From the Motor Sport Archive
THE ITALIAN long-distance classic race is held on Liberation Day, April 25th, and this year it was on a Saturday, with practice on the two previous days. This year the 5.75-kilometre road circuit was used, as for the Italian Grand Prix, for time and weather have caused the concrete-banked track to deteriorate and the AC of Milano cannot afford a resurfacing programme yet awhile, so all the fun of the chicanes, before each banking and the pounding round the banking itself were gone from this year's race and it was a straightforward high-speed dice round the Grand Prix circuit, at comparable speeds. Minimum practice speeds were specified, in order to weed out some of the slower cars, and 40 were destined to start, in three groups: GT, Sport and Sport-Prototypes, which are Groups 4, 5 and 6, but in fact only 38 cars were ready by 10.30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Practice soon showed that the 3-litre Group 6 Prototype cars were hopelessly outclassed by the 5-litre Group 5 "Production" sports cars, all of which made a mockery of FIA rules and regulations, and Siffert's fastest practice lap of 1 min. 25.21 sec. with the leading Gulf-Porsche 917 fitted with the latest: 5-litre flat-12-cylinder engine, was only one hundredth of a second off the Grand Prix lap record. This with a car that is ostensibly on sale to the sporting public. The fastest 3-litre car in practice was the Alfa Romeo 33-3 works car of de Adamich/Courage, in 1 min. 27.88 sec.