Blast from the past for Heikki Kovalainen

Michael BaileyHeikki Kovalainen sampled life behind some of Formula One's most iconic cars at Hethel yesterday. The Lotus Racing driver took time out from his preparations for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix to throw Jim Clark's Type 25, the Type 49 that earned Graham Hill a world title and Mario Andretti's renowned Type 77 John Player Special round the Lotus test track.Michael Bailey

Heikki Kovalainen sampled life behind some of Formula One's most iconic cars at Hethel yesterday.

The Lotus Racing driver took time out from his preparations for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix to throw Jim Clark's Type 25, the Type 49 that earned Graham Hill a world title and Mario Andretti's renowned Type 77 John Player Special round the Lotus test track.

'It was great to feel those cars and drive them - they are so different to what we have now and they still give a good feeling to how it was in those days,' said the Finn.

'I really enjoyed driving all of them. It was good fun and good to see the progress in each of them.


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'Clark, Andretti, Hill; they obviously had to be very skilled to drive fast in those cars and the risk was bigger than what we have nowadays.

'I had quite a good feel for them. They felt comfortable.'

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The three cars will be joined by their 32 Lotus F1 siblings at Snetterton for the Classic Team Lotus Festival on Fathers' Day - Sunday, June 20 - which will also see Lotus Racing's T127; Kovalainen's current car.

Along with Clark's 1963 world championship winning T25 and Hill's 1967 Dutch Grand Prix-winning T49, the T38 that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 will also be given an airing.

It all means Snetterton will see a collection spanning 52 years and the first time all the Norfolk marque's F1 racers will have been gathered in one place - an arrangement that has taken plenty of time, effort and money from Classic Team Lotus managing director, Clive Chapman.

He said: 'The catalyst was those three cars - the T25, T49 and T77 - we're calling them the Team Lotus trinity.

'They've never been together before. We restored them all at the same time and they were about to go back to their owners around the world, and I thought we really must show these cars to people.

'I then asked some other F1 owners to see if they were interested in coming along and it's turned into one of every design - which has never been done before and probably, given the grief I've gone through to get it organised, will probably never happen again.

'It's spectacular really. The cars are coming from all over the world, all coming to Snetterton, and Lotus Racing have really taken to the event too.'

The festival means Kovalainen's current car, the T127, will spend the June weekend with its forbears before going on to Valencia for the European Grand Prix - coincidentally, grand prix number 500 for the Norfolk marque. The day's racing will include the Lotus on Track Elise Challenge and Lotus Cup Europe, while Lotus Racing drivers Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli and Fairuz Fauzy will also be at the event. Advance tickets cost �20 per adult, with entry free for children aged 12 and under.

For more information, call 0870 950 9000 or visit www.snetterton.co.uk

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