Swedish GP

Continued From Preceding Page
together, but Andretti did get his back
wheels going on the up-stroke of that flag
whereas his colleagues were all waiting,
more or less, for the downstroke. The
black-and-gold JPS was moving forward
and was ahead of the pack by the time the
green flag was moving down. To the
officials it looked like an infraction, and
they announced they were penalizing
Mario by adding one minute to his race
time.
It was too harsh a penalty for what he
gained, for the Lotus was scarcely a
length ahead of the Tyrrell into the first
turn. Closely together they all went
around the lap, Andretti leading
Watson, driving the new Penske PC4 in its
first race, had the throttles stick wide
open and he went straight on into the
catch fences, badly damaging the new car
but luckily not himself. Then on the third
lap Gunnar Nilsson, staying ahead of
Lauda, came around the tight "90" before
the pits and looped backwards into the
pits wall-almost exactly at Colin
Chapman's feet. The Lotus was badly
bent, . but Gunnar's only injuries were
from the distinctly cool reception he got
from the Old Man when he walked up
running to try to explain ....
Mario meanwhile was away with the
race as 11e pleased, and on the 11th lap set
what lasted as the best time of the raCe-
1m 28.002, 102.066 mph-and then he eased
off. "I could have gained a second a lap
any time I wanted, the car was really
workin'. When I got to about eight seconds
A depressed Mario Andretti chats with newsmen after his lead in the Swedish GP was stolen from him by an
engine that went south.
Where it all came to an end: Andretti's lead in the Swedish GP ran for a long time, but then his engine blew and
put the plucky American star on the sidelines for the duration.
Scheckter and Depailler with Amon
fourth, Nilsson ahead of Lauda, and
Laffite next from Hunt and the rest.
The track surface was oily on the
opening laps, as someone had been
dropping oil on the warmup lap, but it
made no difference to Andretti for right
away he began to pull out a gap. It was
noticeable on the first lap, on the second it
was over a second, and on the fifth, with
things settled down and the field begun to
string out, Andretti was 2.5 seconds ahead
of Scheckter. Depailler was still with his
teammate but the Tyrrells had pulled out
a little from the Ensign; similarly Amon
had pulled away from Lauda and the
Ferrari was getting away from the Ligier.
It was behind Laffite that one could see
any racing, where Hunt was holding off
Peterson, Pace, Regazzoni, Brambilla,
Mass, Jarier and Pryce, Jones, and the two
"B-team" March drivers Merzario and
Stuck. In some GPs we have been
fortunate to have close racing among the
men at the front while the also-rans
paraded, but today the front part was the
parade. Oh well.
Not that things were dull. On the
opening lap at the Karussel corner
I cooled it and held that."
Hold it he did, comfortably leading the
race, for another 20-odd laps. Scheckter,
who had initially been driving his heart
out, had cooled down too in a comfortable
second as Depailler gradually Jagged
behind. He was still safe · enough from
Amon, although Amon kept the Ensign in
sight, and they were both safe enough
from Lauda whose Ferrari here at this
peculiar place was not a Supercar at all,
merely a fifth place car.
Niki was doing what he could with his
machine, but the day had turned quite
chilly under a mostly cloudy sky and his
tire temperatperatures were, reported his
team manager after the morning
warmup, about 20 degrees F. less than in
practice. Like every other car, the Ferrari
wasn't getting a good bite on the road. It
wasn't, in fact, behaving like a Ferrari at
all.
Kessel's private Brabham lost all its
bite on the road on the sixth lap and
abruptly swapped ends and shunted off
the road. Fittipaldi's Copersucar, which
had been handling terribly in practice-
disappointing after its comparatively
good showing in Monaco-was
JUNE 26, 1976 AUTOWEEK PAGE 11
Don Nichols' Shadows haven't been what you might call barn burners this year, but still they seemed to be
faster than the Surtees of Alan Jones in Sweden. Here Tom Pryce leads Jones.
understeering in such a gross manner,
the front tires at literally full lock in the
corners, that after ten laps Emerson was.
called in and retired by his pit rather than
wear the tires out for nothing. Several
other drivers-Ertl, Lunger, Jones,
Brabilla-spun off during the race, and
twice Jarier took the chicane escape road
rather than spin.
All the drivers were saying afterward
that they had no grip, no traction, and
their cars were handling terribly.
All except Andretti, who at the front of
the race had nothing to complain about at
all-except his engine. About 20 laps after
setting his fastest lap, he felt it suddenly
lose its edge. "I knew right then I wasn't
goin' to win the thing." It was as though a
valve spring had broken.
Gradually but noticably he began to
lose to Scheckter. Most of the loss came in
traffic, when Mario would pull out to
overtake backmarkers, they would stay
to one side to let him-but then the JPS
wouldn't respond. At 35 laps the gap was
still between six and seven seconds, but it
was coming down little by little and Jody
was again driving as hard as he knew
how, the comparatively huge Project 34
back wheels stepping out sideways
th rough all the corners.
It would have been a faSCinating dice
had not the Ensign ruined the mood of the
thing by crashing in the middle of it.
Amon had been staying close enough to
Depailler to make it look like a pursuit,
the red car looking as it had all weekend,
very steady and smooth. Just as it
completed its 38th lap, as Chris put .the
brakes on for the first corner after the
start/finish line, something obviously
broke in the front suspension.
Chris said he felt the car start to slow
down normally, then the brakes felt funny
and simulta,neously he became aware of
something "fluttering" at the left front.
He said the car started to bend into the
Continued On Next Page
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