Alan Jones, the fiery Australian race car driver, has won the unofficial first practice run for the U.
Alan Jones, the fiery Australian race car driver, has won the unofficial first practice run for the U.S. Grand Prix. Jones, driving his Williams FW07, beat his nearest competitor Jean Pierre Jabouille of France by a full two seconds.
SYNOPSIS: Having already scored four victories this year, Alan Jones has become the pre-race favourite at Watkins Glen. The Australian has already proven that he's in tremendous shape, and having finished last year's race in second place, he's hoping to improve on that time, and position.
The race will not be without scandal though. Italian driver Riccardo Patrese, has been charged with manslaughter by an Italian court. Patrese was involved in the accident, last year at the Italian Grand Prix where Swedish race driver Ronnie Peterson was killed.
Watkins Glen is a demanding course. It is hard on the brakes, and quite heavy on fuel consumption. It is a long race by current standards, only a fraction under two hundred miles (320 kilometres), meaning that all of the cars will take to the course with their tanks topped up to the brim.
During the recent testing Jaques Laffite, who was out of luck at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, recorded a very quick lap time of 1.35.4. And obviously the Ferrari team of Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve will present a formidable challenge for Jones.
Jean Pierre Jabouille will also be in the top group - if he can break away from the pack and repeat the performance he put in earlier this summer in Dijon, at the French Grand Prix. It was Renault's first Grand Prix win since the very first Grand Prix race in France in 1906.
But all of the attention will be focused on Jones. His bad luck earlier this year, has been put well back into most people's memories after his stunning success in the second half of the season. And if the first practice run ??? any indication, Jones will be well within striking distance when the race is run on Sunday (7 October).