Racing Legends Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell, Martin Brundle and Derek Bell lined up alongside the rest of the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup field at Brands Hatch over the weekend to take part in an exciting race at the Kent Circuit.
Mark Blundell showed he had not lost his ability behind the wheel in qualifying as he took third place on the grid. Herbert qualified sixth and Brundle tenth, whilst Bell had struggled and took the penultimate grid slot on 23rd. Pole was taken by German Kris Heidorn ahead of fellow countryman Jann-Hendrik Ubben.
It was Heidorn who headed the pack into the first corner at Paddock whilst Blundell had dropped into the clutches of Herbert. Aditya Patel, who started fourth paid an early visit to the gravel at Paddock Hill bend which finished his race and bought out the safety car to bunch up the pack. When the safety car took to the pit lane, Heidorn set about building a lead on the chasing pack. With battles going on all the way down the pack, thanks to the push to pass facility enabling an extra 50bhp which can be used 15 times during the race, it was the fight between Mark Blundell and Johnny Herbert for fourth which caught the attention of the crowed.
Blundell was keeping Herbert at bay despite having used none of his push to passes in the early stages. Martin Brundle had made up a few places further back but was unable to catch his fellow ex formula one drivers. Meanwhile, Derek Bell was battling it out at the back of the pack looking unlikely to make up many places.
As the race progressed into the second half if looked like the tactics of Mark Blundell were going to pay off. He had the most push to passes available to him than the rest of the pack. Whilst they had been using them in the jostle for positions in the early stages, Blundell had saved his to help him mount a charge towards the end. He was pulling away from Herbert and was reeling in Maciek Steinhof. It didn't take long for the former McLaren F1 driver to pass the Polish driver for third place enabling him to set about catching Ubben in third.
With the gap closing and the laps counting down it was going to be too little too late. Mark had saved one final push to pass for the last lap and with a small gap to the car ahead, he used it exiting clearways on the blast up to the finish line. He was just a little bit too far back though as Ubben pipped him to the post for second place with the gap between the two, just four hundredths of a second.
Four and a half seconds ahead of the battle for second, Kris Heidorn had taken his first win of the season with a mature drive from lights to flag. Johnny Herbert claimed fifth place ahead of Martin Brundle who took the chequered flag in seventh. Derek Bell who had been lapped by the leaders crossed the line in 22nd place.
It was a great drive to take third place from Blundell who seemed to surprise himself when he spoke after the race. “I'm surprised that I'm the best Legend because I drove the car for the first time this weekend.” He said. “Experience is very important at Brands Hatch. That also goes for my overtaking manoeuvre in Paddock Hill Bend. Passing someone on the outside there is always exciting. All in all it was a great weekend. Many thanks to Volkswagen. Well done to the young drivers who drove a very good, clean race.”
Johnny Herbert was pleased with his performance saying, “My start was very good and then I had a nice fight with Mark. But he was simply too quick for me. The Scirocco is very good to drive as soon as you've gotten used to the car a bit. Then you can fight some splendid duels, not least thanks to the clever push-to-pass system.”
Another legend pleased with his performance was Martin Brundle, “It was a fantastic race and great fun competing against the young talent and my old colleagues. Obviously, we all wanted to beat each other – once a racer, always a racer. But Mark did the best job this time. He was really very quick here. I fell short a little this time compared with Hockenheim, but I'm pleased nevertheless.”
With three of the four legends in the top seven places, the top ten looked like this:
|2||J. Ubben||+ 0.04,486|
|3||M. Blundell||+ 0.04,526|
|4||M. Steinhof||+ 0.06,742|
|5||J. Herbert||+ 0.07,036|
|6||D. Rieger||+ 0.08,315|
|7||M. Brundle||+ 0.09,693|
|8||S. Proetto||+ 0.10,298|
|9||O. Nilsson||+ 0.15,637|
|10||T. Megenbier||+ 0.16,498|
Photo credit: Chris Gurton Photography