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  In a result reminiscent of the period John Smith won the Tasman Revival feature race driving the very same Lotus 49 that Graham Hill campaigned here in the 1969 Tasman Series. He led home Rob Hall in the ex-Chris Amon Ferrari 246T by just over one and a half seconds with the Brabham BT30 of Chris Farrell in third place. Unfortunately for the organisers and an enthusiastic crowd the rain then arrived spoiling the races for the Sports cars and the thundering Formula 5000s.





  Mind you, some injudicious driving in Saturday mornings Formula 5000 race had already thinned out the field but with the track conditions getting worse by the minute only five of the fourteen entrants gridded up and just four would make the finish of the 12 lap race. Bryan Sala took pole on Friday in the lovely Ansett Elfin MR8 but it was Stan Redmond in his Tropicana liveried Lola T332C that took home the Kevin Bartlett Trophy. Andrew Robson took out all three preliminary races in his Lola T332 but as with most of the field, he didn’t take the start of the final race.


   Fortunately the main Tasman Revival race was run in the dry although the first hints of rain were starting to fall as Smith took the flag in the beautiful Gold Leaf liveried Lotus 49. Smith had taken pole by over a second from John Bowe in a Brabham BT23B and Rob Hall in the Ferrari. Sadly Graham Adelman’s melodic V12 BRM P126 was not on the pace and only managed nineteenth on the grid. There was a certain consistency in the results as in all three preliminary races and the final, the top four were the same with Smith taking the flag from Hall, Farrell and Bowe.


   Once again the HSRCA put on a splendid event and managed to attract some stunning overseas entrants to add to the packed fields of locals. Some, like Peter Greenfields Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C-3800 had never been seen on these shores before while others, like Ernie Nagamatsu and his Old Yeller were popular returnees. Ernie also had a Shelby Cobra Le Mans on hand to play with but that had an engine failure on Saturday afternoon. At least Old Yeller finally finished a race at this meeting, having suffered all sorts of problems in the last two Revival meetings, so the ever friendly Californian could go home happy and will be looking forward to running both cars in New Zealand in January. Another American, Peter Giddings arrived with a superb Maserati 250F that had large crowds of fanciers gazing at it’s beautiful form.


  On the subject of beauty, there was also some drool-worthy equipment on hand for the post-Tasman era open wheel race which was won by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis in the ex-Stefan Johansson Ferrari 156/85 turbo F1 car. Guido had both of his 1985 Ferraris on hand with the Michele Alboreto car available as a spare if needed. Not a bad pair of toys to play with. Ian Ross returned with his ex-Alan Jones Lola THL-1 and John Gale turned up with Tim Schenken’s 1972 Surtees TS9B. The turbos sound nice but there is nothing quite like the wail of a Cosworth V8.


   A huge field of forty six entered for the touring car race which was taken out by Vince Macri in a Holden Torana GTR XU-1 but again due to the rain, and some bingles in earlier races, a reduced field of twenty two ran in the final race of the meeting. The sight of Mustangs, Toranas and Falcon GTOs battling it out with Minis always makes for fun for the crowd and that is what they provided over the three days. 


  Toss in equally large grids of sports cars, Formula Juniors, Formula Fords etc and you ended up with another highly enjoyable and action packed stroll down memory lane. It’s not quite Goodwood – nothing is – but the Tasman Revival is a damned fine alternative for lovers of historic Motorsport and much cheaper to get to from this part of the world. I, for one, am already looking forward to the next one in a couple of years time.















Sam Snape





  The great thing about formula one designers is no matter how tight you make the rules, someone will always find a new area to exploit. Whether it’s wings, ground effects, six wheels, twin chassis or double diffusers, there is always a next best thing. Over the decades one team and one designer was always at the forefront of innovation, and that was Lotus and Colin Chapman. They may not have always been the very first to come up with an idea but if not, they were usually the first to get it right. And so with Robert Kubica topping the times at Valencia it was perhaps appropriate that it was his black and gold “not a fag packet” Lotus sponsored Renault that debuted that next best thing.



 When you think of Lotus and Chapman, you think of the monocoque (Lotus 25), wings (Lotus 49), ground effect (Lotus 78 & 79), the astonishing twin chassised Lotus 88. and active suspension (Lotus 99T). There were failures of course. The 88 was banned almost immediately. Four wheel drive with the Lotus 63 arrived at just the wrong time with the advent of big slicks and wings. The Pratt & Whitney gas turbine power of the 56B might have been ideal for Indy where you don’t really slow down but it was a blind alley in F1. But these were just as much an important a part of Lotus’ history of innovation as the ideas that won.

