Jean-Pierre Jabouille celebrated his first F1 victory at Dijon on this day in 1979, which was also the first F1 victory for Renault and turbo engines, but the race was remembered for the legendary battle between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux for the second place.

Renault started its F1 adventure in 1977 as a constructor and engine manufacturer, and in their first F1 car was RS01 in 1977 when they first used a turbo engine. This was the 1,5-litre V6 engine tested for the first time in 1976, and the first race they used it was the British GP in 1977 .

Renault has prepared its version of its turbocharged twin turbo V6 engine for Monaco GP in 1979 making a big step forward in solving turbo lag, and in the next race at French Dijon Jabouille won from pole position and gave French manufacturer their first victory in Formula 1, which is also the first victory for a turbo engine.

Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari Rene Arnoux Renault French GP F1 1979 Dijon Photo Renault
Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari) and Rene Arnoux (Renault) during the French GP 1979 (Photo: Renault F1 media)

Frenchman Jabouille won the French GP on the French track Dijon with a French engine using French tyres (Michelin) and French fuel and lubricants (Elf).

Gilles Villeneuve in Ferrari and Rene Arnoux in Renault had one of the greatest battles in Formula 1 history for the runner-up spot in the final laps of the race when they touched with their wheels several times, Villeneuve eventually finishing 0.24 seconds ahead of Arnoux.

Villeneuve later described this battle as ‘one of the greatest memories in his Grand Prix racing career’.

Rene Arnoux also gave Renault their first fastest lap in Formula 1, as he secured his first points and first podium after starting from the front row for the first time, behind pole sitter Jabouille.

STARTING GRID

1 15 J-P.Jabouille Renault 1:07.19
2 16 René Arnoux Renault 1:07.45 0.26
3 12 G.Villeneuve Ferrari 1:07.65 0.46
4 6 Nelson Piquet Brabham/Alfa Romeo 1:08.13 0.94
5 11 Jody Scheckter Ferrari 1:08.15 0.96
6 5 Niki Lauda Brabham/Alfa Romeo 1:08.20 1.01
7 27 Alan Jones Williams/Ford 1:08.23 1.04
8 26 Jacques Laffite Ligier/Ford 1:08.55 1.36
9 28 Clay Regazzoni Williams/Ford 1:08.65 1.46
10 4 J.P.Jarier Tyrrell/Ford 1:08.80 1.61
11 3 Didier Pironi Tyrrell/Ford 1:08.95 1.76
12 1 Mario Andretti Lotus/Ford 1:09.35 2.16
13 2 Carlos Reutemann Lotus/Ford 1:09.36 2.17
14 25 Jacky Ickx Ligier/Ford 1:09.68 2.49
15 7 John Watson McLaren/Ford 1:09.97 2.78
16 20 Keke Rosberg Wolf/Ford 1:10.15 2.96
17 35 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 1:10.59 3.40
18 14 E.Fittipaldi Fittipaldi/Ford 1:10.61 3.42
19 29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows/Ford 1:10.70 3.51
20 8 Patrick Tambay McLaren/Ford 1:10.92 3.73
21 17 Jan Lammers Shadow/Ford 1:11.14 3.95
22 30 Jochen Mass Arrows/Ford 1:11.14 3.95
23 31 Hector Rebaque Lotus/Ford 1:11.97 4.78
24 18 Elio de Angelis Shadow/Ford 1:12.23 5.04

Didn’t qualify

25 22 Patrick Gaillard Ensign/Ford 1:13.00 5.81
26 24 Arturo Merzario Merzario/Ford 1:14.95 7.76

Not present

9 H.J.Stuck ATS/Ford 1:11.75 4.56

RACE RESULTS

1 15 J-P.Jabouille Renault 80 1:35:20.42
2 12 G.Villeneuve Ferrari 80 1:35:35.01 14.59
3 16 René Arnoux Renault 80 1:35:35.25 14.83
4 27 Alan Jones Williams/Ford 80 1:35:57.03 36.61
5 4 J.P.Jarier Tyrrell/Ford 80 1:36:24.93 1:04.51
6 28 Clay Regazzoni Williams/Ford 80 1:36:25.93 1:05.51
7 11 Jody Scheckter Ferrari 79 1:35:41.63 1 krug
8 26 Jacques Laffite Ligier/Ford 79 1:36:04.53 1 krug
9 20 Keke Rosberg Wolf/Ford 79 1:36:16.53 1 krug
10 8 Patrick Tambay McLaren/Ford 78 1:36:02.96 2 kruga
11 7 John Watson McLaren/Ford 78 1:36:13.84 2 kruga
12 31 Hector Rebaque Lotus/Ford 78 1:36:24.42 2 kruga
13 2 Carlos Reutemann Lotus/Ford 77 1:33:48.24 3 kruga
14 29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows/Ford 77 1:35:29.54 3 kruga
15 30 Jochen Mass Arrows/Ford 75 1:35:37.15 5 krugova
16 18 Elio de Angelis Shadow/Ford 75 1:35:44.81 5 krugova
17 35 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo 75 1:35:53.89 5 krugova
18 17 Jan Lammers Shadow/Ford 73 1:36:28.96 7 krugova
(18) 3 Didier Pironi Tyrrell/Ford 71 1:32:09.80 Suspension
(12) 14 E.Fittipaldi Fittipaldi/Ford 53 1:05:03.30 Engine
(4) 6 Nelson Piquet Brabham/Alfa Romeo 52 1:02:39.34 Accident
(22) 1 Mario Andretti Lotus/Ford 51 1:11:19.00 Brakes
(21) 25 Jacky Ickx Ligier/Ford 45 59:16.59 Engine
(9) 5 Niki Lauda Brabham/Alfa Romeo 23 28:14.90 Spun off

Fastest lap: René Arnoux – 1:09.16 (lap 71)

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 8/15 RACES

1 Jody Scheckter 30 (1) 6 6 (3) 9 9
2 Gilles Villeneuve 26 2 9 9 6
3 Jacques Laffite 24 9 9 6
4 Patrick Depailler 20 3 6 2 9 (2)
5 Carlos Reutemann 20 6 4 (2) 6 (3) 4
6 Mario Andretti 12 2 3 3 4
7 Jean-Pierre Jabouille 9 9
8 Jean-Pierre Jarier 9 4 1 2 2
9 Didier Pironi 8 3 1 4
9 John Watson 8 4 1 3
11 Clay Regazzoni 7 6 1
12 Alan Jones 7 4 3
13 René Arnoux 4 4
14 Riccardo Patrese 2 2
15 Emerson Fittipaldi 1 1
15 Niki Lauda 1 1
15 Jochen Mass 1 1

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Ferrari 60 3 15 15 3 9 9 6
2 Ligier/Ford 46 12 15 2 9 6 2
3 Lotus/Ford 37 8 4 5 3 10 3 4
4 Tyrrell/Ford 17 3 4 1 3 4 2
5 Williams/Ford 14 4 6 4
6 Renault 13 13
7 McLaren/Ford 8 4 1 3
8 Arrows/Ford 3 2 1
9 Fittipaldi/Ford 1 1
9 Brabham/Alfa Romeo 1 1
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