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From the Motor Sport Archive
Reutemann wins through the carnage
Sao Paulo, January 23rd
After two weeks of feverish activity following the Argentine Grand Prix, the second round of the 1977 World Championship series took place at the sinuous, bumpy 4.946-mile Interlagos track amidst the bustling suburbs of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Although many of the drivers enjoyed an easy time relaxing on sun-soaked beaches along the South Atlantic coast, for a lot of mechanics and team owners there were far more serious things to worry about. The McLaren camp, naturally concerned over the rear suspension breakage that had sent Hunt off the road in M23/8 while he was leading the Argentine Grand Prix, beefed up the rear and of the World Champion's car with a new bellhousing and an enlarged replacement for the stud that broke in the rear suspension. The second car driven by Mass had also been modified. For Team Lotus the problem was much larger, because they had to ship back to Hethel their badly damaged Lotus 78/2, the front of which had been blown off when the car's fire extinguisher bottle exploded during practice at Buenos Aires. Tony Southgate in fact left for home on the night before the Argentine Grand Prix, but it wasn't until Tuesday that the damaged chassis finally arrived in London owing to the inevitable surplus of red tape encountered from Britain's nationalised airline. The car was rushed back to the factory, stripped down and repaired, before being flown out again to South America in time to be rebuilt into an operational machine shortly before official practice began. It was the sort of marathon that depends upon efficient timing, ceaseless work and a lot of single-mindedness, and as Andretti's black and gold car stood waiting for the first session to get under way, one couldn't help marvelling at the sheer effort put in by racing mechanics in general to get their cars to the starting line.