STRAZZA-LURANI AND FAULKNER-CLARKE FIRST AND THIRD IN 1,500 c.c. CLASS OF TARGA ABRUZZO, WON BY CORTESE ON A ” PESCARA ” ALFA-ROMEO. SEAMAN (E.R.A.) VICTOR IN 11,-LITRE CLASS OF THE COPPA ACERBO. VARZI SCORES AN EASY VICTORY IN THE BIG EVENT, DRIVING AN AUTO-UNION
August means holiday time and the sea to the majority of Italians, and if the vacation can be combined with seeing some motor-racing, so much the better. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Targa Abruzzo, which is a 24-hour race on the lines of the Le Mans classic and the Coppa Acerbo, the racing car event, are well supported and attract thousands of spectators. One side of the triangular course runs parallel to the Adriatic not half-a-mile away, and after an early rise to see the practising or a day spent on the grilling stands, how pleasant to finish the day on the sunny shore, acquiring the mahogany tint which is so popular nowadays !
The Pescara course is longer than most present-day circuits, a lap measuring 16 miles. The southern leg is twisty with numerous rises and falls and two acute hair-pins, the northern one is similar but finishes with a fine straight, while another fourkilometre straight parallel with the coast brings the cars back to the start.
For the Targa Abruzzo, which was held this year for the second time, a regular town of temporary buildings was put up behind the stands, including a ” hotel ” with a hundred camp beds, allotted to the drivers, baths, a restaurant and a hospital. Forty-seven cars actually took part in the race and these were lined up Le Mans fashion in front of the pits, at one side of the canon formed by two huge stands. The race was to start at midnight, but a blaze of lights from all points illuminated the scene as clearly as day.
There were only a few supercharged cars, the fastest being Danese’s 2.3-litre Alfa and Rocco’s 1i-litre Maserati. The only English entries were the AstonMartins of Hall and Lurani and Clarke and Faulkner. Hall fell ill at the last minute and was unable to drive, and his place was taken by Strazza, the Italian
driver who did so well in the Mille Miglia at the wheel of a Maserati. The starting signal was given by Vittorio Mussolini, a son of 11 Duce ; a blast on a siren was used instead of the usual flag. All the 47 runners got away with
out incident and after two laps spectators were thrilled to see Danese, who had started at the far end of the line coming round in the lead. Actually the handicap which supercharged cars carried made it impossible for them to compete with their rivals the former being deemed to have a capacity 100 to 160 per cent. greater than those with unblown engines. Danese started off lapping at 117 k.p.h. (72.7 m.p.h.) while Cortese and Rosa on the unsupercharged six-cylinder Alfas, which were fitted with streamline saloon bodies, were doing 116, with the leading Fiat running at 97 k.p.h. As appeared later,
the speeds allotted to the various classes of unsupercharged cars worked out very fairly. After three hours the first car on formula was the Ballila Fiat driven by Luigi Villoresi and Spotorno with an index of
1.21, which was averaging over 10 m.p.h. better than their set speed. Second was Cortese 1.19, third Rossi and Rivola (Ballila) 1.17, fourth Strazza and fifth Faulkner both on Aston-Martins, a fact which cheered the few Englishmen who were there. Danese’s supercharged Alfa was sixth.
A few cars fell out quite early with mechanical trouble. At four in the morning the first pit stops took place, and were marked in most cases by a complete lack of organisation. Honourable exception must be made of the Ferrari pit which was very nippy in dealing with the Alfas of Cortese and Rosa, and also the two Aston-Martin depots. During the next three hours things changed considerably. Villoresi’s Fiat dropped right back, but Rossi and Rivola on another car of the same marque took
its place. Strazza forced his way into second place while Cortese dropped back to third, Rosa-Comotti on the other unsupercharged Alfa lay fourth and Danese fifth. Faulkner at this stage dropped right back.
