Although only a small number of FFR-FOR riders traveled to the capital of Burgundy to participate in the Historic Tour Dijon event on May 6, 7 and 8 at the Dijon-Prenois circuit, they left a strong impression.
Following Friday’s qualifying sessions, the FFR-FOR Formula Ford 1600 and Zetecs drivers started their first race on Saturday morning, as part of a grid of no fewer than 37 classic Formula Fords. The participants included drivers from Belgium, France, Germany, Monaco, Spain and Switzerland, in cars dating from 1970 to 1992.
In the race, the Zetecs of Eric Heudicourt (#84) and Maxime Libreton (#15) quickly took the lead. A large group of FF1600s, including those owned by FFR-FOR riders Dieter Häckel and Mattthew Dean, chased the race leaders and never lost sight of them. But due to various incidents, the safety car had to go out twice. As time was running out, organizers decided to bring in all the cars after five laps and leave the remaining seven laps to run on Sunday morning.
The Formula Opels and FF2000s had their first race on Saturday afternoon, in a field that also contained classic F3 and Formula Renault monopostos. With their superior power, four F3s quickly took off, while the Formula Opels of Marvin Brandl (#126) and Jochen Thissen (#128) battled it out with the remaining F3s to finish 5th and 6th respectively. Alan Williamson (#160) in his Formula Opel crossed the line just ahead of Philip Menzner’s FF2000 and Georges Tomsen’s Formula Opel, finishing 13th, 14th and 15th. Andreas Menzner crossed the line in 21st in his FF2000, having started as the last car on the grid, due to mechanical problems in qualifying.
At 8:35 a.m. on Sunday morning, it was still chilly as the FF1600s and Zetec returned to the track for the remaining 7 laps of their 1st race. Initially it was an exciting fight between the Zetecs of Eric Heudicourt (#84) and Maxime Libreton (#15), but after Heudicourt landed in the gravel pit, Libreton took 1st place. FFR-FOR rider Dieter Häckel (#147) finished 10th in his FF1600. Matthew Dean (#145) crossed the line in 13th, but took the podium in the pre-90 class. Julian Labitzke (#188) crossed the line in 18th in his Zetec, while Georges Tomsen (#18) and Gerhard Hauschulte (#141) finished 22nd and 27th respectively.
The FF1600’s and Zetecs came out again at 14:30 for Race 2. After another safety car situation, it was won by Maxime Libreton in his Zetec. In the Pre-90 class, Matthew Dean took the Pre-90 podium once more after crossing the line in 15th, along with Georges Tomsen (22nd) and Gerhard Hauschulte (23rd). Rookie Julian Labitzke crossed the line in 16th in his Zetec, but this made him the 2nd best Zetec rider in race 2.
Race 2 for the Formula Opels and FF2000s was virtually a repeat of Race 1 with Marvin Brandl and Jochen Thissen juggling for position with the F3s, finishing impressively in 3rd and 4th. Initially Alan Williamson was in position to take another FOL-FF2000 podium, but after a spin in the ‘Gauche de la Bretelle’ it was Philip Menzner in his FF2000 who took 3rd place in the ‘Invité’ class. Philip finished 9th, beating his father Andreas FF2000 (14th), Georges Tomsen in his Formula Opel (18th) and Alan Williamson, who crossed the line in 22nd.
The next stop for the FFR-FOR drivers is the Whitsun Races event at the Zandvoort F1 circuit, on 4 and 5 June.