   And now the Lotus name is associated with yet another possible great idea. OK Lotus is just the sponsor of the Renault team (for now) but Colin Chapman would have been proud of their exhaust set-up that sees them exit at the front of the side pods. The idea is to have the hot gasses being forced under the whole of the underside of the car and hopefully regaining some of the lost down force that went with the now banned double diffusers. There will be many issues with the dissipation of heat within the bodywork but if this works, and Thursday’s times suggest it may well, Robert Kubica could be looking at a VERY good year.

   So who else showed well. Red Bull were up there as one now expects with Vettel topping Tuesday’s times. Ferrari, no surprise, with Alonso on top on Wednesday. McLaren where there or there-abouts but with a modified version of last years car. One with no double diffuser, no F-duct and a new movable rear wing. And Renault. Force India had a great time with all three drivers within the top eight, but again this was with last years car. Timo Glock got a Virgin into the top ten of anything since their inception but again, with last years car who knows just how much weight they weren’t running. A slow dog, after all, just doesn’t get quick.

    So who appears to have gotten it horribly wrong? Any statement from drivers or team bosses at this time of year that speak of being “unfazed by lap times” can usually be translated into “Oh fuck”. Those “oh fuck” comments have been coming largely from Mercedes and Williams who would have been hoping for at least one reasonable lap time between them.

  Williams are possibly better placed than the silver slings as on the final day rookie Pastor Maldonado showed that it’s not just cash he brings when he set the teams best time of the test. Rubens had been hampered with “issues” over the first two days so perhaps Williams is heading in the right direction. Mercedes however, was constantly mired in the lower midfield. Neither Rosberg nor the unter-ubermensch every got any closer than at least one point three seconds to the quick guys. Still they may have been running with heavy fuel loads the whole time. Then again… “unfazed by lap times”… “Oh fuck”.

 For full times go to;


Sam Snape 



  Young West Australian Red Bull test driver, Daniel Ricciardo shattered Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time at Abu Dhabi yesterday on his way to totally dominating the young driver test on the Yas Marina circuit. His time of 1’38.102 was a staggering 1.3 seconds under the new World Champion’s best qualifying lap of just five days ago.


"It was cool to do this test and great to get so close to the big boys times from the weekend!" beamed Ricciardo. "It's very rare to get a perfect car, but I have to say this is very close. It's a pleasure to drive it, you brake and you turn and the car does everything as you imagine it would."

His 1:38.102s lap was set in countryman Mark Webber's Hungarian GP winning Red Bull RB6 with an hour to go after Mercedes driver Sam Bird had briefly led the time sheets earlier in the afternoon. Despite general consensus being that the track conditions were estimated to be 1.5s faster than they were for the grand prix, Ricciardo's time has set tongues wagging in the F1 paddock, on only his fourth time behind the wheel of an F1 car.

Red Bull's Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan said, "Daniel has done a great job for us in the car over the last two days and made no mistakes, we're very happy with him. We completed our programme and got though everything as planned."

Having spun earlier in the day, Jerome d'Ambrosio recovered to set the second fastest time of the day for Renault. The Belgian ended seven tenths of a second off Ricciardo's lap yet four hundredths quicker than Bird.

"Overall it has been a fantastic day. Obviously I have some previous experience in Formula 1, but this was my first full day in the car so it was a big step for me," said d'Ambrosio. "It always takes some time to adapt to a new car, but I quickly felt comfortable in the R30 and we found a good balance early on."

Out in the McLaren for the first time since February last year, Gary Paffet took over driving duties from Oliver Turvey, setting 4th fastest time, ahead of Ferrari's Jules Bianchi, who set consistent impressive times after concentrating on development work yesterday.

Making his F1 debut, Sauber's Sergio Perez finished 6th, ahead of early morning runner Paul di Resta in the Force India - the Scot having handed driving duties over to Yelmer Buurman who could only manage 10th by the end of the day.

Driving for HRT yesterday, Pastor Maldonado finally got a taste of a Williams as the team evaluate drivers in contention for the seat vacated by Nico Hulkenburg. Spending most of the morning focusing on aerodynamic work, the Venezuelan was finally let off the leash, lapping three quarters of a second off Barrichello's qualifying time last Saturday. Despite a precautionary shut down of his engine, he managed to complete a strong total of 81 laps.

Newly crowned British F3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne missed the second half of the afternoon session as he had to catch a flight for this weekend's Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, yet completed his second day of running by setting 9th fastest lap.

