Ayrton Senna won the 1982 European Formula Ford 2000 title one race before the end of the season. The championship was decided on August 22, at the Jyllands-Ring circuit, in Denmark.  But the happy ending for the Brazilian driver was put in jeopardy thanks to an unlikely timing error by the race officials.

Even without previous knowledge of the 1,485 meters long circuit, Senna led all the training sessions, but almost lost the pole position. There was a problem in the time measurement system, which showed the Brazilian driver in the third position of the starting grid.

His team principal, Dennis Rushen complained to the officials, using the other team’s time maps to prove Senna had been the fastest. Once the problem was solved, Ayrton took the pole position.

As soon as the race started, the Brazilian took off in the lead, gaining some distance from his rival Calvin Fish, who finished in second and was the championship’s runner-up. On the 12th lap, Senna also broke the track’s record, by posting a 46-second lap.

After being informed by his team that He had beaten the circuit’s record, Senna slowed down in the final laps and finished the race’s 25 laps without being hassled by his opponents.

“We’ve worked all week on both cars and they were in good condition.  Since I didn’t know the track, I made sure to learn the track on Friday. On Saturday, I pushed hard to do well. I’ve won the European title, and now I’m going after the British one”, said Senna after celebrating his achievement.

Out of nine races in the European Formula Ford championship, the Young Brazilian prodigy won six and did not finish the other three. Even after winning the title, Senna won the final race at Mondello Park.

Take a look at the Globo Esporte story (in portuguese) on Senna’s European Formula Ford title.