Folch was presented with the Tio Pepe trophy that was awarded to Ayrton Senna upon winning the first GP held at Jerez in 1986 when he held off Nigel Mansell by 14 hundredths!
That’s 2012 finished. Watch this space for news of the 2013 season.
|Position||No||Name||Difference||Class||Class Place||Car||Time||Fastest||In Lap||Ave Speed KPH|
|1||7||Joaquin Folch (ES)||C||1||Brabham BT49C||25:44:517||1:40:745||2||158.230|
|2||8||Bobby Verdon-Roe (GB)||8.266||B||1||McLaren M26||25:52:783||1:41:982||4||156.310|
|3||6||Richard Eyre (GB)||21.195||C||2||Williams FW08||26:05:712||1:42:416||2||155.648|
|4||17||Nico Bindels (LUX)||22.208||C||3||Lotus 87B||26:06:725||1:42:736||2||155.163|
|5||3||Terry Sayles (GB)||1 Lap||D||1||Osella FA1D||26:18:480||1:49:969||2||144.958|
|6||14||Michel Baudoin (FR)||1 Lap||B||2||Hesketh 308E||26:51:240||1:50:210||12||140.808|
|-||8||Abba Kogan (BR)||DNS||C||Ligier JS17|
|-||23||Phillipe Bonny (FR)||DNS||B||Trojan T103|
NB Verdon-Roe ran with number 8 after switching cars and Kogan had withdrawn.
|Driver||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4||Rnd 5||Rnd 6||Rnd 7||Rnd 8||Rnd 9||Rnd 10||Total|