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South Ifrican Formula 'One

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Bobby 'Rahal Richmond 400. O~e .'erJ Rare Porsche II, SCAR In Profile ,
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Donohue C rash Suit Settlement Out Of Question

Lauda Wins South African GP


By Pete Lyons The World Champion's face, if you look at it, seems to have been made expressly for clamping his teeth onto his lower lip. He must have been nearly d r awing blood as he rasped away from the pits on his single warmup lap. It was a last-minute chance for his engine. The magnificent 12 he art of the superb Ferrari machine that so dominates Grand Prix racin g these days in both thought and deed, had just barely struggled through the brief, 20-m inute morning' practice, stuttering r a ggedly at anything over 10,000rpm. The Italians, contr olling the ir mounting anxiety, first suspected ignition trouble and slapp ed on a new distr ibutor . But that was n't the fix, and before they could try anyth i n g else the flag was out. There were only tw o things they could do now, and they did both. They renewed the fuel injection unit on the race engine, a nd also race-prepared the spa r e car. A lready w ea ring No.1, it w as wheeled out into the pits and warmed up alongside the other two cars. Ears tuned to the cry of Niki's eng ine, his m e chanics then could only w ait to see wh ether h e would come around at the end of the warmup lap and take up his place on the grid, or shoot back in a mongs t their legs and leap over to his spare. Motor racing success, even for Champions, hangs by so many threads ... It was all right. The song was full and pure all the way up to 12,500 and beyond. His confidence returned, Niki Lauda steered for his place on the gridward side of the pit wall and looked down the track at the plunge into the first turn. Perhaps, then, like a diver at the brink, he shook his shoulder muscles to relax. He shouldn't really have too much to worry about now. There was, of course, a remaining minor problem to consider: James Hunt in his McLaren over there on the pole side of the front row! Having been fastest all during the preceding week of Goodyear tire testing, Lauda was somewhat nonplussed to find himself being beaten during official practice when it counted. Continued On Page 16

(2) leads Vittorio Brambilla (9) and Jody Scheckter early in the South African Grand Prix .

NARA Rally Rules Finalized


DEARBORN, MICH,-Over thirty top U.S. performance rally drivers, navigators and organi:l:ers ga,thered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here on the anniversary of George Washington 's birth date to formalize the North American Rally Association's Rules and Guidelines for Organizers for its 1976 America's Cup Championship. The three-day meetings boasted . the attendance of the 1973 Champion, Scott Harvey (Rochester, Mich.), the 1974 Champion, Gene Henderson (Dearborn, Mich.) and the 1975 Championship team of John Buffum and Vicki Dykema (Burlington, Vt.) Nine of NARA's national organizers joined with the professional rally group's seven stewards and Director David Ash, to formalize the group's rules and to chart the course of this fastest growing segment of pro motor sports. The meetings and star performers were given round-the-clock coverage by Detroit's major print, radio and TV media, including eight separate news a n d feature TV shows on all three Detroit televesion stations Tim Johnson, Wonder Muffler Vice President, announced that Wonder would expand its contingency support over and above its national sponsorship. Al Kelly, Regional Sales Manager for Pirelli, expresed the firm 's enthusiasm for llvolvement in NARA's new series. "Lancia and Pirelli already share the World and European Rally Championships in Europe" said Kelly, "and we 're very excited about getting involved with the performance level of the sport in the US." Continued On Page 13

