19th of April – Vetteltastic RBR 1-2 debut win: Rainman did it again, Sebastian Vettel takes Red Bull Racing’s first Grand Prix win from pole position trailed home by team-mate Mark Webber to make it the perfect 1-2 for the Milton Keynes based, Austrian run outfit. He also established a new record. Do you know which?



19/4/1940, Kurt Ahrens is born in Braunschweig, Germany

Karl Heinrich Ahrens took a lift with his famous father, German speedway champion Kurt Ahrens, and re-branded himself as Kurt Ahrens Jr. during his early racing career. After winning the German Formula Junior title twice he acquired a Brabham Formula 2 car taking part in the European Championship and in three German GPs in the F2 class, the third participation in 1968 actually driving a third works Brabham. From 1969 he joined the Porsche factory sportscar team and shared victory with Jo Siffert in the Austrian 1000 event. The following year he partnered Vic Elford to victory in the Nurburgring 1000. He retired in 1971 taking over the family’s car dealership and a scrap metal business. Nowadays he can be frequently seen at historic events.



19/4/1912, Rudi Fischer is born in Stuttgart, Germany

Rudolf Fischer was born in Germany but in fact a Swiss citizen and a known quantity among collectors for his quality restaurations. After some success in hill climbs and selected road races he bought a Ferrari V12 for the 1951 season and scored acouple of podium finishes in non-championship races. For 1952 he upgraded to the latest T500 Ferraris, promptly finishing 2nd in the Swiss GP and 3rd in the German GP. Despite those successes and a couple of victories in non-championship races, Rudi left the international racing scene to concentrate on his business and would only appear occasionally at one or the other hill-climbing event. Rudi fischer passed away in 1976 at the age of 64 years.

Born: 19th of April 1912 in Stuttgart, Germany;
Died: 30th of December 1976 in Locarno, Switzerland, aged 64.



19/4/1944, Jac Nelleman was born in Copenhagen, Denmark


Jacob Nelleman is the only member of the Danish Nelleman racing dynasty that made it to Formula 1. Sort of. A Danish Formula 3 champion twice, Jac got a single entry into the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix sorted with the RAM team. Despite taking part in qualifying sessions in two cars, a BT42 and a BT44B, he failed to qualify for the race. He went on to become a very successful historic racer, aside his main occupation as publisher, Jaguar cars and Honda motorbikes dealer.



19/4/1971, Luigi Piotti dies

Luigi Piotti was a businessman and part-time racer who’s finest hour came in the 1954 Hyeres 12 hours race, sharing the winning car with Maurice Trintignant. He made his Formula 1 debut in 1955, taking 7th place in the Syracuse GP in a works Maserati 250F, before purchasing a car for the 1956 season, in which he proved hopelessly slow, especially in the Argentine GP where he continually balked faster cars, eventually colliding with Collins’ Ferrari. Later he caused a furore at the Italian GP by using his car to push Moss’ fuel-starved machine into the pits and thus give the Englishman a chance to win the race. Piotti plodded through the 1957 season with the Maserati, and after finding little success in an OSCA in 1958 wisely returned to a more sedate occupation. Luigi Piotti died in 1971 at the age of 57 years.

Born: 27th of October 1913 in Milan, Italy;
Died: 19th of April 1971 in Godiasco, Italy, aged 57.



19/4/1938, Basil van Rooyen is born in Johannesburg, South Africa

Basil van Rooyen was an engineer and motorbike racer before he became a dominant force in the South African touring car scene. With sponsorship from STP he moved into the national Formula 1 series in 1968 with a Brabham BT24, although he had to settle for John Love’s old Cooper for the Grand Prix. Switching to a McLaren M7A for 1969, Basil managed to score a couple of wins but then wrote the car off in a huge shunt at Kyalami and that was it as far as F1 was concerned. After another stint in touring cars he came back in 1975 with a Chevron when the South African Championship had switched to Formula Atlantics. After retiring from racing he ran a performance company and a package manufacturing business before becoming a sponsor for Ian Scheckter. He emigrated to Australia in 1987 to set up a manufacturing business and retired in 2005. He has since patented a pool cleaning device, now in production and still follows the sport from his home in New South Wales, Australia.


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