THE GRAND PRIX
CONTINENTAL NOTES. THE GRAND PRIX OF MARSEILLE RACE RUN ON SEPT. 25th ON MIRAMAS TRACK. 80 LAPS OF THE 5-Km. CIRCUIT
FOR many years now there has not been a race on the track at Miramas,
near Marseilles, indeed track racing is not in public favour in France today. It was in the nature of a speculation, then, when the Automobile Club de Marseille decided to hold a 400 kilometre event for unrestricted racing cars. As it turned out, the meeting was a great success from start to finish. September 25th dawned fine and clear, and as the time of the start drew near, the heat increased to an almost tropical intensity. And the crowd ! Right round the track they clustered in tens of thousands, the car parks were full to overflowing, and the attendance was far beyond the wildest hopes of the overjoyed or a
The 17 starters were composed of Benoit, Chiron, Dreyfus. Gaupillat, Mlle. Belle-Nice, Lehoux, Varzi, Braillard and Moll, all on Bugattis ; Felix, Nuvolari, Sommer and Zehender on Alfa Romeos ; Fagioli, de Maleplane, and Ruggeri on Maseratis ; and Foucret on a Mercedes-Benz. Guy Bouriat was originally down to drive a Bugatti, but had to be operated on for appendicitis a few days before the race. Other non-starters were Wirnille, whose Alfa Romeo had not recovered from its accident at the Circuit of Garoupe, and Max Fourny, the Bugatti driver.
After M. Albert Rousset, the President of the Club, had given the start at 2.30 p.m., it was no surprise to see Nuvolari come round in the lead on the first lap, for the Italian champion had been easily the fastest in practice and had done several laps at an average of 200 k.p.h. But the Alfa. Romeo driver was not to have things all his own way, and a terrific struggle ensued immediately between Nuvolari, Varzi, Dreyfus, Fagioli, Lehoux, Zehender, and Gaupillat. Chiron retired early in the race. Varzi succeeded in passing Nuvolari, who was immediately challenged by Fagioli, and the duel between the” monoposto ” Alfa Romeo and the 16 cylinder Maserati was continued with the same intensity that had characterised it at the Monza meeting a few weeks earlier. Fagioli got ahead of Nuvolari and then both drivers passed Varzi, but the fiery Tazio again took the lead, so that at the end of the 10th lap, or 50 kilometres, the order was :
1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), 16m. 43$.
2. Fagioli (Maserati), 16m. 44s.
3. Varzi (Bugatti), 16ttx. 45$.
4. Lehoux (Bugatti), 16m. 46s.
5. Gaupillat (Bugatti), 16m. 46s. 5. Dreyfus (Bugatti), 16m. 49$.
7. Zehender (Alfa Romeo), 16m. 51s.
8. Sommer (Alfa Romeo), 17m. I Is.
9. Benoit (Bugatti), 17m. 25s.
10. Pelix (Alfra Romeo), 17m. 42s. The race was a magnificent spectacle, for as can be seen only 3 seconds separated the first five cars, which roared past the stands at 125 m.p.h. in a compact mass. The hot pace began to tell, and several retirements were announced, the Maseratis of Ruggeri and de Maleplane, the latter
with lubrication trouble, Varzi, with a broken spring on his Bugatti, and Dreyfus (Bugatti) after bursting a tyre at high speed. Zehender made a spurt, and put in one wonderful lap at 193 k.p.h., a record for the track, and at 20 laps the young Alfa Romeo driver was in third position, behind Nuvolari, who had once again lost the lead to Fagioli. Another driver who was making a wonderful show was the amateur Gaupillat, with his very welltuned Bugatti. Mirainas track, like Indianopolis, is only slightly banked, and with its rough concrete surface, is very heavy on tyres. This state of affairs was aggravated by the intense heat, and all the pit managers were prepared for at least two stops for a change of wheels. As some cars came in for their first stop the order became confused, so that at half distance, 200 kms., the order was :
1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo), lh. 7m. 13s.
2. Sommer (Alfa Romeo), th. Sm. 34s.
3. Gaupillat (Bugatti), lb. 9m. 57s.
4. Fagioli (Maserati), lb. 10m. 53s.
5. Atoll (Bugatti), Ih. 12m. 6s.
6. Zehender (Alfa Romeo), lh. 17m. I3s.
7. Lehoux (Bugatti), Ih. l8m.. 51s.
The reason for Zehender’s drop in position was that he was unable to restart his Alfa Romeo after his refuelling stop. Mlle. Helle-Nice retired after a fine drive, and soon afterwards Toselli took over Zehender’s car.
