Wednesday 8 October 2008

Gilles Villeneuve vs René Arnoux – Dijon 1979

Pen & ink with Prismacolor pencils 22"x 12"
© Paul Chenard 2008

This illustration is for sale; please contact me if you are interested.

The 1979 French Grand Prix had all the ingredients for public relations gold the Renault team.

Previous to the race, Renault had 5 weeks to fine tune and improve their French-designed turbo-charged cars. The cars were raced by 2 French drivers, Jean Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux, fueled by French fuel (elf) and shod in French tires (Michelin).

The race was started and though Jabouille had to get by a very determined Villeneuve in Ferrari, he advanced easily into a lead that he would not relinquish.

Arnoux had only to do the same, and near the end of the race, he did. But because of a fuel pick-up problem, it was not as easy. The powers that be started popping corks for what was supposed to be a Renault sweep.

Of course, Villeneuve saw things differently. He noticed that Arnoux did not readily pull away, so saw that he had a slim but possible chance to fight for 2nd place, which is exactly what he did.

With worn out tires and a slight power deficit, Villeneuve proceed to regain the lead with a wreckless control that has become legend. He and Arnoux swapped leads a few times, bumping tires and moving on and off the track, with Villeneuve finally taking the flag for 2nd.

The media jumped on the story, almost forgetting who actually won. But Villeneuve exemplified the winning spirit.


Leigh O'Gorman said...

excellent stuff paul, really good race - strange that i happened to find myself watching that GP the other night

F.O. said...

Thank you very much, Paul have a nice racing week!

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul. This is a great illustration of what will be remembered as one of the greatest Formula 1 races of all time.

rob ijbema said...

stuff of legends,well captured paul!