An out-of-court settlement in the "needless death" lawsuit filed by the heirs of race driver Mark Donohue is "Definitely out of the question, " according to Bell Helmets spokesman Jim Coughlin. In making Bell's first public statement since the suit was announced by Rhode Island attorney Leonard Decof four weeks ago, Couglin told Autoweek that Decof's statement of two weeks ago saying that the suit would not hurt racing is" absolu te bull." "We feel they're way off base in their allegations," Coughlin said of the $20million action which charges that Bell, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Penske Racing were negligent in the manufacture of tires and helmet, and in the preparation of Donohue's March which crashed during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix last August. "We will have to defend the suit. This p a rticular case, while not the first product liability action we h ave defended, will set the p recident for all such cases in the fut ure because of the stature of Mark Donohue and t he personal involvement h e h ad w ith his car s and our products," Coughlin said. "We will have to fight it wherever we have to fight it. No thought of a n out-of-cou l"t settlement is possible." "If we lose this case, it could be a disaster for r a cin g," Coughlin said. "We've had calls from all sorts of people supp orting us, and there's no question we'll go all the way with it." Couglin's remarks were the first o fficial comme nts made by any representative of the defendants. Both Goodyear and Penske have reserved comment until they have had more time to look over the papers which were served last week. Coughlin noted that Bell's first action in defending the suit was to send one of its engineers to England to confer with Peter Jowitt, the representative of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association who conducted the investigation of Donohue' s crash. Jowitt's original findings, as reported in a copyrighted Autoweek story by Eoin Young, were that the catch fence lining the course pulled open Donohue's visor which was then struck by a catch fence pole. The open visor increased the leverage of the blow when it might not have otherwise been lethal, J owitt found. "We haven't seen the helmet since the accident," Coughlin said. "Penske knows where it is and it has been subpoenaed into evidence. As soon as we can get it, it Continued On Page 13

Honda S ales Up 33%


U.S. sales of Honda Civic automobiles for the first two months of 1976 totaled 17,167, an increase of 33% over the recordbreaking sales pace set during the same period of 1975. The February total of 10,075 units represented a 31% increase over the 7700 cars sold in this country in February, 1975, and a 42% in crease over the January, 1976, total of 7092. Of the top four imports, only Honda showed an increase for February this year over the same month of 1975, according to Cliff Schmillen, national field sales manager for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Schmillen added that the company expects to sell at least 150,000 cars in this country this year as compared to the 1975 total of 102,383. This year's sales to date have substantially strengthened the company's fourth place position among imports, he said.

LATE N E W S
According to the European motoring press, a Formula Two team to be run by Willi Kauhsen has ordered a trio of'March 762s and several Brian Hart engines. Team drivers reportedly will be Ingo Hoffman and Klaus Ludwig. Earlier reports had Kauhsen aligned with the Alpine Renault sports car team. Just what became of that deal , if indeed anything has , is not known. Yet an other en gine m a y become involved in this season's For mulaTwo romp. This one is a straight s ix, dohc unit being developed by Holbay in Britain . Drawn by a former Ferrari designer, it is said to resemble one bank of Fer rari's current Formula One engine. The 24-valve engine is said to produce approximately 316bhp. Rumor Of The Week, Outrage Drawer: Two yet unnamed Car & Driver staffers will compete in this season's NARA professional rally series in a Chevrolet Cosworth Vega IMSA's first Formula Atlantic event will take place at Road Atlanta 11 April in conjunction with the Camel GT and Radial
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MG MIDGETS TOP SOUTHWEST OPENERS


Southwest Division drivers warmed up in February with two events and British Leyland cars took five firsts, Winter Classic Lake Charles. feb . 8
1st 2nd 3rd HP 1st 2nd 3rd GP James Sizer RIp Psyck Ted Melady lind say White Melod y Jacob Glen Graham MG Midget Spnte Spitfire Spnte Sprite Spnte

Polar Prix. Greater SW Raceway. feb. 28-29


1st 2nd 3rd GP 1st 2nd 3rd HP 1st 2nd 3rd FP Neil Hamson Milton Grant Bob Kerns Costa Dunlas Ted Melady Jim Sizer Bill Dickson Robert Merrill Frank Inee MG Midget Spitfire MG Midget Spitfire Spitfire MG Midget Spnte Sprite Spnte

CONG RATU lATIONS!


British Leyland Competition Deparment Mike Barratt: 201-467-7300 Jim Coan: 415 -468-2650

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