Richard Mille, Principal Partner of the Grand Prix De Pau Historique 2013

Richard Mille, Principal Partner of the Grand Prix De Pau Historique 2013

For the fourth year in a row Richard Mille was the principal partner of the Grand Prix de Pau Historique which took place over the weekend of 11th and 12th May. It was another chance for the famous street circuit to deck itself out in the colours of the watchmaking brand which has always been passionately involved in the world of motorsports.

For two days, six grids (totalling 150 cars) took turns on a selective course, in good weather conditions, putting on an exciting show of skirmishes for the 13,000 spectators.

In the Peter Auto Trophée Légende, Grand Prix and Pre-War Sportscars, it was Thierry Chanoine (n° 68) at the wheel of a Riley who took the lead and held it right up to the finish line. Although Grégory Ramouna’s Bugatti tracked him nose-to-tail for the first half of the race, in the end it was J.J. Bally in his BMW 328 who took second place on the winner’s podium.

The Trophée Junior, Formula Junior (1957-1963), saw John Fryda in his Lotus 22 take the lead from the off for the first leg, but he was then outflanked by Jonathan Hugues (n° 91) at the wheel of his Brabham BT6, who took control of the rest of the race. As for third place, it was neck-and-neck between Philippe Buhofer (n° 53) and Joao Paulo Campos Costa (n° 56) until the half-way mark when the Portuguese driver let a place on the podium slip through his fingers.

A dogged struggle between Arnaud Rechede (n° 55) and Alain Girardet (n° 1) marked the first round of the Trophée Pyrénées, Formula Ford (1966 – 1981), a duel that was cut short on the last lap when the n° 1 did a 180° spin. It was a mistake that opened the way for Olivier Rechede, Arnaud’s brother, to take second place. The two local drivers were followed by Pierre Lombardi (n° 3). The Rechede brothers (n° 55 and n° 33) started the second race very well but a minor collision worked in Alain Girardet’s (n° 1) and David Zollinger’s (n° 10) favour.

In the Trophée Argentin, Grand Prix Pre-61 front engine, it was Julian Bronson at the wheel of a Scarab Offenhauser, who dominated the race after Paddins Dowling experienced a problem at start up. Not that this stopped him taking second place! And it is worth noting that third place went to Tony Smith driving Phil Hill’s Ferrari 246 Dino, the very same car that won the last F1 victory for front-engined Ferraris. In the second round, the same names were first over the finish line but in a different order.

The first race of the Trophée de Pau, Grand Prix Pre-61 rear engine, brought many surprises. From the start, Peter Horsman and Stephen Bond opened hostilities with some wheel-to-wheel sparring that resulted in a collision. In the second race, positions remained unchanged.

Peter Auto’s Trophée Phil Hill, Sixties’ Endurance Pre-66 Touring, saw Yvan Mahé’s (n° 1) and Michel Lecourt’s (n° 19) AC Cobras lead from the start, but the n° 19 was forced to abandon the race after 7 laps due to clutch failure. As for Didier Denat’s (n° 70) and Damien Kohler’s (n° 16) Porsche 911s, they locked horns for third place, but it was the n° 70 who had a podium finish. At the wheel of his AC Cobra, Yvan Mahé’s domination of the second race, with a three-lap lead, was unchallenged.

Laurent Majou, second on the start grid, led the Trophée Mini all the way to the finish line. Alongside the racing, classic car clubs also gathered for their annual meeting in Pau. Nearly 800 collectors’ cars assembled in one place was a delight for aficionados.

And don’t forget another early season highlight of the motorsport calendar, the Spa Classic, which takes place over the three days of 24th, 25th and 26th May on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. For this race, Richard Mille, the principal partner, has created the RM 011 Automatic Spa Classic watch, a limited edition of 50 pieces.