HISTORIC CHAMPIONS ENJOY THE LIMELIGHT IN PARIS | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile


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The winners of the seven FIA 2018 Historic Championships were celebrated and honoured on Saturday, 26 January in Paris.

Gathering together members of the Historic Motor Sport Commission, organisers, officials, several industry guests and of course, the winners of the FIA Championships, Cups and Trophies, the 2018 Historic Prize-Giving was held at the Pavillon Gabriel in Paris, just a stone’s throw away from the FIA headquarters at Place de la Concorde.


During this festive evening, the discussions of the 180 attendees naturally focused on the most memorable moments of 2018, but also on everyone’s plans for the 2019 season. In historic competitions, a large majority of drivers are very attached to their car, and many embark on the new season with the same equipment as the previous one. Some however, will change their machine, either because they are taking on another challenge or because they are forced to by circumstances. Champion for the third consecutive time in Historic Formula 1, Nick Padmore announced to the audience, his voice quivering with emotion, that he would no longer be driving his fabulous ex-Reutemann Williams FW07C, as the car had found a new owner. Leaving behind his Williams-Cosworth, Padmore will drive a Mini Cooper in 2019! The Mini will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this season and there will be numerous competitions to mark the occasion, which are already proving popular. Winner of the first edition of the FIA Historic Formula Three European Cup in Category 1 (cars from 1971 to 1978), the German Marcel Biehl also announced in Paris a new adventure: he was going to go into Category 2 (cars from 1979 to 1984). He would therefore have to take on the young 2018 winner, the Dane Christian Olsen, who will continue to divide his time between Formula 3 historic events with his Martini, and modern races in LMP3. The second edition of the Historic Cup dedicated to Formula 3 will once again be held on the North Sea coast in Zandvoort, the Netherlands (6-8 September 2019).


The awards for the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship had doubled in number compared with the previous year. The overall classification now makes a distinction between cars from before 1966 and cars after 1965. Keith Ahlers and James Billy Bellinger won the former category in their Cooper Monaco, while the post-1965 category saw Calum Lockie and Julian Thomas dominate in their Chevron B8.


Colin Nursey emerged victorious in the FIA Lurani Trophy, all categories combined, in his Lotus 18. Co-organiser of the Trophy and a driver himself, Duncan Rabagliati took the win in Category B2 with his trusty Alexis; a car which has now started no less than 604 (that’s right, six hundred and four!) races.


The Czechs grabbed four of the six trophies attributed to the FIA Historic Hill Climb Championship, winning Categories 1 to 3 (Vladimir Konicar, Jaroslav Mikes and Jiri Kubicek) and the Nations Cup. Italian Uberto Bonucci and Slovak Miroslav Ciliak shared the two remaining victories between them.


The number of entrants in the FIA Historic Sporting Rally Championship has been increasing since 2014, and the competition is gaining in diversity every year with new teams and cars. However, the 2018 winners are regulars at the annual prize-giving ceremony; the inseparable D’Angelo/Parisi once again reigned supreme in Category 1, the Norwegian duo of Jensen/Pedersen took gold in Category 4, while two couples, united in life as well as in racing, won Categories 2 and 3 (respectively, Laszlo Mekler/Edit Miko and Karl Wagner/Gerda Zauner). An unusual presence at the European Championship awards – an American driver: Iain Dobson had assiduously raced in Europe throughout the 2018 season and was rewarded by second place in Category 2. Dobson will nonetheless not continue in Europe in 2019; his Ford Escort went back to the United States this year, where it will take part in several local races as well as the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb.


While the Historic Sporting Rally drivers and co-drivers honoured in Paris were not at their first prize-giving, the winners of the FIA Historic Regularity Rallies Trophy, Spaniards David Nogareda and Sergi Giralt (Porsche 911S), were attending for the very first time and were clearly moved.


The guest of honour, Emmanuel Pirro, paid tribute the exploits of the winners of the 2018 FIA Historic Championships. “I also occasionally race in historic events, stated the five-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in closing the Parisian evening. To find oneself at the wheel of these historic cars, even if they are not always easy to drive, is always a pleasure and a privilege. The spirit that must prevail in historic racing is one that celebrates the racing cars of yesteryear. For the driver, the pride of driving such cars and the pleasure of sharing one’s passion with the public must be given greater importance than seeking the best overall result. Just like everyone else, I am a driver, and I would be lying if I said I did not try to drive fast in a “historic”. The helmet on the head transforms the man! Historic races are still competitions and must certainly not become mere parades, but it is important to show restraint, reason and respect.” Wise words indeed.


To access the photo gallery of the FIA Historic Championship Prize Giving, click here.