By nine in the morning the order had again changed, Cortese and Seven i now taking the , lead, following the slowing and later retirement of the leading Fiat. Faulkner had made a spectacular recovery and was seen in second place, followed by Rossi-Rivola, Danese-Filipponi, and Mongin-Paris who were making a good showing on their ,Delahaye. Lurani and Strazza were delayed for half an hour with valve trouble, and then continued at their old speed. The first accident occurred about midday, when Oneto (Lancia) shot off rhe road, but escaped without injury. Dane up to now had been driving with splendid
THE PESCARA CIRCUIT–continued spirit, averaging 109 k.p.m., but about two o’clock he started to slow. A small crack had developed in the cylinder block and he deemed it wiser to withdraw.
Order after 12 hours.
1. Cortese-Severi (2.3-litre Alla-Romeo) Index 1.190. 1,293 km. (66.9 m.p.h.).
2. Faulkner-Clarke (14-litre Aston-Martin) 1.173. 1,178 km.
3. Rosa-Comotti (2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo) 1.172. 1,268 Ion.
4. Strazza-Lurani (14-litre Aston-Martin) 1.159.
5. Cantoni-Ragnoli (1,300 c.c. Lancia) 1.138.
6. Becearia-Zuccarini (Ba!lila Flat) 1.131.
The leading Alfa had been displaying amazing speed and was in fact only 24 kilometres behind Danese’s supercharged car at half distance. Any hope that Faulkner and Clarke might challenge it was lost when the Aston developed ignition and brake trouble, causing it to lose much ground. Strazza on the other Aston then began a stern chase after Rosa and Cornotti, lapping at 98 k.p.h. and actually gaining ground in spite of weakened brakes. His efforts were in vain however, and the order here and lower down the list remained unchanged during the concluding hours of the race. Cortese and Seven i thus gained their second victory in the Targa Abruzzo, at an average speed of 66.7 m.p.h. as compared with 64.1 m.p.h. last year.
The Targa Abruzzo like its forerunner at Le Mans provides the finest possible test of stamina, and equal credit is due to the , four firms, Alfa-Romeo, AstonMartin, Fiat and Lancia, whose products made such a fine showing. It is interesting to note too, that the Aston which won its class covered a greater distance than was accomplished by the fastest supercharged car to finish.
General Classification. 18 cars finished.
1. Cortese-Severi (2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo) 1.192.
2. Rosa-Comotti (2.3-litre Alfa-Ronteo) 1.174.
3. Strazza-Lurani (14-litre Aston-Martin) 1.167.
4. 13ianco-Delpino (996 c.c. Fiat) 1.120.
5. Peroni-Pompel (996 c.c. Fiat) 1.116.
6. Cantoni-Ragnoli (1.300 c.c. Lancia) 1.115.
6. Cantoni-Ragnoli (1.300 c.c. Lancia) 1.115. Class Winners.
Supercharged cars over 14-litres. None classified. Supercharged cars under 14-litres.
1. Altieri-Scesa (Alfa-Romeo) 2,232 km. Speed 57.7 m.p.h.
2. Calosi-Costantini (Alfa-Romeo) 1,416 km. Unsupercharged ears over 2-litres.
1. Cortese-Severi (2,300 Alfa-Romeo) 2,577 km. Speed 66.7 m.p.h.
2. Rosa-Comotti (2,300 Alfa-Romen) 2,540 ‘km.
3. Mongin-Paris (3-litre Delahaye) 2,422 km.
4. Prince Nicolas of Rotunania (2,300 AlfaRomeo) 2,365 km.
1. Unsupercharged cars up to 2-litres. Straim-Lurani (14-litre Aston-Martin) 2,344
2. 3, km.
Straim-Lurani (14-litre Speed 60.7 m.p.h. Cantoni-liagnoli (1,300 c.c. Lancia) 2,203 km. Faulkner-Clarke (14-litre Aston-Martin) 2,150
Unsapercharged cars 1,100 c.c.
