CIIRON’S FIRST VICTORY THIS YEAR
The French Champion Wins the Marseilles G.P. at Miramas at the Wheel of a Monoposto” Alfa-Romeo. Baron De Walthausen Killed. LAST year’8 Marseilles. Grand Prix was a tremendous success from the financial point of view. The crowd turned up in tens Of thousands, and every one of them determined not to miss the 1933 race. This large attendance, of course, has the beneficial effect of good prize money for the competitors, so it was
not surprising that a first-rate group of drivers assembled at the Miramas Track on August 27th. In the usual impressive manner of Continental “stage-managership,” the cars were wheeled to the starting line in single file, each driver being announced and applauded. The driver’s came out in the following order : Nuvolari (Maser ati), Borzacchini .(Maserati), Moll (Alfa Romeo), Wimille (Alfa Romeo), Dreyfus (Bugatti), Etancelin (Alfa Romeo), Chiron (Alfa Romeo), Waldthausen (Alfa Romeo), Angelo (Bugatti), Sommer’ (Alfa Romeo),
Villars (Alfa Romeo), Felix (Alfa Romeo), Hartmann (Bugatti), Mlle. Helle-Nice (Bugatti). Nuvolari was, of course, strongly fancied to win. In practice his lap speed
was a clear 3 second faster than anyone else, and his success in the race seemed to depend upon the reliability of his 3 litre Maserati and the speed of his pit stops for fuel and tyres. When Charles Varoux dropped the flag at the start it was young Guy Moll who jumped ahead, but he was quickly passed by Louis Chiron on the larger ” monopost° ” Alfa Romeo, who covered his standing lap in mi. 558. and led the field past the stands. On the second lap Chiron still held his lead, but on the third time round Nuvolari pushed ahead, as did Dreyfus, on a 4,9 Bugatti, to take first and second places. A pretty scrap soon developed between these two, for Dreyfus calmly went on to pass Nuvolari. But the Italian remembered that there was a
special bonus for the leader at 5 laps, and so he promptly deprived Dreyfus of his position. There was, in fact, a prize for leading
at every five laps of the race, and this led to some rather amusing driving by Nuvolari. On the I Ith lap Chiron took the lead, and held it until the 14th, when Nuvolari slipped by to earn a few more francs. Having done so, he then allowed Chiron to lead the field once more. Interest now centred on the 20th lap bonus, but this time Chiron was ready for Nuvolari, and kept him at bay in spite of great efforts on the part of the Italian.
Then came a tragedy which was to mar the otherwise cheerful atmosphere of the meeting. On the straight opposite to that of the stands, Baron de Waldthausen got into a skid through a tyre bursting, His Alfa Romeo turned over, and the unfortunate driver was taken to the Salon hospital, where he died that evening from intern al injuries.
After 25 laps, or quarter-distance, Nuvolari was leading, followed by Chiron, Dreyfus, Zehender, Fagioli, and Borzacchini. Nuvolari picked up another bonus at 30 laps. and then the Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti duel was interrupted by Dreyfus stopping to fill up and change wheels. Soon afterwards all the drivers began to come in, Nuvolari only changing wheels, in lm. 17s. ; Moll, refuelling and changing three wheels in 2m. 35s. ; and Chiron filling up and changing his rear wheels in lin. 57s. All this let Borzacchini up into the lead, while the order of the rest was rather confused. Then he, too, Came into the pits and promptly met trouble. One wheel refused to be removed. For a quarter of an hour Borzacchini and his mechanic wrestled with it, until finally it was found that the hub had broken. And so he was forced to retire. Helle-Nice was outpaced by the larger cars, and plug trouble added to her difficulties. Wimille revealed a lack of stamina when he came in,quite exhausted, and asked Sommer to take over his Alfa Romeo for a spell. Sommer himself had just been forced to retire with a
cracked petrol tank. Lehoux was having a lot of trouble
with his new Alfa, and -Hartman was hopelessly slow. Felix had to swerve in order to avoid a spectator who got on to the track, and turned completely round. At half distance, or 50 laps, the order was :
I. Nuvolari (Maserati), Iii. 23m. lOs.
2. Pagioli (Alfa Romeo), lh. 24m. 36s.
3. Etancelin (Alfa Romeo), lb. 24ni. 58s.
4. Chiron (Alfa Romeo), lit. 25m. 20s.
5. Moll (Alfa Romeo), lb. 25m. 4’2s.
6. Dreyfus (Bugatti), lh. 25m. 55s. ‘ 7. Zehender (Maserati), lb. 28in. 5s.
Two laps later Nuvolari was in at the pits once more, this time to refuel and change all four wheels in im. 57s. At the same time Chiron managed to put on a spurt and passed Etancelin and nigioli to take the lead. Dreyfus had a narrow escape from death when a rear wheel came adrift from his 4.9 Bugatti and the car turned round several times before coming to rest without leaving the track. The wheel flew along and struck a spectator, injuring him slightly.
Chiron was the next to refuel, leaving Nuvolari and Fagioli lighting for the lead, with the steady Moll not far behind. The next casualty’ was Etancelin, who up to this point had driven a wise race, being fully aware of the inferior speed of his 2.3 litre Alfa and not attempting to join active battle with the leaders. Philippe’s trouble was that his left leg chafed against a corner of his seat, and eventually grew so painful that he had to retire and receive first aid. Zehender, like Wimille, was wilting under the muscular strain of holding his car on the curves, and handed over to an Italian named Parenti.
More pit-stops, and then the crowd, which had quite understandably gained the impression that Nuvolari had the race well in hand, and could win more or less as he pleased, were given a decided shock. Nuvolari slowed, coasted, and came to rest on the far side of the track. The back axle of his Maserati had given up, and the Italian champion was forced to retire only 100 kilometres from the end.
Now Chiron led Pagioli, both on” monoposto ” Alfas, by some 43 seconds, with Moll still in third place. Excitement rose when Chiron pulled into the pits, but in 24 4/5 seconds he had changed his righthand rear wheel and was away again.
Fagioli crept nearer, and on the 95th lap got ahead of his Ferrari team-mate. Then he, too, had to stop for a moment, at his pit, and so Louis Chiron came home first, winner of the 2nd Marseilles Grand Prix at an average speed of 111.866 m.p.h.
No sooner had Chiron received the flag than the crowd, which by this time had overrun the barriers and were crouched round the edge of the banking, immediately invaded the track and bore Chiron In triumph aloft on their shoulders. The rest of the field were flagged in before any catastrophe took place. After the race it was found that the fastest lap had been made by Nuvolari
and Zehender, in 1 m. 32s., two seconds slower than Nuvolari’s lap record of 1932. Of the 5 lap bonuses, Nuvolari won 10, Chiron 1, Borzacchini and Pagioli 2 each. 50,000 people and 5,000 cars paid for admission.
1. Louis Chiron (Alto Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 2h. 49m. 15 1 /5ths. Average speed 111.866 m.p.h.
2. Luigi Patton (Alfa Romeo 2,050 c.c.), 211. 50m. 25 1/51.
3. Guy Moll (Alta Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 4 laps.
4. Wimille and Sommer (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 4 laps.
5. Zehender (Maserati 3,000 c.c.), 4 laps.
6. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 6 laps.
7. Hartmann (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.), 17 laps.
8. Felix (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 20 laps.
9. Mlle. Helle-Nice (Bugatti 2,000 c.c.), 29 laps.