INDEPENDENTS WIN THE PAU GRAND PRIX. CHARLES MARTIN TAXES SECOND PLACE ” SANCTIONS ” DEBAR FERRARI
The road racing season is with us once -more. Alfas, Bugattis, Maseratis, sleek,
multi-coloured racing cars are playing those heart-stiring tunes of rising and falling exhaust notes. And it all started at Pau. The A.C. Basco-Bearnais had planned a tricky little circuit for their race on March 1st. A shade under 3 kilometres in length, it was never straight for a moment, and was even more sinuous than Monaco. The organisers had spent a good deal of money in resurfacing the road, which was in a fair condition
except on a certain downhill stretch that was not easy to negotiate when braking hard for the corner at the bottom. The entry list was limited to twelve, of which the three Ferrari-owned Alfa
Romeos were the most formidable. Nuvolari and Brivio were to have driven the 3.8-litre Tipo C cars which were seen at Monza last autumn, while Farina had been promised a 3.2-litre Monoposto. The complete team, cars, lorries, drivers
and mechanics, left Modena by road, but were stopped at the Italian-French frontier. Simultaneously, the organisers received a. telegram from Furmanik, president of Sporting Commission of R.A.C.I., saying that a “superior authority” had given .orders that Italian cars were not to race
in sanctionist countries until after the League of Nations meeting on March 10th. The Pau people made a forlorn appeal to Furmanik to try and get the order rescinded, but to no avail. In a way, of course, it was quite a good thing. Last year, you will remember,
Nuvolari and Dreyfus just ran away with the race, which suffered accordingly. The early elimination of Ferrari left 10 starters in the field, to wit, Wimille (3.3 Bugatti), Sommer (Alfa-Romeo), Etancelin (Maserati 4.8), Martin (AlfaRomeo), Lehoux (2.8 Bugatti), Villa
padierna (Alfa-Romeo), Brunet (Maserati), Raph (Alfa-Romeo), Helle-Nice (Alf aRomeo) and Delorme (Bugatti) drawn up in pairs in that order. There were two sessions of practising, both of them at lunch time instead of
the moret orthodox pre-breakfast hour. Wirnille, although new to the circuit, made the fastest time on each occasion, getting round in 1 min. 59 secs., and on the second day 1 min. 58 secs. Nuvolari’s
record, by the way, was 1 min. 152 secs. On the first day Lehoux clocked 2 min. 1 sec., Etancelin 2 min. 2 secs., and Martin 2 min. 8 secs. Sommer, Raph and Brunet were all having trouble with their motors. On the next day Etancelin and Sommer got down to 2 min. dead, but were still 2 secs. slower than Wimille. Martin and Lehoux did 2 min. 1 sec., Villapadierna 2 min. 3 secs., Brunet 2 min. 11 secs., and Raph 2 min. 16 secs. Brunet skidded into the kerb and broke a wheel. Mlle 11016-Nice arrived late, and covered a
few laps before the course was thrown open to the public. Etancelin had had an adventurous
journey from Bologna. At Arles his touring car had suddenly burst into flames, and was completely burnt out. However, he arrived at Pau in good time. The day of the race began with rain, and for some time it looked as though the attendance would be a good deal smaller
than last year. At midday, however, the sky suddenly cleared and the sun was soon shining brilliantly. In consequence, the spectators came out in their thousands.
When the starting flag was dropped, Sommer got slightly the better of Wimille, with the initial get away, as did Martin with Etancelin, but Whale was out to set a cracking pace and he was well ahead at the end of the first lap. The young Bugatti driver steadily increased his lead, until at the 5th lap he had a good halfminute advantage over Sommer, who was closely followed by Martin, Etancelin, Villapadierna, Lehoux, Brunet and Delorme. Mlle 1-idle-Nice was already out of the fight, having crashed into the straw barricades at the Station corner and sustained a broken arm. After his slow start, Etancelin gradually began to warm to his work. He caught Martin, and on the 12th lap passed Sommer, but Wimille was still a long way ahead, and was increasing his lead by one or two seconds on every lap. A grand scrap was going on behind him, for Sommer was grimly hanging on to Etancelin, and Marcel Lehoux, driving the very same 2.3 Bugatti with which Varzi won his famous Monaco duel with Continued on next page
Nuvolari, had slipped past Charles Martin to take 4th place.
