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Regenmeister! Drivers who excelled in the rain


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#1 Gary Davies

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Posted 02 May 2001 - 13:05

Is there such a thing as a Rainmaster? I mean ... when we talk about rainmasters, aren’t we just talking about masters period?

Here are a few rainmasters - my top of the head list, probably incomplete because it’s been a long day, and no doubt different from yours - Carraciola, Nuvolari, Fangio, Ascari, Gonzalez, Moss, Clark, Ickx, Stewart, Peterson, Villeneuve G, Senna, Schumacher M.

But isn't this just a list of the best of the best? In other words, is not “rainmaster” merely a synonym for the drivers with that exquisite touch and sense of balance that is not always so clearly defined compared to les autres when the weather is fine.

There are apparent contradictions. Prost; surely a Great, but perhaps too contemplative of the many issues wet driving involves. And Mansell; perhaps not quite of the very top drawer, but brave and hugely combative rain or shine.

So are there any true rainmasters? Guys who whilst not quite on a par with the Mosses and Sennas in the normal course of events, but who blossomed when the track got dark and shiny?

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#2 pancho

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Posted 02 May 2001 - 14:31

The best wet-weather driver I can recall is Eddie Cheever

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 May 2001 - 15:03

FJ was a master... as mentioned previously, the Jenkinson description of 'a cat on a shelf of Dresden china would have been clumsy by comparison' as he reported a wet race between he and Clark at Solitude drives that home.

As does the discussion, in the same report, that Surtees had the less tractable engine. Clark drove past and away when the circuit dried, however.

I've seen a local driver pull out half a lap in three laps in the wet in his Mazda station wagon, by the way, with about the same power but less refinement than the RX3 that was coming second...

#4 Barry Boor

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Posted 02 May 2001 - 18:30

Who was it said "Nobody LIKES driving in the rain; it's just that I dislike it less than the others"? Or words to that effect.

Or did I just make it up......:eek:

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 May 2001 - 23:26

Moss... you remember him?

He said that he let people believe he liked racing in the rain, but I think it was in All But My Life he disclosed that he - as you have put it - merely had less of a distaste for it than others.

#6 Racer.Demon

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 08:55

There are several single great wet-weather drives in which highly unfavoured and unacknowledged (up until then that is) rain drivers outdid the likes of Ickx, etc. Beltoise at the 1972 Monaco GP springs to mind, and so does Rosberg's famous win at the 1978 International Trophy.



#7 Gary Davies

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 11:05

And wasn't it Interlagos in 1996 that nobody could put a hand on Damon?

Actually, Damon always seemed pretty good in the rain and occasionally, as above, very good.

#8 Zawed

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 11:56

Damon in Japan 1994 was even better...

#9 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 16:40

H-J. Stuck alias "Strietzel" must have been a sort of Regemeister as well.

#10 Dave Ware

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 17:00

Rob Walker always rated JP Beltoise pretty highly, and felt that one reason he seemingly performed better in the rain was because wet-weather driving made less phyiscal demands on his bad arm, which had been injured in a motorcycle accident. JPB won one wet non-championship race that I know of. I think he had a rain race in 1968 in which he showed great speed; don't remember if he finished or not, but I think he was second only to Stewart. There are likely others that I don't know about.

In the late eighties one of the TV networks in the States has some sporadic, same weekend coverage of the Le Mans race. They said that Stuck's rival teams feared rain most of all, becasuse they knew that Hans would make up four seconds a lap on them in the rain.

Wouldn't Pedro Rodriguez also make the criteria? A close second to Ickx at Zandvroot in '71...didn't he also win a very wet BOAC 500 on year, as well as some other rain victories in the 917?

D.

#11 Kpy

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 17:48

Originally posted by Dave Ware
JPB won one wet non-championship race that I know of.


Which one?

Certainly I remember being at Monaco on 14 May 1972 when J-PB won the GP by 38.6 secs from the acknowledged wet weather expert Jacky Ickx. Such was his pace from the start (from 4th on the grid) that some of us were convinced that Ferrari had put Ickx on intermediates. Those were the only two on the same lap at the finish.

