DREYFUS SCORES HIS FIRST VICTORY FOR FERRARI
Dreyfus and Chiron Win the Two Heats. Good Performance of Lewis and Martin. The New Maserati not au Point
THE organisers of the G.P. de la Marne seem to be affected by some perverse streak of bad luck. Last year, it will be remembered, they offered such colossal prize money in order to secure a good entry that they failed to balance their accounts after the race. This year their difficulties lay in another direction, that vexed problem of scratching entries at the last minute. For weeks they had advertised the fact that two Auto-Unions and a works Bugatti would take part, and the news that the two German cars had scratched gave them a good deal of worry as to its effect on the attendance. On top of this two minor drivers, De Villapadierni and Falchetto, both sent telegrams of regret that they would not be able to start.
Fortunately they had another talkingpoint up their sleeves, that of the longawaited V-8 Maserati, which was to be driven by the popular Philippe Etancelin. The rest of the field consisted of the Ferrari Alfas driven by Chiron and Dreyfus, and a number of independents, including the Englishmen Lord Howe, Brian Lewis and Charles Martin, all on 3.3-litre Bugattis.
The first practice session saw most of the drivers at work, and the fastest lap of the day was covered by Dreyfus (AlfaRomeo), in 2m. 52.6s. The local records, incidentally were um. 58.6s. in a race, made by Varzi (Alfa-Romeo), in 1934, and 2m. 51.7s. in practice, made by the late Guy Moll lam year on a Ferrari Alfa. Martin was the fastest of the British contingent in 3m. 3s. Lewis clocked 3m. 7s., while Lord Howe did not turn out. The new Maserati was not to be seen, but was said to have left Italy. The Ferrari drivers did not drive at the second day’s practice, as they had returned to Paris. No one beat 3 minutes ; the fastest being Lehoux (Maserati), in 3m. is. Other times were Raph (Alfa-Romeo), 3m. 8s. ; Howe (Bugatti), 3m. t2.8s., and Lewis (Bugatti), 3m. 3.8s. Lord Howe cracked the cylinder head of his Bugatti, and Martin had gearbox trouble. The former scratched his car from the race, while Martin made a lightning dash to
Molsheim for repairs. Still Etancelin’s new car had not arrived, in spite of the most strenuous avowals that it was definitely en route from Bologna. At to o’clock, however, the lorry arrived, and shortly afterwards ” Phi-phi ” took the wheel of his new mount for the first time. He spent the rest of the day slowly lapping the circuit, getting accustomed to the feel of the car and making numerous adjustments. The presence of the Maserati on the course encouraged Carraroli, an Italian driver of the Subalpina stable, to put in some fast work on his 3.7-litre Maserati. He ignored the fact that the road was not closed, however, and in pulling over to his proper side on a corner when he met an oncoming vehicle, he lost control of his car. The Maserati leaped over a ditch and crashed into a field. Carraroli was taken to a nursing home in Reims with a foot broken in three places, and badly gashed. His condition was not serious, but it will be some time before he is out and about.
All doubts as to the success of the meeting were dispelled on the actual day. A steady stream of cars arrived from Paris and the neighbouring cities, and thousands of spectators lined the course. At 12.45 p.m. the cars were lined up in front of the wonderful concrete grand stand and permanent pits. The circuit appeared to be in perfect condition, and we were told that 300,000 kilos of straw bales had been used to line the dangerous parts of the road as against the 15o,000 kilos last year.
The race was this year decided by two heats and a final. In the first eliminatoire there were six starters, Etancelin (Maserati 4.2), Dreyfus (Alfa-Romeo 3.6), Sommer (Alfa-Romeo 3.2), Chambost and Girod (Maseratis 3.0), and Brian Lewis (Bugatti 3.3). They had to cover x5 laps of 8 Itms. 926 metres. When the flag fell all eyes were on the new Maserati. They were rewarded by the sight of its rear wheels spinning violently, and the car making little progress. Obviously a good deal yet remained to be done to the car in the all important matter of wheel-adhesion. Dreyfus easily took the lead followed by Brian Lewis. Etancelin caught the Englishman on the first
lap, and came past the stands not far behind the Alfa. Lewis was third, Sommer fourth, and Girod fifth. Chambost had apparently retired.