1. Bianco-Delpino (Fiat) 2,166 km. Speed 56.1 m.p.h.
2. Peroni-Pompei (Fiat) 2,147 km.
3. Voboli-Chieregato (Fiat) 2,103 km.
Fastest Lap : Danese (2.3 Alfa-Romeo S.). Speed 75 m.p.h.
THE GRAND PRIX RACES
Saturday and Sunday had seen the 24hour race. The two races for Grand Prix cars took place on the following Thurs day. Mercedes had withdrawn from the large event, the rumour being that the famous factory was experimenting with new engines. This left as principal rivals the Auto-Unions driven by Stuck, Varzi and Rosemeyer, Etancelin’s new V-8 Mas erati and the Ferrari Alfas. Stuck’s car
was eliminated in practising with a cracked block and cylinder head, while the blades of the supercharger on the Maserati gave trouble, which was not surprising as they run at double engine speed, and this car was also withdrawn.
Varzi was the fastest over the flying kilometre, his speed working out at 183 m.p.h., while Nuvolari led the Alfas with 168 m.p.h. No less creditable was the 143 m.p.h. which was clocked by Seaman on his E.R.A. Bianco on the fastest 1ilitre Maserati was timed at 124 m.p.h.
The It-Litre Race The of the Pescara races
organisers of the Pescara races seem to have a mania for early rising, and the 1i-litre race was originally arranged to start at six in the morning, but mercifully this was altered to half past eight. No less than 27 cars had been entered, eight of them by English drivers, but only twelve cars finally came to the line. These were :
Carnevali (Bugatti) ; Tongue (M.G.); Bergamini (Maserati); Bianco (Maserati); Steinweg (Bugatti). Vismaru (Talbot); Plate (Talbot); Tuffanelli (Maserati); Ca,ttelb Ire° (Maserati); K.. D. Evans (M.G.); Seaman (E.R.A.) and Ghersi (Maserati). The Talbots were of course two of the
old eight-cylinder cars. The small-car race was held over four laps of the circuit. Seaman, winner of last year’s and at the wheel of what was plainly the fastest car, was considered a likely winner, but Bianco and Tuffanelli
• were dangerous rivals. As it happened the latter driver went off the road in the first lap and damaged his car, and Seaman who led from the start, drove his E.R.A. consistently to repeat his victory.
RESULT 1. Seaman (E.R.A.), 48m. 420., 78.9 m.p.h., 2.
1. Seaman (E.R.A.), 48m. 420., 78.9 m.p.h., 2. Bianco (Maserati), 49m. 520. 77 m.p.h. 3. Steinweg (Bugatti), 51m. 190. 74.9 m.p.h. 4. Oberst. (Maserati) 51m. 470. 5. Bergamini (Maserati), 51m. 670. 6. Tongue (M.G. Midget). 7. Carnevali (Bugatti).
THE COPPA ACERBO
The prospect of an Italian car winning the Coppa Acerbo appeared remote even to the most sanguine, though Nuvolari’s. magnificent performance at the German Grand Prix showed how the unexpected can happen. Whatever the result, however, there will always be crowds of spectators where Nuvolari and Varzi are to meet, and special trains brought loads of wildly excited race-fans from every part of Italy.
The tyres of the Auto-Unions had given trouble during practising, and would do so again if the sun shone, but the weathei was dull and the roads were cool on the day of the race. Rain, the other condition which would have favoured the Alfas. seemed equally far off, and Nuvolari looked very grim as he sat in the pit talking to Chiron and the team chiefs. The Scuderia Ferrari had entered six cars, those driven by Nuvolari, Chiron, and Brivio being fitted with the new independent suspension, while Tadini, Pintacuda and Cornotti were driving cars fitted with the orthodox suspension.
