TRIPOLI GRAND PRIX WON AT 116 M.P.H. COLOSSAL SPEEDS ON THE MODIFIED MELHALLA CIRCUTT-FERRARI DRIVERS TAKE FIRST THREE PLACES-HAMILTON DOES WELL BEFORE RETIRING.
THE Tripoli Grand Prix just had to be a success this year. The prize and ‘ appearance money assumed such tremendous proportions that no driver could afford to stay away, with the result that a really first-class entry list was obtained. In addition, under the energetic direction of that popular national hero, Marshal Italo Balbo, who is now Governor-General of Libya, the advertising and general organising of the race was carried out with extreme thoroughness.
The Circuit of Melhalla, over which the race is run, is an artificial course built on a sandy desert, measuring 13 km. 100. It consists of long straights joined by corners, and the fine surface allows tremendously high average speeds to be obtained. The race is run over 40 laps, or 524 km. Last year the event was won by Achille Varzi on a 2,3 litre Bugatti, at an average speed of somewhere around 104 in.p.h. Meanwhile, the road has been improved, and when practising start t,(1 a few days before May 6th it soon became clear that the speed of the race would be considerably increased. For example, Chiron, Moll, Carraroli, Varzi and Tadini all covered laps at over 120 m.p.h.
A great deal of interest was aroused by the presence of Peter de Paolo and Lou Moore, with their Millers, which proved to be very fast, but badly handicapped by their inferior brakes. One slight crash occurred in practice, when Freddie Zehender shot off the road at Tagiura-fortunately without real injury to himself or his car. A huge crowd assembled on the day of the race, and the start was given by Marshal Balbo amid great excitement. Taruffi immediately leapt ahead with the 16-cylinder Maserati, which Fagioli used to drive with such great effect. Hot on his heels came the Ferrari drivers, Chiron, Varzi and Moll, all on the new Type B monoposto Alfa-Romeos. For seven laps Taruffi kept ahead, try as Chiron might to catch him, and then, when uneasiness was beginning to be felt in the Ferrari pit, came the news that the
dark-skinned Italian had misjudged his speed and left the road at a corner. This gave Chiron his chance and he slipped into the lead, but eight laps later he had to call at the pits to change a wheel, and his turn had gone. Varzi now led, hotly pursued by H. C. Hamilton, driving Nuvolari’s Maserati (now the property of Whitney Straight), Mon (Alfa-Romeo) and Wimille (Bugatti). Straight himself had had to retire with engine trouble on
the eleventh lap, a complaint from which many of the cars were suffering. However, Hamilton was deeply impressing the Continental authorities by his calm, yet very fast, driving. • Chiron got back into second place, but he could make no impression on Varzi. The Bugattis were not having a good day, Brivio having burst his engine in practice, and Wimille having to retire with a broken oil-pipe. Only Dreyfus persevered with the race, and he was forced to call several times at the pits. Etancelin had blown up his Maserati in practice, and was taking it quietly
Then Hamilton retired, too, his trouble being connected with the magneto. G. E. T. Eyston was fighting an uphill struggle with his 2.6 litre Alfa-Romeo, for a piston fractured early in the race and he decided to finish on seven cylinders. As we have already noted, Moore and de Paolo, although very fast, were slow on the corners through having to cut out so early. Moll overhauled Chiron to take second
place just before the end. Gradually he closed on Varzi, but he just failed to beat him by 1/5 second. His was a fine drive, and places him still higher in the ranks of first-class G.P. drivers.
1. A. Varzi (Alfa-Romeo 3 litre), 2h. 48m. 53.8s. 115.67 m.p.h.
2. G. Moll (Alfa-Romeo 3 litre), 2h. 48m. 54s.
3. L. Chiron (Alfa-Romeo 3 litre), 2h. 49m. 7s.
4. P. Etancelin (Maserati 3 litre), 2b. 55m. 39$.
5. Bi.indetti (Maserati 3 litre) 3h. 1m. 43$.
6. R Dreyfus (Bugatti 2-8 litre) 3h. 2in. 12s.
7. P. de Paolo (Miller), 3h. 2rri. 25s.
8. L. Moore (Miller), 3h. 6m. 24s.
9. G. E. T. Eyston (Alfa-Rotneo 2-6 litre), 3h. 14in. 31s. Fastest lap by Chiron (Alfa-Romeo) at 124.52 m.p.b.