THE MONT VENTOUX HILL-CLIMB
ON Sunday, 30th August, the Mont Ventoux hillclimb, the oldest and perhaps the most famous event of its kind in the world, was run off for the twenty-fourth time ; and on this occasion the entry list included some names which are worthy of special interest in connection with the great race. France, as usual, was well represented by the ubiquitous Bugatti, who had as his champions Albert Divo, who broke the record for the hill on a Delage in 1925, and Lehoux. Against them were pitted the German champion, Rudolf Caracciolaion his famous Mercedes-Benz and the
Spanish driver, Juan Zanelli on one of the 3-litre Nacional-Pescaras which have proved themselves so fast this season. Among this band of the elite interest was more especially concentrated on Albert Diva and Rudolf Carac ciola. Diva has considerable experience of the Mont Ventoux road—he made fastest time in 1924 as well as 1925—and he had in his 2,300 c.c. Bugatti, which de velops some 170 h.p., a car with a very high power weight ratio. Caracciola on the other hand had never taken part in the climb before and he had had only half a dozen runs up the hill in practice, while his 7-litre Mercedes although developing nearly 300 h.p. was about two and a half times as heavy as the Bugatti. At the same time such is the prowess of the German driver that the result could not be regarded as a foregone conclusion. The course of the Mont Ventoux is 21 kms. 600 (about lai miles) in length and starting from the village of Bedoin rises with an average gradient of 9% to the Observatory on the summit of this outlying spur of the french Alps. On the morning of 30th August, the record for this course from a standing start stood to the credit of Lamy, who ik 1928 on a 2-litre Bugatti, covered the distance in 16 minutes 45 1/5 seconds. Of the two great rivals who were expected to carry off the honours this year, Divo was sent off first. From the start to St. Esteve where the gradient is fairly easy, his Bugatti was
terrifically fast; then the climb begins in earnest, and the blue car leapt up the mountain, skidding a little on the corners, but masterfully handled. Diva’s time of 16 minutes 5 seconds had beaten the record by just over 40 seconds. Ten minutes later came Caracciola’s turn. The huge white Mercedes roared up the first section to St. Esteve, the supercharger whining, but it seemed that the Bugatti had been every bit as fast. Once on the steep part of the course with its sharp bends, however, the Mercedes came into its own. The greater weight of the German car and the large tyres which Caracciola had fitted, gave it marvellous adhesion, and it went round the corners
as if glued to the road. Caracciola had climbed in 15 minutes 22 seconds, and the record for the bill had been broken by 1 minute 43 1/5 seconds! These two, however, were not the only good performances of the day, for Lehoux, though somewhat outshone by Divo , had climbed in 16 minutes 27 3/5 seconds, and Zanelli on the Nacional Pescara had also broken Lamy’s record with 16 minutes 41 2/5 seconds. The full results were as follows :— RACING CARS :
1. Calmes (Rosengart), 20m. 15s. (class record). 1,500 c.c.
1. Lobie (B.N.C.), 18m. 18 4/5s. (class record).
2. Trintignan (Amilcar), 18m. 22 1/5s.
1. Ralph (Bugatti), 19m. 35s.
1. Divo (Bugatti), 16m. 5s. (class record).
2. Lehoux (Bugatti), 16m. 27 3/5s.
3. Zanelli (Nacional Pescara), 16m. 41 2/5s.
4. Lumachi (Bugatti), 16m. 46 2/5s. SPORTS CARS :
1. Marceau (Rosengart), 23m. 38 3/5s.
1. Chauvain (Bugatti), 22m. 12 3/5 s. (class record).
1. Carasso (Bugatti), 17m. 32 3/5s. (class record).
2. Palponi (Alfa-Romeo), 19m. 10 1/5s.
3. Conette (Chenard-Walcker), 26m. 18 4/5s. 8-litres.
1. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), 15m. 22s. (Fastest time of the day. Record for the hill).
CLOSED COMPETITION :1,500 c.c.
1. Merindol (Salmson), 25m. 10 1/5s.
2. Tarrazi (Mathis), 31m. 29 2/5s.
1. Morel (Essex), 20m. 49 2/5s. Winners of the Mont Ventoux hill-climb in previous years have been as follows :
1902. Chauchard (70 h.p. Panhard et Levassor), 27m. 17s.* 1903. Dangeau (50 h.p. Richard-Brasier), 25m. 25s.* 1904. Rougier (100 h.p. Turcat-Mery), 21m. 12 3/5s.* 1905. Cagno (110 h.p. Fiat), 19m. 30s.*
1906. Colomb (Rochet-Schneider), 24m 40s.
1907. Rougier (120 h.p. Lorraine-Dietrich), 20m. 14s. 1908. Bablot (120 h.p. Brasier), 19m. 8 4/5s.*
1909. Bablot (120 h.p. Brasier), 18m. 41s*.
1910. Boillot (Lion Peugeot), 21m. 30 2/5s.
1911. Deydier (Cottin et Desgouttes), 21m. 10 3/5s. 1912. Boillot (Peugeot), 17m. 46s.* 1913. Boillot (Peugeot), 17m. 38s.*
1921. Bablot (Voisin), 20m. 27 3/5s.
1922. Thomas (Delage), 18m. 59s.
1923. Thomas (Delage), 18m. 18s.
1924. Divo (Delage), 18m. 17 4/5s. 1925. Divo (Delage), 17m. 23 1/5s.*
1927. Jourdan (Salmson), 19m. 52 3/5s. 1928. Lamy (Bugatti), 16m. 45 1/5s.*
1929. Lanciano (Bugatti), 18m. 38 2/5s.
1930. Rey (Bugatti), 17m. 38s. 1931. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), 15m. 22s.*
* New record set up.