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Official Ticketing: Book your tickets now       –       Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2024 : Introduction

Official Ticketing: Book your tickets now       –       Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2024 : Introduction

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A grand opening for Lotus!

Lotus made its mark on the first morning of free practice for the 14th Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, taking the first two spots in the “Graham Hill” B-Series reserved to single-seaters with 1500cc engines from 1961 to 1965. A B-Series packed with front-runners, in fact, with 33 very well-equipped competitors. Notably American Joseph Colasacco, the winner in 2004 and, more recently, in 2022, in his extremely rare 1964 Ferrari 1512 (ex-John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini). But the excellent ‘Joe’ had to be content with 3rd place in this first session, behind two wild Lotus drivers: Andy Middlehurst in a 1962 Type-25, ahead of Mark Shaw in a 1961 Type-21. These two Climax-powered Racing Green cars, sliding on all four-wheels at La Piscine and elsewhere, delighted the fans, who were already out in force for a Friday (free admission).

A little earlier, in the ‘Louis Chiron’ A1-Series, which includes pre-war Grand Prix cars and pre-war voiturettes, the battle raged for 30 minutes between several drivers from across the Channel. And it was Ireland’s Paddins Dowling, in a 1936 ERA R5B, who laid the foundations for an eventual pole position on Saturday, ahead of two Britons, Jonathan Bailey (Bugatti 35C) and Michael Birch (Maserati 4CM), thanks to a very respectable time of 2:15.184 for such old cars. The top five in this first session, contested by 16 competitors, also included a German, Mark Winter (Maserati 6CM), and a Canadian, Brad Baker (ERA R10B).

The ‘Juan Manuel Fangio’ A2-Series also featured a strong field: 25 front-engined Grand Prix cars built before 1961, including a dozen Maseratis, the blue Gordini of Jean-Jacques Bally, a regular at the Monegasque event, and of course the superb Ferrari 246 Dino of Claudia Hürtgen, the former German GT racing star and Monegasque resident. There was also a Franco-Belgian actor, Stéphane de Groodt, in a 1958 Maserati 250F, delighted to reconnect with his old passion, as when he raced in Formula 3 before becoming an actor. And Marino Franchitti, the brother of the three-time Indycar winner at Indianapolis, in a Maserati too. The two best times were posted by a couple of Lotus Type-16 dating back to 1958, ahead of three Maseratis.

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