Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson, at the wheel of a car that began its racing life four years ago, yesterday (Sunday, July 7) took on the mighty Ferrari team and beat them to first place in the French Grand Prix.
GV PAN start of race Lauda and Peterson at front of grid Car No.24 Hunt spins out of race
SV Peterson over hill and past camera followed by Lauda and Reutemann
SV Car around circuit PAN ALONG No.7 Edwards
SV PAN Ickx past camera
TV Cars around bends PAN ALONG Lauda's car
SV Peterson round bend followed by Hill and Lauda
SV PAN No.26 Hill around track
GTV Depailler past stands followed by others
SV Cars out of bend and along straight
SV Peterson leading Lauda
SV Cars along straight past stand
SCU PAN ALONG No.19 Maas along straight
SV Peterson and Lauda on final lap (2 shots)
SV John Player special receives chequered flag others follow (2 shots)
GV Peterson, Lauda and Regazzoni on daio - Peterson spraying crowd with champagne
Initials OS/1845 OS/1903
SPORT - MOTOR RACING
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Background: Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson, at the wheel of a car that began its racing life four years ago, yesterday (Sunday, July 7) took on the mighty Ferrari team and beat them to first place in the French Grand Prix.
Peterson was driving a Lotus John Player Special -- it made its debut four seasons ago as the Lotus-Ford 72. For the first 16 laps on the Dijon circuit, he stuck in second place behind the Ferrari of Austrian Niki Lauda. Then peterson made his move, outbraking Lauda at the end of the straight and taking a lead he never relinquished. Peterson scored his first Grand Prix victory in the French event only a year ago.
At the finish, Lauda was 20 seconds behind. But second place was enough to regain Lauda the lead in the drivers' championship table ahead of Ferrari team-mate Clay Regazzoni, Switzerland's Regazzoni finished third in yesterday's race, just holding off Jody Schecktel of South Africa in a Tyrrell-Ford during an exciting last lap battle.
Two British drivers crashed within a hundred metres of the start. Tom Pryce in his UOP Shadow swerved in front of James Hunt in a Hesketh. Neither was badly hurt, bit their cars were put out of action. The same two drivers were involved in a similar crash at the beginning of the Dutch Grand Prix two weeks ago.
SYNOPSIS: The French Grand Prix gets underway at Dijon on Sunday -- and right from the start there was incident. Tom Pryce in a Shadow swerved across James Hunt in a Hseketh and the ensuing crash put both cars out. The two British drivers were involved in a similar crash in Holland two weeks earlier.
Sweden's Ronnie Peterson took the lead from Niki Lauda of Austria after seventeen of the eighty laps. It was a fine effort on the part of Peterson, who was at the wheel of a car now in its fourth season of Grand Prix racing -- the John Player Lotus Special. Against him was the powerful Italian Ferrari team, spearheaded by Lauda and Switzerland's Clay Regazzoni.
Peterson and Lauda still contesting the lead, and lapping other competitors on the short Dijon circuit. The track has been the subject of criticism among drivers and Lauda has referred to it as a stupid circuit. Because it is so short -- just two miles -- and because cars lap once every minute on average, the field had to be restricted to twenty-eight entries.
Still, it developed into a good race. Behind the two leaders, a series of other cars in pairs fought out private duels -- Clay Regazzoni, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jacky Iokx and Denny Hulme among them.
The final lap -- and Peterson's Lotus still leading Lauda in the ferrari. By the flag, Peterson had built up a twenty second lead. His average speed was just over a hundred and nineteen miles an hour.
Peterson scored his first Grand Prix victory in the French event last year. Lauda and Ferrari team-mate Regazzoni, who finished third, joined in the victory celebrations. After the race, Lauda moved into first place in the World championship series, four points ahead of Regazzoni.