THE GRAND PRIX F NIMES
The Grand Prix of Nimes, although a “round the town” race, is different from such events as the Monaco G.P., the Pau G.P. and the Douglas race. The circuit is composed of two long straights of the Boulevard Jean-Jaures, joined at each end by a hairpin bend. To make the course more severe, both for drivers and machines, some artificial bends, or “chicanes,” similar to those used at Brooklands are included, made of sandbags and the familiar trusses of straw. The two longest straights are about a kilometre in length.
There are two races, one for cars up to 2 litres and divided into categories of 1,100 c.c., 1,500 c.c. and 2 litres, and the other the Grand Prix proper for cars of over 2,000 c.c. capacity. An excellent entry was received this year for both races. In the first there were such well known drivers as Chambost (Salmson), Leurquin (Amilcar), Reveillet, the Atnilcar agent in Nimes, Bondy on a 1/ litre single seater Miller, Mine. Itier (Bugatti) and Falchetto and Jacob, both on Bugattis. In the Grand Prix list most of the regular French drivers appeared, such as Etancelin, Sommer, Moll, Wimille and Zanelli, all on Alfas ; Lehoux, Braillard, Falchetto, Gaupillat, and Brunet on Bugattis, and last but by no means least the famous Italian Takio Nuvolari, at the wheel of a Ferrari-owned Alfa Romeo.
The 2,000 c.c. race.
The starters in the first race were as follow : 1,100 c.c. : Leurquin (Amilcar), Chambost (Samson), Reveillet (Amilcar), Kessler (Amilcar), Antoine (Rally). 1,500 c.c. : Angelo (Bugatti), Bonnefon. (Bugatti), Ralph (Bugatti), Mistral (Bugatti), Bondy (Miller), Albit (Bugatti), Vagniez (Maserati), Durand (Bugatti), Arnaud (Bugatti). 2,000 c.c. : Falchetto (Bugatti), Jacob (Bugatti), Bernasconi (Bugatti), Genibrel (Bugatti), Rey (Bugatti).
The 19 cars were sent away together, and at the end of the first lap the favourite, Benoit Falchetto, was in the lead, followed by Jacob, Bernasconi, and to everyone’s surprise, Chambost’s Salmson which was ahead of all the 1,500 c.c. cars. Kessler and Leurquin both had gearbox trouble with their Amilcars and retired, but Reveillet (Atnilcar) was not far behind Chambost, and fourth in the general classification. This order was unchanged for 25 laps, when the propellor shaft of Falchetto’s Bugatti broke, letting Jacob into the
lead, with Bernasconi second. And so it remained until the end, with Chambost third and Reveillet fourth. The greatest fluctuations of fortune took place in the 1,500 c.c. class. At first Angelo (Bugatti) led, but carburetter trouble set in and he retired on the 3rd lap. Then Bonnefon (Bugatti) took first place, until he was passed by Ralph (Bugatti), who in turn was being chased by Vagniez (Maserati). The last named got by on the 26th lap and was never headed, securing 5th place in the general classification.
Abit (Bugatti) came to grief on the pavement at one of the “chicanes,” and Antoine (Rally) was called in by the stewards.
The Grand Prix.
There were only eight starters in the big race of the day, namely Etancelin (Alfa Romeo), Moll (Alfa Romeo), Lehoux (Bugatti), Brainard (Bugatti), Falchetto (Bugatti), Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), Sommer (Alfa Romeo) and Wimille (Alfa Romeo) ; a small field, but a first class one. In a race of this sort the lead counts for a good deal, and the start was magnificent, every driver making a perfect getaway. Contrary to expectation the Italian champion was not at the head of affairs at the end of the first lap, the honour going to the Algerian driver, Marcel Lehoux (Bugatti), closely pursued by Etancelin (Alfa Romeo), Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), Falchetto (Bugatti), Moll (Alfa Romeo), Brainard (Bugatti) and Sommer (Alfa Romeo). Poor Witnille was soon out of the fight, his supercharger having packed up before the completion of one lap. On the second lap there was no material change in positions, although Falchetto dropped back through his accelerator becoming stuck at awkward moments. On the third lap Nuvolari decided that it was time he asserted himself. He accordingly passed both Etancelin and Lehoux, and led the field. Then the great duel started. Etancelin, one of the most improved drivers of the season and now definitely in the front rank of road-drivers, took up the challenge and set himself to chase Nuvolari. Meanwhile Lehoux came into the pits with his Bugatti very much
overheated. After a long delay he started again, but was now in 7th position and finally had to stop for good on the next lap.
