From the motorsport archive: on this day in 1980


Three young Brits challenged for the European Formula 2 title in 1980: Brian Henton and Derek Warwick for Toleman-Hart and Nigel Mansell for Ralt-Honda.

At the ninth of 12 rounds at Zandvoort, the Toleman duo looked a sure bet for another lock-out, having taken four wins and five seconds already – but then it started to rain. As had been the case at Pau, this weather played into the hands of the cars shod with Goodyear tyres, as opposed to those supplied by Pirelli.

One of them, the wide-track AGS-BMW of Frenchman Richard Dallest, took pole position with ease, while the Toleman duo started only seventh and eighth.

Dallest relinquished his lead to the March-BMW of Andrea de Cesaris, but the Italian spun out of a one-minute lead (because of course he did) with four laps left and so missed out on his first F2 win.

Warwick overtook several cars as the track dried, coming second, while Henton rued keeping a dry car set-up, spinning twice to finish 12th.

He bounced back with two more seconds to be champion before the final round. Yet while Mansell and Warwick became racing legends, ‘Superhen’ never got the chance to show his talent in a competitive F1 car and so quit motorsport in 1983.

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