By this time the crowd, which was kept back for a hundred yards on the slightly banked corners, had encroached to such an extent that the actual track was rimmed with people, an extremely dangerous state of affairs, as was revealed when Zehender had to go wide in order to avoid a competitor who was skidding in front of him, and his Alfa Romeo went within inches of the heads of the over-enthusiastic spectators. The danger was accentuated by the fact that all the cars took the turns in a long crabbing skid, which threw an unwonted strain on tyres, wheels and suspension systems, and in the event of the breakage of any of these vital parts a serious accident involving many deaths would have been unavoidable. However, we learnt that next year greater precautions are to be taken to ensure that spectators are kept away from all danger points.
When Nuvolari made his first stop he was under the impression that he had thrown off his nearest rivals, and that he had the race well in hand. In actual fact, however, he was only lm. 20s. ahead of Sommer, and as the Italian driver made no effort to hurry, changing plugs and tyres, refuelling, having a drink and generally taking his ease, his pit stop of 3 minutes lost him the lead. Sommer made a quick stop, and set off at the same time as Nuvolari, who thought that he was at least a lap ahead of Sommer Actually he was a lap behind ! For some time the official Alfa Romeo nquiPe, under Signor Giovanni, did not realise the true state of but when
they at last found out they hung out all the go faster ” signs in the pit-but the confident Tazio N uvolari made no effort to obey. Frantically the pit staff urged him to increase his speed, but Nuvolari was in no hurry, and all the while Sommer was piling up his lead by 5 seconds per lap. Then Nuvolari came in to find out ” what was the cause of the bother.”
He was told. Nuvolari’s changed from one of confidant enquiry to one of intensified energy, and he set off in pursuit of the flying Sommer. His daring was a sight to behold. his car in the series of lightning which is so characteristic of this driver’s methods, he lapped at a pace, and immediately set up a new record at 199.741 m.p.h. In an ingly short space of time he had Sommer’s lead to pieces, and with distance to go he was within distance of victory.
Then came the coup-de-gface. A burst, and the unfortunate Nuvolari into his pit. With an alacrity born desperation, the wheel was changed in time than it takes to tell, and once he took up the chase. But the delay widened the gap to an irrevocable and in spite of the most valiant on the part of Nuvolari, Sommer a well-deserved victory by the margin of 46 seconds. Immediately the first two cars crossed the line, the vast crowd, had become more and more lable as the meeting wore on, broke bounds and invaded the track, on five cars were still lapping at high Thanks to the great skill of the concerned disaster was averted, but for moment the situation was very
A word of praise is due to a the Algerian driver Moll, who took place and was the first Bugatti driver cross the line on an old Bugatti owned by his fellow-Algerian, Lehoux. After
the race, Signor Giovanni an appeal with the authorities, on grounds that the time keepers had made mistake, and that Nuvolari was really lap ahead of Sommer at the finish. the next day, however, he was given opportunity of examining the time er’s sheets, and he declared satisfied with the final placings.
1. R. Sommer (Alfa Romeo), 2h, 17m. 58 2/5s. (Average speed 109.75 m.p.h.).
2. T. Nuvolari (Alta Romeo), 2h. 18m. 44 3/5s.
3. Moll (Bugatti), 4 laps behind the winner.
4. F. Zehender (Alfa Romeo), 4 laps behind winner. 5. 3. Gaupillat (13ugatti), 5 laps behind the 6. Fagioh (Maserati), 5 laps behind the 7. Brainard (Bugatti), 9 laps behind the
Sommer’s Alia Romeo was with Dunlop tyres. The fastest laps made by 1, Nuvolari (1m. 30 2, Gaupillat (1m. 31s,), 3, Fagioli Varzi (urn. 32s.), 4, Dreyfus (lin. 5, Lehoux, Sommer and Zehender (1m. 34s.). [Continued on page 28]
The Grand Prix of Finland.
THE Swedish driver, W. Widengren, won the Grand Prix of Finland, which was held on September 26th, over the circuit of Munknas, near Helsingfors. The winner drove a 2.3 Jitre .Alfa Romeo with a 2-seater racing body, and covered the 68 laps of the 2,200 metre course in lb. 41m. 40 1/5s. Second came Ebb (Mercedes) and Wallenins (Ford) was third. There were 11 starters.
1. Widengren (Alta Romeo), lb. 41m. 40 1/51.
2. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz), 1h. 42m. 26 1/5*.
3. Wallenins (Ford), 1h. 47m. 36 3/6*.
4. Bjorustad (Bugatti), lh. 52m. 18s.
5. Joakhola (Rea), lh. 51m. 57s.
6. Dahlia (Mercedes-Benz), 1h. 56m.
7. Sundstedt (Bugatti).
Only a Rumour.
Parisian motor racing enthusiasts were recently alarmed by a rumour which quickly spread over the city that Louis
Chiron had met with a fatal accident somewhere in Central Europe. No confirmation was forthcoming, however, but on the other hand the famous French driver’s whereabouts were not known, so that definite assurance of his well being could not be obtained. After a most anxious period of suspense Chiron was at last traced to Nice, where he was staying in readiness for the Grand Prix de Marseille, perfectly fit and well