Matra moves on
Imola, June 2nd
Alfa Romeo's sweeping victory at Monza in April flattered only to deceive. As last year, the Matra-Simca team has had to overcome engine unreliability early in the season but having done so, no team can stand up to the speed and teamwork of the French . At Imola, a 5.1-kilometre track near Bologna, the Matras of Beltoise/Jarier and Larrousse/Pescarolo formed the front row of the grid, followed by the shorter wheelbase Alfa Romeo 33TT12 models of Merzario/Ickx and Stommelen/Reutemann, then a "normal" Alfa Romeo driven by de Adamich/Facetti. No Gulfs went to the Italian circuit, the British team preparing for Le Mans, and sadly the 1974 Prototype Ferrari 312P has yet to make its debut.
The two Matras took an immediate lead, but after 12 laps the hard-trying Merzario passed Beltoise into second place. Almost immediately ex-Alfa Romeo team driver Galli, in an Abarth, collided with Merzario while being lapped and both cars left the road, Merzario breaking a finger of his right hand. Minutes later Stommelen bumped over a kerb, breaking the nose on his Alfa Romeo and upsetting the handling, and de Adamich slowed with oil on the clutch.
Within half an hour of the start the race was effectively over, the two remaining Alfa Romeos having been lapped. The Matra team was prevented from claiming both leading places when Beltoise retired only 14 laps from the finish with a recurrence of valve spring trouble.—M.L.C.
Imola 1,000 kilometres—Groups 5 and 4-198 laps—Imola—Very warm Round 4, World Championship for Makes
1st: G. Larrousse / H. Pescarolo (Matra-Simca MS670C - 3 litre V12) 6hr. 13min. 36sec. - 160.90 k.p.h.
2nd: R. Stommelen / C. Reutemann (Alfa Romeo 33TT12 - 3 litre flat 12) 2 laps behind
3rd: A. de Adamich / C. Facetti (Alfa Romeo 33TT12 - 3 litre flat 12) 9 laps behind
4th: J-P. Beltoise / J-P. Jarier (Matra-Simca MS670C - 3 litre V12) 14 laps behind
5th: P. Keller / H. Heyer (Porsche 911 Carrera - 3 litre flat 6) 21 laps behind
6th: G. Schon / G. Borri (Porsche 911 Carrera - 3 litre flat 6) 25 laps behind
7th: R. Wollek / J-M. Seguin (Porsche 911 Carrera 3 litre flat 6) 26 laps behind
8th: P. Blancpain / K-H. Lehmann/ R. Joest (Porsche 908/3 3 litre flat 8) 29 laps behind
9th: E. Tondelli / C. Francisci (Chevron-Ford FVC 1.3 litre 4 cyl.) 34 laps behind
10th: C. Garrone / "Bramen" (AMS-Ford BDA 1.3 litre 4 cyl.) 42 laps behind