THE SAN SEBASTIAN MEETING.
ANYONE who is interested in motor racing has probably by this time become sufficiently used to disappointments due to cars which are entered in races failing to start as to treat them with philosophy. The San Sebastian meeting proved no exception to the rule in this respect, and in spite of an excellent entry list, the starters in the races were not numerous. There was nevertheless, some very good racing, and the meeting may be said to have been distinctly successful. The first event of the programme was a free-for-all event, in which, however, there was a class for cars of under 1100 c.c. In the big class there were only 6 starters, of which 5 were Bugattis. The sixth car was a Hudson, and of the Bugattis, the three which formed the official team were driven by Materassi, Dubonnet and and were of the 2,300 c.c. type. The other two cars which were amateur entries were 2-litre machines
The Hudson soon proved itself too slow to be regarded as a serious competitor, and was withdrawn at about half distance. The race therefore became a Bugatti procession, and was finally won by Materassi, who averaged 78 m.p.h. Second place was captured by Dubotmet, Conelli was third, and the other two Bugattis were fourth and fifth. In the 1100 c.c. class, Martin on a 6-cylinder Amilcar was first, followed by a Salmson and another Atnilcar.
The next event was run on 28th July and was a 12-hour touring car race. In the absence of the 4i-litre Bentley which was entered but which failed to start, the fastest cars were the two 4-litre Peugeots driven by Boillot and Wagner, and Rigal and Serre, one of the le Mans Lorraine-Dietrichs, with Brisson and Bloch as its drivers, a 2-litre Georges Irat driven by Rost and Lehoux and Laly and Chassagne’s 3-litre Aries.
Andre Boillot on the big Peugeot took the lead at the outset and proceeded to spend his time setting up lap records and breaking them. He was however closely followed by Rost on the Georges Irat and Rigal on the second Peugeot. The supercharger on Sabipa’s Bugatti soon proved itself considerably too active, for after the car had made several stops at the pits, it succeeded in sucking the jet out of the carburettor and killing itself of indigestion.
At the end of 3 hours Boillot turned the Peugeot which still held the lead, over to Louis Wagner, who set off at high speed. Before he had covered three miles, however, he skidded on a corner and crashed into a tree. The driver was practically unhurt, but the car was wrecked, and the lead passed to the Georges hat, which was now in the hands of Lehoux. The race had started at 11 o’clock in the morning. so that the last part of it was run in darkness. This allowed Rigal and Serre on the second Peugeot, which had a very good lighting set, to catch up considerably on the Georges Irat, but the latter was not to be caught and the final order was as follows :—
1. Rost and Lehoux (Georges Irat), 748.1 miles, average 62.34 m.p.h.
2. Rigal and Serre (Peugeot), 738.6 miles.
3. Brisson and Bloch (Lorraine-Dietrich), 728.5 miles.
4. Laly and Chassagne (Aries), 712.3 miles.
5. Duray and Chassagne (Aires), 706.2 miles.
6. Bussienne and Buriat (E.H.P.), 693 miles.
7. Clause and Gros (Bignan), 686.8 miles.
The first three cars thus all averaged over 60 m.p.h. for 12 hours, which is a very fine performance on the San Sebastian circuit.
The Grand Finale of the meeting was the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, 31st July, for 1500 c.c. cars. Once more Delage, Bugatti and Talbot teams were all entered, but again their actual meeting was postponed to the Greek calends. The Talbots having proved unable to beat the Delages in the French Grand Prix were withdrawn, and the race as last year, became a DelageBugatti duel. The Halford was also a non-starter, and the only outsider was therefore a straight-8 Maserati driven by Palaccio, who it will be remembered drove a Bugatti in the Targa Vlorio. The Delages were handled as before by Benoist, Bourlier and Morel, and the Bugattis had the same drivers as in the San Sebastian Grand Prix. In spite of the small number of competitors, it was soon apparent that it was going to be a thrilling race. Benoist took the lead at the outset, followed by Bourlier, but the Bugattis soon proved that on a road circuit they were well able to hold their own. On the third lap, Benoist set up a lap record at 84.1 m.p.h., and after it the order was as follows :—
1. Benoist (Delage).
2. Materassi (Bugatti).
3. Connelli (Bugatti).
4. Dubonnet (Bugatti). Bourlier (Delage).
6. Morel (Delage).
7. Palaccio (Maserati). At the end of the seventh lap Materassi was 31 seconds behind Benoist, but on the eighth lap he skidded into a wall and lost 1 min 18 secs. Just before half distance, Morel withdrew his Delage, and three laps later Benoist stopped to change plugs. While thus occupied Materassi dashed past, so that at this point the order was as follows, the leader having an advantage of 3 minutes 3 seconds :
1. Materassi (Bugatti).
2. Benoist (Delage).
3. Connelli (Bugatti). Things looked bright for Bugatti, but on the 26th lap Materassi stopped to change a wheel and fill up with petrol and water, and when he got away again had a lead of but 27 seconds on the Delage. Excitement was now at fever heat, and on the 27th round Benoist proceeded to break his own lap record at 84 m.p.h., and on the next he passed Materassi and came past the tribunes with a lead of 2 seconds. On the 29th lap Materassi regained the lead, and two laps later had a lead of 2 seconds on his rival ; and then on taking the bend where Wagner
had crashed on the Thursday, he too skidded and wrecked his car against a brick wall. Benoist, who was only a few yards behind saw nothing but a cloud of dust, braked violently and skidded completely round, but fortunately did not damage his car.
