This blogpost is based on a firsthand report by Alex Dias Ribeiro on the occasion of the SRS Motorsportwochenende in January 2018 in Germany. It is the story of one of the most thrilling races from this past epoch, the International ADAC-Eifelrennen, Formula 2 European Championship, 40 years ago, at the end of April 1978. Alex said: „The race of my life.“
Looking forward to a 9 lap race of more than one hour, in the morning Alex had the inner certainty, that he would win this race. So he asked a team member to put his cap with the label „Jesus Saves“ to the podium. He did so based on his Christian faith, not on an arrogant attitude.
It was a highly dramatic race from the beginning until the very end. Alex took the lead directly after the start, holding it for several laps. Despite the pressure of the opponents, he was always among the top three. In the last lap, Eddie Cheever and Alex competed for the victory; they arrived at the last corners, over 170 miles per hour, side by side, wheel to wheel.
Normally, this passage allows just one car at this speed, not two at the same time. Alex knew this and he prayed: „Lord, please receive my soul“ – knowing, that the next seconds could bring along a fatal accident. Both passed the last few corners side by side, somehow it went well. When they left the very last corner, Cheever’s car got a little bit unstable and Alex finished first, second Keke Rosberg, third Eddie Cheever.
Some facts are worth to be mentioned: the first three cars crossed the finishing line within less than a second, the average speed was more than 120 miles per hour, the average lap time significantly less than seven and a half minute.
A French magazine’s headline was „RIBEIRO EN ETAT DE GRACE“. Or, in other words, as Ribeiro said: „I drove as never before.“ His outstanding performance in this race was honoured with a special award and the record in the list of names of the Nürburgring’s most glorious racing drivers, at the historical wall.
See you next Friday. - God bless you, all the best! The Castiron
Photo: Alex Dias Ribeiro. Thank you Alex, also for the precious sharing of the experiences!