14-15 January: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

~ 14 January ~

1968: The Levin International race in the Tasman Series was won by Jimmy Clark in a Lotus 33. He also set fastest lap and was hounded for much of the race by Jackie Stewart in a BRM P261. Stewart finished a scant 2.5 seconds behind at the finish, with Richard Attwood taking the third spot.

1986: The organiser of the Dakar rally, Thierry Sabine (36), was killed when his Ecureuil helicopter crashed into a dune at Mali during

a sudden sand-storm. Also killed onboard was the singer-songwriter Daniel Balavoine, helicopter pilot François-Xavier Bagnoud, journalist Nathalie Odent and Jean-Paul Lefur who was a radiophonic engineer for RTL. He was featured in the movie A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later that came out in 1986.

1986: Jaguar announced the creation of the Silk Cut Jaguar Team, a three year commitment to campaign the Jaguar XJR in international motor racing.

1994: Former world champion Nigel Mansell, 40, showed his adaptability in Indycar when he smashed the track record at the Phoenix International Raceway, a circuit where a year earlier he had crashed and injured his back. Testing a Newman-Haas Lola-Ford, he became the first driver to lap the world’s fastest one-mile oval in under 20 seconds, averaging around 180 mph. “”It’s much better here than it was last year and it is not raining and it is not such a zoo,” he droned. “The car is fabulous. Very encouraging.”

2001: Vic Wilson (70), British racing driver who participated in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, scoring no World Championship points, died after an accident at Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

2003: The Arrows team went into liquidation, putting an end to an outfit who struggled since they were formed from members of the Shadow team in 1978.

~15 January~

1902: The first automobile race in Japan was staged at Uyeno Park in Yokohama and was won by T Sudo driving an Auto-Bimotorcycle, a predecessor of the Thomas Flyer.
1950: The General San Martín Grand Prix at Mar del Plata, Argentina was won by Alberto Ascari, in a Ferrari 166.

1975: The 43rd Monte Carlo Rally, Round 1 of the World Rally Championship started. Sandro Munari and Mario Manucci in a Lancia Stratos won the rally 8 days later.

1978: Emerson Fittipaldi lined up his Copersucar-Fittipaldi F5A on the grid for the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix – his 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix start. Mario Andretti took pole in his Lotus, with Carlos Reutemann’s Ferrari joining him on the front row and Ronnie Peterson in the other Lotus third on the grid. The start was uneventful, with Andretti and Reutemann easily keeping first and second, with John Watson in the Brabham taking third from Peterson. Watson took second from Reutemann on the seventh lap, but Andretti was uncatchable. Reutemann ran third for a while, but then began to drop down the order, and so reigning world champion Niki Lauda took third in his Brabham, which became second with ten laps left when Watson’s engine blew up. Andretti motored on to a crushing victory, with Lauda second and Patrick Depailler’s Tyrrell taking the final spot on the podium.

1979: The Ferrari 312T4, which Enzo Ferrari considered the ugliest car to leave his factory, was unveiled. The 312T4 monocoque was

designed to be as narrow as possible, to take advantage of ground effects, but this was limited by the width of the flat 12 engine.The car was extremely reliable and it won 6 races in 1979, three each for Villeneuve and Scheckter. Other solid placings helped Ferrari win its fourth Constructors’ Championship in 5 seasons and Scheckter his only Drivers’ Championship. Scheckter was given the 312T4 car he drove to his championship after the new 312T5 was ready to be debuted in Argentina in 1980. He still owns it, and ran it at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Formula One along with every living Formula One world champion (except for Nelson Piquet and Kimi Räikkönen).

1981: Graham Whitehead (58), British racing driver, who participated in one Formula One World Championship Grand Prix, scoring no championship points, died. He finished second at 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans only weeks before the accident on the Tour de France in which his brother Peter was killed. Graham escaped serious injury and later raced again with an Aston Martin and Ferrari 250GT before stopping at the end.

1996: Max Mosley announced the introduction of written tests for F1 drivers before they were allowed to compete in races. “There have been one or two cases of drivers doing things they ought not to do because they didn’t know the rules,” he said. “On two occasions at least, drivers have been before the world council because they broke the rules. One admitted he did not know what they were. We will only test on things where there is a specific rule, such as whether a black flag with an orange disc means `Your car is on fire’ or `Come in now for a cup of tea’.

2012: X-raid Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-pilot Jean-Paul Cottret won the 2012 Dakar Rally in South American in their No. 302 MINI ALL4 Racing, based on the MINI Countryman.

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