Translated from de Leo Turrini blog http://blog.quotidiano.net/turrini/
May 15 is now thirty years without Elio de Angelis. I talk about it in advance because 15 we will have the GP of Spain and the anniversary will be overwhelmed by current events.
Also on Sunday 18th, at St. Catherine’s church in Modena, the legendary Don Sergio Mantovani, old chaplain of the pilots, will say a Mass in memory of Elio and all fallen on the track.
With the passage of time and with the spread of rudeness forced from the Internet, I realize that memories are a safe haven. A shelter. I cannot say I knew him well, De Angelis. I was too young when he won the incredible GP photo finish in 1982. However, his figure binds an indelible memory for me. It was the spring of 1985. For the first time I was sent, as an invitation to a Formula One Grand Prix. San Marino. Imola.
Now, I wish I could write. I wish I could write to return the emotion. Can you imagine? A guy who debuted in the pits. Lauda was still on the track – Niki! I saw him up close in 1976, when the first Franco Gozzi had allowed me to enter in Fiorano, the day of return of the Austrian after the burning of the Ring. And now I was going to interview him, a lifetime later, my dreams realized. There was Prost, his teammate. There was Piquet’s father, still very strong. There was Mansell. There was Michele Alboreto in the Ferrari, with a new companion who at that weekend made its debut on the Red. His name was Stefan Johansson. I interviewed him, too. Well, it is not known to history. And there were incredible people. A huge crowd. Sunday evening I finished work at nine. At midnight I had not yet reached the toll. Imola, not north of Modena. The people then was very free-range. Genuine. Even ungenerous. In 1983 there were just in Imola, cruel roars of joy when Patrese was off the track, giving the victory to the Red Tambay. It was not nice, for heaven’s sake.
And there was Elio. In Lotus.
He had a strange teammate, strange. One that spoke more willingly of God.
The year before, in 1984, Ayrton had not qualified with Toleman. He was so pissed that from then on, for a long time, the pole at Imola was always his.
I remember that De Angelis could not see Senna, and Senna could not see De Angelis. They were wonderful, in their mutual annoyance.
They seemed, wrote two little boys love with the same blonde.
But it does not matter. It was the Sunday, the day of the race. More than one pilot became out of fuel in the final laps. I was like enchanted, in the press room. I was thinking if this is going to be my professional life, I will like it a lot.
The final was amazing, De Angelis with the Lotus finished second. But Prost was disqualified for a history of weight. They gave the victory to Elio!
It was evening and he laughed happily, and obviously did not speak well of Ayrton who had left. Just over a year later, I cried. I was in the wake of a tour of Italy, on business. They phoned to inform me that Elio had lost his life in a test in France with Brabham, the team he had chosen to get away from Ayrton.
The newspaper wanted an article. I put something together…
It’s been a lifetime.
And I still have not learned to write it.