Friday, March 2, 2018

Gilles Villeneuve Wins The South African Grand Prix - March 2, 1979

March 2, 1979
(Photo; Formula1streaming via photopin cc)
There was a four-week break between the Brazilian and South African GPs. At the high-altitude Kyalami circuit between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Jean-Pierre Jabouille took pole in the turbocharged Renault and home hero Jody Scheckter put his Ferrari 312T4 second on grid, just in front of teammate Gilles Villeneuve, and the Ligiers were only on the third row. Jabouille led at the start with Villeneuve and Scheckter following, but Villeneuve took the lead on second lap before the race was stopped by a rainshower.

When the race restarted, most drivers were on wets, but Scheckter and a few others opted for slicks. Villeneuve led at the restart and built up a gap, but the track dried and he had to pit for slicks along with most of the field. This left Scheckter leading comfortably, and he looked well set for a home win until he had to pit for new tyres, handing the lead back to Villeneuve and in behind, Patrick Tambay briefly ran third in his McLaren, until he was passed by Jarier. It was Villeneuve who won the race with Scheckter close behind, and Jarier taking the final spot on the podium.

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