DRIVERS: YANNICK DALMAS
Name: Yannick Dalmas
Date of birth: July 28, 1961 - Le Beausset, nr Toulon
They called him "The New Alain Prost" in France as he made his way through the French junior formulae to get to Formula 1. From Toulon, he was a regular spectator at Paul Ricard and it was there when he was scarcely a teenager that he won a saloon car race and was awarded a trophy by Francois Cevert.
It convinced the youngster that racing was the career for him and, in due course, he started in competition in the rough-and-tumble world of motocross. A bad leg injury saw him switch to four-wheeled competition and he won the Marlboro Cherche un Pilote scheme in France. The prize in the nationwide competition to find new drivers was a fully Marlboro-sponsored season in the national Formule Renault championship. In his debut season he finished third and won the title the following year. He then progressed to French Formula 3 where he quickly outshone his ORECA team mate Pierre-Henri Raphanel, although the more experienced man won the title because of good early results. The following year he won six of the 11 races and took the title and won the Monaco GP Formula 3 support event. At the end of 1986 he moved to Formula 3000 and joined the series full-time in 1987. He suffered a huge accident in the second race of the year at Vallelunga, near Rome, and was forced to miss a race, although he came back to win his net outing on the tricky Pau street circuit.
Another victory followed at Jarama in Spain and he finished fifth overall behind Stefano Modena, Luis Sala, Roberto Moreno and Mauricio Gugelmin. By that stage he had already made his Formula 1 debut in a Larrousse-Calmels Lola in the Mexican Grand Prix. Two races later -- in Australia -- he finished fifth confirming his potential as a Grand Prix driver.
Larrousse duly signed him for 1988 but it was a difficult year and ended with Yannick missing the Japanese GP because of an attack of the rare Legionnaires Disease. He returned to F1 with Larrousse but was struggling and was dropped by Larrousse in the midseason. He found a drive with AGS and stayed with the team until the end of 1990 when he signed to drive for the Peugeot sportscar team. He won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992 and 1994 with Peugeot. This was followed by a third victory in 1995 at the wheel of a McLaren F1-GTR. He showed some interest in a CART career but after a huge testing crash decided it was not a good idea and raced in both sportscars and touring cars. In 1999 he joined the BMW team and notched up a fourth victory at Le Mans, sharing with Pierluigi Martini and Jo Winkelhock.