Friday marked the 70th birthday of one of racing’s great all-rounders, but we’re pretty sure German ace Jochen Mass, a good friend to Goodwood of course, won’t mind us reliving the time, more than 25 years ago, when he got unceremoniously dumped out of the lead battle for victory in the prestigious 1,000km at Brands Hatch.
OCT 02nd 2016
Video: Sauber‑Mercedes takes a beating at Brands
It’s the seventh round of the 1988 World Sportscar Championship and it’s all about to go wrong for Mass, who’s sharing the No.62 Sauber-Mercedes C9/88 with Jean-Louis Schlesser.
As the field, led by the Joest Porsche 962C of Klaus Ludwig, comes round Clearways to complete its eighth lap in the 5h30m enduro, American amateur Stephen Hynes tries his best to keep out of the way in the Roy Baker Racing-run Group C2 Tiga GC286 but loses control on the ‘marbles’ around the outside of the fast, downhill right-hander.
Sadly for Mass, who had won the opening round at Jerez and the race prior to Brands, at Brno, Hynes cannons into the Sauber, firing it off into the tyres and ending its race on the spot.
Italian Mauro Baldi, in the second, pole-sitting Sauber, does a superb job of avoiding the mêlée by spinning the 5-litre V8 beast to a halt. He would continue in the race and finish in third position with Schlesser, who was entered in both Saubers.
Notice how the three pursuing Jaguar XJR-9s all safely make it through. Two of them would eventually retire – John Watson/Davy Jones with an engine issue after 30 laps and Jan Lammers/Johnny Dumfries with a late-race electrical fire – while the No.1 car of Martin Brundle/John Nielsen/Andy Wallace went on to win the race by a lap from the Ludwig/Bob Wollek Porsche. The result offered a huge boost to Brundle’s Drivers’ Championship hopes with four races to go, as well as all-but ensuring Sauber could no longer win the Manufacturers’ crown.
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