INTRODUCTION Saturday's (5 March) South African Grand Prix looks set to be the most exciting so far this year after the top 12 drivers had times within one second of each other during practice.
LV Cars in pits at Kyalami race track, Johannesburg, South Africa
CU PAN Jacques Laffite (France) in Matra TILT UP TO Laffite standing beside car
CU Carlos Pace (Brazil)
CU Carlos Reutemann (Argentina) in Ferrari
CU James Hunt (Britain) in McLaren M.23
CU Jody Scheckter (South Africa) in Wolf ford
SV Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil
SV Cars driving away from pits and GV spectators
GVs & SVs Cars racing around track in final practice for South African Grand Prix (5 shots)
CU Interview with Hunt
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 11): REPORTER: "How do you feel about your prospects?"
HUNT: "Well, it'll be pretty tough because I'm surrounded by 12-cylinder cars which have quite a power advantage here. And I've got Carlos pace in the Brabham Alpha beside me on the front row and Niki Lauda in the second row. So that's going to be pretty tough getting into the first corner first, if not impossible. So I'm just going to have to persevere through the race and hope they're going to make a mistake or something. Do the best I can because they got eh, they're impossible to pass because they've got so much more power."
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION Saturday's (5 March) South African Grand Prix looks set to be the most exciting so far this year after the top 12 drivers had times within one second of each other during practice. The pole position on the grid went to the reigning World Motor Racing Champion, Britain's James Hunt. It is the third time that he has won the pole position this year but he has yet to win a race.
SYNOPSIS: The race will be taking place at the Kyalami circuit. Last year's Grand Prix was won by Austria's Niki Lauda. However, it will be Brazil's Carlos Pace who joins Hunt on the front row this year. Pace came second in the recent Argentine Grand Prix and was just one twentieth of a second slower than Hunt in practice. The Brazilian is driving a brand new 12-cylinder Brabham.
Two of the three official practice sessions for Saturday's race were held in pouring rain but local experts are optimistic that the track will be dry when the starter's flag is dropped. The Drivers will cover 78 laps of the 4.11 kilometre (2.55 mile) circuit. The practice sessions have made it obvious though that the result of the race is a very open thing. Hunt will be driving a McLaren M.23. The car does not have the power of the larger Ferraris and the new Wolf-Ford but Hunt's driving skill has more than made up for that in the past. The world champion spoke to newsmen about his hopes for the Grand Prix.