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Patrick Gaillard

12th February 1952 (Age 68)
Paris, Ile-de-France
Most recent race (in database):

The Monaco Formula 3 race was once a passport to Grand Prix racing and Patrick Gaillard’s works Chevron B38-Toyota led the 1978 event with seven laps to go. But his moment in the limelight was denied when Elio de Angelis’ wild lunge at the Loews hairpin launched him into the barriers.

Early racing career

Gaillard’s career began in Formula Renault in 1975 and he graduated to F3 after two seasons. Third at Silverstone and fifth at Croix-en-Ternois, he then came within an ace of that victory at Monaco in 1978. Successive European F3 victories at Imola and the Nürburgring followed and three further second-place finishes briefly gave Gaillard the championship lead but he was eventually third in the final standings.

Formula 1 with Ensign

He made his Formula 2 debut at the Nürburgring in 1979 and his works Chevron B48-Hart was fifth at Pau and fourth at Hockenheim. When the Ensign Formula 1 team had a vacancy, Gaillard jumped at the chance. Derek Daly left after a trio of DNQs so the fearless Gaillard’s two qualifications in five attempts was some success and evidently impressed team owner Mo Nunn.

As had become his norm, Gaillard started 1980 without firm plans. He qualified a Maurer in third position for the Pau F2 race and again flirted with F1 by rejoining Ensign for a one-off at the Spanish GP. That event was blighted by the FISA versus FOCA dispute – Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo all withdrew and the race was later declared a non-championship affair. That was unfortunate for Gaillard who had finished in a points-paying sixth position in an event without an ultimate point.

He competed at Le Mans and made intermittent F2 returns over the next two years but his chance in the big-time was brief and over.