The HISTORIC RACECAR ASSOCIATION at HOCKENEHEIM, GERMANY,
26th and 27th April 2002.
My friend Thilo Figaj reports from the newly renovated Hockenheim circuit.
The season opener of the Historic Racecar Association (HRA) at Hockenheim on April 26/27 saw 21 formula cars, as usual of different eras and classes. The series GERMAN OPEN is for 1000, 1600 and 2000cc F3 cars, historic Formula Fords and similar small capacity formulae. The organizers for this weekend were Porsche GTP series.
Hockenheim nears completion of the GP circuit. The short circuit is ready. It was redesigned and the first corner is very fast now. Run-offs are now tarmac. The 2.604 km track has been re-surfaced and the track offers more grip than before. It is also 34 meters shorter now (before 2.638 kms), so lap times got as low as 1.06 min in the F3 2 litre class.
The pole was taken by Peter Hug in RALT RT 1, the smaller capacity F3 and FFs went round in 1.10 - 1.14. For comparison, modern F3s and DTM lap in 55 secs now.
The HRA is a privately organized series, the drivers compete in the races in their own classes. Fastest cars and nearly always good for overall victory are the 2 litre F3s. The field consists of RALT RT1s and Chevrons. Peter Hug drives a prominent car, an ex-Nelson Piquet RT1 chassis. Hug finished second to Gerd Holtkamp (also in an RT1) in the 2001 club championship, but this weekend he took overall victory in both heats at Hockenheim from Klaus Henrich (in the red RT1 # 9).
The HRA offers its members 2 practice sessions and two races (20 laps each) at a weekend at fees for which other series only offer one race.
Herman Unold (Tecno), Richard Spelberg (Lotus 59) and Lothar Peters (Merlyn MK9) were the starters in the 1 litre F3 class, with Unold the eventual winner in both heats from Spelberg and Peters. The Merlyn lost all its coolant in the first heat (see photo).
F3 1600cc was won by Hans Wolf (Ensign) from Willi Peters in his superbly prepared yellow March a close second.
Formula Ford was once again dominated by Dietrich Wöllhardt (the current Champion in the HRA) in his 1971 Barney, lapping as fast as 1.11 in the second heat and giving the smaller F3s a hard time. Second was Werner Pönitz in Lotus 61, third Thilo Figaj in Lotus 51 (the very first FF chassis, an ex Motor Racing Stables car). Figaj spun off and went into the tyrewall in the first heat after attacking Pönitz at the Sachscurve. Luckily, the car received only very minor damage and he regained the track after losing some 30 secs.
HRA competitors were lucky this weekend as all their practice and race sessions dry, although overall it was two very windy, rainy and cold days.
The next meeting is at Spa Francorchamps on the 18th and 19th May, together with the Dutch HELENA Series, which will see some fifty historic cars racing in the Ardennes.
If anyone out there is interested in joining us, please feel free to call me on +49 6251 177318 (office) or e-mail me on TFigaj@LadyEsther.com
My thanks to Thilo for supplying the report and photos.
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