THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX Sweeping Victory for Maserati.
ACHILLE VARZI, driving a 2i-1itre Maserati instead of his more usual Alfa-Romeo won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Sunday 7th September, his average speed for the 150 miles of the final being 93i m.p.h. A second straight-eight Maserati of the same type driven by Luigi Arcangeli was second only a length or two behind the winner, while Ernesto Maserati himself with the 4-litre 16-cylinder car completed the victory of his productions by capturing third place. It was an overwhelming victory for the young Bologna firm, and one which was so popular with the enthusiastic crowd that after the first seven cars had finished, the course was invaded and the race had to be stopped.
The race was arranged on the same principle as was used last year and which has been devised by Cav. Vincenzo Florio, the creator of the Sicilian classic, and to whom must go most of the credit for the success of the Monza race.
The competitors were divided into classes according to cylinder capacity, and each class had to run in a separate heat over 14 laps of the new Monza circuit, which comprises part of the track proper and part of the old ” road ” circuit, the total distance covered being 100 kilometres, or just over 60 miles. The first four in each heat were then qualified, so long as they had averaged more than 68 m.p.h., to run in the final which took place over 35 laps of the circuit, a total of 150 miles. As there were thus four heats as well as the final, it is hardly surprising that the racing which started at 10 o’clock in the morning lasted till dusk, and the spectators, who had been arriving since the early hours of the morning should certainly have felt that they had got their money’s worth. The entry list was a good one including works teams from Alfa-Romeo and Maserati, and numerous more or less amateurs on Bugattis, Talbots, Mercedes, Duesenberg and other racers. The first heat to be run off was that for the 1500 c.c. and 2-litre racers, which united ten starters consisting of Etancelin, Max Fourny, Von Morgen, Tabacchi, Minozzi and Avattaneo on Bugattis, Brivio and Biondetti on the two 1500 c.c. straight-eight Grand Prix Talbots which have now found a permanent home in Italy, and Sartori° and Pedrazzini on straight-eight Maseratis. Von Morgen got away in the lead and it was soon apparent that his Bugatti was slightly faster than Etancelin’s. The latter, however, made up for this defect by superb driving, and finally managed to catch the German driver on the post. The result of this heat was therefore as follows :—
1. Utancelin (Bugatti), 39m. 31s. Average 91.15 m.p.h.
2. Von Morgen (Bugatti).
3. Pedrazzini (Maserati).
4. Minozzi (Bugatti). The next event on the programme was the 3-litre heat, which united the most interesting cars engaged in the race. Among the starters were the three type P2 Alfa-Romeos, which began their victorious career with their victory in the French Grand Prix at Lyon in 1924. The general shuffle round of drivers which put Varzi at the-wheel of a Maserati, occasioned Borzacchini, who usually drives one of the cars from Bologna, to handle an Alfa-Romeo on this occasion, while his team-mates were Guiseppe Campari and Tazio Nuvolari. Actually these Alfa-Romeos, having been built for a Grand Prix run under the 2-litre rule, might have been expected to start in the junior class, but their long and glorious career had determined Signor Jano, the technical head of the Milanese firm, to recondition their engines by having their cylinders bored out, so that their capacity was increased to 2,006 c.c. and they were automatically promoted to the 3-litre class. Against them were ranged the three Maseratis with 8-cylinder engines of 2,400 c.c. capacity, which were handled by Varzi, Arcangeli and Pagioli, and a quartet of 2,300 c.c. Bugattis driven by Lehoux, Burggaler da Farra and Stefanello. It was soon
apparent that the Maseratis were the fastest cars in the group and Arcangeli got away to take the head, hotly pursued however by Nuvolari on the first of the Alfas, 300 yards ahead of Varzi. Round after round the order was unchanged, and then Nuvolari managed to get past Arcangeli, only to be repassed again just before he burst two tyres in rapid succession. Varzi, also, who was evidently saving his car for the final, fell back towards the end, and Arcangeli proved an easy winner, the final order being as follows :
1. Arcangeli (Maserati), 36m. 36s. Average 98.4 m.p.h.
2. Borzacchini (Alfa-Romeo), 37m. 19s.
3. Fagioli (Maserati). 37m. 39s.
4. Varzi (Maserati), 38m. 9s.
5. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo), 39m. 19s.
6. da Parra (Bugatti).
7. Lehoux (Bugatti).
8. Campari (Alfa-Romeo). The next event on the programme was the class for the really “heavy metal,” that is to say the cars with engines of over 3-litres and under 8-litres capacity. This heat united only five starters, and they were not expected to be so fast as the 3-litre machines, with the possible exception of the 4-litre Maserati, which has two straighteight engines geared together, and which was driven by its constructor, Ernesto Maserati. The class, however, succeeded in being really international, as the starters included Elbert ” Babe ” Stapp on the Duesenberg, built to conform to this year’s new 5-litre unsupercharged Indianapolis rule, and which as is usual with this marque, represented America in Europe. There were also the two German type SSK. 7-litre Mercedes, driven by Rudolf Caracciola and Federico Caflisch, the latter car being fitted with a 4-seater body, and finally a car which was driven by Ruggeri and which used to belong to the late Emilio Materassi ; this car consists of a Targa Florio Itala chassis powered with one block of cylinders from a V-eight Hispano Suiza aero engine, and which
thus succeeded in representing both Italy and France. Maserati got away in the lead, followed by Caracciola, both cars succeeding in getting well away from the Duesenberg. The performance of the latter was indeed very mediocre, and Stapp was so disappointed with it that at the time of writing it seems probable that he will decide to scratch from the French Grand Prix at Pau. Maserati, however, was going very fast and displayed slight exces de zeel with the result that his car ran off the track. It was undamaged, but it was restarted as the result of pushing on the part of the enthusiastic spectators. As a result of this Caracciola could have demanded Maserati’s disqualification and thus have won the class, but the German driver with characteristic sportsmanship refused to appeal, an action which was much appreciated by everyone. The Itala did not seem to go as well as it used to in its younger days, and the other four thus got into the final, their order being as follows :
