Report and photos by Abel Cruz
An estimated 14,000 spectators attended the first classic meeting Espíritu de Montjuic, held 8-10 April, 2011 at the Circuit de Catalunya F1 track in Barcelona. An attempt to recover the spirit of the well-known Montjuic street track that held several F1 races from 1969 to 1975, the event was dedicated to the Spanish Escudería Montjuic that raced at Le Mans, the World Sportscar Championship, the European Hillclimb Championship and a myriad of events from the late 60s until the mid-70s with drivers like Joan Fernández, European Hillclimb Champion in 1973 and 1974, and José María Juncadella. Classic F1 cars, Group C prototypes, the Interseries Revival, the World Sportscar Masters and pre-66 GTs and Touring cars, plus a group of about thirty 250 and 350cc Grand Prix bikes guaranteed a vibrant weekend of races.
The main formula of the event, the F1 Grand Prix Masters, saw the domination of German driver Christian Glaesel (Brabham BT49D), winning both races, on Saturday and Sunday, ahead of his main rival, Spaniard ace Joaquín Folch (Brabham BT49C) and Italian Manfredo Rossi (Brabham BT42). Glaesel also won the Master Sport Prototypes races at the wheel of a 1990 Sauber C11 that clocked the best time of the weekend, 1:40.856. The fastest time of the F1 cars was posted by Glaesel as well, with 1:41.878.
Christian Glaesel, F1 Winner: “It’s been my first time here, at Montmeló, and I have to say that I like the track a lot. If there was something I didn’t like, I’d say it was chicane in the stadium section, which is slow and a bit annoying, as going round the outside of that section, as the F1 cars did some years ago, would be thrilling. But I can’t really complain, as I have had so much fun here.”
Joaquín Folch, F1 runner-up: “It’s always a pleasure to race at home but I have been hampered by an injury in my left knee, so anytime I pressed the clutch pedal, I was seeing stars, almost literally. But I have had a great weekend, racing against my friend Christian Glaesel, with whom I also shared the wheel of his Sauber C11, a very impressive car.”
Manfredo Rossi, F1 3rd: “I have had two fantastic battles with my friend Christophe d’Ansembourg, who drove a McLaren M23, on Saturday and today. Yesterday I stole third from him at the start, and kept him at bay. But today I had to run with the same set of tyres whereas he had a new set on, so he was very bullish about beating me. But I somehow found myself very comfortable and have been able to beat him again! Anyway, it’s been a pleasure being here and hope to come back next year.”
The tandem formed by Jon Minshaw and Martin Stretton (Jaguar E-Type) won the 2-hour race of the Gentlemen Driver Pre-66 GTS race, on Saturday, while Greek Leo Voyazides and British Simon Hadfield (AC Cobra) won the sprint race on Sunday. Voyazides and Hadfield also won both the World Sportcar Masters on a Lola T70, and the Masters Pre-66 Touring car race with the very fast Ford Falcon. Finally, Rob Hall won both 25-minute Interseries Revival races at the wheel of a 1974 Matra MS670B.
Apart from the action the spectators could see on track, the paddock at Montmeló was very busy all weekend. Three Escudería Montjuic cars (the ex-Juncadella Ferrari 512 M, an ex-Jorge de Bagration Abath Osella and a Chevron B23), the Porsche 917 with chassis number 013 that was second at the 1000 KM of Barcelona in 1971 and Folch’s ex-Fittipaldi Lotus 72 along with a notable auto jumble, several classic car clubs exhibitions, concerts and attractions for kids, really made for a good start of the first classic car Espíritu de Montjuic aimed at recovering the sporting legacy of the Spanish motorsports.
Jesús del Pozo, Espíritu de Montjuic organizer: “I have done this event to pay a tribute to the heroes of my childhood, to those men who looked like Martians to us, as the typical thing in my country, in those years of our dictatorship, was to follow the football or the guys who began winning some tennis tournaments. Seeing these drivers go to Le Mans or to the Tour de France was amazing and the quality of cars they used was very close to the works cars of the time. I would’ve liked to do this event at the Montjuic street track but then it would have only been an exhibition. That’s why we have come to the F1 track of Montmeló, to have an idea of how these fantastic machines raced in their time. I want to thank everybody who helped us – the circuit, sponsors, and friends – because this was a titanic task for such a small organization. We hope to be back next year.”
For more information, visit www.espiritudemontjuic.com.
Espíritu de Montjuic 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: Abel Cruz]