3.08.16 Clear victory for Kaufmann at the Youngtimer Festival in Spa-Francorchamps
Convincing performance with the Ford Escord RS1600 – mechanical woes spoil the Le Mans Classic
If Wolfgang Kaufmann needed any reminding of how little there is between joy and frustration in motor racing, the month of July brought such a reminder. The Le Mans Classic should have been the highlight of his year in historic racing. On the legendary circuit, the German professional was set to drive a no less legendary Jaguar E-Type, with a famous team mate for the three „plateaus“ - Pierre Fillon, prime minister of France from 2007 to 2012.
However, it was not to be, with technical troubles ending both the endurance event and in the Jaguar Classic race prematurely. Even before it started in earnest, the grand event at the Sarthe was over for Kaufmann and his team mates.
How better to get over such a setback than with a dose of racing success! And that success was to arrive sooner than anyone had hoped for. For the Youngtimer Festival at Spa-Francorchamps, Kaufmann got behind the wheel of Dieter Dörmann's Ford Escort RS1600. „Piranha“ and the Ford were dominant in qualifying on the emanding 7 kilometer circuit in the Ardennes. A fastest lap time of 2.46,829 put the Mk.I Escort on pole position.
Heavy rain during the night meant the track was mostly wet on race day. „Only in some areas, the racing line had somewhat dried up“, Kaufmann recalls. Nevertheless, the Dörmann team put the car on slicks. And this risk was to pay off – taking extra care at the start of the hour-long race, Kaufmann was able to keep his place at thre head of the 48 car field, and drive off into the distance. The professional racer kept extending his lead, with only a drive-through penalty for an infringement on the start hampering his progress temporarily.
But even this was not to keep Kaufmann and his team from bringing home a convincing victory. After 19 laps, the car crossed the finish line with a commanding lead of almost 1.5 minutes over the rest of the field! The fastest race lap, by a long way, for Kaufmann was only the icing on the cake. „This was just what I needed“, Kaufmann was delighted with this success, „I still had a score to settle with this Youngimer race at Spa anyway, after all the trouble I had had in the previous editions. And after the sobering Le Mans Classic, this is a breath of fresh air!“
From the racing icon of the 1970s that is the Ford Escort to the recreation of another 1970s classic: on August 20th, Wolfgang Kaufmann will drive Kremer Racing's Porsche 997 K3 in the VLN round on the Nürburgring