Monza Historic Festival – May 29-30
With Le Mans getting in the way of faster reporting, Gabriele Tosi forwards this report from Monza at the end of May.

This year the entry list in all classes (F2, F1, Touring, F1 pre-'61 and GT/GTS) was very disappointing. Every class struggled to top 20 cars on the grid. In 2001 we had two Touring classes with 40+ cars and in GT/GTS a ‘mere’ 35 and also we had a wonderful race for Sportscars with 30 cars (such as 917, GT 40, Chevron, Lola etc…)

Anyway, this year only 23 cars took part in the two qualifying session for the two 1 hour races with combined result at the end. Between the 20th and 40th minutes, the cars had to pit and change drivers, if there were two, or stop for a little longer if there was only one man at the wheel.

Race 1
The pole was taken, surprising everyone, by the Elva Buick 160 of Rosina / Vairo, in front of another surprise the Bizzarrini 5300 GT of Paul Koppenwaller. The pair was ahead of the ever-fan-favourite AC Cobra of Bernard Perus and Philippe Harper. This trio almost immediately broke away from the pack (almost 2-3 seconds per lap, sometimes more) and had a great battle until the pit-stops. It was very good to see such different types of cars battling nose to tail, with the AC Cobra passing the other two on the straight only to be out-braked by the very light Elva in the chicanes.

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At the pit-stop the Bizzarrini dropped back, due to a slower driver, while the Elva emerged some 15 seconds in front of the Cobra. But Perus, now driving the Cobra, was taking about 1.5 seconds per lap off the Elva, then passed the little sportscar and eased away…only to drop back in the last three laps, due to unknown problems.

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But in the meantime the Bizzarrini was ripping into the gap to the two front runners and thanks to the Cobra’s problems, passed the muscle car and installed itself in second…but there were dramas on the last lap: the Elva was slowing and the Bizzarrini took a very unexpected win, in front of the Cobra and the Elva. A lap back was the 911 of Marzatico / Marzatico, always sideways, and a marvellous black Jaguar E-Type of Baldi (Mauro?).

Race 2
In the break on Sunday, as usual, we had a monster parade of Historic registered cars, both racing and road ones: it was a monster field of cars, three wide, starting on the main straight and ending only at the exit of the Ascari!!! Many types of cars were present from the early ‘30s to the Hot Rods, the Corvette (all models) and even a GT40.

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After the three-way battle in race 1 the fans (quite a large number) expected at least an equal battle in race 2. Only 14 cars took the green flag (no Jaguar, sadly) owing to technical problems and insufficient time to make repairs.

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The same trio rocketed away from the slim pack behind them, but this time the Cobra was the strongest, in front of the Bizzarrini and then the Elva. The second race saw the “slower” drivers to take the start and clearly the Cobra driver was faster than the Elva one. Behind these three, the tiny pack is led by the two 911s of Marzatico / Marzatico (in rally style mode at the Ascari, but I suspect all round the track) and the other identical car of Chiminelli / Bordignon.

Remember this second race will be aggregate to the first one… anyway the Cobra was gaining a little time on the Elva and the Bizzarrini, and after the pit-stops was still gaining some time on the other two. After two-thirds distance, the Cobra was slowing a little (tyre problems, and a little excursion at the Ascari) while the Elva wasn’t able to gain time and the Bizzarrini established itself (on the aggregate time) on the top of the list.

Nothing changed until the end so on the final result saw the Bizzarrini win in front of the AC Cobra then the Elva and the two ‘rallying mode’ 911s.

It was a very disappointing w/end in some respects, with very few cars and a rather empty paddock: it seems the lack of money also strikes the Historic World… perhaps next year we will have a better calendar. But at least we had the historic cars at the LMES round at Monza.

Also in the photo collection, some exciting moments from the Touring races and the usual Tyrrell P34 as well the Jackie Stewart Tyrrell.
Gabriele Tosi

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