- January 12 down the years
Jarier's joy of the short-lived varietyWhat happened on January 12 in Formula One history?
Argentina hosted the first round of the championship, and Jean-Pierre Jarier put his Shadow on pole position to record his first pole, as well as the team's. The celebrations were short-lived as his car's gearbox broke before the warm-up lap. Carlos Reutemann delighted the home support by taking an early lead, but he was passed by James Hunt on the 27th lap and he in turn was overtaken by Emerson Fittipaldi near the end. Emerson's brother, Wilson, had a spectacular return after a season out of the sport. Driving Brazil's first F1 entry, the Copersucar Fitti-1, he lost control on the ninth lap and smashed into a guard rail. As the car was enveloped in flames he climbed clear and made clear by his wild gesturing what he thought of the car.
British driver Ken Wharton , who drove 16 grands prix, was killed while testing a Ferrari Monza at the Ardmore Circuit in Auckland New Zealand. An official statement said he came too fast out of a corner, moved onto loose gravel and piled into drums, bales and the timekeeper's tower. He had certainly had his share of luck until then. In the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally his car crashed into a gorge and finished upside down on top of two other wrecks, and in 1955 he was involved in a massive pile-up in a race in Belfast when two other drivers died.
Alan Rees was born in Newport, Wales. Although he competed in one grand prix he is more famous for team management. He was one of the founding partners of March engineering and his initials, AR, feature in the name along with those of fellow founders Max Mosley (M), Graham Coaker(C), and Robin Heard (H). He later became the team principal of Shadow, and later still co-founded Arrows.
Emanuele Pirro, who took part in 40 grands prix between 1989 and 1991, was born in Rome. After an unspectacular F1 career he switched with more success to touring cars, before moving on to endurance racing. He enjoyed similar rewards in long-distance races, winning Le Mans in 2000, 2001 and 2002 then again in 2006 and 2007.
American racing driver Lloyd Ruby was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. Although he only competed in two grands prix in 1960 and 1961 (the last two Indianapolis 500s to count towards the FIA World Championship) he enjoyed considerable motorsport success. He took part in the USAC Championship Car series between 1958 and 1977, with 177 career starts, including every Indianapolis 500 race between 1960 and 1977. He finished in the top ten 88 times, with seven victories. His best Indy finish was 3rd in 1964, although in 1966 he led for 68 laps.
Born on this day in Brussels, Olivier Gendebien had a brief F1 career, a brace of seconds for Cooper in 1960 his best return from 15 races spread over six years. But as a young man he fought with the Belgian resistance movement and also served in the British army. He was working in forestry in the Belgian Congo when he met a rally driver and took up racing. He worked with Ferrari, mainly as a spare driver, and was widely liked, even by the irascible Enzo Ferrari who described him as "a gentleman who never forgets that noblesse oblige and, when he is at the wheel, he translates this code of behaviour into an elegant and discerning forcefulness." In 1958, partnered by future world champion Phil Hill, he won the Le Mans 24-Hour, a feat he repeated in 1960, 1961 and 1962 (in 1960 alongside Paul Frère) all in Ferraris. He also won many other prestigious events such as the Targa Florio and 12 Hours of Sebring three times each. Independently wealthy and with a young family, he quit after his fourth win at Le Mans, aware of the high mortality rate in the sport.