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Yannick Dalmas

28th July 1961 (Age 59)
Le Beausset, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Most recent race (in database):

When Yannick Dalmas arrived on the scene in the early 1980s it appeared that he had the talent to succeed Alain Prost as a French superstar. Although his promise would not be realised in Formula 1, he developed into a World Sportscar Championship and Le Mans-winning endurance racing driver.

Early racing success

Champion in French Formula Renault in 1984, he graduated to Formula 3 with the dominant ORECA team and almost snatched the 1985 French title from team-mate Pierre-Henri Raphanel before finishing runner-up. Not only did Dalmas win the 1986 title (ORECA’s fourth in a row) but his Martini MK49-Volkswagen also won Monaco’s F3 race by over half a minute.

Formula 1 with Larrousse and AGS

ORECA gave Dalmas his Formula 3000 debut at Le Mans that year and he remained with the team for 1987. On pole position at Vallelunga, his frightening 170mph accident in the race was just one of the crashes that blunted his title challenge despite his two wins. Fifth in the championship, he joined Larrousse for the final three Grands Prix of the year. Fifth in Australia was his best result but Dalmas was ineligible to score points as his car had not been a regular championship entry.

A first full F1 season with Larrousse followed in 1988 although that initial promise soon ebbed away. Sidelined at the end of the year by Legionnaires’ disease, he returned in 1989 but failed to qualify for a single race before being replaced mid-season. He moved to AGS and his disastrous campaign continued with Dalmas unable to pre-qualify for the rest of the year. The team showed some improvement in 1990 and he started five races without finishing higher than ninth.

Sports cars success

Without an F1 drive for 1991, the Frenchman joined Peugeot’s sports car team and it was a welcome return to competitive machinery. He won twice that year with Keke Rosberg before he and regular co-driver Derek Warwick won both the World Sportscar Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours in 1992.

Dalmas concentrated on French touring cars in 1993 and finished second at Le Mans for Peugeot. He won the race again a year later when sharing the Dauer 962LM-Porsche with Hurley Haywood and Mauro Baldi. Two late 1994 GPs as Philippe Alliot’s replacement at Larrousse merely confirmed that his future lay outside F1. Dalmas was remarkably consistent at Le Mans and he finished in the top three for six years in a row. That included another victory in 1995 when sharing a semi-works McLaren F1-GTR-BMW with J.J.Lehto and Masanori Sekiya.

Two seasons in DTM with Joest Racing’s Opel Calibra (1995 and 1996) were less successful so he concentrated on sports cars instead. He won the 1997 Sebring 12 Hours with Scandia Motorsport’s Ferrari 333SP before spending two years as a works Porsche GT1 driver. That included a spectacular backflip during the 1998 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta from which Dalmas emerged unhurt.

Fourth victory at Le Mans

Porsche withdrew at the end of the year so Dalmas joined BMW for the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours and shared the winning BMW V12 LMR prototype with Joachim Winkelhock and Pierluigi Martini.

Now retired with a World Sportscar Championship and four Le Mans victories to his name, Yannick Dalmas works for the DSV timing company and as a commentator.