Alesi taken out at Monaco Historic GP while leading in Ferrari
Jean Alesi crashed out of a sensational lead at the Monaco Historic GP after a clash with three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner.
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The 1995 Canadian Grand Prix winner’s Ferrari 312B3 and the 1976 Lotus 77 of Werner had battled for the lead throughout the race for Formula 1 grand prix cars built between 1973 and 76. But with three laps to go a touch from the Lotus sent Alesi into the barriers.
Werner crossed the line first but was handed a penalty that dropped him to third.
Former Ferrari and Benetton driver Alesi, a veteran of 201 world championship starts, had qualified second for the 18-lap event.
Monaco Historique grids are smaller this year due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, but 16 cars lined up for the race and Alesi rocketed off the line to take the lead.
Werner, who had taken pole position by nearly two seconds, chased Alesi and looked much faster. He dodged and dived behind the Ferrari in a style reminiscent of the Ayrton Senna-Nigel Mansell at the end of the 1992 Monaco GP.
But Alesi, who scored three Monaco GP podiums during his contemporary F1 career, held firm under intense pressure despite driving the oldest car in the lead group.
Their battle allowed the McLaren M26 of historic ace Michael Lyons – winner of the 1966-72 F1 race earlier in the day driving a Surtees – and Porsche GT racer Julien Andlauer (March 761) to stay in touch for the first half of the event.
Werner skimmed barriers and almost touched the back of the powerful flat-12 Ferrari several times in his attempts to get by with his Cosworth DFV V8-engined Lotus.
Alesi, now 56, held on until contact from Werner on the start/finish straight sent the Ferrari into the pit-side barriers and out of the race. It was unclear whether the Ferrari had slowed immediately before the contact, so close were the duo.
With a Surtees also crashing between Casino Square and Mirabeau, the race was red-flagged with Werner on his final lap.
Following Werner’s penalty, Lyons – who had narrowly held off Andlauer for second on the road – inherited victory.
Another ex-Ferrari F1 driver, Rene Arnoux, failed to start the race after an accident in practice.
The 312B3 narrowly missed out on both the drivers’ and constructors’ world titles in 1974, while the Lotus’s type 77 scored a single world championship success in the 1976 Japanese GP.
Photo by: ACM
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