TRAGEDY MARS THE COPPA ACERBO GUY MOLL MEETS HIS DEATH AT PESCARA-RACE WON BY FAGIOLI (MERCEDES-BENZ) WITH NUVOLARI (MASERATI) SECOND. CHIRON AND CARACCIOLA BOTH HAVE NARROW ESCAPES FROM INJURY.
ROBABLY the most fiereely con tested road race of the season,
the Coppa Acerb°, on August 12th, culminated in a victory for the German .Mercedes-Benz, driven by Luigi Fagioli. The Ferrari Alfa-komeos, hitherto almost invincible, met with a run of disastrous bad luck. First of all Chiron’s car caught fire at the pits, and was completely destroyed, and then Guy Moll had a terrible crash which resulted in his death. The remaining car, driven by Varzi, finished fourth. Rain had been falling steadily before the start, but stopped a few minutes before
Minister Scarara dropped the flag. The start was really impressive, with the cars arranged in the following order : 1st row, Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), Varzi (AlfaRomeo) and Von Stuck (Auto Union) ; 2nd row, Nuvolari (Maserati) and Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ; 3rd row, Penn Hughes (Alfa-Romeo), Corsi (Maserati) and Whitney Straight (Maserati) ; 4th row, Earl Howe (Meserati), Zehender (Maserati) Henne (Mercedes-Benz), and Moll (AlfaRomeo) ; 5th row, Chiron (Alfa-Romeo), Brivio (Bugatti), Sebastian (Auto Union), Ghersi (Alfa-Romeo), and Hamilton (Maserati). From this acceleration test Of the three leading marques, the Mercedes Benz, driven by Caracciola emerged the victor. But every inch of the first lap was fought out with great determination by ” Carratsch,’• Von Stuck and Varzi. This was the order at the end of the first lap, and behind the Ferrari Alfa, came Fagioli, Moll, Penn-Hughes, Henne, Chiron, Zehender and the rest. The “
Mere” had covered the first lap in 12 mins. 18secs., and for seven more circuits the German driver held to his lead. Then he failed to appear, and the news was announced that he had met with a terrific accident, fortunately without injuring himself at all.
The order for those seven laps was not so constant among the other cars. At first Von Stuck was in second place. but Varzi deprived him of this position on the third lap. Fagioli was coming up fast, however. and got ahead of Stuck to creep up behind Varzi. Then the Ferrari driver stopped to change two wheels, so the order was Mercedes first and second, Auto Union third. And this on an Italian circuit !
On the sixth lap Stuck retired, while Nuvolari (who had been lying fourth) pulled into his pit for an adjustment.
Whitney Straight also retired. After Caracciola’s crash his team mate Fagioli„ took the lead, only to come into the pits for new wheels. This ” general-post ” resulted in Guy Moll taking the lead, with the German motor-cyclist Henne (Mercedes-Benz), close behind him. Chiron had stopped at his pit for an investigation of his engine when suddenly the whole car burst into flames. Louis raised his hands to his face to save his sight, and was promptly dragged out of the cock-pit by mechanics. His Alfa
Romeo was soon a sheet of flame, and the whole car and pit were burnt out. At half-distance the order was follows :
1. G. Moll (Alfa-Romeo), 2h. 3m. 275.
2. E. Henne (Mem’as-Benz), 2h. 3m. 59s.
3. A. Varzi (Alfa-Romeo), 2b. 4m. 28s.
4. L. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz), 2h. 4m. 29s.
5. T. Nuvolari (Maserati), 2h. 7m. 51s.
6. A. Brivio (Bugatti), 2h. 8m. 44s.
7. C. Penn Hughes (Alfa-Romeo), 2h. 13m. 52s.
The race had been a bad one for retirements, as the following list shows : Ghersi, (aracciola, Stuck, Hamilton, Straight, Zehender, Howe and Chiron. Corni had overturned his .Maserati, but was not seriously hurt. Varzi had taken over Ghersi’s car, and when Moll stopped to refuel he once more as •• . .• ‘
1., ..t . ) ‘
led the field. Fagioli was only a matter of 15 seconds behind him, however, and a quick stop for a wheel change by Varzi gave the Mercedes-Benz the lead. Varzi handed over to Ghersi. Moll was now second, with Gherzi third and Nuvolari a dangerous third.
Moll fully realised that he would have his work cut out to reduee Fagioli’s load of I minute, so he put on speed. He gained some ground, but on the 18th lap, he attempted to pass two other cars at a point where a local shower had fallen. His Alfa-Romeo got out of control when he was travelling at great speed, and after a series of skids crashed into a house. Pcor Moll was not dead when extricated from the wreckage, but he died soon afterwards. Fagioli continued to lead for the rest of the race, with Nuvolari second. Brivio moved up into third place with the 3.5-litre Bugatti, which had not been running too well, and this was the order until the end. The finish was greatly overshadowed by Moll’s tragic accident, for the young driver had won everyone’s admiration this season by his wonderful leap into prominence. There was a rumour that Henne’s Mercedes which Moll was trying to pass, had been put under seals. Moll actually started racing on motorcycles in Algeria, where his family live. After a good deal of experience at speed trials and small races, his patron Marcel Lehoux advised him to try his luck in Continental races. It was with the latter’s single camshaft Bugatti, that Mollfirst raced in France, and at his initial appearance finished third in the Marseilles Grand Prix, 1933 saw him finish second to Lehoux in the Paris Grand Prix, and get ” thirds ” at Nime and Nice on a 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo. At the beginning of this season he placed an Order with the
Al fa-Romeo factory for a Alonopusto, but the ban on foreign owners stopped this move. Instead he joined the Scuderia Ferrari, for whom he has this year won the Monaco Grand Prix and the Avus Grand Prix, finished second at Tripoli and Rheims, and third in the French Grand Prix at Montlhery. One of the most promising young drivers in the game has been cut off in his prime, and his untimely death at the early age of 24 will be deeply regretted by all followors of motor-racing.
RESULT OF COPPA ACERRO. r, Unlimited Race. pp 1. L. Fagioli 1;enz), 3h. 58m. 56s.
1. L. Fagioli 1;enz), 3h. 58m. 56s. 129.658 k.p.h.
2. T. Nuvolari (Maserati). 4h. 3m. 35s.
3. A. Briviu (Bugatti), 4h. Sin. 75.
4. Ghersi-Varzi (Alta.Romeo), 4h. 5m. 27s. S. Sebastian (Auto Union). 1 lap later. 6. E. Hent0 (Mere “di=s-Benz), I laps later. Before the big-car race, the class for 1,100 c.c. machines was run ()ft over a short distance of four laps. It will be remembered that ‘Vhitney Straight won this event last year on an M.G. ilthignette. The same car was running again, this time in the hands of R. J. .B. Seaman,