Spanish GP 1979
APRIL 29, 1979
Spanish GP, 1979
In the three weeks between Long Beach and the Spanish GP, the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch featured another victory for Gilles Villeneuve and then the teams were at Jarama for the fifth round of the World Championship. Lotus had the new 80 ready for Mario Andretti while Renault had a new RS10 and Williams had a pair of the new FW07s. McLaren had modified the M28 after a disappointing start to the year.
The Kauhsen team made its first appearance with driver Gianfranco Brancatelli but the car was a long way off the pace and failed to qualify as did Arturo Merzario in his A2 and Derek Daly in his Ensign.
At the front the Ligiers were back on top again with Jacques Laffite taking pole position from Patrick Depailler. Villeneuve was third quickest with Andretti fourth in the new Lotus. Jody Scheckter was fifth in his Ferrari with Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet sixth and seventh in their Brabhams. Then came Carlos Reutemann in an old Lotus 79 and the top 10 was rounded off by Jean-Pierre Jabouille in the new Renault and Didier Pironi's Tyrrell.
At the start Depailler took the lead from Laffite while Villeneuve tried to challenge the Ligiers and dropped behind the fast-starting Reutemann. Keen to win back his place Villeneuve spun and dropped down the order. Laffite tried to find a way to pass Depailler but eventually missed a gear and blew up his engine. This left Reutemann second with Scheckter third until lap 60 when he dropped behind Lauda. The Austrian then went out with an engine failure so Scheckter regained the position only to lose it a few laps later to Andretti. Scheckter thus had to settle for fourth place with Jarier fifth and Pironi sixth.