“[…] A race the Spanish one of Jarama which on paper – as it was for Monte Carlo – would not have been in favor of the 126 CK turbo due to its slow curves and rather reduced roadway. Another negative factor, the heat considering that it runs on 21 June. Williams is still the car to beat, Reutemann and Jones share the lead in the Drivers’ World Championship after Monaco, while Piquet’s Brabham is the positive surprise of the first part of the season. They are also joined by Laffite’s Ligier Matra, which proves to immediately feel at ease in the twists and turns of the winding Spanish circuit. More in difficulty for Renault, which has recently made its new RE30 debut, not yet at the point after two races in which it was entrusted in turn to René Arnoux and Alain Prost. Laffite’s Ligier JS17 surprisingly took pole position alongside Jones with the FW07C. In the second row qualify Carlos Reutemann and John Watson, who once again brings John Barnard’s carbon fiber McLaren MP4-1 into vogue. The third line is the prerogative of Prost’s Renault turbo and Bruno Giacomelli’s Alfa Romeo. The first of the two Ferraris is in the seventh box with the hero of Monaco, Gilles Villeneuve. The chronicle of Cristiano Chiavegato, correspondent of “La Stampa”: “At the start Jones easily surprised Laffite who remained at the post with a snail-like start that relegated him to eleventh place on the first lap. Villeneuve, on the other hand, was splendid, as was Pironi. Despite the slowness of the turbo engine starting, the two Ferrari drivers very quick in reflexes, starting in seventh and thirteenth position, immediately moved on to second and eighth place. Then the Frenchman had to pit on lap 20 because he collided with another car and went off the track: his Ferrari had the front wing facing the sky. […]”. When Villeneuve took the lead, followed by Reutemann, the fight started behind the two leaders. Laffite started to recover until he passed Watson who was third and who subsequently chased him like a shadow. […] An exhilarating ride that of the Canadian from Ferrari, who closes all the spaces by stemming the attack of the train of the five drivers which formed behind him after Gilles took command of operations at the 14th of the planned 80 laps. […] Thus, after a textbook start that immediately brought him from seventh to second place, Villeneuve finds himself in front and manages to repel the increasingly furious assaults of his opponents with great coldness. […] . To understand the feat of the Aviator, who drove superbly and absolutely cleanly, denying all his detractors, just think that between Gilles and the fifth car in the leading group, Elio de Angelis’ Lotus, there are only one second and twenty-four thousandths when the checkered flag is waved in front of Ferrari number 27.
The second feat in perfect Villeneuve style, matured immediately after the exploit in Monaco. An arrival at the finish line that sees in the blink of an eye, 2 tenths of a difference, the 126 CK turbo and the Ligier – Matra of Laffite, with the exhausted but radiant Ferrari driver in the garage where the engineer Mauro Forghieri and his mechanics welcome him with open arms. Everyone expected the Frenchman from Monsieur Guy’s team to overtake him, but the tenacity of the little Canadian and the proverbial thrust of the Maranello V6 on the forehand are the weapons that allowed Gilles to seize the sixth career victory and enter the legend. On the podium a very tired Villeneuve is rewarded by the King of Spain Juan Carlos, while Forghieri, architect of a success that in fact relaunches the ambitions of the Red team, declares: “Villeneuve and the turbo. Here are our secrets. We will think about the World Cup in due time ”.
As happened to Jim Clark in 1965, the American periodical “Time” dedicates the cover to the Aviator on 31 August 1981. Villeneuve fever spreads all over the world. “
Adapted from Machina.2 – “Gilles Villeneuve”
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