Motor racing...and Mario Andretti of the United States made a brilliant debut in the 1978?
Motor racing...and Mario Andretti of the United States made a brilliant debut in the 1978 Formula One season by winning the Argentine Grand Prix in Buenos Aires on Sunday (15 January). He won the race in style...leading from the start to finish. Second was Austria's reigning champion Niki Lauda in a Brabham, followed by Frenchman Patrick Depailler.
SYNOPSIS: Depailler, in the new Tyrrell-Ford, battled hard for the second spot. He was only three-tenths of a second behind Lauda at the finish.
Britain's James Hunt in a McLaren finished fourth.
Ronnie Peterson, of Sweden driving a Lotus, came fifth.
And Mario Andretti, the eventual winner.
Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve getting ready for the start.
The race was run over the six kilometres San Martin Autodrome circuit. The usually festive atmosphere of the Argentine Grand Prix was slightly dulled by what local journalists described as the biggest security operation in the event's history.
Andretti, the 37-year-old Italian-American, drove superbly. He gradually pulled away from the field as he built up a margin that at the end was more then 13 seconds over Lauda.
Some 6,000 troops among the crowd saw local hero Carlos Reutermann's Ferrari share the front row with Andretti for a time. But the Argentine was soon in trouble and dropped back through the field. Many among the 100,000 fans were disappointed to see Reutermann take only seventh place.
Only 11 drivers completed the 197-mile (316 kilometre) race.
A delighted Andretti said after his victory that the race "went perfectly all the way".
He said he could control it pretty much as wanted, adding "It went wonderfully, perfectly right to the end. When I had a 22-second a advantage over Lauda I slowed down to save my car".