With his chief rival out of it and nine more laps to go Benoist had the race well in hand. In the meantime, however, Palaccio had retired and Dubonnet had handed his Bugatti over to Chiron, who went in chase of Connelli, but broke down before he could catch him.
The final order was therefore as follows :
1. Benoist (Delage), 5h. 20m. 45s., 80.5 m.p.h.
2. Connelli (Bugatti), 5h. 23m. 2s.
3. Bourlier (Delage), 5h. 28m. 12s.
The order therefore was exactly reversed as compared to last year’s race when the result was Bugatti—DelageBugatti. Delage has now beaten both Talbot and Bugatti, and may consider itself the champion car of the year, while Benoist has won the first two important Grands Prix of the season. the 2-litre cars consisted of a 1925 Grand Prix Alfa Romeo driven by Campari, and seven Bugattis. Rain was falling during the race, but the Fiat soon showed itself to be immensely fast, beating all the 2-litre cars, and clocking 94.96 m.p.h. for a lap, finally winning at 92.88 m.p h. for the 50 kilometres. The full result was as follows :-•
1. Bordino (1500 c.c. Fiat), 20 m. 4s. 2.. Maggi (2000 c.c. Bugatti), 20m. 35s.
3. Campari (2000 c.c. Alfa-Romeo), 20 in. 37s.
4. Materassi (2000 c.c. Bugatti), 20m. 37;s.
5. Bona (2000 c.c. Bugatti).
6. Cirio (1500 c.c. Bugatti).
7. Serboli ( I 500c. c. Chi ri bi ri) .
8. Rossi (2000 c.c. Bugatti).
9. Probot (2000 c.c. Bugatti). After these preliminaries, the European Grand Prix, the piece de resistance of the meeting took place. Six cars lined up for the start, asfollows :-Benoist on the Delage, Minoia and Morandi on the new straight-eight 0.M.’s, Souders, the winner of this year’s Indianapolis
Race on a Duesenberg, and Cooper and Kreis on the two front wheel drive Coopers, which are now known as Marmon Specials, and which have Miller engines. The Fiats were absentees as they were finished too late to run in a long-distance race. Much had been expected of the duel between the old world and the new, but actually the American cars were very disappointing. In 1923, 1925 and 1927 America has sent cars to Monza which have been much faster on
paper than any contemporary European cars, and which have yet been beaten, so unsuitable even for Monza, are cars built for pure track work. At the fall of the flag Benoist shot to the front, with the pack at his heels, with the exception of Morandi, who stalled his 0.111.’S engine and was left on the starting line. On the first lap, Kreis’ Marmon came to a standstill, an old wound in the form of a broken crank-case received while practising, having reopened. Benoist was first after one lap, with Souders second and Minoia third. The order was maintained for several laps, and at the end of ten the times were as follows :
1. Benoist (Delage), 40m. 41s.
2. Souders (Duesenberg), 43m. 47 ,;s.
3. Minoia (0.M.), 45m. 55s.
4. Morandi (0.M.), 47m. 4l ,s.
5. Cooper (Marmon), 47m. 56s. On the twelfth circuit Souders was lapped by Benoist, and three laps later Cooper turned his car over to Kreis. The latter, however, failed to make much of a Show, while Souders retired with a faulty ignition system. Towards the end of the race, Minoia had to make several pit stops, with the result that he was passed by both Morandi and Kreis. The final result was as follows :
1. Benoist (Delage), 3h. 26m. 591s. (at 90.04 m.p.h.).
2. Morandi (0.111.), 3h. 49m. 32s.
3. Kreis (Marmon), 4h. 2m. 51s.
4. Minoia (0.M.), 4h. 2m. 28s. The final event of the day was the Grand Prix of Milan for which all the cars which had run in the previous races were eligible. Count Maggi was :first off the line with his 2-litre Bugatti, with Campari (Alfa-Romeo) and Materassi (Bugatti) close behind. By the end of the first lap however Bordino. had got the lead with the 1500 c.c. Fiat, while Kreis had retired with engine trouble. Behind Bordino closely packed came Campari, Materassi and Maggi, and their close fought duel was continued for three laps, when Materassi retired, saying that Campari was baulking him. The final result therefore was as follows :
1. Bordino (Fiat), 19m. 42′.s. (at 94.57).
2. Campari (Alfa-Romeo), 20m. 24s.
3. -Maggi (Bugatti), 21m. 22s.
4. Zampieri (Amilcar), 24m. 4s.
The new Fiat is evidently a very fast car, and its performance in future races will be watched with considerable interest. . . ‘ *Ow, “