Historic RacingSportscars

2012 Silverstone Classic: Coombs Resists Pressure For Grand Prix Masters Sweep

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Bill Coombs held off Steve Hartley in a race long battle (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

After benefitting from Michael Lyons' misfortune in the opening Grand Prix Masters race of 2012 Silverstone Classic powered by the AA, Bill Coombs completed a perfect weekend resisting race long pressure from Steve Hartley to clinch The Daily Express International Trophy.

Sharing the front row Coombs, driving a Tyrrell 012 beat Hartley's Arrows A4 into Abbey for the first time, Hartley slipping back to third place behind Michael Fitzgerald's Williams as he was pinched tight into the corner.

Fitzgerald's tenure in second lasted less than a lap, and his chances of repeating his podium visit disappeared when he spun coming out of The Loop on the second lap under pressure Simon Fish's Ensign N180.

Hartley in second place shadowed Coombs for the lead, slipstreaming down both the Wellington and Hanger Straights, even managing to pull up to the inside of the Tyrrell into Stowe, the two cars running side by side through the corner, almost making costly contact as they drifted through the corner in tandem. Coombs resisted the move, holding the outside through Stowe to inherit the inside line for Club, the Classic weekend opting to sue the quicker configuration of the corner opposed to that used during the Formula One weekend earlier this month.

After the first half dozen laps Hartley's attention – to some extent – switched from attack in search of the lead to a defence of second place from the rapid Michael Lyons.

Once more in the Hesketh 308E, but having to start from the back of the grid set by the previous race's finishing order, Lyons flew up the order, tenth at the end of the opening lap of the Grand Prix track and third by just lap four after overtaking Fish's Ensign at Village.

Though he caught the two leaders quickly there Lyons' charge ended after a brief fight with Hartley through Brooklands, Luffield, Woodcote and Copse, the two cars almost side by side through the full sequence of corners as they tried to out manoeuvre each other, Hartley keeping the position with the inside line for Copse.

Lyons faded back into third place, while battle rejoined at the front of the race, Coombs keeping Hartley at bay by just two-tenths at the end of the race. Behind Simon Fish, the race long battle between Richard Meins and JeanMichel Martin was concluded in favour of Meins' FW07. Martin filled an FW07 sandwich, his Belgian countryman Christophe D'Ansembourg piloting another of the Saudiair green and white liveried cars to seventh place.

Andrew Smith, Chris Perkins and Andrew Beaumont completing the top ten, Beaumont driving the sole Lotus on the Grand Prix Masters grid this weekend

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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