Twenty-two years after Patrick Depailler finished third in the South African GP, aboard a six-wheeled Tyrrell, Martin Stretton &we its sister P34 to victory in the last round of the HA Thoroughbred GP Championship at Kyalami on November 28.
Only half the original circuit remains, but Stretton’s style in the ex-Ronnie Peterson car evoked memories of `SuperSwede’ for the crowd at the Vodacom Grand Prix festival.
A Tyrrell came second too, driven by Ralph Moog, who chased Stretton hard and snatched the lead for a lap in the 009 which Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jarier used in 1979.
Michael Schryver, deputising for Tony Smith in his Williams FW06, filled Moog’s mirrors to earn the final podium step. F1 rookie Rob Hall took the ex-Rupert Keegan Hesketh 308E strongly to fourth place, fending off Frank Bradley’s Lotus 81.
The other TGP new boy was Steve Allen with his ex-RAM Racing March 761, coming seventh, behind Mike Wrigley’s Tyrrell 012.
Having surpassed the 50-car mark for the first time in its fifth year, the series continues to grow. Stretton plans a full 2000 season, and will take some stopping, especially as he says the P34 has not yet realised its full potential, while current champion Bob Benidge is to move to the BOSS series for 2000. But Christian Glasel (Brabham BT49) is up for the chase and Richard Eyre is upgrading to a ground-effect Williams FW08.
Elsewhere, Belgian team Mecauto is restoring a Lotus 77 for Dutchman Nico Bindels, Italy’s F1 Storiche will add an Arrows A3 and a March 701 to its squad, and German stalwart Erwin Derichs is restoring the unique Eifelland March on which he was crew chief in 1972. MP