Suspense at Kyalami

14. Jan 2021 
by Ziv Knoll

The 1978 South African Grand Prix was held at Kyalami on 4 March 1978. Ronnie Peterson (main picture) in the Lotus 78 with it’s Colin Chapman-inspired ground effect aerodynamics, battled Patrick Depailler (Tyrrell 008) till the last lap to take a dramatic victory.

It was a somehow lucky victory for Peterson, because at first, young Italian Riccardo Patrese got his Arrows in the lead before retiring with a blown engine. Then Patrick Depailler took the lead over until the closing stages and seemed to finally snatch his first Grand Prix victory, when fuel pressure issues forced him to slow down and he was passed in the last lap by the black and gold Lotus.

It also was the debut Grand Prix for future 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg in a Theodore: he qualified 24th and retired on lap 15 with a broken clutch (picture below).

Source: DR

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