At this stage the first retirement was announced, Ruggeri experiencing trouble with his Maserati Lord Howe was driving a splendid race, being fast and steady.
On the nineteenth circuit Varzi returned a wonderful lap in 2m. 2s., and at the 20th lap Chiron was 16 seconds in front of Nuvolari, who led Varzi. Nuvolari began to press Chiron hard, and actually gained about one second every lap, until only three seconds separated the two of them on the 29th lap. Then came a sudden change of fortune. Chiron, realising that he was being caught by Nuvolari, was making every effort to keep ahead, but on the 30th lap, in trying to pass two slower cars, he just grazed the sand-bags on the corner at the Quai de Plaisance. The car leapt into the air and overturned, throwing Chiron into the road, fortunately uninjured except for some cuts and bruises
On the 30th lap the order was : Nuvolari, 1h. 2m. 55s.; Varzi, 1h. 3m. 1s.; Borzacchini, 1h. 3m. 28s.; Caracciola, 1h. 3m. 36s.; Fagioli, 1h. 3m. 48s.; Dreyfus, 1h. 4m. ; Williams, 1h. 4m. is.; Campari, 1h. 4m. 24s.; Etancelin, 1h. 5m. 5s. ; Czaikowski, 1h. 5m. 8s. ; Bouriat, 1h. 5m. 12s. ; Lehoux, 1h. 5m. 13s. ; Earl Howe, 1h. 5m. 18s. ; Zehender, 1h. 5m. 21s.; Divo, 1h. 5m. 31s.
Pit stops are almost fatal in a race of this description, and at this juncture several drivers were in at the pits, Lehoux being held up for 5 minutes with oil leakage.
Varzi began to reduce Nuvolari’s lead, bringing it down from 28 to 17 seconds, but he himself was being challenged by Borzacchini, who was only 13 seconds behind.
The beginning of the second half of the race found the leaders unchanged, but a terrific duel began between Borzacchini and Caracciola, the honours of which finally fell to the latter, who became third. Then a second dramatic incident was announced, and incidentally a cruel blow at Bugatti’s chance of success. On the 57th lap it was announced that Varzi had retired with a broken axle-shaft. At 60 laps the order was :
Nuvolari, 2h. 6m. 20s,’ Caracciola, 2h. 6m. 50s. ; Borzacchini, 2h. 6m. 58s. ; Pagioli, 2h. 7m. 27s.; Williams, 2h. 8m. 46s.; Campari, 2h. 9m. 3s. ; Zehender, 2h. 10m. 12s.; Earl Howe, 2h. 10m. 42s.; Bouriat, 2h. 11m. 9s. ; Lehoux, 2h. 10m. 45s.; Divo, 2h. 21m. 31s.
Bugatti’s hopes fell, with Alfa holding the first three positions and Maserati fourth. A tremendous struggle was going on between Nuvolari and Caracciola, the latter was gaining several seconds every lap, and reduced the distance between them from 30 to 9 seconds. Meanwhile, several drivers had stopped at the pits, and the laggards were falling steadily behind. Among those who stopped for a brief moment was Borzacchini, who thereby lost third place to Fagioli. A minor incident occurred at this stage when Bouriat ran into the sand-bags at the station hair-pin, but he managed to keep going after changing the damaged wheel at his pit. The order at 90 laps was :
Nuvolari, 3h. 10m. 27s.; Caracciola, 3h. 10m. 34s.; Fagioli, 3h. 12m. 14s.; Zehender, 3h. 16m. 48s.; Earl Howe, 3h. 17m. 17s.; Lehoux, 3h. 22m. 41s.
Nuvolari, after winning in Monte Carlo
The concluding stage of this race was marked by a memorable struggle between Nuvolari on the “Works” Alfa, and Caracciola on his privately-owned car. Caracciola was slowly gaining ground every lap. The distance between them was 7 seconds, which was a lap later reduced to 5 seconds. Then Caracciola, had to follow Zehender through a winding part of the course for some distance, where passing was impossible, and his chances of wresting the lead from Nuvolari began to fade. Nothing daunted, he made a tremendous final effort, and was only three seconds behind when Nuvolari crossed the line, the winner.
Of the remainder, everyone was gratified that Fagioli gained third place in his Maserati, especially as the marque had sustained such a loss in the recent death of the late Alfieri Maserati, and Earl Howe achieved one of the finest performances of his career in securing fourth place, piloting the first Bugatti home.
1. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo), 3 hrs. 32 mins. 25 sees.; average speed, 55.8 m.p.h.
2. Caracciola (Alf-Romeo), 3 hrs. 32 mins. 28 secs.
3. Fagioli (Maserati), 3 hrs. 34 mins. 43 secs.
4. Earl Howe (Bugatti), two laps behind winner.
5. Zehender (Alfa-Romeo), four laps behind winner.
6. Lehoux (Bugatti), five laps behind winner.
7. Williams (Bugatti), five laps behind winner.
8. Bouriat (Bugatti), seven laps behind winner.
9. Divo (Bugatti), nine laps behind winner.
10. Campari (Alfa-Romeo), 14 laps behind winner.