René de Knyff

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Chevalier René de Knyff (December 10, 1865 in Antwerp, Belgium [1] – 1954 in France) was a French pioneer of car racing and later a president of Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI), now known as FIA.

René de Knyff in 1912

Between 1897 and 1903 he took part in 18 car races, 5 of which he won (Paris-Bordeaux 1898, Spa-Bastogne-Spa 1899, Tour de France 1899, Circuit du Sud-Ouest Pau 1899, and Nice-Marseille-Nice, 1900).[2] He drove all the races in a Panhard & Levassor, wearing a captain cap which he always lost right after start. During his racing career, he was famous for his gentlemanship and sportsmanship. For example, during the Paris-Bordeaux race in 1895, he saw his great rival Fernand Charron who was sitting on the road next to his undependable car, tired and desperate. De Knyff stopped, asked Charron if he could help him somehow, gave him a glass of cognac and encouraged him to go on, which Charron did.[3] He was a popular figure also due to his enormous beard, bohemian lifestyle (he knew where to get the best champagne, cigars and Rhine wine),[3] and interest in many other sports, such as tennis, shooting, cycling, and also hunting. His cousin Gaëtan De Knyff (1871-1933) was also active in cycling and car racing.[4]

Honours edit

References edit

  1. ^ International Motor Cyclopaedia, Year Book-March 1908 to March 1909, Page 274, Publisher: E.E. Schwarzkopf, New York.
  2. ^ Grand Prix Winners 1895 - 1916
  3. ^ a b Skořepa, Miloš. Miloš Skořepa, Dejiny automobilových pretekov. p. 49.
  4. ^ "Gaétan De Knyff, racing career profile". DriverDatabase.
  5. ^ Handelsblad (Het) 15-05-1881

External links edit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
none, position established
President of the Commission Sportive Internationale
1922 - 1946
Succeeded by