1971 Season (Part 3-1) 


 Note appeared in the Parabrisas Corsa Magazine Nº 261 of April, 1971 under the title :  


Customary to handle the specialty at will, the unbeatable Porsches were beginning to suffer, and the main reason does not reside solely in the harassment of the Italian marques, but also in organizational problems within the official teams. 

The triumph of Alfa Romeo in Brands Hatch, and the excellent performances of several Ferraris can be good reasons for a change of schemes that allows the Germans to continue dominating the Sport Prototypes. 

The impression that the not very distant 1000 km of Buenos Aires left us, seems a little weakened with the following races of the World Manufacturers Championship.

It would be foolish to say that Porsche came down because Alfa Romeo won the 1000 km of Brands Hatch, but it is happened to us that the moment has arrived for saying that the German marque is not working like it did in the previous couple of years.

In Buenos Aires the Martini Team did not work at all as it corresponded to his to official team status, and except for the short driving show of Vic Elford it was not possible to count on this team to go for the points. The Wyer-Gulf-Porsche team-also official- but more well-known by its successes that the International Martini won the race and also obtained the second position with relative facility, but giving the impression of having much more problems than the Alfa that started third, only surpassed in speed by the celestial cars.

The transportation of the cars towards North America left behind the apparently unequivocal idea that the Wyer´s Porsches sailed towards a new, comfortable championship, and that the small problems undergone in Argentina had been the result of a bad day and nothing else. Nevertheless Daytona proved that belief partly wrong. Not only the organization was not as perfect as it was believed in both of Porsche´s teams, but also the drivers gave themselves to a war of frictions, obstructions and collisions against their rivals and to each other, whom used every tactic allowed from boxes in a 24 hour race.

This events not only caused a series of similar reactions in the track from other drivers, in spite of angry denunciations and orders of declassification – specially against the very impulsive Rodriguez -, but also striked against the integrity of the cars, that by mid-race were totally “patched”, and won that race by chance after a lengthy pit stop in the boxes area.

Sebring was also a scandal. In the cake distribution, this time Rodriguez, Siffert, Elford, Donohue, and a few more drivers than circulated around the track took part in it. The presence of the Ferrari 312P of Andretti-Ickx and the best time established by Donohue with Penske´s Ferrari 512M altered everyone’s nerves, and the small collisions and “magic touches” were the order of the day. The only one, which more or less survived the match, was the 917 of Elford-Larrousse and won; but it is undeniable that if it had followed the 312P at the pace that it was running when it abandoned, it would have been impossible to beat him.

In Brands Hatch, the fine line that maintained the gust of Porsche triumphs was crossed and finished. While both official teams charged violently against each other, the Italian teams kept progressing gradually on the basis of hard work, improvement in the pit organization, race tactics, and the cars themselves.

The short, difficult English circuit proved that both Wyer and Martini teams had been reached in those aspects by the small 3-litre prototypes. Stommelen was the fastest of all with the Alfa Romeo 33/3 during both practices and even Ickx with the Ferrari could not improve its time. With the arrival of Regazzoni - that was the one who marked the best time in the classification- and with a series of minor adjustments in the only official 312P, it was possible for him to surpass by a tenth of a second Stommelen´s time. Although both were pleasant to surpass for the first time with certain amplitude the horde of 917's with De Adamich-Pescarolo put in with another Alfa in the second row.

The race was developed under a torrential rain, and to relate step-by-step the carnage of shutdowns, blunders, breakage and other factors that painted the test does not lead to anything. The only certain thing there is to emphasize, is that between both Alfa Romeo and Ferrari unquestionably beated the Porsches and they did not inherit the race - speaking specifically of the winners De Adamich-Pescarolo - but that it was won in good faith, leaving in second place the 312P of Regazzoni-Ickx front of the best Porsche (Siffert-Bell).

This is the work of Pedro Rodriguez. He more or less ran in these conditions in the last three races, because of the indiscriminate bumps that he offered to those who did not respect his status.

The winner at Sebring, the 917 "Martini " of Elford-Larrousse They were the only ones that did not “play” the bumping game, but were hit by a back marker.

A barbarism of colors, and an effectiveness that scares. The Ferrari Sunoco (512S transformed into M) that drove Mark Donohue. He was faster than the Porsches in Daytona and Sebring. Another victim of Rodriguez. 

During the rest of the year it will not be easy to beat the Porsches in the following races, but we agree that if things stay this way, the World Manufacturers Championship will not be the " robbery " that was in the previous years 69/70.

For starters, it will be necessary to take advantage to the maximum of both models that Porsche has for different types from circuit, the 908/03 type Targa as well as the three variants of the 917 (conventional, long tail and type "K"), so that the marque stays ahead in the specialty. But above all things, the teams that have official representation will have to review their booklets in the tactical and organizational face, and still more in the disciplinary aspects. Possibly Wyer could have won all the races disputed until now in 1971 but for the attitude of its drivers which aside from being very “super-starish” and forgetting that this championship does not consecrate figures, but the marques that pay their drivers for an efficient work, they also ignore to a large extent the regulations, becoming penalized by stupidities like the one of Siffert, that was punished with many laps because he went to the pit area looking for gasoline in a motorcycle.

From the spectator point of view, and the followers of the specialty all around the world, the spectacle is better than ever, since it seems that the abyss that separated in other times the effectiveness of Porsche is shortening.

The Ferrari 312P in the hands of experienced men like Andretti, Regazzoni and Ickx is outlined like a short term winner, and will be specially worthy to see the battle between the 3-litre cars of the three marques in tracks like the Targa Florio and the Nürburgring

Alfa Romeo has obtained in Brands Hatch a legitimate triumph that was looking for four years ago, on the basis of patience and work. The incentive of this success can impel it to fight with less fear against the German monsters.

The 1000 km. of Monza that runs this month seem to incline in favor of Porsche by the speed of its layout. Let us wait some days to follow this controversy, that although with certain clear advantages in favor of the defending marque, it does not seem to be a done deal.

The authentic “red danger”: the Ferrari 312P that has led in all the races that took part and has not been able to finish by diverse factors. If they find the “sweet spot” like in F1, Ferrari it can go to the front of the pack.







See the race statistics



1971 Season (II)

1971 Season (III-2)

1953-1968 SEASONS 1969 SEASON 1970 SEASON




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