The first day of practice for the South African Grand Prix has seen several fast times set on the tight Kyalami circuit.
GV Pit area.
CU Jacky Ickx in car 20
CU Clay Regazzoni seated in car 2
CU Emerson Fittipaldi in copersucar.
CU Niki Laud in car 1 (2 shots)
SV Patrick Depallier beside his car 4
CU Jochen Mas seated in car 12
CU Ronnie Peterson (seated in car 10)
CU James Hunt seated in car 11
SV Niki Lauda drives on to track followed by Jacky Ickx.
SV Vittorio Brambilla drives out in car 9 followed by Ronnie Peterson.
TV and SV Jody Scheckter on practice lap in car (3 shots)
AV Mario Andretti practising in car 27
CU & GV Course marshal extinguishes the fire in car no. 6.
Aerial view of cars on practice laps.
SEVERAL SHOTS OF DRIVERS IN CARS IN PITS: DRIVERS INCLUDING NIKI LAUDA, JACKY ICKX, VITTORIO BRAMBILLA AND RONNIE PETERS ON DRIVE ON TO TRACK: JODY SCHECKTER AND MARIO ANDRETTI PRACTICE: OFFICIALS PUTTING OUT FIRE IN LOTUS DRIVEN BY GUNNAR NILSSON: CARS ON PRACTICE LAPS.
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Background: The first day of practice for the South African Grand Prix has seen several fast times set on the tight Kyalami circuit.
Britain's James Hunt in a McLaren-Ford recorded the fastest time for the day with a lap of one minute 16.59 seconds. The world champion, Niki Lauda, of Austria, set second-fastest time of one minute 16.90 seconds in his Ferrari during practice on Wednesday (3 March).
Third fastest time was set by Vittorio Brambilla of Italy in a March-Ford. His time of one minute 17.11 seconds was only seven-hundredths of a second faster than Jody Scheckter of South Africa and Patrick Depailler of France, both in Tyrrell-Fords.
Despite Hunt's faster time, Lauda is still favourite to win the race, the second in Formula One season. Lauda won the first race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, but Hunt had to retire from that race with mechanical trouble.
This year has seen several changes in drivers and cars...one of the main ones being the departure of former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi from the McLaren team. Fittipaldi is now driving for the Brazilian Copersucar team.
Ronnie Peterson has also changed teams. He's now driving for March after leaving the Lotus team following the Brazilian Grand Prix.
SYNOPSIS: The Kyalami circuit in South Africa where the second race in the current Formula One motor racing season will take place on Saturday. Drivers and teams started practising on Wednesday for the 1976 South African Grand Prix. World Champion Niki Lauda in a Ferrari was among the drivers waiting to practise. He's looking to repeat his success in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Frenchman, Patrick Depailler in a Tyrrell and Jochen Mass in a McLaren were both expected to be among the leaders after practice.
James Hunt of Britain in a McLaren also expected to do well. Niki Lauda and Jack Ickx were among the first onto the track for practice.
South African driver, Jody Scheckter, will be looking to win his second successive Rome Grand Prix, while Mario Andretti of America will be trying to repeat his victory of 1971. One of the few drivers to strike trouble during practice was Gunnar Nilsson of Sweden. The engine of his Lotus caught fire, but the blaze was extinguished without serious damage.
After the first practice laps, James Hunt had registered the best time, followed by Niki Lauda. However inspite of Hunt's faster time, it is Lauda who remains the favourite for Saturday's race.