THE GRAND PRIX DU COMMINGES
THE GRAND PRIX DU COMMINGES EASY VICTORY FOR FAGIOLI (MONOPOSTO ALFA ROMEO). NUVOLARI AND BORZACCHINI DECLARE FORFEIT.
THE alterations which have been made this summer to the circuit of SaintGaudens were completed in ample time for the race on August 20th. The 5 kilometre new road, which reduced the length of the circuit from 26 to 11 kilometres, was undoubtedly a great improvement, allowing the spectators to see the cars far more frequently.
Only three cars turned out for the first practice, Lehoux (Alfa Romeo), Waldthausen (Alfa Romeo) and Miguel (Bugatti), their fastest times being made in that order, as follows : 4m. 47s., 4m. 48s., and 5m. 10s. On the second day six people lapped the course, the fastest being Moll (Alfa Romeo) in 4m. 45s. After him came Lehoux (Alfa Romeo( and Waldthausen (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 46s.; Villars and Wimille (both on Alfas) 4m. 48s.; Czaikowski (4.9 Bugatti) 4m. 50s. ; Etancelin (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 52s. ; Sommer (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 54s. ; Miguel (Bugatti) 5m. 14s.; and Gaupillat (Bugatti) 5m. 44s.
Then came the bombshell. Up to this moment a really first-class struggle had been anticipated between Nuvola,ri and Camp an (Maserati single-seaters), Fagioli (Alfa Romeo single seater), Borzacchini (Alfa 2,600 c.c.) and Chiron (Alfa 2,300 c.c.). First to forfeit his entry fee was Chiron, whose car could not be repaired in time after the pile-up in the Swedish G.P. Then, to add to the organiser’s misery, Campari was not allowed, by doctor’s orders, to race again after his accident in the Coppa Acerb°. To complete the picture came a telegram from Nuvolari and Borzacchini to say that they could not arrive at St. Gaudens in time for the race-an excuse which gave rise to considerable anger among French sporting circles.
Luring the final practice Winfille (Alfa Romeo) made fastest time in 4m. 29s., a considerable increase on Moll’s previous figure. Other times were Etancelin (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 30s.; Moll (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 34s. ; Sommer (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 40s.; Lehoux (Alfa Romeo) and Czaikowski (4.9 Bugatti) 4m. 41s.; Waldthausen (Alfa Romeo) 4m. 43s. ; Gaupillat (Bugatti) 4m. 56s.; Felix (Alfa Romeo) 5m. Gs.; Miguel (Bugatti) 5m. 16s.
Race organised by Le Syndicat d’Initiative du Conuninges.
Length of circuit : 11 km. 005.
Length of race : 35 laps, 385 km. 17s. STARTERS.
Villars (Alfa Romeo), Sommer (Alfa Romeo), Felix (Alfa Romeo), Waldthausen (Alfa Romeo), Wimille (Alfa Romeo), Czaikowski (Bugatti), Lehoux (Alfa Romeo), Gaupillat (Bugatti), Straight (Maserati), Etancelin ( Alfa Romeo) , Zehender (Maserati), Miguel (Bugatti), Moll (Alfa Romeo), Fagioli (Alfa Romeo).
And so came the day of the race, and’ at 3 o’clock the cars were ready on the starting line. Fagioli (Alfa Romeo monoposto) and Whitney Straight (Maserati) were too late for practice, but the former was nevertheless favourite for the race, while the latter, after his good performances in the Swedish G.P. and the Coppa Acerbo, could be relied upon to put up a good show. Another absentee from practice was Zehender, who was put into the last row. The drivers and cars paraded before the huge grandstands one by one, and their announcement on the loudspeakers received a cheer from the immense crowd. After several days of torrid heat the sun was fortunately obscured by clouds on the day of the race.
The front row was composed of Wimille, Etancelin and Moll, the three fastest practice men. Fagioli was in the second rank. On the fall of the flag Etancelin leapt ahead, and Fagioli soon passed Wimille and Moll. As was expected, Fagioli was well ahead at the end of the first lap, followed by 4 seconds later by Etancelin, who in turn was 1 second ahead of Wimille. Then came the pack, Lehoux, Moll, Waldthausen, Zehender, Czaikowski, Gaupillat, Straight, Sommer, Villars, Felix and Miguel.
Fagioli had the measure of all other competitors. After a few laps Etancelin, by dint of ferocious driving, succeeded in drawing level with the rear wheels of the ” monoposto ” Alfa. Fagioli merely opened the throttle and Etancelin was put definitely into second place. The Frenchman wisely decided, after this experience, that it was useless to attempt to cope with a clearly superior car, and contented himself with keeping ahead of Wimille.
Sommer, Gaupillat and Lehoux all came into the pits with various troubles. The first-named retired, while the other two were stationery for a long time. Zehender distinguished himself by turning completely round on a corner, and was disqualified because a spectator, unasked, helped him to restart his engine by pushing the car.
After 10 laps Fagioli (Alfa Romeo) led Etancelin (Alfa Romeo) by 3 seconds, Then came Wimille, Moll, Czaikowski, Straight, Waldhausen, Villars, Miguel, Felix and Lehoux. Then Fagioli ran right away from the rest of the field, making fastest lap so far with a time of 4m. 29s. In five laps he was 30 seconds ahead of Etancelin.
The next man in trouble was Whitney Straight, who came into the pits on three successive laps and faialy retired. Lehoux was delayed with a faulty gearchange on his new Alfa, but courageously kept going.
After 20 laps had been covered the drivers began to come in for refuelling. Wimille and Etancelin stopped at the same time, but whereas the former was away in 30 seconds, poor Etancelin could not restart his Alfa Romeo, and lost five minutes before he finally got going. This cost him three places, for Wimille, Moll and Waldthausen all passed by while he was struggling to make his refractory Alfa start.
And so it went on until the end. Fagioli, with by far the best car in the race, had lapped everyone except Wimille when the flag was waved at the end of the race. Wimille, Moll and Wadlthausen, finishers in that order, had all driven a good race. Whitney Straight, if it had not been for his mechanical trouble, would have finished fourth.
I. L. Fagioli (Alfa Romeo 2,650 c.c.), 2h. 41m. 1 2/5s., 143.943 k.p.h.
2. J. P. Wimille (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 2h. 42m. 59s.
3. G. Moll (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 2h. 45m. 38s.
4. Baron Walthausen (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 1 lap.
5. P. Etancelin (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 1 lap.
6. Villain (Alfa Romeo 2,600 c.c.), Slaps.
7. Miguel (Bugatti 2,300 c.c.), 4 laps.
8. M. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo 2,350 c.c.), 7 laps.