Roseineyer had drawn a position in the first row, along with Nuvolari and Chiron, but he relinquished it in favour of Varzi. When the flag dropped Nuvolari got away with a rush, with ‘Varzi close on his tail, but before they reached SpoItore Varzi had overhauled the Alfa and was two hundred yards ahead, and passed through the start with a lead of half a minute, having accomplished the standing lap at a speed of 89.3 m.p.h. Rosemeyer was third, followed by Chiron and Brivio. Varzi opened up further on his second lap, which he completed in 10 minutes 35 seconds or 90.9 m.p.h., beating poor Guy Moll’s best time by 16 seconds. Nuvolari was sixteen seconds behind. Rosemeyer was not to be seen, and Pintacuda
dropped out with engine trouble. The second Auto-Union limped in two minutes later with both rear tyres flat, and a large dent in the tail. Rosemeyer had skidded into a wall, but without serious damage to the car. Two wheels were changed in thirty seconds, and he set off again in pursuit of the others.
Another lap and Dusio and Soffietti both on Maseratis, drew into the pits and retired. The order at the end of four laps was as follows. 1. Varzl, 42m. 42s. (Speed 89.6 m.p.h.)
2. Nuvolari, 44m. 46s.
3. Brivio, 45m. 36s.
4. Tadini, 45m. 38s. 6. Cornotti, 45m. 56s.
Varzi continued to put on speed, and at last Nuvolari decided to ease back a little. Rosemeyer, except for his momentary lapse in the second lap, drove extremely well and passed car after car in his efforts to regain the position he had lost. On the seventh lap he had forced his way into third position and following team orders did not attempt to pass the redoubtable Tazio. Chiron and Brivio were delayed at the pits with plug trouble, and in addition the former did not seem wholly recovered from a recent attack of influenza, which seriously upset his driving. He therefore
handed over his car to Pintacuda, who continued the battle with enthusiasm. All cars same in ta refuel just before half distance. Varzi, Rosemeyer and Brivio also found it necessary to change their rear tyres. The order at half distance was as follows:
1. Varzi (Auto-Union) lb. 51m. 19s. (86.4 m.p.h.).
2. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo) 111. 55m. 5s. 3. Rosemeyer (Auto-Union) lb. 57m. MR&
4. Brivio (Alfa-Romeo) 111. 58m. 3e.
5. Comotti (Alfa-Romeo) lb. 58m. 48f s.
7. Chiron. In spite of the tyre change Varzi’s pit stop of 1 minute 5 seconds was actually 2 seconds faster than that of the Ferrari personnel, but Nuvolari now decided on a fresh attack, and driving with a brilliance which made the watching crowds nearly delirious with excitement gained
perceptibly on the German car. After three laps, however, all was over and the “Mantovano Volante” drove slowly up to his pit to retire with a broken valve.
The last seven laps were quite uneventful, the two German cars running steadily ahead of the Alfas without appearing to hurry themselves unduly, though averaging over 86 m.p.h. is fast enough for most people. For the rest, all one could do was to hope that the new twelve-cylinder • AlfaRomeos, which are being prepared for the Italian Grand Prix will prove the equal
of the German machine. Virtuosity such as Nuvolari showed deserves a car to match it. At the same time one cannot help being amazed at the performance of the Monopostos. The transmission weakness which troubled them earlier in the season now seems to have been overcome.
RESULT. 43m. 458.
I. Vaud (5.5-litre Auto-Union) 3h. 43m. 458. (86.6 m.p.h.).
2. Roserneyer (5.5.-litre Auto-Union) 3h. 47m. 7s.
3. Brivio (3.5-litre Alfa-Romeo) 3h. 52m. 20s.
4. Comotti (3.5-litre Alfa-Romeo :1 lap behind.
5. ‘radial (3.5-litre Alfa-Romeo) 1 lap behind.
6. Pintacuda (3.5-litre Alfa-Romeo) 1 lap behind. The Coppa Acerb° is held over 20 laps of a 16 mile *cult.