The Argentine Races

The first of the South American winter races, which "Bira," Reg. Parnell and Peter Whitehead attended from this country, was run off on December 18th before a crowd estimated at 200,000. It was a non-formula race, so Ferrari put in the two-stage, 2-litre V12 Grand Prix cars. Von Brauchitsch arrived but found the 3-litre Maserati offered to him quite unsuitable, and withdrew. In the short race preceding the main Peron Grand Prix Villoresi won from Ascari and Farina, lapping at 72.13 m.p.h. In the race proper, over 35 laps or some 109 miles of the Palermo circuit at Buenos Aires, Ascari dominated the scene, winning for Ferrari at 71.35 m.p.h., and setting the lap record to 72.3 m.p.h. Fangio drove his usual brilliant race behind, raising the lap record to 72.96 m.p.h., his 2-litre Ferrari being second, 29.3 sec. behind Ascari. Villoresi's 2-litre Ferrari finished third. Farina's, Bonetto's and Parnell's Maseratis retired early, Parnell after only six laps, because of almost zero oil pressure. The Talbots, too, were out of the picture, Etancelin's lacking oil pressure and Rosier's suffering from brake fade. The heat was, of course, intense. The remaining finishers were: Campos (Ferrari), Gonsalez (Maserati), "Bira" (Maserati), de Graffenried (Maserati), Serafini (Maserati), Biondetti (Maserati), Peter Whitehead (1½-litre Ferrari) and Chiron (Maserati). After the finish the crowd invaded the course and "Bira," trying to avoid the human barrier by spinning his Maserati round, broke a small bone in his foot, so hard did he apply the brakes. Alas, in spite of his efforts, several people were hit. Whitehead drove a steady race, and wrests the 1949 B.R.D.C. Road Star from Gerard. Ferrari finished the year convincingly with these four places, especially as the Maseratis of Farina, "Bira," Chiron, Taruffi and Biondetti had been enlarged to 1,750-c.c. for this race.

As we close for Press comes news of the Second Buenos Aires Grand Prix, run over a distance of 90 miles on January 8th. At first that incredible driver Fangio led in his Ferrari, but with a lead of 15 sec, over Villoresi he required a wheel-change and dropped back, later picking up several places. Ascari encountered the straw bales and retired, and in the end Villoresi's Ferrari won in 1 hr. 18 min. 20.8 sec., at 68.82 m.p.h. Serafini's Ferrari finished second, nearly 26 sec. later, with Bucci's 308 Alfa-Romeo third, Fangio fourth, Bonetto's Milan fifth, Farina's Maserati sixth, Rosier's Talbot seventh, Parnell's Maserati eighth, "Bira's" ninth, Whitehead's Ferrari 10th, Biondetti's Maserati 11th, Gonsalez 12th, Chiron (oh dear!), 13th. On January 15th the third Argentinian race was run, and Ascari won it in his Ferrari at 69 m.p.h. from Farina's Maserati and Taruffi's Maserati, with Chiron (Maserati) fourth, and de Graffenried (Maserati) fifth. Ferrari have commenced the 1950 season nobly!