The Avus Grand Prix

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(Sept. 19th)

With no factory entries from Maserati or Ferrari the streamlined Mercédès-Benz cars driven by Fangio, Kling and Herrmann had little difficulty in sweeping the board on the very fast Avus circuit near Berlin. Situated in the corner of the British Zone of that city, the Avus track has been shortened from its pre-war length of 19.7 kilometres to 8.3 kilometres, though the very steeply-banked North Curve is retained. Apart from the German team there were the three factory Gordinis, driven by Behra, Pilette and Wacker, Rosier with his new de Dion Maserati, Schell with his older model, Swaters with his yellow Ferrari and Niedermayer with a Veritas Special. The only possible opposition to the three Mercédès-Benz came from Behra, who clung to the tail of the third German car as they leapt into the lead in line-ahead formation. However, the Gordini engine succumbed to the sustained full-throttle driving and Behra had to retire after 15 laps. The race was over the full Grand Prix distance of 498 kilometres, 60 laps of the track, and the Mercédès-Benz gave a high-speed demonstration of reliability, Kling finishing a few feet in front of Fangio, who was followed immediately by Herrmann. The rest of the field were many laps behind at the end and, in addition to Behra retiring, Rosier withdrew a few yards after the start when a drive-shaft broke, splitting the rear axle casing in the process.