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Eric van de Poele


Modena Lamborghini 291




1991 United States GP


This is the much-vaunted but in the end disappointing first appearance of Lamborghini on the F1 scene, at the same venue as Julian Bailey's comeback with Lotus. The Lambo project was the brainchild of seventies Ferrari wizard Mauro Forghieri but his fame from the past didn't quite carry through to the effort fielded by Scuderia Modena SpA, as the Romagnolan squad was officially called.

This was a shame for their talented driver pairing Larini and Van de Poele. Some years before his F1 debut, the lanky Belgian had been a revelation in German touring cars. Originally a single-seater breed, Van de Poele took an F3000 opportunity with GA Motorsport, forming a partnership which became really successful in its second year, with three wins and second place in the championship. Then came Eric's Lambo chance, which, alas, didn't really come on song and remained very much out of tune all season. In early 1991 he did get beyond prequalifying once, at Imola, where the Lambo did unusually well, qualifying a fine 21st. In a race of attrition Eric was lying fifth and seemed secure for his first World Championship points, only for his engine to let him down two laps from the end.

With Brabham and Fondmetal, Van de Poele never got in that position again and after a spell in German and Spanish touring cars he is now a very accomplished sportscar driver with only the Le Mans 24 Hours missing on his palmares.