Throwing an Alfa Romeo around.

19. Nov 2019 
by Ziv Knoll

Long Beach 1982 : In Saturday’s qualifying, the cars running on Michelin tires had clearly the edge on the ones in Goodyear.

Niki Lauda, in his third race with McLaren since returning from a self-imposed two-year retirement, had noticed during Friday practice that the harder compound was actually faster than the qualifiers.

Seeing this development, Lauda intentionally used only one set on Saturday and kept one fresh set for Sunday’s race. Lauda topped the charts through almost the entire session, but after crashing into a wall early on, Andrea de Cesaris (picture) threw his Alfa Romeo around to best Lauda’s time by 0.12 of a second. It was the Italians first pole position (his only pole in 208 career starts), and he was (understandably) ecstatic.

Lauda, meanwhile, satisfied with second place on the grid, knew he had a fresh set of tires for the race, while de Cesaris did not.

de Cesaris led the race till lap 15, with Lauda behind him, when the Italian was held by Boesel’s March as he came to lap him. This gave Lauda the momentum he needed to sweep by into the lead at the end of the straight, and the Austrian immediately began to pull away.

On lap 30, de Cesaris Alfa Romeo developed brake problems and decided to be happy with second position. Apparently distracted by smoke coming out of the engine compartment, the Italian lost concentration and flew off the road into the wall on lap 34.

Lauda (McLaren) managed his fresher tires perfectly and came home nearly 15 sec ahead of Keke Rosberg (Williams) and 1 minute 20 sec ahead of Riccardo Patrese (Brabham).

On the picture above : de Cesaris (Alfa Romeo) dices with Riccardo Patrese (Brabham).


Source: DR

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