A Bittersweet Victory


Hockenheim, 1982. Patrick Tambay, a very recent addition to the Ferrari team, waves the  French tricouleur from the podium but this was a very bittersweet victory. And none of the drivers look really happy: not Tambay, not René Arnoux, the second place driver who drove a Renault RE30, to Tambay’s right, nor Keke Rosberg, who drove a Williams FW8, third place and father of today’s Nico Rosberg, to Tambay’s left.

It had been a hard year for Ferrari. At Imola team orders had been ignored by Didier Pironi who snatched first place from his teammate Gilles Villeneuve who had been cruising to the win, very much like what Vettel did to Webber at Malaysia last year . Villneuve swore never to speak with Pironi again and, giving it his all as he always did,  crashed fatally at the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder during qualifying. For the German Grand Prix at the high speed circuit at Hockenheim, Ferrari had asked Patrick Tambay to step into the cockpit of a Ferrari, carrying 27, Villeneuve’s race number. However, in a cruel twist of fate during a rain-swept practice session Pironi, immersed in spray, failed to see Alain Prost’s Renault and cartwheeled over Prost’s car sustaining terrible leg injuries. Pironi never drove again.

In spite of these circumstances Tambay brought his Ferrari 126/C2 home in first place some 15 seconds ahead of Arnoux, with both drivers having lapped the field. Ferrari had been smart at the start, leaving Pironi’s pole time in the grid list which left Tambay on the “clean” side of the track in the second row with no car in front of him.

Photo by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection


  1. Carol Thompson · · Reply


    My good friend in England, Paul House and myself

    Are planning publishing s small volume of Ken Miles

    In Post war England in VSCC events..in cars like Frazer Nash

    And Bugatti..I am trying to convince Paul to include Ken coming to Los Angeles to work for

    MG im,porter and building his own special , doing both himself and the Marque a lot of good,!

    In the process,,at a time when racers had to turn to German and Italian cars to win

    Paul saw my story in :”automobile quarterly” and asked for my help with more

    Questions on the remarkable Mr Miles,,,from M.G. to GT 40 at Le Mans

    Those of us who were atr 1953 Pebble Beach sure stunned when he won 1st time out.

    Some felt it was the rain but Old Ken Miles just kept winning all year long…even at

    March Field when Cunningham Team won and an OSCA was defeated despite the LONG straights

    Would it be possible to obtain old photos from those events from Klementaski files?

    If that is possible I will draw up a shot shopping list of events with dates, location

    Also Please let me know the price for using same

    Hoping you are well


    Jim Sitz


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