Fresh from his recent GP2 victory, Davide Valsecchi debuted for HRT in the afternoon but caused a red flag when he spun trying to improve his lap time. Although his best was 1:43.013s, it was still an impressive two seconds faster than Bruno Senna managed last Saturday, in the same car.

driver Luiz Razia completed a total of 70 laps and set 12th fastest time ahead of fellow debutant Josef Kral (HRT) and the Lotus pair of Rodolfo Gonzalez and Vlasdimir Arabadzhiev.



Day 2 times

1. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull - 1m38.102s 77 laps

2. Jerome D'Ambrosio - Renault - 1m38.802s 83

3. Sam Bird - Mercedes - 1m39.220s 82

4. Gary Paffett - McLaren - 1m39.760s 84

5. Jules Bianchi - Ferrari - 1m39.916s 93

6. Sergio Perez - Sauber - 1m40.543s 91

7. Paul di Resta - Force India - 1m40.901s 27

8. Pastor Maldonado - Williams - 1m40.944s 81

9. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso - 1m40.974s 61

10. Yelmer Buurman - Force India - 1m41.178s 67 1

1. Davide Valsecchi - Hispania - 1m43.013s 32

12. Luiz Razia - Virgin - 1m43.525s 70

13. Josef Kral - Hispania  -1m44.143s 61

14. Rodolfo Gonzalez - Lotus - 1m44.312s 41

15. Vladimir Arabadzhiev - Lotus - 1m45.723s 49  


Daniel Ricciardo set the quickest lap on the first day of rookie testing in Abu Dhabi, posting a lap over a second quicker than the second best time of McLaren’s Oliver Turvey. After a total of 70 laps, the young Australian's lap of 1:39.616s would have seen him qualify for last Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 3rd place on the grid behind eventual champion Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

 Fully aware that the pressure was on 12 months after he had impressed the F1 fraternity in Jerez, Spain, Ricciardo told the Australian Associated Press he knew what the expectations would be from both inside and outside the team. "Last year's test went well and now having spent a year with them, they'll expect pretty solid feedback," the 21 year old confirmed. "There is more pressure on me to be fastest, especially as the team has won the Constructors' Championship and everyone knows it's probably the fastest car out there nine times out of ten - but I just want to enjoy it, that's the main thing. Not many 21-year-old kids can drive the fastest car around."

Driving for McLaren, Oliver Turvey impressed after setting a 1:41.094s final lap effort, and gathered plenty of useful data for the team. Gary Paffett is due to take over driving duties tomorrow.

Formula 3 Euro Series race-winner Antonio Felix da Costa was also quick late in the day improving to third-fastest with 10 minutes to go. It was the Portuguese driver's first taste of Formula 1 and his late improvement moved him ahead of Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez. Force
and Sauber will run Yelmer Buurman and Sergio Perez tomorrow.

Formula 2 champion Dean Stoneman improved to fifth place late on. Driving for Williams, he spent the morning concentrating on aerodynamic work and was able to spend more time improving his own driving in the afternoon, setting his best time with a few minutes to go to move ahead of Renault's Mikhail Aleshin.

British F3 champion Jean-Eric Vergne also made his F1 debut, lapping three tenths off Aleshin and ahead of Force India reserve Paul di Resta, who ran first thing in the morning to create a baseline for da Costa to work from. However, he did not do a comparable run.

Sam Bird completed the first of two days of running for Mercedes, completing 61 laps. He is likely to have the chance to set some more eye-catching times tomorrow after focusing on aerodynamic work today.

Virgin's Jerome d'Ambrosio was best of the new team drivers, pipping impressive HRT debutant Pastor Maldonado in the closing stages. Both ended the day ahead of Ferrari's Jules Bianchi, who spent the day focusing on development work, Lotus driver Rodolfo Gonzalez and Virgin's Rio Haryanto.

Day 1 times

1. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull - 1m39.616s

2. Oliver Turvey - McLaren - 1m40.725s

3. Antonio Felix da Costa - Force India - 1m41.381s

4. Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber - 1m41.432s

5. Dean Stoneman - Williams - 1m41.522s

6. Mikhail Aleshin - Renault - 1m42.073s

7. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso - 1m42.489s

8. Paul di Resta - Force India - 1m42.736s

9. Sam Bird - Mercedes - 1m42.985s

10. Jerome D'Ambrosio - Virgin - 1m43.518s

11. Pastor Maldonado - HRT - 1m43.750s

12. Jules Bianchi - Ferrari - 1m43.894s

13. Rodolfo Gonzalez - Lotus - 1m44.924s

14. Rio Haryanto - Virgin - 1m49.439s