DRIVERS: PIERRE-HENRI RAPHANEL

Name: Pierre-Henri Raphanel
Nationality: France
Date of birth: May 27, 1961 - Algiers, Algeria

Born in Algeria in 1961, the son of French parents, Raphanel moved to France after Algeria's War of Independence ended. Brought up in the south of the country, Raphanel turned to karting and won the French national title at the age of 20. He then entered the Marlboro "Cherche son Pilote" scheme and won a season of Formula Renault in 1983. He moved up to Formula 3 in 1984 with a Marlboro-sponsored Martini, being run by the ORECA team, as team mate to Olivier Grouillard. The Toulouse driver won the title but Raphanel won a race and was third overall.

The following year he won four of the first five races - and the non-championship Monaco Formula 3 race. Yannick Dalmas, his team mate, came back strongly at the end of the year but Raphanel had done enough to win the title. He moved up to Formula 3000 with ORECA and Marlboro but the team was not very competitive and in 1987 Raphanel moved to Onyx. He did better but the results were not enough to propel him to F1 and he had to watch as his old rival Dalmas overtook him. The only bright spot was third place at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 1988 he went back to ORECA but once again his ability was not reflected in the results. At the end of the year, however, Dalmas fell ill with Legionnaire's Disease and Raphanel was called in to F1 by Gerard Larrousse for the Australian GP. He failed to qualify because of a gearbox problem. For 1989 he landed a deal to drive for Enzo Coloni alongside Roberto Moreno and with the Coloni team building a new C3 chassis, it seemed that there was hope. He had to fight in pre-qualifying but made it only once, at Monaco where he qualified 18th and ran 15th before going out with a mechanical failure. After that things when wrong and he left the team before the end of the year, switching to Rial, which did not have to pre-qualify its cars. But the car was not competitive and he failed to qualify for all the races and in 1990 went to Japan to drive sports cars.

He built himself a strong career in sports cars with TOM'S, Sard and Peugeot and finished second at Le Mans in 1992. The end of Group C was a blow but he continued to race in Japan before making his return to the limelight in 1995 and 1996 driving a Gulf Racing McLaren F1 GTR for the BPR Global GT Endurance Series. In 1997 he was back in Japan but finished second at Le Mans again in the Team Davidoff McLaren. He continued to race in Japan and America until his retirement in 2001. In recent years he has run an estate agency in Montpellier with his former manager Patrick Carlotti.

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