THE NEW MERCEDES SHOWS ITS METTLE
THE NEW MERCEDES SHOWS ITS METTLE
EASY VICTORY IN THE EIFEL RACE--CHIRON'S ALFA ROMEO OUT-DISTANCED.
AFTER the defeat of their cars at the Avus Race, the German firms of ,xiito Union and Mercedes-Benz were doubly keen to have their revenge at the Eifel Race the following week-end. This time their definitely superior speed to the Alfa Romeos and Maw_Tatis would not avail them as it did at Avus, for the Nurburg Ring abounds in corners and is seldom straight. The Auto Unions, in particular, were being publicly tested for the first time on such a course, and were to be given a chance to disprove the criticisms levelled against them on the score of cornering with their great length.
The Nurburg Ring always attracts an enormous gathering of spectators, and this year was no exception to the rule. Sunday, June 3rd, was a beautiful day, and with a full day's sport in front of them the vast German crowd settled down with the utmost satisfaction.
The two categories, 1,500 c.c. and unlimited, were started together, and the mass of 40 cars made a magnificent spectacle as they got off the mark. In the front row were Mlle. Helle-Nice (Alfa Romeo), von Branchitsch (Mercedes) and W. Widengren (Alfa Romeo). The only English driver was C. Penn-Hughes, with a 2.6-litre Alfa Romeo, and he was placed in the third row. On the fall of the flag, the MercedesBenz shot ahead in an incredible fashion, and was about 200 yards in front before
the rest of the cars had got properly moving. Soon after the starting line at the Nurburg Ring the road makes a big loop, and before the end of this loop Fagioli, on the second Mercedes, had worked his way through the cars ahead and had wrested the lead from. Von Branchitsch. In the general confusion that accompanied the start, a fatal accident happened to Frankl, the I3ugatti driver, whose car left the road and overturned.
At the end of the first lap the order was : Fagioli (Mercedes), von Branchitsch (Mercedes), von Stuck (Auto Union), Chiron (Alfa Romeo), Tadini (Alfa Romeo), Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo), Prince von Leiningen (Auto Union), Pietsch (Alfa Romeo), and the rest in a straggling, scrapping pack. Fagioli was signalled by his pit to ease up in order to let von Branchitsch take the lead, and this he did—albeit against his wish. Incidentally the two Mercedes could be heard miles away, their exhaust note being terrific. The only other alteration on the second lap was that Prince von Leiningen moved up into fifth place, and Nuvolari came into the picture by lying sixth, ahead of Tadini, Penn-Hughes and Pietsch. The latter, together with Widengren, has fitted his 2.6-litre Alfa Romeo with a single-seater body. Nuvolari did not stay with the leaders for long, and he gradually fell back to retire at the end of the 6th lap. Prince von Leiningen, too, had trouble with his Auto Union and dropped out of the running. Pietsch passed Penn-Hughes and Tadini, and then the Englishman got ahead of the Ferrari driver, so that after seven laps (there were 15 in all), the order was :
1. Von Branchitsch (Mercedes).
2. Fagioli (Mercedes).
3. Von Stuck (Auto Union).
4. Chiron (Alfa Romeo).
5. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo).
6. Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo).
7. Tadini (Alfa Romeo).
and the rest. There was a good deal of unrest in the Mercedes camp, for Fagioli had the measure of von Branchitsch and strongly objected to being kept back. At the refuelling stop there was a lot of shouting and gesticulation, but the Italian driver apparently acquiesced. Meanwh'le, Chiron could not keep pace with the German cars at all, and was three or four minutes astern the whole time. Apart from Tadini, Chiron was the only Ferrari representative for Lehoux had gone back to France in a huff after being told that one Frenchman in the race was enough The order remained unchanged until Fagioli stopped at his pit for another heated discussion about passing von Branchitsch. He set off once more, but
on the following lap he pulled up on a straight stretch, left his car at the side of the road, and walked off ! This extraordinary action allowed von Stuck to move up into second place, with Chiron third, Pietsch fourth and Penn-Hughes fifth. Thus they stayed until the end. Penn-Hughes declared himself very satisfied with the race. The course is a difficult one, having two or three "hidden" corners at the tops of gradients, when you don't quite know which way the road will curve. On the only real straight he reached a speed of 128 m.p.h., and it is intereAing to note that his fastest lap was the last one-a fact which seems to indicate that
with more practice he could do even better on this course.
In the small car division the interest centred on the battle between a pack of fast 11-litre Bugattis and a solitary Maserati, driven by Count Castelbarco, victory going to the latter by a margin of 19 seconds.
1. Von Branchitsch (Mercedes-Benz), 2h. 47m. 36s.
2. Hans von Stuck (Auto Union), 2h. 48m. 56s.
3. L. Chiron (Alfa Romeo), 2h. 53m, 20s.
4. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo), 3h. 4m. 5s.
5. Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo), 3h. 4m. 34s.
6. Maag (Alfa Romeo), 3h. 8m. 14s.
7. Hartmann (Bugatti), 3h. 20m. 40s.
8. Gaupillat (Bugatti), 3h. 22m. 22s. 1,500 c.c.
I. Castelbarco (Maserati), 2h. 36m. 23s.
2. Schmidt (Bugatti), 2h. 36m. 42s.
3. Burggaller (Bugatti), 2h. 37m. 30s.
4. Simons (Bugatti), 2h. 39m. 4s.
5. Sojka (Bugatti), 2h. 45m. 14s.
6. Mine. flier (Bugatti), 2h. 47m. 22s.
7. Stoewer (D.K.W.).
8. Durand (Bugatti).
9. Vagniez (Maserati).