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    The new world champion driver is James Hunt of Britain. He won the championship by?

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    The new world champion driver is James Hunt of Britain. He won the championship by just one point on Sunday (24 October).

    SYNOPSIS: The deciding event was the last Formula One event in the current facing calendar, the Japan Grand Prix, at the Fuji speedway 75 miles (120 Kms) west of Tokyo. fog and rain delayed the start that had Mario Andretti o the United States in the pole position, with Hunt alongside him. In the second row was Hunt's arch rival Niki Lauda. of austria, in a Ferrari.

    Only three points in the championship separated Hunt and Lauda. Lauda had made a heroic recovery from his near fatal crash during the West German Grand Prix to put himself back into the running. Shortly after the start, Lauda pulled into the pits, saying conditions were impossible and he'd had enough, a sad finish for the reigning world champion after he'd gone through so much to get to this stage. Vittorio Brambilla of Italy, in a March made a pit-stop, and then back in the race, overtook Hunt and nearly knocked himself out of the reckoning.

    John Watson of the U.K. was out of the race with mechanical trouble and Hunt's team mate, Jochen Mass, of West germany hit the safety railing severely bending the front of his McLaren. The track started to dry out and Hunt's wet weather tyres were deteriorating. He signalled his anxious mechanics that he wasn't ready to come into the pits yet and continued on, but slower. Patrick Depailler in a six wheeler Tyrrell overtook him.

    Depailler suffering from tyre trouble himself flattens one and heads for the pits running on a wheel rim.

    Mario Andretti, driving a superb race, passes alan Jones of Australia in a Surtees. By Lap 62 of the 73 lap race, Hunt's tyres were beginning to shred and he reached the pits with one of them flat. He'd led for most of the race.

    With the race nearing its end, Andretti was leading Hunt by five places by the time Hunt returned to the track. Hunt clawed his way to third place. Andretti took the Grand Prix, followed by Depailler in second place, but Hunt's third gave him the championship by just one point. The jubilant Hunt was asked about his immediate plans after the race. "I plan to get drunk", he said.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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