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Villeneuve at home
Montreal, October 8th
One week after the United States Grand Prix took place at Watkins Glen, the Grand Prix circus arrived to "pitch tent" in the new surroundings of the Ile Notre-Dame circuit, an artificial road course made up of access roads round a small island in the St. Lawrence River a stone's throw from the centre of Montreal. This was the third venue for the Canadian race since its inclusion in the World Championship series 11 years ago, most of the races taking place at the Mosport Park circuit not far from Toronto. Twice the race was held at the St. Jovite circuit, to the north of Montreal, but since 1971 it has been at Mosport with a gap in 1975 when there was an argument between the teams and the organisers. The teams returned to Mosport in 1976 and 77, but it was becoming clear that discord was fast developing between competitors and circuit owners, so this year the race moved to Montreal.
Against the backdrop of Montreal's "high rise" office blocks and hotels, the 2.796-Mile Ile Notre-Dame track winds and twists as way round dilapidated structures built for the "Expo '67" exhibition 11 years ago as well as facilities provided for the more recent Olympic Games. Two weeks before the Grand Prix was scheduled to take place, the track received its "regulation baptism" when a Canadian national F/Atlantic event took place. Two drivers, Rosberg and Rahal, took part in this inaugural race and adjudged the circuit pretty tight and tortuous in F/Atlantic single-seaters so there was speculation that nobody would be able to get past when it came to running 3-litre Formula One cars round it!