1. Ernesto Maserati (Maserati), 39m. 25s. Average 91.4 m.p.h.
2. Caracciola (Mercedes), 39m. 43s.
3. Stapp (Duesenberg), 41m. 5s.
4. Caflisch (Mercedes), 42m. 19s.
The rules provided that one extra heat could be run to allow the best of those who had been knocked out to get into the final. As fate had excluded two of the Alf aRomeos this method of including them was next resorted to, and five cars were lined up for the extra heat, two of which were to qualify for the final. They consisted of Sartorio on the 2-litre Maserati, Campari and Nuvolari on the Alfas, and Lehoux and da Farra on their 2,300 c.c. Bugattis. This heat provided a surprise, for Lehoux shot off at high speed on his Bugatti and succeeded in keeping ahead of, the Alfas which could not pass him although the three cars went round in close formation. Finally, however, Lehoux went out with gear-box trouble and Nuvolari and Campari drove easily into the final. The last of the preliminaries was the heat for the 1100 c.c. machines. This class also had to cover 14 laps of the circuit, a total of 60 miles, and only the first two home were eligible for the final. Fifteen starters presented themselves for this heat, consisting of Klinger, Zanelli and Bisighini on the little 8-cylinder Maseratis, Macher and Simons on the two D.K.W., Premoli, Clerici, Pratesi and da Caroli on Salmsons, Gerardi, Dourel and Scaron on Amilcars, Plate and Brieri on Lombards, and Carneval on a Rally. At the start Premoli on the Salmson got away at once to take the lead, followed at about 200 yard’s distance by. Scaron’s Amilcar. Throughout the race the cars remained equally spaced, finally finishing in that order and both qualifying for the final. The result was as follows :
1. Premoli (Salrnson), 43m. 36s. Average 82.6 m.p.h.
2. Scaron (Amilcar), 43m. 43s.
3. Klinger (Maserati), 45m. 54s.
4. Zanelli (Maserati), 46m. 4s.
5. Dourel (Amilcar), 46m. 8s. Premoli, however, refused to start in the final, considering that his little car had no chance if made to compete on equal terms with the larger machines. The fifteen other cars which were qualified were, therefore,
(Continued on page 32). lined up to decide the ultimate winner of the whole day’s proceedings. They were as follows :
Scaron on the little Amilcar ; Etancelin, von Morgen and Minozzi on 2-litre Bugattis and Pedrazzini on the 2-litre Maserati ; Arcangeli, Fagioli and Varzi on the 2,400 c.c. Maseratis and Borzacchini, Nuvolari and Campari on the Grand Prix Alfa-Romeos ; Ernesto Maserati on his own 16-cylinder car, Stapp on the Duesenberg and Caracciola and Caflisch on the giant Mercedes.
Public excitement was now at fever heat ; the great Alfa-Maserati duel was now going to be fought in earnest. In the meantime the Hereditary Prince and Princess had arrived, and the Prince himself dropped the flag which sent the fifteen off on their journey. Nuvolari and Campan shot shot off in the lead, and Alfa-Romeo had scored first blood ; but when the pack reappeared it was Arcangeli’s Maserati which came first, followed by Nuvolari and Varzi-the duel was indeed being fought in earnest. Six laps the leaders flew round together and then suddenly there came a bombshell ; the three Alfa-Romeos all came into their pit with their tyres gone to ribbons. It was obvious that the tyres which were made by a firm which is just making its return to racing’ after an absence of some years were quite unable to stand the speed and the whole Alfa-Romeo team was withdrawn. In spite of this sensational incident, however, the race ‘lost little of its excitement. Varzi had had to stop for a change of plugs and was now running third behind Arcangeli and Maserati, while it seemed that he could never catch them. Arcangeli, however, seeing the Alfas were out of it, decided that he was safe so long as he could keep ahead of Maserati, and his times began to increase by about 14 or 15 seconds per lap. But Varzi driving like a demon was slowly catching up, and three laps from the end he passed Maserati. Too late, Arcangeli at last realised his danger, for Varzi was slowly but relentlessly gaining on him. As they departed on their last lap the excitement was intense ; they reappeared together and Arcangeli was still ahead, but Varzi was coming up, now they were level, now Varzi was ahead, and as they flashed past the post, the latter had won the Italian Grand Prix by one fifth of a second The crowd went mad with excitement, somehow they climbed the railings and barriers to invade the track and chair the victor. Five more cars succeeded in finishing and then the remaining three had to be stopped as the track could not be cleared. The final result was as follows :
1. Varzi (Maserati), 1h. 35m. 46 1/5s. Average 93.5 m.p.h.
2. Arcangeli (Maserati), lh. 35m. 46 2/5s.
3. E. Maserati (Maserati), 1h: 36m. 10 2/5s.
4. Minozzi (Bugatti), 1 h. 39m. 23 1/5s.
5. Fagioli (Maserati), 1 h. 39m. 23 3/5s.
6. Etancelin (Bugatti), 1 h. 39m. 44 4/5s.
7. Caracciola (Mercedes), 1 h. 43m. Os.
8. Stapp (Duesenberg), stopped after 34 laps.
9. Caflisch (Mercedes), stopped after 33 laps.
10. Scaron (Amilcar), stopped after 32 laps.