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MARCH 13, 1976 AUTOWEEK PAGE 17 S. African GP Continued From Preceding Page Formula One cars weaving, wiggling and veering from side to side, fat black wheels and sharp finny noses darting among each other with scant inqhes of clearance as drivers quicker than thought went for fleeting openings. Tall airboxes were chopping back and forth like the teeth of a mowing machine, gritty brown dust was rising, and over on the far outside verge Carlos Reuteniann had taken his red Brabham completely off the racing surface in a do-or-die attempt to improve his sixth .r ow starting position. A~ the desperate struggle piled into Crowthorne, Lauda still knifing along just ahead, Depailler hauled his Tyrrell as far Qver to the inside of Hunt . as he could and stamped on the brakes as late as he dared. Almost too late; the blue 007 snapped into a vicious oscillation, tail whipping back and forth as the back brakes locked; . Hunt escaped being battered by no more than the thickness of an endplate and slipped ahead, still fourth. Depailler had the luck to catch it and was 5th. Across the track Reutemann somehow came back onto the road pointed the right way and without hitting anyone, and · with the discipline of the laws of physics forced upon them at last, the chaotic pack formed into cornering order. All but two. Michele Leclere, doing his second GP (his first was a very brief appearance with Tyrrell at Watkins Glen last year) replacing Renzo Zorzi now for Frank Williams, got his wheels tangled up with the privately owned Tyrrell ofIan Scheckter. The brand new Williams went bouncing up into the air over the wheels of the Tyrrell and then spun extravagantly across through the packto the dirt on the inside, somehow escaping any further damage. He was able to turn around and drive away again, and finally finished 13th two laps down with no further adventure. Poor .old Ian, Jody's older brother who was, with concealed but very real hope that this race would show his abilities to all thevisitingF-l team managers, trying to get a good finish, could only climb out and help the marshals push the original 007, its front suspension bent, away from further risk. He spent the rest of the race there, hoping idly that perhaps Leclere might blow up or something and coast to a stop there where he could get at him ... As the first lap hurtled to an end by the pits it was LaudaleadingfromMass, with Brambilla third and Hunt fourth. Behind At the beginning it looked like Lauda in a walk-this is after one lap. elms Mullen a cushion of 2.3 seconds on second place, and as the next few laps developed it was obviQus to every eye that Brambilla was holding up the pursuit. With five laps down Lauda was 5.9 seconds ahead and cars were piled up behind the March. Mass had courteously waved Hunt -through to the attack, and attack he did, but it was close work. Onto the brakes for the fourth time and J ames veered over to the inside; once again Vittorio protected himself with savage determination and chopped in a long straight diagonal across the MCLaren's nose to the apex. Tbis, the well-bred young Englishman might have thought to himself, was a little like Tarzan mixing it up with Attila the Hun! Gathering himself for his best run at it, Hunt came off Leeukop corner at the head of the straight next time around with wheels just on the edge of spinning, driving all the power possible into the road; with the closer ratios of bis McLaren-modified Hewland six-speed gearbox keeping the Cosworth right on the peak of its power curve he pushed tight up into Brambilla's draft and a little past the pits, earlier than the lap before, he whipped out to the inside again. Absolutely side by side this time, the two went onto the brakes for Crowthorneand the Italian gave in. "I think he must have felt a tiny bit badly about the lap before," said James with comfortable equanimity afterward, "for I saw him waggle a finger at me and let me in." Hunt was now free to see what he might salvage of the Ferrari situation. It didn't look like he could, though. The gap had expanded now on the sixth lap to seven seconds; although Hunt was literally rushing away from Brambilla he wasn't making any impression on Lauda and as the laps piled up the gap grew to eight seconds and then to nine. The McLaren at this stage of the race with nearly full tanks was ' understeering .a little, and besides that-although the driver couldn't see it-there was an intermittent puff of smoke as cornering forces threw leaking oil onto the exhaust pipes. There Continued On Next Page The