The Maserati was an unknown quantity, and it remained to be seen whether it could catch the Alfa-Romeo. There was a ten seconds gap between them on the second lap, and in spite of Etancelin putting his foot down to such purpose that he brought the lap record down to 2m. he could not prevent Dreyfus from slowly drawing ahead. On the 7th lap Dreyfus got round in 2m. 53.5s., but on the 8th he eclipsed all previous figures by clocking 2111. 50.8s., a speed of 102 m.p.h. ! In trying to keep pace with the flying Ferrari Alfa, Etancelin cut out too late for the Thillois corner, which lies at the end of the tremendously fast straight. He had to drive up the escape road and by the time he turned round Dreyfus was 35
seconds ahead. He pulled up several records before the finish came, but Dreyfus was a convincing winner. The battle between Sommer and Lewis had ended in the former spending a minute at his pit changing plugs. Lewis therefore finished third, 11.6s. behind Etancelin.
RESULT OF HEAT 1.
1. Dreyfus (Alfa-Romeo) 44m. 58.6s. (156.601 k.p.h.).
2. Etancelin (Maserati), 45m. 20.4s.
3. Lewis (Bugatti,, 46m. 29.Fts.
4. Sommer (Alfa-Romeo), 1 lap behind. Also Ran: Chambost and Girod (Mae.reds).
There was never any doubt about the result of the second heat. Chiron (AlfaRomeo 3.2) had ranged against him Lehotnt (Maserati 3.0), Raph (Alfa-Romeo 3.o), Soffietti (Maserati 3.0), Martin (Bugatti 3.3), and Hartmann (Maserati 3.0). The Ferrari driver took the lead from the very start, and never looked like being headed. A fine scrap was witnessed for second place, however, between Raph (AlfaRomeo), and I,ehoux (Maserati). The former held second position for half the race, and the little Algerian could not overhaul the dark-blue Alfa try as he might. The scrap was marked by good sportsmanship on both sides, and Raph kept well to the right hand side of the road..
On the 8th lap the Alfa began to misfire, and a call at the pits put an end to Raph’s chances of a place in the first three.
Charles Martin had never been far behind these two, and he finally finished third, 24.8$. behind Lehoux, with Hartmann fourth and Raph fifth.
RESULT OF HEAT 2. 1. Chiron (Alfa-Romeo) 45m. 2.8s. (156.357
2. Lehoux (Maserati), 45m. 59.7s.
3. Martin (Bugatti), 46m. 24.5s.
4. Hartmann (Maserati), 49m. 27.3s.
5. Ranh (Alfa-Romeo), 1 lap behind.
Also Ran: Soffietti (Maserati). All the nine cars in the above lists of finishers took part in the final, which was run over one hour. Lehoux edged forward at the start, but he was passed by both Chiron and Dreyfus when the flag fell. Louis was leading at the end of the first
lap, followed by Dreyfus, Etancelin, Lehoux, Sommer, Raph, Martin, Lewis and Hartmann. Chiron’s record lap was covered in 2al. 55.3s., but Dreyfus was pressing him hard and passed him in front of the stands on the third lap. The Reims circuit is well designed in having the stands on one of the fastest stretches of the course.
Etancelin was an early retirement with a fractured piston, while Sommer soon passed Lehoux, and was lying third. The latter then became engaged in a close struggle with Raph, whose 3-litre AlfaRomeo was fitted with De Ram shockabsorbers. On the nth lap Lehoux emerged the victor. Chiron and Dreyfus had been having a friendly scrap, but now Dreyfus began to pull ahead appreciably. Lewis and Martin ran in close company for some time behind
Lehoux and Raph, until Lewis passed both the latter and became third. At that moment a plug passed out and he pulled into the pits on the next lap. As there were only a few more minutes to run he continued, but the stop had cost him a certain third place.
Dreyfus carried on in fine style, and eventually finished some 300 yards ahead of Chiron. Lewis and Martin finished fifth and sixth respectively.
RESULT OF FINAL.
1. Dreyfus (Alfa-Romeo) 157 km. 760 in one hour.
2. Chiron (Alfa-Romeo), 167 km. 383.
3. Sommer (Alfa-Romeo), 156kin. 813.
4. Lehoux (Maserati), 154 km. 019.
5. Lewis (Bugatti), 153 km. 858. 6, Martin (Bugatti), 153 km. 761.
7. Ranh (Alfa-Romeo). 150 km. 806.
8. Hartmann (Maserati), 146 km. 853. Also Ran: Etancelin (Maserati).