If conditions remain as favourable as they were in Friday's practice, this year's Monaco Formula One Motor Racing Grand Prix, to be staged on Sunday (26 May) could produce a record time.
GV PAN Monte Carlo
GV & CU Preparations for practice run (2 shots)
CU Driver talking
CU Fittipaldi sign autograph
CU Car wheeled onto circuit
GV Crowds watch
GV Cars out of pits
GV Cars at speed around circuit (2 shots)
Initials SC/205 SC/223
SPORT: CAR RACING
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Background: If conditions remain as favourable as they were in Friday's practice, this year's Monaco Formula One Motor Racing Grand Prix, to be staged on Sunday (26 May) could produce a record time.
On Friday, in brilliant sunshine, austrian track star Nikki Lauda knocked more than a second off the unofficial lap record.
Lauda clocked 1 minute 26.3 seconds in his Ferrari 312B to lap the 3.278 kilometre (2.037 mile) circuit at an average speed of 136.741 kph (84.95 mpj).
But fast though the time was, it was only a slim half-second quicker than that set by Sweden's Ronnie Petersen in a John Player Special Lotus.
Brazii's Emerson Fittipaldi has not been able to get the grips with the twisting, complicated round-the-houses course. The 1971 World Champion, who has a one point lead in this year's championship stakes, has been going comparatively slowly, good enough so far only to place him among the back markets in the grid. He has explained that his mechanics have still not sorted out a front suspension problem on his Texaco Marlboro McLaren.
One of the hazards of the Monte Carlo course is that it is run over streets used every day by normal traffic. Among its problems are bumpy stretches of road. This was, according to Fittipaldi one of his main problems. He said the suspension problem caused the car to veer off course after hitting bumps.
But still, others are going very rapidly and tension is building up among drivers and fans for the big day.
SYNOPSIS: Probably the most picturesque setting for a motor racing Grand Prix in the World -- Monte Carlo. On Sunday, the normal calm and quiet of this Principality will be shattered by the roar of finely tuned racing engines and, the yells of thousands of motor racing enthusiasts. That's the day of the big race -- the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.
All the big names in motor racing are there. On Friday they were deep in the throes of practice lapping -- testing their machines, clipping vitals microseconds from lap times and vieing for a place at the front of the starting grid.
Fastest to date in practice was Austria's Nikki Lauda, who with an average speed of 84.95 miles an hour knocked just over a second off the unofficial tap record. He's driving a ferrari 3128. Brazil's Emerson Fittpaldi, 1971 World Champion, has made a poor showing so far, claiming a suspension fault as the reason for his slow time.
But the final t??? will come on Sunday when, if conditions remain as good as they've been, a very fast race is expected.