Argentina's Carlos Reutemann in a Brabham Ford signalled a warning to the highly fancied Ferrari team on Friday (16 August) when he clocked the fastest time on the first day of practice for Sunday's (18 August) Austrian Grand Prix.
GV PAN FROM Pits to spectators in stand.
SV Jackie Ickx leaving pits for practice lap.
Sv Niki Lauda leaving pits.
Sv Woman spectator.
GV Ronnie Petersen around track.
SV Cars around track.
GV Cars around track. (2 shots)
GV Car eight Carlos Pace past camera and along track.
GV Dars around track. (3 shots)
Initials VS 19.52 VS 20.05
SPORT: CAR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Argentina's Carlos Reutemann in a Brabham Ford signalled a warning to the highly fancied Ferrari team on Friday (16 August) when he clocked the fastest time on the first day of practice for Sunday's (18 August) Austrian Grand Prix.
Reutemann set a time of one minute 35.56 seconds for the 5.9 kilometre (3.7 mile) Oesterreichring circuit at Zeltweg.
South African Jody Scheckter, driving a Tyrell Ford, was less than half a second behind, followed by Britain's James Hunt in a Hesketh Ford.
Emerson Fittipaldi, who won at Zeltweg in 1972, was fourth fastest, shadowed by the red Ferraris of local hero Niki Lauda and Switzerland's Clay Regazzoni.
Lauda, the man whose speed in practice has brought him a near-monopoly of the pole positions this year, had to switch to a reserve Ferrari for Friday's practice round.
Nevertheless he remains a tremendous drawcard for Sunday's race when a crowd of 200,000 is expected at the circuit. Apart from Lauda's host of fans, the spectator numbers will be swelled by Swiss and Italian supporters of Clay Regazzoni.
Despite scorching heat, the practice session itself drew an estimated 40,000 spectators.
SYNOPSIS: Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix at Zeltweg could attract as many as two hundred thousand spectators. Forty thousand fans crammed the Oesterreichring circuit for Friday's practice session.
Thirty one drivers, including Belgium's Jackie Ickx, were vying for a start in the event, the twelfth of the season's fifteen races. Only eight points separate the top four drivers in the chase for the world championship.
Local boy Niki Lauda, who is fourth in the championship on thirty-six points, is the big drawcard.
Despite counter-attractions, most eyes will be on him as he endeavours to peg back front runner Clay Regazzoni of Switzerland who leads the championship on forty-four points.
But the Ferraris of Lauda and Regaszzoni were out of the limelight on Friday. Argentine's Carlos Reutemann, in a Brabham Ford clocked the fastest time of the day.
Reutemann lapped the three point seven mile circuit in one minute thirty-five point five seconds. South African Jody Scheckter, driving a Tyrell Ford, was less than half a second behind, followed by Britain's James Hunt in a Hesketh Ford. Emerson Fittipaldi, who won at Zeltweg in nineteen seventy-two, was fourth fastest.
The Ferraris of Lauda and Regazzoni shadowed this bunch in the chase for practice honours. But Louda, the man whose speed in practice has brought him a near-monopoly on the pole position this year, had an excuse. He had to switch to a reserve Ferrari when his own machine developed trouble in the near heat wave conditions that prevailed.