The Rodriguez BOAC win was the 1000km at Brands in 1970. The finest race I've ever witnessed. After a black flagging and an ear-bashing from the clerk of the course Pedro proceeded to put in a drive which made us forget the intense rain and numbing cold. After six and threequarter hours Pedro and co-driver Kinnunen in their Porsche 917 were five laps ahead of second placed Elford/Hulme in another 917.



#12 FLB

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 18:04

Originally posted by Dave Ware
Rob Walker always rated JP Beltoise pretty highly, and felt that one reason he seemingly performed better in the rain was because wet-weather driving made less phyiscal demands on his bad arm, which had been injured in a motorcycle accident.


The Team Lotus mechanics thought basically the same thing about Satoru Nakajima. The Japanese set the fastest lap on his way to fourth at Adelaide in 1989, arguably his best F1 performance. They said the rain made it easier for him because he lacked upper-body strength.

#13 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 18:45

Drivers with the emphasis on being rational like Lauda did not really bother to be a good rain driver. Conversely, when it rained, Senna got out on purpose in his formula Ford in England in the eighties in order to improve his skills. His feeling of invulnerability brought him to great heights. Villeneuve just wanted to be fast under all circumstances (his snowmobile-experience came in handy regarding driving in the rain). His car-control and self-confidence then brought us the best value on offer.

What would interest me, if there was to be a rain race of all times, what would it be like? Senna and Villeneuve wheel to wheel chasing Carraciola?

#14 Barry Boor

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 19:10

Presumably Carraciola might have had trouble, driving a 1938 Mercedes, staying with a McLaren Honda turbo, no matter how good he was. :rolleyes:

Sorry!

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 19:16

Not necessarily Barry - after all, you could get a GP Merc up to one hell of a speed on the old Avus straights!!

#16 Rob G

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Posted 04 May 2001 - 00:19

Stefan Bellof amazed a lot of people in the flooded '84 Monaco GP.

#17 Jeroen Brink

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Posted 04 May 2001 - 17:28

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Presumably Carraciola might have had trouble, driving a 1938 Mercedes, staying with a McLaren Honda turbo, no matter how good he was. :rolleyes:

Sorry!


Hm, I thought the Rainmaster thread was about drivers and not cars.

Besides, I am not sure whether a McLaren Turbo would be a great advantage on flooded track. The 800 bhp and the throttle lag would not be a great help there....




#18 FLB

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Posted 04 May 2001 - 19:57

Originally posted by Jeroen Brink

Besides, I am not sure whether a McLaren Turbo would be a great advantage on flooded track. The 800 bhp and the throttle lag would not be a great help there....



I'd much rather have had Senna's tires than Carraciola's!;)

And in terms of raw power, the W165 wasn't too shabby either...

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 May 2001 - 20:15

Err, the W165 was the 1.5 litre, wasn't it?

We had an extended essay into the proper name of the model to which you refer, the one with the M163 engine.. what was the 'W' number again?

Details are at: http://www.atlasf1.c...=&threadid=7273

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#20 FLB

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Posted 04 May 2001 - 20:33

Ray, you're absolutely right, of course... :blush:

In any case, Carraciola raced a W154 in 1938. The W154 / M163 was used in 1939.

#21 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 18 May 2001 - 19:09

Pedro Rodríguez was the best rain driver of the period. Like Ickx, he had a motorcycling background which helped a lot when it rained. Pedro was excellent not only at the BOAC 1000 in 1970 or at the Holland GP in 1971 where he was defeated by a misfirng problem not by Ickx and he was driving the BRM not a Ferrari. he also gave great battles at Le Mans in the rain and at night, no wonder thay called him "cat eyes", and Ricardo was also very good in the rain in sportscars though it never rained while he was in F1.

Another great rain driver was Vic Elford, undoubtedly from his rallying background, and just to put things in perspective, with Vic and Pedro driving 917K at the BOAC 1000, they finished 1-2 but Pedro was 5 laps in front after letting Leo Kinnunen drive only 75 minute stint in the middle of the race.

Now You'd wanna see Senna in the McLaren in the rain against Pedro in the 917K same conditions, at some place like Le Mans or the Old Spa, then that would be a contest and certainly the F1 car would have no advantage.

