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1978 South African Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1978 South African Grand Prix
Race 3 of 16 in the 1978 Formula One season
Kyalami 1961 - 1988 Layout.png
Race details
Date 4 March 1978
Official name XXIV Citizen and Asseng Grand Prix of South Africa
Location Kyalami
Transvaal Province, South Africa
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.104 km (2.550 mi)
Distance 78 laps, 320.112 km (198.908 mi)
Weather Dry
Pole position
Driver Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Time 1:14.65
Fastest lap
Driver United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford
Time 1:17.09 on lap 2
First Lotus-Ford
Second Tyrrell-Ford
Third Brabham-Alfa Romeo
Lap leaders

The 1978 South African Grand Prix (formally the XXIV Citizen and Asseng Grand Prix of South Africa) was a Formula One motor race held on 4 March 1978 at Kyalami. It was the third round of the 1978 Formula One season and the 300th World Championship Grand Prix held since the championship began in 1950. This was the debut race of the future world champion Keke Rosberg.

Both the Ferrari (312T3) and Brabham (BT46) teams had new cars in Kyalami for the race. The event also saw the return of Renault with their unique turbocharged car.

Ronnie Peterson, in the Lotus 78 with its Colin Chapman-inspired ground effect aerodynamics, battled Patrick Depailler in his Tyrrell on the last lap to take a dramatic victory. John Watson finished third for Brabham. Young Italian, Riccardo Patrese got his Arrows into the lead before retiring with a blown engine. Pole sitter and reigning world champion Niki Lauda, in his first season with Brabham, retired with engine failure and the Ferraris of Carlos Reutemann and Gilles Villeneuve exited on lap 55. James Hunt, who had qualified third on the grid in his McLaren M26, only lasted five laps when his engine failed, whilst his new teammate Patrick Tambay, who qualified fourth, crashed out mid race.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 6 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Ford 78 1:42:15.767 12 9
2 4 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 78 +0.466 11 6
3 2 United Kingdom John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo 78 +4.442 10 4
4 27 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford 78 +30.986 18 3
5 26 France Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra 78 +1:09.218 13 2
6 3 France Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Ford 77 +1 Lap 14 1
7 5 United States Mario Andretti Lotus-Ford 77 +1 Lap 2
8 10 France Jean-Pierre Jarier ATS-Ford 77 +1 Lap 17
9 36 West Germany Rolf Stommelen Arrows-Ford 77 +1 Lap 22
10 25 Mexico Héctor Rebaque Lotus-Ford 77 +1 Lap 21
11 30 United States Brett Lunger McLaren-Ford 76 +2 Laps 20
12 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Ford 76 +2 Laps 19
Ret 35 Italy Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Ford 63 Engine 7
Ret 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Wolf-Ford 59 Spun Off 5
Ret 8 France Patrick Tambay McLaren-Ford 56 Accident 4
Ret 12 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 55 Oil Leak 8
Ret 11 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Ferrari 55 Spun Off 9
Ret 1 Austria Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo 52 Engine 1
Ret 18 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan Surtees-Ford 52 Engine 23
Ret 9 West Germany Jochen Mass ATS-Ford 43 Engine 15
Ret 37 Italy Arturo Merzario Merzario-Ford 39 Suspension 26
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault 38 Engine 6
Ret 32 Finland Keke Rosberg Theodore-Ford 15 Clutch 24
Ret 14 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Ford 9 Transmission 16
Ret 24 United States Eddie Cheever Hesketh-Ford 8 Oil Leak 25
Ret 7 United Kingdom James Hunt McLaren-Ford 5 Engine 3
DNQ 31 France René Arnoux Martini-Ford
DNQ 17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Ford
DNQ 23 Italy Lamberto Leoni Ensign-Ford
DNQ 16 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Ford

Lap leaders

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "1978 South African Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b "South Africa 1978 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 20 March 2019.

Previous race:
1978 Brazilian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1978 season
Next race:
1978 United States Grand Prix West
Previous race:
1977 South African Grand Prix
South African Grand Prix Next race:
1979 South African Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 26 February 2021, at 01:27
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