With five more formula one grand prix races left this season, Austria's Lauda has the chance to increase his lead for the championship, in this Sunday's (28th August 1977) Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort.
SV: of cars in pit
SV PAN: Car 15 being pushed out of pit (Jabouille)
CU ZOOM OUT SV: Niki Lauda in car 11
SV: Number 5 (Mario Andretti)
SV PAN: Of cars starting practice round
SV PAN: Car number 5 on track
GV PAN: Car 19 on track (Brambilla)
SV: Cars going around bend (TWO SHOTS)
SV PAN: Car 2 going around track (JOCHEM MASS)
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
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Background: With five more formula one grand prix races left this season, Austria's Lauda has the chance to increase his lead for the championship, in this Sunday's (28th August 1977) Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort. Sixteen points now separate Lauda from his closest rival Jody Scheckter of South Africa. Nike Lauda lost his formula one crown in 1976 to Britain's James Hunt.
SYNOPSIS: A chilly wind with spray coming off the nearby North sea provided the backdrop to Friday's (26th August) first official practice run. But the seabreeze did nothing for Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jabouille turned in the worst time driving a Renault.
A win for Niki Lauda on Sunday (28th August) would almost assure him of recapturing the formula one championship from Britain's James Hunt.
Mario andretti of the United States many see him as posing the major challenge to Lauda, he turned in the day's best time driving a Lotus with a scorching time of one minute, eighteen and eight tenths of a second at a top speed of 119.9 miles per hour (192.9 KPH). The winner at Zandvoort for the past two years, has ben the reigning world champion, Britan's James Hunt. With the day's second best time, less than a second behind Andretti's the chances of Hunt scoring a hat trick look high.
Last Year, Andretti came third in the Dutch Grand Prix. And this year lies fourth in the world championship table after having one of his seasons in years. Vittorio Brambilla of Italy driving a Surtees will be battling with emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson to get into the top ten. Niki Lauda now has 54 championship points with his closest rival Jody Scheckter on 38. Although comfortably, ahead lauda is expected to take on extra risks and will concentrate instead on beating his South African rival.
If the 4,226 kilometre (2,626 mile) circuit stays dry this weekend a new lap record could be set.