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1976 Brands Hatch MS  Go  
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Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch International Circuit, Kent, Great-Britain

Date: 16/10/1977
Track length: 4.206 m
Entries accepted:
Starters: 32

Pole position: Dron in 1.45,4
Fastest lap: Spice in 1.45,7 = 143,26 kmh

Distance: 20 laps
Average speed: 141,61 kmh
Ruleset: Group 1B
Car info: 1977 Cars


Tense - that was the word to describe the atmosphere on the grid for the final round of the Tricentrol British Saloon Car Championship. The Leyland pit was tense. Their man, Tony Dron, had to win both his class and set fastest lap to retain any chance of lifting the highly prestigious title. He had won the last four championship races outright - was it asking too much of both car and driver to repeat the feat one more time?
The Chrysler pit was equally tense. On paper their man, Bernard Unett, held a slender one point lead over Dron. In reality Unett took to the grid with a distinctly second-hand looking Avenger after a morning practice accident had wiped away a front corner. Would the patched-up car handle - would it even last the race?
Dron responded, to the pressure superbly. With the track damp and slippery from the early morning fog he sat out most of practice, conserving both himself and the car for the rigors to come. When he finally did go out, Dron steered his Dolomite Sprint straight to pole position on 1.45,4, over one second faster than his nearest rival, Chris Craft, in the larger engined Capri.
The similar machine of Gordon Spice was next, while Gerry Marshall just pipped his highly impressive protégé, Jeff Allam, on an all-Vauxhall second row.
Despite his big "off" at Dingle Dell, Unett was still quickest in his class with deadly rival Richard Longman, in a Leyland Mini, some 1.6s slower.
It really was a shame that most eyes were on the Dolomite and Avenger, for after taking the lead from Chris Craft on the second lap Gordon Spice drove a superbly smooth and undramatic race to secure a very fine victory, crossing the line just over 2s clear of the Hammonds Sauce man.
Dron had made a poor start and dropped at one stage to fourth place in those hectic opening laps. He quickly latched onto Spice and Craft, however, and for much of the early part of the race these three gradually pulled away from the rest.
Just as they entered the second half, however, the Dolomite slowly but surely began to lose touch as a rear tyre started to blister. Tom Walkinshaw's smart BMW began to close, but it was Vince Woodman - driving brilliantly after an engine change in the morning - who displaced the Triumph driver for third place after the German machine fell by the wayside.
Still, the three front-running Capris were all in the bigger division so Dron was still comfortably leading his class. Or was he?
For 12 laps Jeff Allam and Gerry Marshall had been engaged in a tremendous crowd-pleasing battle with their two Magnums which all came to an end at Hawthorns when big Gerry punctured sending the silver DTV machine into the armco.
With no Marshall to worry about, and with the Dolomite's left rear tyre beginning to break up Allam dramatically cut the gap between himself and Dron from a matter of seconds to a matter of inches all in the space of two laps. Going into the last lap Dron tried desperately to maintain his advantage, and actually succeeded in keeping Allam at bay until the very last corner where the Dolomite slid wide and the Vauxhall nipped through to take those precious class points, leaving Dron with the consolation of having set fastest lap.
So now it was all up to Bernard Unett. For six laps he held off the combined Mini threat of Longman and Alec Poole. But the small-car trio were stuck behind the Dolomite of Dutch driver, Arne Riis, and his allegiance lay, of course, with Leyland. In a flash Longman was through, thereafter pulling out to take a fine class win, setting fastest lap in the process. Unett's constant shadow, Poole, failed to last the pace, so the Chrysler man took second in class.
Amongst all the excitement Richard Lloyd took the 1600 cc class in quiet confident style, setting a new class record on the way.
So who had won the championship? Everyone looked at each other and shrugged - no-one knew!
On paper Bernard Unett was leading on points, a fact which was confirmed a while later - the little Chrysler was champion once again.

Touring Cars class A-D
Pos Pos in class # Team / Entrant
Car- Engine
Drivers, Nationality Engine
vol. (cc)
Group Distance,
Qualifying position Qualifying time Fastest lap Reason out,
1 1   Gordon Spice Group
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Gordon Spice, GB
2993 V6 D 20 laps, 35.38,6 3   1.45,7  
2 2   Hammonds Sauce Group
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Chris Craft, GB
2993 V6 D 20 laps, 35.40,9 2 1.46,5    
3 3   Esso Uniflo
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Vince Woodman, GB
2993 V6 D 20 laps, 36.00,4 21      
4 1   Allam Motor Services
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Jeff Allam, GB
2279 L4 C 20 laps, 36.04,2 5      
5 2 28 British Leyland
Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Tony Dron, GB
1998 L4 C 20 laps, 36.04,9 1 1.45,4 1.46,0  
6 4   Gordon Spice Group
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Michel De Deyne, B
2993 V6 D 20 laps, 35.38,6 15      
7 3    
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Holger Knudsen, DK
2279 L4 C 20 laps, 36.07,4 12 1.50,7    
8 1    
Richard Lloyd, GB
1588 L4 B 20 laps, 37.23,1 16   1.50,5  
9 2    
Toyota Celica GT
Martin Brundle, GB
1588 L4 B 19 17      
10 3   SRG
Renault R 5 Alpine
Marc Smith, GB
1397 L4 B 19 19      
11 1   Patrick Motor Group
Mini 1275 GT
Richard Longman, GB
1275 L4 A 19     1.53,5  
12 2 66 Mopar
Chrysler Avenger 1300 GT
Bernard Unett, GB
1295 L4 A 19 18      
Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Arne Riis, DK
1998 L4 C 19        
  4   Napolina Alfa Romeo Dealer Team
Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT
Peter Hilliard, GB
1570 L4 B 19        
  3   Napolina Alfa Romeo Dealer Team
Alfa Romeo Alfasud Ti
Rex Greenslade, GB
1286 B4 A 19        
  4   Napolina Alfa Romeo Dealer Team
Alfa Romeo Alfasud Ti
Malcolm Wayne, GB
1286 B4 A 18        
      Miss Polly Williams
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Dave Brodie, GB
2993 V6 D   6      
Mini 1275 GT
Alec Poole, IRL
1275 L4 A          
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Colin Vandervell, GB
2993 V6 D   7      
      Samuri Racing with Bradshaw Hire Plant
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Win Percy, GB
2993 V6 D   9 1.48,2    
      Fabergé Racing
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Stuart Graham, GB
2993 V6 D   10 1.48,8    
      Luton Products
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Holman “Les” Blackburn, GB
2279 L4 C   11      
      Martin Thomas
Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Pete Lovett, GB
1998 L4 C   13      
      Mario Deliotti Ltd.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT
Derek Lawrence, GB
1570 L4 B   14      
      Chingford Boat Centre
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Freddie Jacks, GB
2993 V6 D   20      
Chrysler Avenger
Chris Field
1295 L4 ?          
VW Scirocco GTI
Per Sørensen, DK
1588 L4 B          
DNF   10 BMW racing with Castrol
BMW 530i US
Tom Walkinshaw, GB
2985 L6 D   8     Fuel leak
DNF     Dealer Team Vauxhall Castrol
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Gerry Marshall, GB
2279 L4 C   4     Blown tire