Quarter-distance (25 laps) saw the cars in the following order : 1. Wimille (Bugatti) ; 2, Etancelin (Maserati) ; 3, Sommer (Alfa-Romeo) ; 4, Lehoux (Bugatti) ; 5, Martin (Alfa-Romeo) ; 6, Villapadierna (Alfa-Romeo) ; 7, Delorme (Bugatti). Raph (Alfa-Romeo) had retired with a split carburetter-float, while Brunet had found that a brake drum had been buckled by his slight accident in practice, causing him to retire.
Wimille looked a safe bet, but on the 30th lap the unexpected happened. He pulled into the pits with a noise of clanking metal—his brake-operating mechanism had come adrift, and the favourite was out.
Etancelin was now leading, but only just. A few yards behind him was the relentless Sommer, who in turn was being closely followed by Lehoux and Martin. It was anybody’s race. This tightly packed formation proved to be the undoing of Lehoux. A shower of small stones and dust was thrown into his eyes by the wheels of Sommer’s Alfa while they were rounding a difficult corner, and he was momentarily blinded. The Bugatti bumped over the kerb on to the pavement, and the strain burst one of the tyres. By the time he had
changed the wheel he was a lap behind his rivals.
Sommer passed Etancelin and at halfdistance the order was 7 1, Sommer (Alf aRomeo) ; 2, Etancelin (Maserati) ; 1 sec. behind ; 3, Martin (Alfa-Romeo) 5 secs. behind ; 4, Lehoux (Bugatti) 1 lap behind ; 5, Villapadierna (Alfa-Romeo) 3 laps behind ; 6, Delorrne (Bugatti) 11 laps behind. A few minutes later Delorme was out with a broken valve, thus leaving only five cars in the race, with fifty laps to go.
So far Charles Martin had kept within striking distance of the leaders, in spite of a hectic tete-a-queue on the far side of the course which had cost him 10 secs. (it might have been more, had he not jammed the gear-lever into reverse while the car was travelling backwards and thus restarted the engine I). On the 61st lap Martin stopped to refuel, and this he did in 41 seconds without losing third place in the race.
Meanwhile Sommer and Etancelin were busily engaged passing and re-passing each other. Etancelin covered his fastest lap in 1 min. 57 secs., but this was a good deal slower than Wimille, who made the fastest lap of the race (on lap 2) in 1 min. 55 secs. Etancelin must have had some trouble on a quiet part of the circuit, because all of a sudden he was quite 20 sec. behind SO/11111er. Luckily for him, however,
Sommer came to a standstill in the Parc Beaumont on the following lap with a broken back axle.
But even now the result was in doubt, for ominous sounds began to emanate from the Maserati, and ” Fi-Fi’s ” face looked decidedly worried. On the 98th lap his lead had dropped to 27 secs., and to 22 secs. on the 99th. Would the car last out another lap before something vital happened ? All eyes were turned towards the bend where the cars came into. view to find the answer. At last the Maserati came into sight, and Etancelin’s face was wreathed in
smiles once more. Sixteen secs. later Charles Martin roared across the line, finishing a good second. Lehoux was third, lmin. 18 sees. behind Martin. Villapadierna was still running, but the crowd swarmed onto the road in defiance of all the laws of self preservation and quickly brought him to a standstill. In spite of many retirements, it had been an interesting race, with the issue
in doubt until the very last. RESULT 100 Imps. 270 km. 900
1. P. Etancelin (Maserati 4.8) 3h. 22ni. 28.01). 82.085 k.p.h.
2. C. E. C. Martin (Alfa-Romeo) 3b. 22rn. 400. 8. IL Lehoux (Bugattil 311. 23m. 58s.
4. J. de VRispadierna (Alfa-Romeo) 3 laps behind. The winner used Dunlop tyres.