After 10 of the 40 laps Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) led Etancelin (Alfa Romeo) by 2 seconds, who in turn was 26 seconds ahead of Moll, on another Alfa. During the next 10 laps first Nuvolari then Etancelin took the lead. At 20 laps the Frenchman was first, but soon afterwards Nuvolari got by once more to take first place, a position which he did not relinquish for the rest of the race. The tense fight between these two was apt to overshadow the cars in the rear, but discerning spectators were watching the performance of the . young Algerian protegee of Marcel Lehoux, Guy Moll, with great interest. Moll was driving a new Alfa Romeo for the first time, and was putting up an excellent performance, being never far behind the flying Nuvolari and Etancelin. Behind him Raymond Sommer was driving his usual polished race. On this occasion Sommer seemed to take a long time to work up a fast lap speed, with the result that his effort to catch up with the leaders came too late. In the rear came Brainard (Bugatti), a lap behind Sommer.
Nuvolari clung tenaciously to the lead, and Etancelin was unable to improve on the Italian’s high lap speed in order to pass. His rear brakes were giving a little trouble, and his car was not quite so fast as Nuvolari-a fact which made Etancelin’s performance of keeping within 3 or 4 lengths of his rival for nearly the whole race all the more creditable.
Over 2,000 c.c.
I. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), lb. 52m. 20 3/5s. Average 69.88 m.p.h.
2. Etancelin (Alfa Romeo), lb. 53m. 19 2/5s.
3. Moll (Alfa Romeo), 1 lap.
4. Sommer (Alfa Romeo), 2 laps.
S. Braillard (Bugatti), 3 laps. Record lap : 1m. 22s., average 71.8 m.p.h., made
by both Nuvolari and Etancelin. Under 2,000 c.c. General classification :
1. Jacob (Bugatti), lb. 2m. 56 2/3s. Average speed 62.37 m.p.h.
2. Bernasconi (Bugatti), lb. 4m. 26s.
3. Chambost (Salaison), I lap.
4. Reveillet (Amilear), 2 laps.
5. Vagniez (Maserati), 3 laps.
6. Ralph (Bugatti), 3 laps.
In elutes, 2,000 c.c.
I. Jacob (Bugatti), lb. 2m. 56 2/5s., 62.37 m.p.h.
2. Bernasconi (Bugatti), lb. 4m. 26s.
1. Vagniez (Maserati), lb. 3m. 24s.
2. Ralph (Bugatti).
3. Arnaud (Bugatti). 1,100 c.c.
1. Chambost (Salmson), 1h. 4m. Its.
2. Reveillet (Amilcar).
1. Karl Ebb (Mercedes-Benz), 1h. 3m. 18.7%;, 58.7 m.p.h.
2. C. G. Johansson (Ford), lb. 4m. 6s.
3. 0. Bennstrom (Ford), I h. 4m. 46s.
4. K. G. Sundstedt (Bugatti), lb. 5m. 19s.
5. N. Jaakkola (Reo), Ih. 7m. 5s.
10,000 francs for a hill-climb record.
In memory of Bouriat and Trintiguant.
The A.C. de Picardie-Aisne have declared their intention of erecting a roadside tablet to the memory of the two drivers killed during the Grand Prix of Picardie, namely Guy Bouriat and Louis Trintign ant.
There is also a possibility of a monument being erected at Le Mans in memory of Guy Bouriat, who had competed in many of the 24 hour races on that circuit.
The Finnish G.P.
The Grand Prix of Finland seemed
likely, until one of the last laps, to result in another victory for the Swedish driver Wiktor Widen gren (Alfa Romeo). Ebb (Mercedes-Benz) had taken the lead at the start but had to stop owing to his mechanic forgetting to remove the sheet of paper placed over his radiator to assist warming-up. From then until near the finish Widengren led, when his back axle seized solid and he came to rest after a hectic skid. Dahlin, driving another Mercedes, was warned off the course for dangerous driving, while Bjornstad suffered from constant plug trouble with his Alfa Romeo.
For the Baraque hill-climb, to be held on July 9th, the A.C. d’Anvergne have offered a prize of 10,000 francs to anyone who can break the existing record, established in 1930 by Eddoura on a Bugatti. His time for the 10 kilometres was 5ru. 44s., giving an average speed of 65 m.p.h.