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Miracle escape

PUBLISHED: 16:21 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 23 August 2010

Masters Historic Festival
Brands Hatch 23-25 May 2009
Jean-Pierre Druguet crashes out at Paddock Hill bend in his Lotus Elan during the Gentleman Drivers GT race
Picture by: Simon Hildrew
07970 808510
www.simonhildrew.com

Masters Historic Festival Brands Hatch 23-25 May 2009 Jean-Pierre Druguet crashes out at Paddock Hill bend in his Lotus Elan during the Gentleman Drivers GT race Picture by: Simon Hildrew 07970 808510 www.simonhildrew.com

A RACING driver escaped from a horrific crash that turned his car into a fire ball. Spectators at Brands Hatch gasped in shock when Frenchman Jean-Pierre Druguet s car somersaulted through the air on Monday. They had come to watch racing legend Sir Stir

A RACING driver escaped from a horrific crash that turned his car into a fire ball.

Spectators at Brands Hatch gasped in shock when Frenchman Jean-Pierre Druguet's car somersaulted through the air on Monday.

They had come to watch racing legend Sir Stirling Moss take on Druguet and others when the incident happened at Paddock Hill Bend.

Druguet's limp body could be seen flailing lifelessly as the car flipped, horrified onlookers fearing the worst.

The 1964 Lotus Elan S1 ended up upside down and burst into flames. Fire marshals sprinted to the stricken driver, dousing the fire.

A spokeswoman for the circuit said: "Although the accident looked very dramatic, thankfully Druguet escaped with just two cracked ribs and some bruising."

He and Moss were competing in The Gentleman Drivers GT race, part of the Masters Historic Festival and one of the UK's premier classic race events.

Moss competed against the likes of an AC Cobra and the Jaguar E-Type, behind the wheel of his Osca FS 372 sports-racing car, which has been superbly restored since he bought it two years ago.

The Osca FS is one of only nine such cars in existence, and was built by the Maserati brothers after they sold the company bearing their own name.

Sir Stirling, who even has a bend named after him, had a well earned drink at the newly-opened Racing Bar at the Thistle Hotel.

He said: "I've always loved competing at Brands Hatch - we raced the other way round the circuit in those days going up the hill at Paddock, which was much easier."

Pointing to a photograph of himself leaning against a Formula One car, drinking from a bottle of cola, Sir Stirling recalled: "That was taken during the Italian Grand Prix in 1955.

"I was leading the race but I hadn't realised the petrol tank had split and I ran out of fuel just before the finishing line. I got out of the car, drank a bottle of Coke and waited for the others to go by and then I pushed the car over the line.

"In those days we raced for the fun of it. Today Formula One racing is a business - fascinating one but it is business."

Formula One cars from yester year were the headline event of big Bank Holiday weekend of racing at Brands Hatch.

The Grand Prix Masters series saw 3 litre F1 Cars built between 1968 and 1978 and the World Sportscar Masters Series for Le Mans prototypes built between the mid-1960s up to 1974.

Both World Sportscar Masters Series were won by Andrew Smith in a 1969 Lola T70 Mk3b

In the first Grand Prix Masters race, the Williams FW06 of Simon Hadfield clinched victory by just half a second from the March 761 of Katsu Kubota.

The second Grand Prix Masters race was won in dominant fashion by young racer Michael Lyons, who took victory in his Hesketh 308E with a lead of more than 30 seconds.

A rare Lotus 79 once raced by Mario Andretti performed some demonstration laps.

This weekend features a collection of more modern former F1 cars. They will be up against their American counterparts from Indy Racing League, as well Champ Car and Formula 3000 machinery.

Cars competing this weekend include a 2006 Super Aguri powered by a Cosworth engine, an ex-Ascari Benetton B197 and a 2007 Champcar Panoz DP01.

Racing features the MG Trophy, UK Porsche Open and Dunlop Motorsport News Saloon Car Championship. Tickets cost £12 on the gate for adults, for more information call 0870 950 9000 or visit www.brandshatch.co.uk.

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