GOOD RACING AT PESCARA
HEAVY MORTALITY AMONG THE BIG CARS, BUT CARACCIOLA SURVIVES TO WIN FOR MERCEDES. THE NEW 1,300 c.c. ALFAS SHOW SPEED IN PRACTICE, BUT FAIL IN RACE
IN spite of the same field participating in most of the Grand Prix races this year, and the results being inevitable Mercedes victories, there has been plenty to interest students of the game in every race. It might have been thought that the races would develop a ” sameness ” which would detract from their interest, but in actual fact this has not been the ease.
At Livorno the Mercedes won fairly easily, but the next week-end at Pescara a very different tale was told. The Coppa Acerb°, I think, must be one of the finest races in the world ; it is certainly held on one of the best natural road circuits. Two of the ” legs ” are dead straight and permit of the maximum speeds of which even modern Grand Prix cars are capable, and the rest of the course is twisting, hilly, and altogether makes severe demands on the cars and drivers.
Twelve cars lined up at the start. They were three Mercedes, driven by Caracciola, Lang and Von Brauchitsch ; three AutoUnions driven by Nuvolari, Muller and Hasse ; two Delahayes driven by Dreyfus and Comotti; two Alfa-Romeos driven by Biondetti and Farina; Trossi’s Maserati ; and the independent Belmonda with his Alfa-Romeo. Nuvolari had made the fastest time in practice, and the partisan crowd were astonished and disappointed to see the • three silver Mercedes come round in line ahead formation at the end of the ‘first lap, with Nuvolari in fourth place, their order being Von Brauchitsch, Caracciola and Lang. The heavy retirements which were to decimate the field were not long in beginning. The first man to go was Biondetti, who was taking Sommer’s place in the Alfa Corse team, as the latter’s chest was still troubling him
a little after his crash a few weeks before. Then Von Brauchitsch pulled into the pits, got out of the car, and retired with
but a cursory examination of his car, and the third retirement in three laps came when Nuvolari failed to appear and later walked into the pits, having suffered petrol-pressure trouble. ” Carratsch ” was now firmly in the lead, being timed over the flying kilo metre on the long straight at 170.96 m.p.h., and lapping at 86.37 m.p.h., but Hermann Lang was following him like a shadow. Behind these two came Muller’s Auto-Union, extremely well driven, Trossi’s Maserati, going like the
wind after a start in the very last row, Farina’s Alfa-Romeo, Hasse’s Auto-Union, Belmonda’s privately-owned Alfa-Romeo, and the two Delahayes of Comotti and Dreyfus.
The last-named driver was making unwonted gestures as he passed the pits, obviously meaning that he was being held up by the car or cars in front. The culprit turned out to be none other than his team-mate, Comotti, who refused to play second-fiddle in front of his own countrymen. Dreyfus did such prodigious revs, on the indirect gears in an effort to pass (and it must be remembered that Comotti himself is no mean handler of a bolide) that the gearbox of the French driver’s Delahaye became considerably overheated and finally seized up.
The two leading Germans were not allowed to ease up in any way, for Trossi now repeated the brilliant driving he had displayed at Livorno the week before and proceeded to pass Muller. He gained on the Mercedes drivers, and was soon only 30 secs. behind Caracciola, with Lang in between them. The Italian crowd began to go wild, with excitement, and they could hardly contain themselves when Lang’s car caught fire in one of the chicanes and was unable to continue, leaving Caracciola alone to uphold the _Mercedes colours. And now it was time for the ears to come in to refuel. ” Carratsch ” was as quick as usual, taking only 43 secs., but this short stop permitted Muller to pass into the lead-the first time this brilliant newcomer to the Auto-Union team has had this experience in a motor-race. Trossi, after beating the lap record with a speed of 80.58 m.p.h., came in and handed over to Luigi Villoresi, who was thus having his first run on a big car in a Grand Prix race. He gave a very good account of himself, indeed, lying third behind Muller, who had now been repassed by Caracciola. A little later he became second, for Muller ran out of petrol on the far side of the course and had to abandon his car. Behind Villoresi mile Hasse on the sole remaining AutoUnion, Farina taking things quietly on his Alfa, Behnonda on the independent
Alfa, and the two Delahayes, whose battle had not yet reached its climax in the aforementioned retirement of Dreyfus. The Mercedes folk were not feeling too happy about things in general, having all their eggs in one basket, or car. The car they particularly feared was the Maserati, which appeared to have found the desir able quality of reliability. Their uneasi ness was not lessened when the Italian car was called in and a hasty change of drivers made, Trossi now returning to the wheel. The Count set off like a bullet to catch Caracciola, but at that moment the car took it into its head to develop
some form of carburation trouble which finally caused its retirement. With Dreyfus and Hasse also falling out, the field was reduced to four, and Caracciola continued on his serene way to the finish, a thoroughly deserving win
ner. Herr Neubauer breathed freely once more.
It had been a terrific race. Sixty-seven per cent. of the starters had fallen out, and all credit was therefore due to the survivors. The chief cause of this heavy mortality was undoubtedly the long straights, which tempt drivers to stress their engines to breaking point. In these conditions Caracciola’s restraint had its own reward, although he did not actually spare his car, as his lap speeds showed. His was a great race, marked by superb judgment and masterly driving. RESULT The Copps. Acerb°
1. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), 412.8 kilometres In 3h. 3m. 45.65s. Speed 82.54 m.p.h.
2. Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 3h. 7m. 2s.
3. Belmonda, (Alfa-Romeo), 3h. 10m. 17s.
4. Corneal (Delahaye), 1 lap behind. The big event was preceded, as usual, by a race for 1,500 c.c. cars. Considerable interest attached to this, for it was the second meeting of the new Alfa-Romeos
and the well-tried Maseratis. It was regretted that no English drivers or cars were present, for previous British winners of this race include Whitney Straight, Richard Seaman and the late H. C. Hamilton.
The Alfa-Romeos had done well in practice, and in the hands of Emilio Villoresi and Seven i were strongly fancied to win. The most important and dangerous of the horde of Maseratis which opposed them were those driven by Luigi Villoresi, Pietsch and Barbieri.
The expected clash of the two makes did not materialise, however, for the Alfas were beset by an exasperating plug trouble. Emilio Villoresi was continually at the pits, finally giving up, while Seven i managed to finish fifth. In between their visits to the pits the little cars went like bombs, so there is obviously not very much wrong with them.
The two ” works ” Maseratis driven by Luigi Villoresi and Pietsch dominated the race, finishing in that order, Pietsch was credited with a flying kilometre officially timed at 135.9 m.p.h. RESULT 1,500 c.o. Race
1. L. Villareal (Maserati), 154.8 kilometres In Th. 10m. 40s. Speed 82.00 m.p.h.
2. Pietsch (Maserati), lh. 13m. 20s. 8. Barbieri (Maserati). 4. Libecelo (Maserati).
5. Seven l (Alfa-Romeo).
6. Plate (Talbot).