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1978 Italian Grand Prix

Gran Premio d'Italia

Sunday, September 10, 1978
Warm, dry and sunny
Fastest Lap:
Andretti, 1m38.23
1978 season:

A hollow victory

Monza, September 10th

Practice began on Friday morning under warm and sunny skies and 28 contestants were ready to qualify for the 24 places on the starting grid. To support the idea that nobody in the Formula One world can get it right there were the usual anomalies created by the constructors' union. The ATS team had lost the services of Jochen Mass, who was in hospital in Northampton following a bad accident at Silverstone while testing the new D1 ATS, which had appeared briefly at Zandvoort previously. A mechanical failure had turned the car sharp left into the barriers at the end of Hangar Straight and Mass suffered severe leg injuries. His place at Monza was taken by the inexperienced Dutchman Michael Bleekemolen, while the second car was driven by Harald Ertl, who had failed to qualify in the pre-practice qualifying held the previous Sunday, in the second works Ensign. There were changes in the Surtees team as Rupert Keegan still had his arm in a sling, following his accident in the warm-up session at Zandvoort. His place was taken by Carlo Franchi, who races in Italy under the name "Gimax". By all accounts he is little more than a Club driver and certainly not a "works" Formula One driver. Left out of the practice by reason of the previous Sunday session of selection were Rosberg (Wolf) and Colombo (Merzario). The list of acceptables was headed by Rebaque (Lotus 78), with Piquet and Lunger behind in the B & S McLarens.