Maurice Trintignant passed away peacefully in a hospital in Nimes, France, last weekend, aged 87.
The youngest of five sons of a winemaker, Trintignant followed three of his brothers into motor racing at a young age despite the death of one, Louis, in a race in 1933.
Trintignant succeeded in making a name for himself in the French racing fraternity at the wheel of the same car, a Bugatti, most notably with a win in the 1939 GP des Frontieres. He was in attendance in the same car at the first post war race, the Bois de Boulogne, although he failed to finish due to fuel starvation. The cause was later found to be rat droppings, les petoules, after which he was affectionately known as Le Petoulet.
Trintignant was soon back to his winning ways, which led to a drive with the Simca Gordini team. After claiming two wins in 1948 he was involved in the black Swiss Grand Prix, in which three drivers were killed. After spinning his car he was thrown into the middle of the track and was saved only by the reactions of the oncoming pack, including Giuseppe Farina.
Despite being pronounced dead at the hospital, Trintignant recovered in time to return to the team in 1949, claiming three wins for the French team before moving on to join Ferrari in 1954, claiming two non-championship wins as well as the Le Mans 24 Hour race paired with Jose Froilan Gonzalez.
In 1955 Trintignant won his first World Championship race, the Monaco Grand Prix, and continued to win a string of sports car races for the Italian manufacturer. An ill-fated spell with Vanwall followed, with dismal Grand Prix results until he joined Rob Walker's team as number two to Stirling Moss in 1958, with whom he claimed his second Monaco win.
Awarded the Legion d'honneur in 1960 for his services to French motor racing, Trintignant continued to race, claiming his third Pau win in 1962 ahead of the emerging talent of Jim Clark, among others.
His final year in racing, 1964, was most notable for a fine fifth place at the German Grand Prix, claiming his final two points at the age of 47 before retiring to the wine growing village of Vergeze, near Nimes, where he spent a period as the local mayor around his wine growing commitments.
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