- South African Grand Prix
Reutemann breaks his duck in South AfricaLaurence Edmondson March 30, 1974
Carlos Reutemann became the first Argentinean to win a Formula One race since Juan Manuel Fangio when he took victory at the South African Grand Prix, but yet again the weekend was overshadowed by the death of a driver.
Several drivers headed to Kyalami early to practice, and it was during one of those sessions that the front suspension on Peter Revson's Shadow collapsed at over 120mph, causing his car to flip over the Armco barrier at Barbecue Bend and burst into flames. His friends Graham Hill and Emerson Fittipaldi arrived on the scene to try to save him, but Revson died on the way to hospital.
"There was an obvious failure in the car," Hill said. "It went straight into the barrier at about 120mph and burst into flames. At the time Peter was pretty much alone on the track. Emerson and I were ahead of him. By that time the race crew were there with extinguishers we had picked up the front end of the car to get Peter out."
The race itself was far from guaranteed as a debate raged about the availability of fuel as the world was in the middle of an oil crisis as a result of an escalating crisis in the Middle East.
In the practice sessions Niki Lauda and Carlos Pace made the headlines, but it was Reutemann who made the flying start from the second row and started harrying Lauda around the Kyalami circuit. On lap 9 he took the lead and never came under threat as Lauda eventually succumbed to engine problems on lap 66.
Jean-Pierre Beltoise came through to take second in the BRM, with Mike Hailwood a solid third in the Yardley McLaren. But for Lotus it was another forgettable weekend as both Ronnie Peterson and new signing Jacky Ickx were sidelined after the pair collided on the first lap.
It was a sweet victory for Reutemann after he just missed out on victory at his home race earlier in the season.
Laurence Edmondson is an assistant editor on ESPNF1