Shadowsof Jean-Pierre Jarier and Tom Pryce showed in one-race-only Lucky Strike livery. This is Jarier. Chris Mullen MARKETING COMPANY Depailler was Ronnie Peterson, whose blue-and-yellow March with the Swedish flag on the nose was up from 10th starting place, Reutemann's raucous-and already sIlloking-Alfa-engined Brabham seventh, Tom Pryce's Shadow (sponsored by Lucky Strike for this one race) eighth, Regazzoni in the other Lotus Team Determined Colin Chapman came down to South Africa for a complete fortnight, the longest time he has personally devoted to his company's Formula One project for some years. It was sorely 'needed. With Peterson finally making good his escape to March and Andretti electing to go with Parnelli, Team Lotus had two new drivers for the second race of the season. Nominal team leader is the young Swede Gunnar Nilsson, who-rather against Peterson's advice-has signed for two years. He proved to enjoy a slightly less good debut GP however than ex-BRM man Bob Evans who had come on for only the Kyalami race and Brands Hatch a week later. Testing by both new drivers showed up pretty serious deficiencies in the new Lotus 77 design, chiefly a tendency to oversteer hugely and to weave and wobble on the track. Practice ended with a major ' flaw-the suspension loads were splitting their mountings on the back of the monocoques. Chapman's presence, always cheerful, always keen, always forward-thinking, kept the team spirit up all through a truly difficult fortnight. Both drivers stayed optimistic and, although Nilsson's terrible practice-he got but two flying laps in two days because of one trouble after an'o ther-was capped by a race that ended in retirement with a water leak and slipping clutch, Evans had a great run under the circumstances. He finished a fighting 10th just ahead of Lunger. Chapman was so pleased with finishing at all after such a dismal practice, and so grateful to the yeoman work of his nearly sleepless mechanics, that he sent the whole team off on a week's holiday the minute they'd packed up their tools. If sheer dedication means anything, Team Lotus may be on the edge of a comeback.-Pete Lyons Ferrari ninth, Mario Andretti in the beautiful Parnelli up three places from his starting positio.n to tenth, Jacques Laffite in the screaming Ligier Matra eleventh, and Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell went by twelfth from Watson's unlucky opening run in the Penske. . It was a line of cars on the straight, but in the braking area for CrowthornEt it became a mad scramble ' for improved positions again, and Brambilla now did something that stopped the hearts of thousands. With Hunt working up alongside on the inside Vittorio himself chopped across to the inside, forcing the one McLl:!J"en off almost onto the verge while he forced the March into the apex alongside tne other McLaren. Mass had to give way as had Hunt, .andBrambillawas second. Great stuff, but on-my-God! At the end of that second lap Lauda had . t!~Ph . oen." IX Halon 1301 Fir. Extinguisher Systems "'Phoenlx" on-board fire extinguisher systems protect car and driver by releasing non-toxic Halon 130 1, gas to extinguish flame . This provides positive protection, rather than the passive protection given by the driver's suit, f!Jel cell , etc., only. . " Phoenlx" systems are complete and available in Ssize/discharge rate combinations to meet individual needs. They are accepted by all sanctioning bodies. Safety Marketing Company offers these systems and similarly priced backup ite ms (spare bottles, dual actuator valve, etc.) for immediate shipment from stock. We will substitute special length (1,2,4,5, 6 ft.) remote cables for the standard 3 f1. cable at the time of shipment (at a savings) exchange fhe 3 f1. leng th for another later (customers only) . ANNOUNCING THE 9TH ANNUAL · $100,000 MINT.400 ot Standard Syster:ns Charge Weig ht DIscha rge TIme (sec I at 70" F (d>sc h arge ,"Ie 21btsec al 70° F ) l ist Price Ou r Pnce RACE. 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Save by buying it at our combination price with any system . Phone Orders : Order will be shipped C .O .D. the same day . Milil Orders: c.on: money order. certified or cashier's checks receive same day shipment. Personal checks acceptable but will delay.shipment up to 10 days (order will be acknowledged immediate ly). Orders for shipment to N. J . add 5% sales tax . For More Information Write: Mint 400 Racing Hdqrs . P.O. Box 2160 Las Vegas. Nevada 89101 SAFETY MARKETING COMPANY 861 South Avenue, Plainfield, N. J. 07062 (201) 561-8123 DEl WEBB'S MINT HOTEL & CASINO