;)

#22 C F Eick

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Posted 19 May 2001 - 14:21

I haven't been able to even visit the Forum in the past 3 months, but today I finally got a chance. I'm very happy to see that although Atlas seems to have become a pay-site, the Nostalgia Forum is still available and most certainly still alive!

Now to the subject:
Although it's, IMNSHO, by definition impossible to actually appoint the best driver/rainmaster/qualifier etc ever, there are some people that at times make you wonder. One such person is the German 2-times World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl. Although his 195 cm body prevented him from driving Formula 1, he entered almost any other form of motorsport in his career. He didn't always win, but he certainly managed to always stun the competition. One such well-known case was at the Portuguese Rally in 1980 (I could be wrong about the year) when he outdrove the rest of the field by 4 MINUTES in extremely heavy fog early in the still dark morning at the 36-42 km long (different length depending on year) Arganil stage.

I admit that it didn't rain and that it was a rally car on gravel, but let us then turn to the 24h race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 1991(or was it 1992?). In the darkest hours of the night the rain got so severe that the track was flooded and the race was stopped for a couple of hours. Just before the stop Walter Röhrl outpaced the rest of the field in a Porsche 911 Carrera RS (not the easiest car to drive, let alone on a dark Nordschleife in violent rain...) by over one minute, and of course that is one minute per lap. Regenmeister seems to be a suitable word, doesn't it?

/Christian


#23 Marco94

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Posted 21 May 2001 - 08:04

Speaking of fog, anyone ever saw McRea (iirc) turn of his headlights during the RAC to drive in a completely gray environment. Only Grist his pace notes were used.

I sat silently for a few minutes.

#24 Gary Davies

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Posted 21 May 2001 - 10:06

Herr Eick, daher war Herr Röhrl kein Regenmeister. Er war ein Nebelmeister!

Vanwall.

#25 C F Eick

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Posted 21 May 2001 - 13:37

Sehr geehrter Mr. Vanwall,

meiner Meinung nach müsste Walter Röhrl nach seiner fahrerischen Meisterleistung auf der Nordschleife Nebel- UND Regenmeister genannt werden! :)

And Marco, a couple of years ago during the RAC rally, Burns overtook McRae in the fog!

/Christian



#26 Zep

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Posted 29 May 2001 - 21:02

Again, I have to say the name of JJ Lehto. Maybe didn't show so much those skills in F1, but Le Mans 95 was incredible. And he wasn't so bad in wet with F1 either:

*89 Adelaide JJ was running 5th with Onyx-Ford -spare car, having destroyd race car at 1st start- before electrical failure occured. He was so much faster than drivers front of him, that would have been in TOP3 with just little more laps...

*91 Imola was his only podium finish in F1. Wet race.

*Wet races of 93

#27 Leif Snellman

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Posted 30 May 2001 - 20:10

Bernd Rosemeyer was the "original" Nebelmeister.

#28 Falcadore

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 12:25

Jim Richards was unstappoble in the wet, would outperform all comers. But Richards never raced before an international field. The nearest would be when Richards qualified on the front row for a NASCAR event at Suzuka in a 3 year old car against some of the best heavy hitters Winston Cup could provide.

And they'd campaigned to have him and his old nail kicked out of the event :p

#29 Keir

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 12:57

:evil:
Jacky Ickx does not belong on the list.

Rouen '68 was a fluke and you can use the Nurburgring '68 as an example. Amon, who hated the rain, left Ickx behind.
Zandvoort '71 came down to tires and the Ferrari's smoother torque curve. I could go on and on. Jacky was a great sportscar driver, but no rainmaster!!! :down:

#30 BRG

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 15:59

Originally posted by Keir
[BJacky was a great sportscar driver, but no rainmaster!!![/B]

Well, he looked pretty masterly to me, driving around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend in the wet. If he wasn't a rainmaster then I guess the other drivers in that race must have been even less masterly...;)

#31 Don Capps

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 16:18

To reinforce what Leif said: Nebelmeister = Rosemayer.

Let's not forget the duo of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien who were definitely superb 'bad' weather drivers. Their performance at the '58 Le Mans alone was a great display of their mastery of poor driving conditions.

