Patrick Gaillard

A Parisian whose father owned a van and truck hire business, Patrick Gaillard started racing in Formula Renault in France in 1975 in a privately-entered Martini, up against the likes of Rene Arnoux, Didier Pironi, Alain Cudini and Dany Snobeck. After two years learning the ropes, Gaillard moved to European Formula 3 in 1977 driving a Chevron-Toyota with which he was able to finish fifth at Croix-en-Ternois.

The following year he was taken on by the Chevron factory and won at Imola and at the Nurburgring and added three second places to end up third in the European Championship behind Jan Lammers and Anders Olofsson. His big moment, however, came at Monaco where he won his heat and was leading an impressive field, battling with rising Italian star Elio de Angelis until lap 16 when the Roman driver nerfed him off and went on to win. At the end of the year he had his first Formula 2 race in a Chevron in Japan, with which he finished fourth first time out at Suzuka.

The 1979 season with Chevron-Hart was a disappointment, however, and he started only four races, which included fifth at Pau and fourth at Hockenheim. By that stage of the season Gaillard had made it to F1. Mo Nunnís driver Derek Daly had left Team Ensign after Monaco and after Tiff Needell was refused a superlicence, Nunn turned to Gaillard for the French GP at Dijon. He just failed to qualify but made it onto the grid at Silverstone and finished 13th, battling to the flag with his old rivals de Angelis and Lammers, who were driving for Shadow. He failed to qualify again (if only by a whisker) at the German GP but made it by 0.06secs in Austria and was running 12th when his car suffered a suspension failure. In Holland he failed to qualify again and Nunn decided to try Marc Surer instead.

At the end of the year he raced in CanAm at Laguna Seca. He signed to race F2 with an AGS in 1980 but the deal did not come together but he came back to F1 in the Ensign for the Spanish GP. He finished sixth but the race was later declared to have been a non-championship event and so he lost his one World Championship point.

After that he went back to F2 with Team Maurer and showed well at Pau and Silverstone and then switched to Japan where he did two races for Walter Wolf. That year he also raced at Le Mans in a prototype called an ACR and was back a year later in the same car. In 1982 he raced a Cougar and finally in 1983 he shared a Kremer Porsche CK5 with Derek Warwick and Frank Jelinski. After his racing career ended Gaillard became an instructor at the AGS Racing School in the south of France.