Group 1 racing in the early seventies was not always clean, to say the least. Many cars with illegal modifications were disqualified after the race - and even more took a win without being caught.
In 1972, the team had been dominant in Dutch Group 1 races with Opel; and in 1973 it would be no different. And for the first time, an official championship was at stake.
|Rien inspected the FIA homologation list, and discovered that the Ascona Voyage was homologated as a variant of the Ascona and could use the same goodies as the Manta, since the running gear and homologation papers of the cars were near identical.
He could borrow a rally service van from the Dutch Opel Dealer Team, which already had a roll bar installed. But that was about it, with regard to racing.
The car came in on Friday and work started on the transfer of front- and rear axle, gearbox and engine from the Manta to the Ascona Voyage.
When the car hit the track on Saturday, the car was understeering badly - and the car leaned over heavily at the rear under cornering. It qualified only third in class, ninth overall.
The Manta rear springs were exchanged with the original springs of the Voyage; the rear shocks were replaced by the much stiffer shocks of the Commodore of brother Fred. This was done on Saturday evening; all guesswork really, but there was not much else they could do in the short time.
On Sunday, the car went like clockwork, lapping 0,2 seconds inside the lap record, finished sixth overall, won its class and passed technical inspection with ease - unlike the number 2 in class, the only one who had beaten the Manta all season. The driver refused inspection and was disqualified.
So the outing was a success; and it was one of the few wins for a stationcar as well - in fact the only one in a major championship I can think of.
My thanks to Rien Frankenhout for his cooperation.