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Editorial | Angelo parilla: ayrton senna and that damned world championship in estoril

go down go up


Ayrton Senna was 19 years of age in 1979 and, in his first year in Italy, he already showed all his skills behind the wheel of a kart. The World Championship was being held on a temporary circuit in Estoril, Portugal, which uses part of the car racing track. The race format includes three finals. The first was won by Peter de Bruijnm, who also led the second one before being betrayed by the chain. The third final was won by Senna, who celebrated, convinced he was world champion. But instead ...

“I have many beautiful memories of Senna but, out of all the images, the one that I will never forget is when Ayrton thought he had won the world championship in Estoril in 1979. The entrance to the track was free and I think there were something like 20,000 spectators.

20,000 people cheering Ayrton Senna, who had won the third final and was running around the track with a raised fist because he believed he had won the world championship.
Instead, that year, the International Karting Commission had changed the rules and, with the same number of points, instead of taking into account who had won the last final, which was Senna, it was the qualifying heats they looked to. I believe that policy was in force only for that year, because it was so sily...
The fact is that Senna closed level on points with Peter Koene, who was also a driver who used DAP chassis and engines, who won the title because of those rules. Everything went well for him, but unfortunately not for Ayrton.
While Senna was on the track celebrating, my brother and I (Achilla Parrilla - editor’s note) knew that in actual fact he had not won. So we played an odds and evens game to decide which one of us would tell him. Luckily this duty fell to my brother.
Senna returned to the pits, kissed me, kissed the mechanics, kissed my brother... and burst into tears. He kept repeating: “But why... why...”.
Well, because... because they changed the rules, Ayrton.
He was the best driver. It should in all fairness have been his turn to be world champion, but... these things happen”.

One of the “legends” of karting, founder with his brother Achille of DAP. He was the man who “discovered” and brought Ayrton Senna to Italy, by establishing a relationship with him which went far beyond the sporting association. By clicking below, you can listen to another episode of the original and personal relationship between the two, directly told by Angelo Parilla to TKart

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