THE GRAND PRIX DE LA MARNE
IT was rather a pity, perhaps, that the Grand Prix de la Marne, run over a road circuit in the neighbourhood of Reims, was held on the second day of the Belgian Touring Grand Prix, Sunday 5th July, as the clashing of the two events may have somewhat reduced the field of each. However, the Marne race attracted a satisfactory number of entries, although it was definitely a drivers’ event, as the competition to the universal Bugatti was somewhat scanty. In the biggest class, though, it did comprise Rene Dreyfus on his 2i-litre Maserati and Philippe Etancelin on his new straight-eight AlfaRomeo of which he has at last got delivery. as well as Perrant on the old Targa Florio Peugeot. Against these formidable competitors, however, there were seven 2,300 c.c. Bugattis with such famous drivers as Louis Chiron, Marcel Lehoux, Stanislas Czaikowski, who had recovered from his accident in Switzerland, Michel Dore, d’Arnoux, Lumachi and Longueville. In the 2-litre division the Bugattis, which numbered six, had matters all to themselves, and. were driven by Jean de Maleplane, Max Fourny, Ga.upillat, Mademoiselle Helle Nice, Ivernel and Carlin ; while in the 1,500 c.c. class Devaud on an Amilear and Giraud-Cabantous on a Caban faced eleven Bugattis driven by Madame Anne Itier, Tedaldi, Veyron, Augwert,
Deloune, Givaudan, Auber, Vagniez, Mouche, Mary and Frankl.
The race was over 50 laps of the Reims circuit or a total distance of just over 250 miles. The start was given at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and the whole field got away well together. At the end of the first lap Dreyfus on the Maserati was the first to appear, but as he passed the grandstands he was overtaken by Chiron on the Bugatti who thus took the lead. Behind the two leading cars came Czaikowski, Lehoux and d’Arnoux on the 2,300 c.c. Bugattis, Etancelin on the Alfa-Romeo, Lumachi on another big Bugatti and Gaupillat on his 2-litre machine.
At the end of the second round Chiron was still in the lead, but he coasted in to his pit and with a gesture of despair, retired with a broken propellor shaft. This let Dreyfus up into the lead, but on the next lap he was passed by Lehoux, who thus became first, with Czaikowski third, and Givandan, who thus suddenly leapt into prominence, fourth on his 1,500 c.c. Bugatti. On the seventh lap Dreyfus regained the lead. but he could not shake off Lehoux, who repassed him three laps later and thereafter was never headed. On the 26th circuit, just after half distance, the Bugatti exponent from North Africa proceeded to break the lap record in 3 minutes 14 seconds, but the fast pace set by the leaders was causing a number of retirements among the field. Lehoux finally crossed the line the winner, and the rest of the competitors who were still hi the running got in one by one in time to be entertained by the Reitus newspaper “2′ Eclaireur de l’Est ” to a special champagne party. The final result of the race was as follows : GENERAL CLASSIFICATION :
1. Lehoux (Bugatti), 2h. 47m. 37 2/5s. Average speed 89.5 m.p.h.
2. Dreyfus (Maserati), 2h. 50m. 1 4/5s.
3. Czaikowski (Bugatti), 2h. 51m. 81/5s.
OVER 2-LITRE CLASS.
4. Etancelin (Alfa-Romeo), 2h. 55m. 20 2/5s.
5. Lumachi (Bugatti), 3h. 4m. 16 2/5s.
6. Ferrant (Peugeot) covered 49 laps.
1. de Maleplane (Bugatti), 3h. 3m. 55 2/5s.
2. Ivernel (Bugatti), 3h. 18m. 23s.
3. Gaupillat (Bugatti) covered 46 laps.
4. Mlle. Helle Nice (Bugatti) covered 44 laps.
1,5C0 c.c. Cuss.
1, Auber (Bugatti), 3h. 19m. 1 2/5s.
2. Delorme (Bugatti), 33h. 22m. 5 1/5s.
3. Mme. Itier (Bugatti) covered 49 laps.
4. Devaud (Arnilcar) covered 45 laps.
Victory /Or Lehoux on a Eugatti from Dreyfus Maserati.
1978 British Grand Prix race report - Simply unreal
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