After the string of races on French soil, it was truly evident Peter Whitehead was truly becoming a very talented sportscar driver and was giving that sphere of motor racing more and more attention.
While Peter Whitehead was off enjoying a spectacular few weeks in France, the Atlantic Stable team would remain idle. In fact, it would be more than a month between Formula 2 races for the team. Then, finally, on the 11th of July, the team would be back in action. The team had made its way back to London and the Crystal Palace Park, but this time the team came to take part in the 1st Crystal Palace Trophy race.
The team entered just one car in the race, which was to be 15 laps of the 1.34 mile circuit. The race would be short. Covering just 21 miles, the expected time to complete the race distance would be somewhere less than twenty minutes.
In practice for the race, Tony Rolt would gain the pole-position. Roy Salvadori would also be fast in his Connaught but would have to settle for starting the race 2nd. The front row would be completed with Les Leston in 3rd. Peter Whitehead would find himself starting from the 5th position. Once again, he would find himself starting from the second row of a grid. In all, twelve cars would line up to start the race.
The field would roar away, Climbing toward the back stretch for the first time, Rolt held onto the lead with Roy Salvadori all over his backside. Les Leston and Lance Macklin would all be holding station right where they had started. The lineup after the first lap of the race would be the same as how they had started.
Salvadori continued to harass Rolt but Rolt would not budge an inch. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, Salvadori would continue to struggle to find a way past Rolt. Whitehead continued to follow along behind Macklin. The order behind Whitehead would finally become disrupted. Kenneth McAlpine had started the race beside Whitehead in the 6th position. However, he would retire from the race. Therefore, Duncan Hamilton, who had started in the 7th position, would slot into 6th place. In fact, the only one to actually jump up any positions by passing out on the circuit would be John Webb. Webb had started the race dead-last in 12th. However, before the end of the race, Webb would manage to come forward and finish in the 9th position.
Salvadori would give it everything he had to try and break up the order at the front of the field but Rolt would counter every move he tried. As a result, after averaging more than 71 mph throughout, Rolt would come across the line in just seventeen minutes and twenty-three seconds to take the victory over Roy Salvadori. Following a little ways behind Salvadori, Les Leston would come through to finish in 3rd place.
Behind Leston came Macklin. And following Macklin, Whitehead would come through to finish 5th. Whitehead had started the race from the 5th position on the grid and had finished right where he started.
While Whitehead was certainly looking for more, another top five result for the team would still be a good way to get back into the swing of things after being away from grand prix racing for over a month.
The month of June and early July had seen Peter take part in some very tough sportscar races. The demanding Hyeres and Reims 12 Hour and prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans had resulted in some very memorable results. But now, Whitehead and Atlantic Stable were staring down its toughest grand prix test of the season.
Following the team's 5th place result in the Crystal Palace Trophy race, the team would be in no hurry to pack and leave for its next race would be just two hours to the north. However, while the team could enjoy the leisurely trip they were headed to one of the most important grand prix races of their season, and therefore, needed to be at their very best. The team needed to be at its very best because it would be going up against the very best. The team was on their way to Silverstone. They were heading there to take part in the sixth round of the World Championship, the British Grand Prix.
As Atlantic Stable arrived at Silverstone, it would find itself arriving amidst a tightening battle for the World Championship. The previous season saw Ascari miss the Swiss Grand Prix, the first round of the World Championship. However, when he returned, he absolutely dominated every other race on the season.
Throughout three of the first five rounds of the current season, Ascari continued his dominant run of race victories, but there had been some close calls along the way. Then, at the last round, Ascari's string of victories came to an end. Though Ferrari continued its streak, it was Mike Hawthorn that pulled out the victory. And with four rounds remaining, Hawthorn was beginning to pose a serious threat to Ascari because of his victory in the French Grand Prix. Therefore, to maintain his stranglehold on the championship Ascari would need a good result at the British Grand Prix.
While Atlantic Stable had entered more than one car in a couple of events during the 1953 season, the team would head to Silverstone with just its Cooper-Alta T24 to be driven by Peter Whitehead. It would have taken an onslaught of more than half a dozen cars to disrupt Ascari and his effort to come away from the British Grand Prix the clear favorite to retain the World Championship title.
The reality of Ascari's determination would become evident in practice when he would take his Ferrari 500 and turn the fastest lap. Completing the 2.88 mile circuit in one minute and forty-eight seconds Ascari earned the pole. Only two seconds would separate the whole of the front row, however. Jose Froilan Gonzalez, who had earned Ferrari their first-ever World Championship victory at the British Grand Prix back in 1951, would qualify well with his Maserati A6SSG and would start 2nd. Mike Hawthorn would thrill the British crowd as he would post a time of a little more than a minute and forty-nine seconds and would start 3rd. The front row would end up alternating Ferrari, Maserati as Juan Manuel Fangio would take his A6SSG and would start 4th.
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