Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
On 1st May 1983, the San Marino Grand Prix was held at Imola. Rene Arnoux was resoundingly dominant, taking his fifteenth pole position, his first with Ferrari. He posted a 1.31.238 to beat closest rival Nelson Piquet in the Brabham by 726 thousandths. In the hands of the other Frenchman Patrick Tambay, the second Ferrari 126 C3 was third.
Arnoux kept the lead at the start, but it was soon clear that the Brabham had the best race pace. On lap 6, Patrese went into the lead, only losing it after losing time in a pit stop on lap 34. In the closing stages, the spectators were treated to a thrilling duel between Patrese and Tambay which might have posed a hypothetical problem for the Italian crowd: should it cheer for an Italian driver or a Frenchman in a Ferrari? Of course, there was no doubt where their support lay, with the home team.
In the end, they didn’t have to worry, because while Patrese attacked and passed Tambay at Tosa six laps from the flag, shortly afterwards he made a mistake at the Acque Minerali chicane, ending up in the barriers. The crowd were vocal in their delight for the Maranello marque and were dubbed from then on as the Italian national team of motorsports.