Denis Dayan was one of the most promising French drivers of his time but was tragically killed in an F3 race at Rouen-les-Essarts in 1970.
Denis Dayan died 50 years ago, he was 28 , He would have been 78.
Denis Dayan was born in Casablanca, Morocco, but moved to Caen in Normandy, France, in the early 1960s. He started racing motorcycles, riding 50 and 125cc machines.
In 1964 he switched to cars driving for Ecurie Normandie in the "Ford Jeunesse" series. However he was unhappy with his treatment by the team who preferred to give their Lotus Seven to Patrice Grandsart to race, and returned to mtorcycles in 1965, riding the Jean-Pierre Beltoise Bultaco.
He returned to cars in 1966 in the "Premier Pas Dunlop", a class for new drivers in the the first Renault Gordini Cup. Dayan finished 2nd overall in the Cup behind Robert Mieusset, and won the Premier Pas Dunlop.
In January 1967 he drove a works Renault 8 Gordini in the Monte Carlo Rally. He then signed for team Automobiles CD, sharing a CD SP66C-Peugeot with Claude Ballot-Lena in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also made his debut in F3 driving an old Alpine-Renault for Ecurie Normandie.
In 1968 saw the start of Formula France, later known as Formula Renault. Jean Max won the title but Dayan was one of the top competitors driving a Elina, built by Jean-Pierre Beltoise and a Pygmée.
He won the Formula France title the following year, winning seven of the fifteen rounds, driving for Serge Aziosmanoff's Grac concern (Groupe de Recherches Automobiles de Course), sponsored by Veglia Instruments.
In 1969 he graduated to F3 with the Grac MT8-Ford but the car turned out to be a dissaster.
The team introduced the GRAC MT11 for 1970 but tragically Dayan crashed fatally at Rouen-les-Essarts just as the car was beginning to get sorted.
His car suffered either a mechanical or tyre failure and went head-on at the Six Frères corner during the Craven A Normandie F3 rcae. The car was completely destroyed when it went between the top and bottom rail of the newly installed Armco barrier. Dayan passed away from his injuries without regaining consciousness in the Hôtel-Dieu in Rouen a few days later. At the same meeting, in a separate incident five laps later, Jean-Luc Salomon was killed and Bob Wollek sustained serious injuries.
Denis Dayan was survived by his wife Danièle and their two children.