Motor racing -- and at the Kyalami circuit just outside Johannesburg there was intense competition for the South African Grand Prix on Saturday (3 March), which ended with a victory for Canadian Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve.
Motor racing -- and at the Kyalami circuit just outside Johannesburg there was intense competition for the South African Grand Prix on Saturday (3 March), which ended with a victory for Canadian Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve. Local hero, Jody Scheckter, was second, also in a Ferrari.
SYNOPSIS: The start of the race -- with Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jabouille in pole position on the grid after a sensational practice lap time of one minute 11.80 seconds.
But Scheckter and Villeneuve dominated from the start, with the positions behind them changing constantly. A sudden heavy rainstorm took everyone by surprise, and eventually the race was halted -- but re-started an hour later.
At this point, the teams faced the vital decision whether to race on tyres suited to wet or dry conditions
As the race re-started, most settled for wet-weather tyres, only to regret it a few laps later when the sun broke through. Scheckter made the right choice, and when his team-mate Villeneuve went in for a tyre change, he took the lead. But not for long. Scheckter's tyres had taken a beating. He, too, was forced into the pits, and Villeneuve forged ahead again.
Villeneuve set a track record of one minute, 14.412 seconds on the twenty-third lap, but, towards the end, was around three seconds slower. And the amazing Renaults? They had a bad day, with Jabouille out with engine trouble, and Rene Arnoux retiring because of tyre problems.
The young Dutchman Jam Lammers crashed his Shadow into a fence, but escaped unhurt.
The Ferraris romped home first and second to break the domination of the French Ligier team this year. They also had a disastrous day -- both drivers, Lafitte and Depailler, spun off and failed to finish.
Villeneuve received medical attention before joining Scheckter on the winner's rostrum. The lion is called Simba -- the trademark of the firm who sponsored the race.