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Lotus roll back the years with Grands Prix clean sweep

PUBLISHED: 14:36 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 November 2017

Winner of the first Circuit of Americas race Greg Thornton in his Lotus 91 tended by Classic Team Lotus. Picture: Masters Historic Racing

Winner of the first Circuit of Americas race Greg Thornton in his Lotus 91 tended by Classic Team Lotus. Picture: Masters Historic Racing

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Classic Team Lotus won all four of the Masters Historic Racing Grand Prix series races supporting the American and Mexican Grands Prix.

Lotus 78 racer Katsuaki Kubota celebrating on the top step of the podium a double victory in Mexico. Picture: Masters Historic Racing Lotus 78 racer Katsuaki Kubota celebrating on the top step of the podium a double victory in Mexico. Picture: Masters Historic Racing

Japanese racer Katsuaki Kubota secured a hat-trick of victories, with his Lotus 78, while Greg Thornton, in his Lotus 91, completed a clean sweep of the four races for the Hethel-based squad.

Thornton initially led the way for the Norfolk team by starting the opening race at the Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas, from pole position and once the starting light extinguished he was able to ease away from the opposition to take a comfortable victory.

CTL team-mate Kubota found himself embroiled in a three-way battle with Mike Cantillon’s Tyrrell 010 and Charles Nearburg’s Williams FW07 for the remaining podium places.

The Lotus racer swapped second several times with Cantillon while Nearburg sneaked past the JPS-liveried car a couple of times, but was unable to make a move stick to narrowly miss out on stealing Kubota’s final podium place.

Race two was held in the wet, which saw race one winner Thornton complete a 360 rotation on the opening lap, leaving Kubota to fend off a rampant Cantillon, but a mid-race spin for his rival gave him sufficient breathing space to greet the chequered flag first.

Meanwhile, Thornton, who resumed in third after his spin, rotated again as he brought his Lotus home in fourth.

The series moved on to Mexico with Kubota proving dominant. Thornton displaced his team-mate at the head of the field for part of the fifth lap of race one, but was unable to keep the position as the Lotus 78 retook the lead which the Japanese driver held to the finish.

The Lotus pair again battled for the lead in the second race with Thornton, who had to recover from a poor start, piling the pressure on his team-mate for most of the opening eight laps until he made an error which gave Kubota just enough breathing space to claim his victory hat-trick.

CTL’s third driver Andrew Beaumont was 13th and 11th in Texas, and eighth and seventh in Mexico.

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