In an attempt to gain more recognition. Italian Formula Two driver Elio de Angelis took a step down into Formula Three espeeially tor the infamously prestigious F3 race which annually supports the Grand Pnx around the streets at Monte Carlo. Equipped with the self-same Chevron B38 that he had used to such good elect in the formula last year, before he started his F2 career, but set up by current Ferrari Formula One team-leader Carlos Reutemann at Ferrari’s Fiorano test-track, de Angelis overcame all the ambitious opposition in the 4-lap final, including early leader P’atrick Gaillard, with whom he collided belare going on to take his laurels.
This year the capacity entry had two heats and a final to sort itself out. Practice, on Thursday and Friday, saw the entry split into two separate groups, both at which had two sessions in which to quality. All the best drivers in F3 were entered to race and de Angelis proved to be the quickest in the first session, while American street-racing expert Bobby Rabat, in one at Walter Wolf’s brand new Walf F3 cars, was lastest in the second. Rain ruined everybody’s chances at improving their respective times on Friday so de Angelis and Rahal remained the quickest two al all the runners.
The first heat (starting at 7-30 a.m.!), was led away by de Angelis, but Frenchman Serge Sauliner (March) soon overtook only to fall off on the wet track almost immediately. Rahal then took over the lead, but he too was soon ousted and Italian Teo Fabi (March) who passed Rahal, went on to victory from Britain’s Derek Warwick (Ralt) who had driven with immense verve through the field. De Angelis and Rahnl were followed home by another Briton, Philip Bullman in filth place. The track was slightly drier bar the second heat and Italian Guido Pardini (Ralt) made the initial break chased by Jean-Louis Schlesser (Martini Mk. 21) and fellow Frenchman Patrick Gaillard who had one ot the two worts Chevrons. Gaillard soon leap-bragged to the front to take an easy victory from yet another Italian racing a Ralt, Daniele Albertin, and Seigtreid Stohr’s Trivellato Chevron; Pardini and Schlesser having fallen back as the race wore on.
Thankfully the sun shone for the final and it was favorite Patrick Gaillard who Made the best start, the Frenchman leading Stohr, Warwick and Albertin round at the end at the opening lap. As Gaillard made good his getaway, de Angelis started to pick his way through the leading runners, and before very long he was into second place after Stohr had given way to the Italian’s Chevron at St. Devote. By this time. Rahal had pitted with bent wish-bones the result at kerb-hopping and Albertin had become involved with the second Wolf at Swede Anders Olofsson and had spun to seventh. At almost three-quarters distance de Angelis was ready to make his bid tor the lead and surprisingly, he made it at the Station Hairpin, even though there was no hope that both cars could survive such an attempt at that specific point. Suffice to say, de Angelis drove through on the inside, punting Gaillard’s Chevron off into the wall in the process. De Angelis then went on to take his somewhat hallow victory, while Stohr maintained second until the end ahead at a recovered Albertin. Young Dutchman Jan Lammers (Ralt) split the two French drivers, Alain Prost (Martini ) and Schlesser in filth position. Philip Bullman was the best placed Briton, despite severe gearbox trouble in eleventh place, after Warwick had clobbered the wall in the Casino Square.
It is common practice, indeed, some would say, the rale, tor winners of this event to find themselves racing in Formula One before very much time has elapsed. De Angelis obviously has close ties with Ferrari, but will Gaillard get the chance that that other “strong perlormer”, Tony Brise got after the 1975 race?