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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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Honour to the ladies!

The first three qualifying sessions (25 minutes each) for the 14th Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, on Saturday morning, began with a woman driver, last year’s winner Claudia Hürtgen from Germany, securing a fine pole position. It was in the A2-Series, labelled ‘Juan Manuel Fangio’ and reserved to front-engined Grand Prix cars built before 1961. In her superb 1960 Ferrari 246 Dino, entered by Methusalem Racing, experts in beautiful red vintage cars, Claudia, the former F3 and GT driver, set a time of 1:54.429. That was three tenths quicker than Marino Franchitti, brother of three-time Indy 500 winner Dario, in a Maserati 250F. As for Max Smith-Hilliard (Lotus 16), he will start from the second row on Sunday on a very full grid: 26 competitors including just one woman… in pole position!

A little later, in the ‘Louis Chiron’ A1 Series, which includes pre-war Grand Prix cars and voiturettes, the battle for pole position pitted Irishman Paddins Dowling, who had set the fastest time in free practice on Friday in a 1936 ERA R5B, against two British drivers, Michael Birch (Maserati 4CM) and Jonathan Bailey (Bugatti 35C). Except that Canadian Brad Baker (ERA R10B) came out to spoil the party and eventually took 2nd place in this very lively session. So there will be two ERAs on the front row on Sunday, driven by Dowling and Baker.

In the trio of oldest cars at this 14th Historic Monaco Grand Prix, there is also the ‘Graham Hill’ B-Series, exclusive to single-seaters with 1500cc engines from 1961 to 1965. This session was interrupted twice by a red flag, for a couple of non-serious incidents. And eventually, in honour of the late Graham who won five times on the streets of Monaco, including twice in a Lotus (1968, 1969), there will be two British drivers in Lotuses on the front row on Sunday: Andy Middlehurst in a 1962 Type-25, and Mark Shaw in a 1961 Type-21. Behind them, in search of a treble, will be American ‘Joe’ Colasacco, winner in 2004 and 2022, in a formidable 1964 Ferrari 1512 (ex-John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini). That’s a promise!

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