Motor racing...and in Johannesburg, on Saturday (4 March) the Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson won the?
Motor racing...and in Johannesburg, on Saturday (4 March) the Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson won the South African Grand Prix driving a Lotus. Peterson snatched victory in the last of the 78 laps of the race, putting Patrick Depailler of France, driving a Tyrrell into second place and the United Kingdom's John Watson into third in his Brabham.
SYNOPSIS: The circuit at Kyalami, north of Johannesburg, caused the drivers plenty of problems, but there were no casualties. During the 78 laps, 14 cars pulled out because of various faults. Argentina's Carlos Reutemann's car caught fire after hitting a fence, but he was already out and unhurt.
In the early laps, United States driver Mario Andretti powered his Lotus to set up a big lead over Jody Scheckter, the local hero. Andretti clocked the fastest lap of the race.
Britain's james Hunt ran into trouble in the fourth lap, when he retired with a blown engine. Meanwhile, Andretti kept his lead for the first 20 laps, but then started to slow. Scheckter began whittling sown the gap Andretti had put between them.
Finally, Scheckter passed Andretti's Wolf in the 21s lap. Andretti continued to drop back, and was overtaken by Niki Lauda of Austria, and the Italian, Ricardo Patrese.
Patrese soon passed Lauda and chased Scheckter for the lead. As Andretti kept slipping further back, Frenchman Didier Pironi came up in his Tyrrell.
Patrese, in only his second Grand Prix race, seemed to be heading for a sensational victory until 13 laps from the end, when his engine blew up. Driving a Tyrell, Depailler saw the chance of his first-ever win, and zipped into the lead.
But in the final lap, Peterson caught up. They raced side by side, until Peterson pulled ahead to secure his victory.