Friday, 01 July 2016 09:00

Fights from the '70s: Kyalami 1978-Dijon 1979

Written by

Translated by Giannis Binas


The “wheel to wheel” fights between drivers are possibly the most attractive feature of Formula 1 races.

To the delight of the sport’s fans, the history closet is filled with terrific duels between drivers, from 1950 to this day.
The decade of 1970 could be no exception to the rule of course, as it gave us some of the most beautiful duels of all time.
The characteristic examples that follow, confirm the truth of the words.


1979 Dijon podium


In 1979, the GP of France was held in the Dijon-Prenois circuit.
The race was a triumph for the national players, as French Jean-Pierre Jabouille won at the steering wheel of the French Renault RS10, using French tires (Michelin) and fuel (Elf).
It was the maiden win for Jabouille himself, Renault, as well as the turbo engines, a technology introduces in F1 by the French firm in 1977. 


1979 Dijon finish line

However, the race remained in history for what is known as the “battle of Dijon”.

Renault’s other driver, Rene Arnoux, and Ferrari’s driver, Gilles Villeneuve, had a terrific “wheel to wheel” fight on the last laps of the race, chasing 2nd place, with the French-Canadian driver emerging as the winner.
Overtakes between each other on the cutting edge, with the two drivers keeping it “clean”, offering to Formula 1 history one of its most magical moments:



A fight matching the worth but with lower recognition was given on the last lap of the South African GP too, one year earlier, in 1978.
Protagonists of the Kyalami fight were French Patrick Depailler, at the helm of the Tyrrell 008, and Swedish Ronnie Peterson, at the helm of the Lotus 78.
In this case, the duel involved first place, which was eventually “stolen” by the Swedish from his former team-mate (they were racing together in Tyrrell the previous year), a few corners before the checkered flag:



Dijon 1979 and Villeneuve versus Arnoux or Kyalami 1978 and Peterson versus Depailler?
The choice is yours...

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