#32 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 16:34

About Jacky Ickx, I am a Pedro Rodríguez advocate not a Chris Amon one, but to deny Ickx as a great rain driver is a bit stretching the facts. Jacky was a great rain driver, and in an interview Pedro said, when asked who were his rivals in the rain, a bit in a having fun mood, "None but Ickx and Vic come closest", refering to Elford obviously. Ickx was good enough to keep up with Pedro for some time, although in the end I assume the belgian didn't have the stamina Pedro had and faded away, and if he beat Pedro in the Holland Gp 1971 it is because Pedro had a misfire but Ickx drove really well while others like Stewart crashed easily, and I don't remember what happened to Amon, probably quit too.
It is one thing to like Amon but he was never as close as Ickx to the title and certainly you can't claim bad luck all the time. Let's keep it in perspective, Amon was good , Ickx was very good and so was Pedro. :p :p

#33 Kpy

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 17:05

Originally posted by Keir
:evil:
Jacky Ickx does not belong on the list.

Rouen '68 was a fluke and you can use the Nurburgring '68 as an example. Amon, who hated the rain, left Ickx behind.
I could go on and on.


What a stretch of the imagination.

Name a GP driver who didn't hate the rain

Just what was the "fluke" that won JI the '68 FGP? Take a good look at the individual lap times (they're in Autocourse). JI finished 1:12.9 in front of Amon who was 10th.

Amon left Ickx behind at the 'ring largely becase JI cocked up his start, lost his visor, drove two laps without one (hard enough in the dry), stopped for a new one and still finished 4th. Amon left his car in the ditch. So who actually left who behind?

BRG - Yes I was there in '74 to see JI drive round the outside of Lauda at Paddock bend in a drenched ROC, which he won in in inferior car from a poor grid position.

Jacky may not have been the greatest wet weather driver, but he was certainly one of the very best.

#34 Keir

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 19:11

:eek:
Sorry lads, but Ickx was as lucky as Amon was unlucky.

"The fluke at Rouen," Ickx was "THE ONLY" driver on full rains, and yet, Surtees and Rindt still caught him, until the conditions got the better of their dry weather tires!!!! Amon started the race on DRY tires as per Ferrari's orders. At the 'Ring, Ickx choked and Amon's differential packed in, hence ending up in a ditch.

But, this isn't about Amon and I don't know how anyone could conclude that from my last post.

Back to Ickx, Ive seen Ickx go aroud Paddock Hill and I must say, if Pedro Rodriguez never existed, that momment might have been impressive. Get out your video tapes and watch Pedro go around Brands Hatch in the wet in the 1970 BOAC 1000, HERE WAS A RAINMASTER!!!!

All you Ickx fans need to look back at his career and find one bad car he ever sat in. You might be looking a very, very long time.

As for World Driving Championships, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades!!! :down:

#35 Roger Clark

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 21:59

Keir,

I'm sorry to say this but your last post is really not worthy.

Ickx may have been the only one on full rain tyres but he certainly dominated the 1968 French GP. He led from start to finish apart from the first half lap and a brief moment on lap 19 when really torential rain came down and he lost traction briefly. I don't think it is reasonable to describe any win at Rouen, let alone one in those conditions at over 100mph as a fluke.

I assume that you mean Surtees and Rodriguez, not Rindt who called at the pits at the end of lap 4 with a puncture caused by debris from Schlesser's accident. I don't know for sure, but I would be surprised if they were on dry weather tyres.

#36 Leif Snellman

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 22:04

Originally posted by Keir
[BJacky was a great sportscar driver, but no rainmaster!!! [/B]


Well, Jacky was a kind of "rainmaster" at Monaco 1984 but that's another story! :p

#37 Keir

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 02:42

:cool:

Roger,
Let me see if I can make this more worthy. The race report for the French GP listed every driver on the grid, save Ickx, as using either dry or intermediate compounds. Amon, Surtees and Rindt were on drys. My info comes from Jenks, Rob Walker, Chris Amon and John Surtees. Jacky's win was a good one, but he was the master of having the right tires for the job, not being better than everyone else in the conditions. Geting back to the 'Ring in '68, those Dunlops of Stewart certainly made all the difference that day too!!
I call them like I see them. Jacky Ickx could certainly drive well in the rain, but he's not even on my top ten list.

BTW, Leif, I sure agree with you there!!!