Sportsmen all over the world will have read with sadness the news that the Germans did to death Robert Benoist, following his prolonged and heroic work for the Allies during the war. Benoist was born in 1895 and commenced racing with spidery Salmsons, in which he was 2nd in the 1922 “200” and winner of the Boulogne G.P. He was accordingly granted a place in the Delage team in 1924, and handled first the 2-litre V12s and, later, the wonderful straight-eight 1½-litre cars. His first Delage win was in the 1925 French G.P., and in 1927 he carried off the French, Italian and British G.P. races. Benoist retired with Delage, but staged a wonderful come-back as a works Bugatti driver, winning the 1934 Picardy G.P., and in 1937, in company with Wimille, the Le Mans race, when their streamlined “3.3” Bugatti averaged 85.07 m.p.h.
During the war Benoist was many times dropped by parachute and was able to carry out major disruption at Caen on D-Day. He escaped the Germans twice, was tortured by the Gestapo, only to reveal nothing, and was then shot.