It happened today

Jody Scheckter's first victory for Ferrari

13 May 1979

On 13th May 1979, the Belgian Grand Prix was held at Zolder. As had been the case for much of the season to date, Ligier was the dominant team in qualifying, monopolising the front row, with Jacques Laffite on pole ahead of Patrick Depailler by just 7 hundredths. The Ferraris were quite a way back, with Gilles Villeneuve sixth ahead of Jody Scheckter in the other 312 T4.

At the start, Depailler went into the lead ahead of Alan Jones in the Williams and Nelson Piquet in the Brabham, while Laffite had a poor getaway. On lap 2, Ferrari’s race seemed to be run. Scheckter collided with Clay Regazzoni’s Williams which in turn was hit by Villeneuve. Fortunately, the South Africa Prancing Horse driver managed to keep going without any problems, while Regazzoni was out and Gilles had to pit for repairs.

Scheckter managed to pass Mario Andretti in the Lotus and began a great climb up the order. Jones retired shortly after, while Depailler lost control of his car and ended up in the barriers. So, by lap 54 of 70, Laffite led from Scheckter, Carlos Reutemann in the Lotus and Didier Pironi in the Tyrrell. The Ferrari gradually closed on the Ligier and eventually got past. It was win number 78 for the Scuderia and the South African’s first win with the Maranello marque, his eighth overall. More importantly, this result saw Scheckter move into the lead of the championship, joint equal with Laffite on 24 points.

By the end of the year, Jody would take the title crown.