1943: Former Grand Prix driver and Le Mans winner Helmut Marko was born. The Austrian, who now works closely with Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz, raced in nine GPs for BRM in 1971 and 1972, but was forced to retire after losing the sight in one eye after a stone pierced his visor during the ’72 French GP. His best result had been eighth at Monaco that year. His real claim to fame was winning Le Mans alongside Gijs van Lennep in a Martini Porsche 917 in 1971.
1952: Happy 64th birthday to Ari Vatanen, one of the greatest rally drivers and motorsport personalities of all time. The flying Finn contested 101 WRC events, for Opel, Ford, Peugeot, Subaru, BMW and Mitsubishi between 1974 and 2003, winning 10 events and the 1981 World Championship in the Rothmans Ford Escort RS1800.
1975: The shortened Spanish GP, the last on Barcelona’s Montjuich Park street circuit, was won by McLaren driver and Goodwood House Captain Jochen Mass, ahead of his future Porsche sportscar team-mate Jacky Ickx. The race also marked the only occasion a woman got on the score sheet in the World Championship, thanks to Italian Lella Lombardi’s sixth place in a March 751. Of far greater consequence, however, was the accident that befell Rolf Stommelen. The German’s Embassy Hill GH1 crashed violently on lap 25, killing several bystanders.
1980: Privateer Alain de Cadenet and Desiré Wilson won the Monza 1,000km in the Briton’s self-run, Lola-built De Cadenet-Cosworth. South African Wilson became only the second woman, after Lella Lombardi, to win in the series. The duo would repeat the feat in the next round, at Silverstone, two weeks later.
2008: Jordan held its first World Rally Championship qualifier with Finn Mikko Hirvonen winning in a Ford Focus RS WRC from the Citroen C4 WRC of Dani Sordo and Chris Atkinson’s Subaru Impreza WRC. The Arab Kingdom appeared on the calendar twice more, in 2010 and 2011, won by Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier respectively.