Historic Formula One Hockenheim 2012

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Historic Formula One Hockenheim 2012The 2012 season kicked off at Hockenheim as part of the Jim Clark Memorial event. Free practice on Friday was relatively uneventful and it was good to see newcomer, Chris Drake out in his Penske PC3 which he brought over from the US in preparation for the Monaco Historique. Qualifying on Saturday morning produced a few dramas with Steve Hartley gettting little running due to a cracked brake disc and a clutch problem. Richard Eyre fared even worse and failed to post a time when the engine failed on his first flying lap. The team completed an engine change in time for race 1 in the afternoon but Eyre was relgated to the back of the grid. Hartley’s clutch problems could not be fixed and meant he would be push started from the pit lane. This left Joaquin Folch with a relatively easy pole and his two main competitors starting at the back of the field. Race 1 got underway and as expected, Eyre made a blinding start, passing cars at virtually every corner and on every straight with Hartley not far behind. Eyre was up to 2nd by lap 2 and Hartley in 3rd by lap 4. Peter Meyrick and Nico Bindels were already in a battle over 4th and 5th which would last almost to the flag. Luciano Quaggia had suffered a misfiring engine on the warm up lap and a quick return to the pits failed to find the cause. Quaggia soldiered on for several laps but the engine finally expired with an ignition problem. Patrick D’Abreby, Chris Drake and Michel Baudoin had relatively lonley runs while a three way battle developed in mid-field between Terry Sayles, Abba Kogan and John Delane, with Sayles finally getting the upper hand. Up front, Folch had an easy run, managing the gap back to the battling Eyre and Hartley with Hartley outbraking Eyre going into the first corner on lap 10 and pulling out a small gap which he maintained until the end. In the last few laps, the ever improving Philippe Bonny managed to pass Michel Baudoin but it all went wrong for Mayrick and Bindels when they had a coming together on the last lap half way through the stadium complex, putting both cars out on the spot but with Meyrick still taking class honours. The weather forecast for Race 2 on Sunday suggested rain might be a factor and FIA Race Director, John Felix, got the race underway slightly early in the hope of avoiding the weather. Abba Kogan in the fabulous Matra V12 got away even earlier than everyone else and earned himself a penalty for a jumped start! The opening laps wre almost a reply of Race 1 with Eyre and Hartley once again powering through the field to be running 2nd and 3rd by the end of lap 2. This time however, Eyre was mainitaining a gap back to Hartley and seemed, for a while, to be gaining on Folch. Delane and D’Abreby had a brief fight before D’Abreby passed Delane and pulled away. Kogan, Sayles and Baudoin also had a three way battle until Sayles pulled clear and Kogan retired the Matra. By lap 8, it seemed as though the positions were settled and the race effecctively over. Then the rain came. With only 8 laps left and the rain relatively light, the drivers had little choice but to continue in the increasingly slippery conditions on slick tyres. Folch’s lead was reduced from 11 to 8 seconds in one lap and Hartley was now on the tail of Eyre. On lap 9, Eyre came past the pits in the lead with a 4 second gap to Folch and Hartley. Folch’s Brabham was not coping with the changing conditions and the usually sure footed Spaniard had spun allowing Eyre past while delaying Hartley. It looked like it was just a matter of time before Hartley picked off Folch but having made the pass on lap 10, the Arrows was then off and sailing through the gravel before a light impact with the tyre wall. This allowed Eyre a comfortable run to the finish and a remarkable result from the “Essex Boy” after his engine woes in qualifying. A humble Folch admitted to another spin in the closing laps as did Chris Drake who still managed to take a class victory on his HFO debut.Tags: