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Materassi (Bugatti)Dubonnet (Bugatti)Conelli (Bugatti)

GRAN PREMIO de SAN SEBASTIAN

Circuito de Lasarte - San Sebastián (E), 25 July 1927 (Monday).
40 laps x 17.315 km (10.759 mi) = 692.6 km (430.4 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

1Emilio MaterassiAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8
2ChristianChristianSimonBranotDNA - did not appear
3Jean De MaleplaneBucciali FrèresBucAB61.5S-6
4Roman UribesalgoR.UribesalgoHisparcoSport.75S-4
5CarboneCarboneSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
6XXHalfordSpecial1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
7André MorelSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-6
8JourdanJourdanGiraudDNA - did not appear
9XXCorreLa Licorne1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
10BernhardtBernhardtHudsonSuper-Six4.7S-6
11Marqués de SotaMarqués de SotaMaserati261.5S-8DNA - did not appear
12Max FournyM. FournyBNC5271.1S-4
14Eduardo LandaE. LandaBallot2.0DNA - did not appear
15Albert DivoAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
16Rauel de RovinR. de RovinDe RovinJap0.5DNA - did not appear
18Caberto ConelliAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8
19XXXXSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
20Charles MartinSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-6
21Jean GaupillatJ. GaupillatBNC5271.1S-4
22"Williams"Automobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
23André DubonnetAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8
24JourdanJourdanSalmson1.1
25Oscar LeblancO. LeblancAmilcar1.1
26Ignazio ZubiagaI. ZubiagaBNC5271.1S-4
27Louis WagnerAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
28"Sabipa"L. CharavalBugattiT371.5S-4DNA - did not appear
29MartinettiMartinettiSalmson1.1
30ZubiagaZubiagaBNC5271.1DNA - did not appear
31Edward BretE. BretBugattiT352.0S-8
32Henry ImbertH. ImbertBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
33Joaquín PalacioJ. PalacioBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
34Manuel BlancasM. BlancasBugattiT352.0S-8
35Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8
36George EystonG. EystonBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
Note: Race numbers 13 and 17 were excluded because of the common belief that they were unlucky numbers.

Materassi wins the San Sebastian Grand Prix for Bugatti

by Hans Etzrodt
Six days before the 1927 Spanish Grand Prix the San Sebastian Grand Prix took place, held to formula Libre rules. As a result 34 entries were received of which only 17 cars started. The main contenders were the works Bugattis of Materassi, Conelli, Dubonnet and Chiron plus independent Bugattis for Bret and Blancas. The Buc and Hudson were slow cars. The 1100 cc category comprised the official Amilcar team with Morel and Martin plus independent entries, consisting of one Amilcar, two Salmsons, three BNCs and one Hisparco. As expected, Bugatti won the race in superior style, occupying the first five places with Materassi, Dubonnet, Conelli, Chiron and Bret. Martin in the factory Amilcar finished sixth ahead of Jordan (Salmson) and De Maleplane (Buc). Nine cars retired, including Morel who led his class with the Amilcar before it failed with a mechanical problem.
The Automobile week of San Sebastian, which was organized by the Real Automóvil Club de Guipúzcoa, started off with the Gran Premio de San Sebastian for formula Libre cars on Monday, July 25. It was held on the 17.315 km Lasarte circuit, south of the Atlantic seaside resort of San Sebastian. The course had to be lapped 40 times, a total of 692.600 km. It was a genuine natural road circuit, winding counterclockwise through the foothills of the Pyrenees with some parts in poor condition. At the start and finish, between the villages of Lasarte and Oria, there were tram lines. The road then led through Andoain after 5 km, Urnieta at half distance, Hernani after 11 km, and Lasarte only 1.3 km before the start and finish. Many corners had been improved to reduce lap times. On the straights, beginning after km 5 up to km 10.7, there were several opportunities to go full throttle.
      The winner would receive the trophy of Prince Asturias and 20,000 pesetas. Second place received 8,000, third 5,000 and fourth 2,500. A prize of 1,000 pesetas was awarded for the fastest lap and each driver taking the start received a prize of 500 pesetas. Separate prize money was awarded in the 1100 cc category where the winner received a trophy and 5,000 pesetas, second received 2,000 and third 1,000.
Entries
Only half of the 34 entries appeared for the start where race numbers13 and 17 were excluded because of the common belief that they were unlucky numbers. The Talbot team, which did not appear, had made three entries for Divo, Williams and Wagner in the Spanish races before they decided to end their factory involvement in racing after their defeat in the French Grand Prix. Bugatti entered four official cars for Materassi, Conelli, Dubonnet and Chiron with team manager Costantini and Sabipa as reserve drivers. This was Chiron's first race for the Bugatti factory team. During the race he proved to be the second fastest driver but finished over half an hour behind the winner Materassi due to an eye injury he received during the race. Bret and Blancas were independent Bugatti drivers. The Amilcar Company made an official entry with two 1100 cc cars for Morel and Martin. Uribesalgo entered a Hisparco cycle car, which was a stripped sports car made in Madrid with a 4-cylinder 750 cc engine. De Maleplane appeared with the Buc type AB6, the only car of its type, a race car built by the Bucciali Frères in Paris. It appeared first in 1926 with a specially built 6-cylinder 1500 cc, single ohc engine, producing 70 hp and could reach speeds up to 170 km/h. Another slow car was the stripped Hudson sports car of Bernhardt. In short, the Bugattis had to fear no serious opposition and the battle would be decided amongst the four factory Bugattis. Eight cars over 1100 cc and nine cycle cars would appear for the start, a total of 17 cars. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report.

Weights obtained during scrutineering:
10 BernhardtHudson1100 kg
1 MaterassiBugatti810 kg
18 ConelliBugatti810 kg
23 DubonnetBugatti800 kg
31 BretBugatti800 kg
35 ChironBugatti800 kg
34 BlancasBugatti730 kg
3 De MaleplaneBuc700 kg
7 MorelAmilcar640 kg
20 MartinAmilcar630 kg
25 LeblancAmilcar620 kg
26 ZubiagaBNC620 kg
12 FournyBNC610 kg
21 GaupillatBNC610 kg
29 MartinettiSalmson590 kg
4 UribesalgoHisparco508 kg
24 JourdanSalmson410 kg
Race:
The grandstand was crowded, leaving few seats empty and crowds were gathered around the circuit. The public was informed step by step by loudspeakers installed in front of the grandstand. The royal family was present and King Alphonso XIII of Spain first conversed with Ettore Bugatti, from whom he had ordered a very expensive 14.7-liter Royale prototype touring car, then with Mr. Sée, the director of the Amilcar Company. Soon the Royale left to close the circuit, driven by Ettore himself. In the meantime the officials supervised the 17 drivers on the starting grid, who lined up in numerical order with two of the slowest cars at the front next to one of the fastest cars.
Pole Position
1
Materassi

Bugatti

3
De Maleplane

Buc

4
Uribesalgo

Hisparco

7
Morel

Amilcar

10
Bernhardt

Hudson

12
Fourny

BNC

18
Conelli

Bugatti

20
Martin

Amilcar

21
Gaupillat

BNC

23
Dubonnet

Bugatti

24
Jourdan

Salmson

25
Leblanc

Amilcar

26
Zubiaga

BNC

29
Martinetti

Salmson

31
Bret

Bugatti

34
Blancas

Bugatti

35
Chiron

Bugatti

At the 10:00 AM flying start the large Mercedes pilot car headed the 17 racecars when Materassi immediately shot into the lead. At the end of lap one Materassi passed the grandstand after 8m17s at an average speed of 125.400 km/h. He was very closely followed by Chiron, who had started on the last row and had managed to pass everyone except Materassi. Chiron stopped at the pits to change plugs. He was also delayed when a stone hit his goggles and injured his eye but it is not known on which lap this happened. Conelli was third ahead of Bret and Dubonnet, who also stopped at the pits for a repair, losing about five minutes. Blancas in sixth place was followed by Morel who led the 1100 cc category with a time of 9m 27s at an average speed of 109,936 km/h with Leblanc behind him, followed by Gaupillat, Martin, Jourdan, Martinetti, De Maleplane, Bernhardt and Fourny. Uribisalgo in the Hisparco arrived delayed and retired and the BNC of Zubiaga had retired near Hernani, reducing the field to 15 cars after the first lap.
      After the second lap Materassi held first place with a lap of 8m8.4s at an average speed of 127,900 km/h. He was followed by Conelli, Bret, Blancas and Morel, who continued to lead the 1100 category with a lap in 9m25s at an average of 110.325 km/h. Behind him followed Leblanc, Martin and Dubonnet who managed to recover lost ground after his pit stop. Martinetti was ninth ahead of Bernhardt, Fourny, Jourdan, Gaupillat with Chiron and De Maleplane far behind.
      The third lap was still lively and the enthusiastic crowd appreciated how Materassi tried to secure an advantage from the outset. But Conelli followed very closely and on lap three he managed to pass Materassi, raising the average to 128.523 km/h. The two leading cars were almost touching. Blancas followed in third place. Morel magnificently covered this lap in 8m11s at an average of 126.953 km/h, beating the lap record for that category in previous years.
      On the fourth lap the independent Bugatti of Blancas stopped at the pits, losing not only third place but much ground before retiring on the ninth lap. Bugatti clearly dominated in the large category with Materassi, Conelli and Dubonnet and the independent Blancas in his Bugatti following the official team. Morel was already far behind with his 6-cylinder Amilcar holding first position in the 1100 cc category, followed by Bret, Martin, Martinetti, Jourdan, Gaupillat, Fourny, Leblanc, Bernhardt, Chiron and De Maleplane. After the first five laps Materassi's average lap time was 8m8.6s with the order of the field as follows after 5 laps, showing the 1100 cars in italic:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)    40m43s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)    41m41s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)    45m12s
4.Blancas (Bugatti)    45m33s
5.Morel (Amilcar)    47m40s
6.Bret (Bugatti)    48m32s
7.Martin (Amilcar)    49m50s1 lap behind
8.Martinetti (Salmson)    52m13s1 lap behind
9.Jourdan (Salmson)    52m18s1 lap behind
10.Gaupillat (BNC)    53m15s1 lap behind
11.Fourny (BNC)    54m31s1 lap behind
12.Leblanc (Amilcar)    56m36s1 lap behind
13.Bernhardt (Hudson)    57m28s2 laps behind
14.Chiron (Bugatti)    57m30s2 laps behind
15.De Maleplane (Buc)1h06m33s3 laps behind

The BNC of Gaupillat retired after the fifth lap with a faulty valve while Fourny's BNC started to have magneto problems. Bernhardt in the old Hudson fell more and more behind. The Argentinean Blancas retired his Bugatti after nine laps. Apart from the four leading Bugattis the remainders were at least two laps behind. After the first quarter of the race Materassi's average lap time for his last five laps was 8m11.6s and his average speed was 128.790 km/h with the field down to 13 cars in the following order after 10 laps:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)1h20m42s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)1h21m14s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)1h25m53s
4.Bret (Bugatti)1h27m57s
5.Chiron (Bugatti)1h37m00s2 laps behind
6.Martin (Amilcar)1h37m23s2 laps behind
7.Morel (Amilcar)1h37m59s2 laps behind
8.Martinetti (Salmson)1h42m41s2 laps behind
9.Jourdan (Salmson)1h42m45s2 laps behind
10.Leblanc (Amilcar)1h48m54s3 laps behind
11.Bernhardt (Hudson)1h54m55s4 laps behind
12.De Maleplane (Buc)2h05m41s5 laps behind
13.Fourny (BNC)very far behind

Chiron, who was recovering magnificently and drove at a fast pace, had climbed to fifth position on lap 11 when he drove a record lap in 7m26.8s at an average speed of 139.600 km/h. The preceding fastest lap record had been established in 1926 by Costantini (Bugatti) in 7m41.6s at 135 km/h. However, Chiron had to change spark plugs and while in the pits he lost fifth place to Martin's Amilcar. Chiron held sixth place on lap 12 and tried to improve his position. Morel had lost his seventh place and dropped down to ninth. Over the last five laps Materassi drove laps at an average of eight minutes with the order of the field as follows after 15 laps:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)2h00m44s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)2h03m06s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)2h06m03s
4.Bret (Bugatti)2h22m20s2 laps behind
5.Martin (Amilcar)2h24m43s3 laps behind
6.Chiron (Bugatti)2h31m11s3 laps behind
7.Martinetti (Salmson)2h31m40s3 laps behind
8.Jourdan (Salmson)2h31m45s3 laps behind
9.Morel (Amilcar)2h32m06s3 laps behind
10.Leblanc (Amilcar)2h34m34s 4 laps behind
11.Bernhardt (Hudson)2h51m21s6 laps behind
12.De Maleplane (Buc)3h04m40s7 laps behind
13.Fourny (BNC)very far behind

The excellent Spanish driver Leblanc who was expected to have an exceptional race at first suffered some delay but then regained ground until lap 17, when he ran out of fuel. On lap 14 Materassi set the fastest lap of the race in 7m26s at an average speed of 139.762 km/h. Chiron passed Martin's Amilcar and gained fifth place. Over the five last laps Materassi's average lap time was 7m40.1s and his average speed was 130.679 km/h with the field now down to 12 cars in the following order after 20 laps:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)2h39m06s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)2h41m16s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)2h47m51s1 lap behind
4.Bret (Bugatti)3h08m20s3 laps behind
5.Chiron (Bugatti)3h11m21s4 laps behind
6.Martin (Amilcar)3h14m13s4 laps behind
7.Morel (Amilcar)3h17m35s5 laps behind
8.Martinetti (Salmson)3h21m25s5 laps behind
9.Jourdan (Salmson)3h21m49s5 laps behind
10.De Maleplane (Buc)4h14m10s12 laps behind
11.Bernhardt (Hudson)very far behind
12.Fourny (BNC)very far behind

Bernhardt with the Hudson was withdrawn after 20 laps and Fourny was stopped by the race officials for disciplinary reasons after 23 laps and excluded from the race. Morel retired on lap 24 when the left rear wheel seized caused by a broken ball bearing. Chiron passed Materassi and Bret because he was now 'only' 3 laps behind. During the last five laps Materassi's average lap time was 8m7.8s with the field now down to 9 cars in the following order after 25 laps:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)3h22m24s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)3h29m24s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)3h33m17s1 lap behind
4.Bret (Bugatti)3h49m01s3 laps behind
5.Chiron (Bugatti)3h51m11s3 laps behind
6.Martin (Amilcar)4h01m01s4 laps behind
7.Martinetti (Salmson)4h13m10s6 laps behind
8.Jourdan (Salmson)4h15m59s6 laps behind
9.De Maleplane (Buc)very far behind

Chiron who had continuously driven at a fast pace finally caught up with Bret, and passed him to gain fourth place. After a race long battle Jourdan passed Martinetti, who had encountered problems. Materassi's average lap time during the last five laps was 8m7.4s and his average speed had slowed to 126.253 km/h. After 30 laps the order was as follows:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)4h05m31s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)4h11m09s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)4h13m44s1 lap behind
4.Chiron (Bugatti)4h38m11s3 laps behind
5.Bret (Bugatti)4h43m20s4 laps behind
6.Martin (Amilcar)4h47m49s5 laps behind
7.Jourdan (Salmson)5h06m16s7 laps behind
8.Martinetti (Salmson)5h12m42s8 laps behind
9.De Maleplane (Buc)very far behind

On laps 31 and 32 a magnificent duel ensued between Martin and Bret but in actuality Bret was a whole lap ahead of Martin. Bret had to make a brief stop and Martin's Amilcar took fifth position. But at the end of lap 32 the previous order was restored since Bret had recovered the lost position. Materassi continued to dominate the race and had lapped everyone except his teammate Conelli. During the last five laps Materassi's average lap time was 8m2.1s. The field was in the same order after 35 laps:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)4h45m22s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)4h52m27s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)4h56m10s1 lap behind
4.Chiron (Bugatti)5h17m32s3 laps behind
5.Bret (Bugatti)5h25m21s5 laps behind
6.Martin (Amilcar)5h37m41s6 laps behind
7.Jourdan (Salmson)5h55m35s8 laps behind
8.De Maleplane (Buc)very far behind
9.Martinetti (Salmson)very far behind

After lap 35 Dubonnet who had been in third place since lap five, was able to get past his teammate Conelli and grabbed second place. Martinetti retired his Salmson after lap 39. Materassi crossed the finish line in first place. As his last five laps averaged 8m37.4s, he may possibly have made a pit stop. Dubonnet, who un-lapped himself, averaged 7m56.8s for his last five laps, and followed in second place only 4m02s behind the leader. The remaining six finishers had all been lapped, most several times, and carried on driving to complete the full distance. When the race was stopped, De Maleplane was still driving seven laps behind and was flagged off.
      Materassi broke all records, completing the 692.6 km at the record speed of 126.637 km/h, beating the previous record from 1926 by Costantini of 123.776 km/h. Materassi also drove the fastest lap at 7m26s at 139.762 km/h beating Costantini's 1926 record of 7m41.6s at 135 km/h. Chiron had a bad start to the race, but was soon gaining ground finishing honorably in fourth place.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.1Emilio MaterassiAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8405h28m09s
2.23André DubonnetAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8405h32m11s + 4m02s
3.18Caberto ConelliAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8405h40m30s + 12m21s
4.35Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35C2.0S-8405h59m45s + 31m36s
5.31Edward BretE. BretBugattiT352.0S-8406h21m56s+ 53m47s
6.20Charles MartinSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-6406h25m34s + 57m25s
7.24JourdanJourdanSalmson1.1407h11m22s + 1h43m13s
DNF29MartinettiMartinettiSalmson1.139mechanical 
8.3Jean De MaleplaneBucciali FrèresBucAB61.5S-633flagged off
DNF12Max FournyM. FournyBNC5271.1S-423withdrawn 
DNF7André MorelSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-623wheel bearing 
DNF10BernhardtBernhardtHudsonSuper-Six4.7S-618withdrawn
DNF25Oscar LeblancO. LeblancAmilcar1.116ran out of fuel 
DNF34Manuel BlancasM. BlancasBugattiT352.0S-89mechanical
DNF21Jean GaupillatJ. GaupillatBNC5271.1S-45faulty valve 
DNF4Roman UribesalgoR.UribesalgoHisparcoSport.75S-41mechanical 
DNF26Ignazio ZubigaI. ZubigaBNC5271.1S-40  
Fastest lap : Emilio Materassi (Bugatti) on lap 14 in 7m26s = 139.8 km/h (86.8 mph).
Fastest lap 1100 cc: André Morel (Amilcar) in 8m55.4s = 116.4 km/h (72.3 mph).
Winner's average speed: 126.6 km/h (78.7 mph).
Weather: sunny and warm.
Individual fastest lap times:
Materassi (Bugatti)lap 147m26.0s139.8 km/h
Chiron (Bugatti)lap 117m26.8s139.5 km/h
Dubonnet (Bugatti)lap 357m48.2s133.1 km/h
Conelli (Bugatti)lap 77m48.4s133.1 km/h
Bret (1500 Bugatti)lap 20s8m03.8s128.8 km/h
Blancas (Bugatti)lap 28m41.0s119.6 km/h
Morel (Amilcar)lap 148m55.4s116.4 km/h
Leblanc (Amilcar)lap 169m00.0s115.4 km/h
Martin (Amilcar)lap 319m17.2s111.9 km/h
Jourdan (Salmson)lap 239m36.6s108.1 km/h
Martinetti (Salmson)lap 159m42.2s107.1 km/h
Gaupillat (BNC)lap 49m55.2s105.7 km/h
Bernhardt (Hudson)lap 310m13.0s101.7 km/h
Fourny (BNC)lap 410m35.0s98.2 km/h
De Maleplane (Buc)lap 111m00.0s94.4 km/h

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil Motorsport, Budapest
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
La Stampa, Torino
L'AUTO, Paris
Madrid Automovil, Madrid
Motor Sport, London
Omnia, Paris
Special thanks to:
Angel Elberdin, Circuito de Lasarte, Kutxa fundación, Bilbao, 1998


Benoist (Delage)Conelli (Bugatti)Bourlier (Delage)

GRAN PREMIO de ESPAÑA

Circuito de Lasarte - San Sebastián (E), 31 July 1927.
40 laps x 17.315 km (10.759 mi) = 692.6 km (430.4 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

1Albert DivoAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
2Marqués de SotaMarqués de SotaMaserati261.5S-8DNA - did not appear
3George EystonF. HalfordHalfordSpecial1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
4Emilio MaterassiAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8
5Jean GrafSA des Automobiles Jean GrafJean Graf1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
6Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage 15 S 8 19271.5S-8
7"Williams"Automobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
8Joaquín PalacioJ. PalacioMaserati261.5S-8
9Caberto ConelliAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8
10Edmond BourlierAutomobiles DelageDelage 15 S 8 19271.5S-8
11Louis WagnerAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
12André DubonnetAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8
14André MorelAutomobiles DelageDelage 15 S 8 19271.5S-8


Benoist triumphs with the Delage at the Spanish Grand Prix

by Hans Etzrodt
The Spanish Grand Prix took place over 40 laps of the Lasarte circuit. Seven cars started, Materassi, Conelli and Dubonnet for the Bugatti team, the Delage team with Benoist, Bourlier and Morel plus the independent Palacio in a Maserati. The battle was between the French Grand Prix winner Benoist and the Targa Florio winner Materassi who had also won the San Sebastian Grand Prix six days earlier. Benoist held the lead until his pit stop on lap 24 when Materassi was able to pass him. For the next few laps the two drivers had an intense battle until lap 31 when Materassi crashed. Benoist was lucky not to be involved in that crash and carried on uncontested to finish first with his Delage. Conelli (Bugatti) was second and Bourlier (Delage) third. The Dubonnet/Chiron Bugatti retired as did Morel (Delage) and Palacio (Maserati).
The Automobile week of San Sebastian organized by the Real Automóvil Club de Guipúzcoa comprised the Gran Premio de San Sebastian for formula Libre racecars on July 25, the Criterium de las 12 Horas for touring cars on July 28 and the Gran Premio de España for 1500 cc Grand Prix cars on July 31. All races were held on the same 17.315 km Lasarte circuit, south of the Atlantic seaside resort of San Sebastian. The course had to be lapped 40 times, a total of 692.600 km. It was a genuine natural road circuit, winding counterclockwise through the foothills of the Pyrenees with some parts in poor condition. At the start and finish, between the villages of Lasarte and Oria, there were tram lines. The circuit then led through Andoain after 5 km, Urnieta at half distance, Hernani after 11 km, and Lasarte only 1.3 km before the start and finish. The Automobile-Club of Guipuzcoa organized the event and had improved the banking of many corners, resulting in faster lap times. On the straights beginning after km 5 up to km 10.7, there were several opportunities to go full throttle.
      The winner would receive the trophy of His Majesty the King of Spain and 20,000 pesetas. The second received 10,000, the third 5,000 and the fourth 2,500. A prize of 1,000 pesetas was awarded for the fastest lap and each driver taking the start received a prize of 500 pesetas.
Entries
were received from Talbot with three cars for Divo, Williams and Wagner. Bugatti entered three cars for Materassi, Conelli and Dubonnet with Chiron, Costantini and Sabipa as reserve drivers. Chiron, the Bugatti amateur who was included into the official team at this meeting, relieved Dubonnet during the race at the steering wheel of the third Bugatti. Delage appeared with Benoist, Bourlier and Morel and Sénéchal as the reserve driver. There were two Maseratis with Spanish independent drivers de Sota and Palacio, the latter having finished fifth in the Targa Florio driving a Bugatti. A Halford was entered for Eyston and a Jean Graf with Jean Graf as the driver. The duel between Delage and Talbot, which had been decided in Delage's favor at the French Grand Prix, was looked forward to with great anticipation.
      However half the entries did not appear for the race. Talbot had ended their factory involvement in racing after their defeat in the French Grand Prix but had already made three entries for the Spanish race before this decision. The Halford, the Jean Graf and the Maserati of de Sota also failed to appear. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report
Race:
The circuit was closed to public traffic at 1:00 AM, a useful precaution, because from the first hours in the morning a procession of cars headed towards the circuit and before 12:00 noon, the appointed time for the start, the grandstand was crowded, leaving few seats empty. From the 13 original entries only seven cars were present, of which six were blue and one was red.
Pole Position
4
Materassi

Bugatti

6
Benoist

Delage

8
Palacio

Maserati

9
Conelli

Bugatti

10
Bourlier

Delage

12
Dubonnet

Bugatti

14
Morel

Delage

At the flying start exactly at noon, Benoist immediately took the lead, followed by Materassi, Conelli, Dubonnet, Bourlier and Morel. The Maserati of Palacio failed to get under way and the driver had it repaired at his pit losing 21 minutes before he got going. After his first lap he stopped at his pit for a further 10 minutes to change plugs and retired at the beginning of the third lap. Delage and Bugatti now had to face each other in a straight fight and this battle gave the race a great passion as had not been seen for a long time. After the first lap the order was as follows:
1.Benoist (Delage)8m07s
2.Materassi (Bugatti)8m15s
3.Bourlier (Delage)8m15s
4.Dubonnet (Bugatti)8m20s
5.Conelli (Bugatti)8m25s
6.Morel (Delage)8m38s
7.Palacio (Maserati)31m21s3 laps behind

Benoist increased his lead over Materassi from eight seconds to nine on lap two, on lap three to 16 seconds, then 21 seconds and after five laps to 27 seconds. Conelli advanced his Bugatti from fifth place to third while Bourlier's Delage dropped to fifth position. Benoist was leading at 132 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 5 laps:
1.Benoist (Delage)39m23s
2.Materassi (Bugatti)39m50s
3.Conelli (Bugatti)40m45s
4.Dubonnet (Bugatti)40m54s
5.Bourlier (Delage)41m30s
6.Morel (Delage)41m50s

Benoist increased his advantage to 31 seconds on lap seven, when Materassi skidded off the track at Urineta, hit a wall and dented the tail of his Bugatti without further damage than a loss of one minute. As a result Benoist increased his lead to 1m49s on lap eight and on lap nine to 2m05s. The procession continued without any position changes. Benoist was leading at 133.192 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 10 laps:
1.Benoist (Delage)1h18m03s
2.Materassi (Bugatti)1h20m16s
3.Conelli (Bugatti)1h21m26s
4.Dubonnet (Bugatti)1h21m34s
5.Bourlier (Delage)1h22m51s
6.Morel (Delage)1h23m21s

After lap 10 Materassi stopped for 59 seconds to refuel so he would have a free run until near the end of the race. Conelli refueled on lap 15 in 1m25s and Dubonnet also stopped for fuel on that lap in 1m19s. The Delage team signaled Benoist that he had four minutes lead over Materassi, but effectively it was more like three minutes as Benoist would have to stop to refuel. The field had settled without position changes. Benoist was leading at 133.159 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 15 laps:
1.Benoist (Delage)1h57m02s
2.Materassi (Bugatti)2h00m59s
3.Conelli (Bugatti)2h02m05s
4.Dubonnet (Bugatti)2h03m24s
5.Bourlier (Delage)2h03m38s
6.Morel (Delage)2h03m59s

On lap 17 Morel stopped at the Hernani turn and retired his Delage. On lap 19 Benoist carried out his refueling without any hurry in 2m25s. His advantage to Materassi had consequently shrunk to one minute and Materassi saw his chance right away and started to increase his pace. With Morel's Delage retired the field was down to five cars. Benoist was leading at 130.953 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 20 laps:
1.Benoist (Delage)2h38m44s
2.Materassi (Bugatti)2h39m42s
3.Conelli (Bugatti)2h42m48s
4.Dubonnet (Bugatti)2h43m49s
5.Bourlier (Delage)2h45m06s

After 21 laps Benoist's lead was 52s, which shrank to 45s on the following lap and after lap 23 laps down to 40s. On lap 24 Benoist stopped at his pit for 3m40s to change spark plugs which gave Materassi a sudden lead of 2m58s. Dubonnet also stopped on lap 24 and was relieved by his designated reserve driver Chiron. The order was as follows after 25 laps:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)3h18m13s
2.Benoist (Delage)3h21m06s
3.Conelli (Bugatti)3h22m26s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)3h25m49s
5.Bourlier (Delage)3h27m59s1 lap behind

Benoist increased his pace, gaining five seconds per lap. On lap 27 Materassi stopped to change the right front wheel and added more fuel. He lost 2m05s and had only one second advantage and was little more than a car length ahead of Benoist. On lap27 Benoist drove the fastest lap of the race in 7m33s at 137.550 km/h average speed and lapped his teammate Bourlier. At the end of lap 28 as the cars reached the grandstand Benoist's Delage was now in the lead by one second, as he had overtaken Materassi just before Urnieta. The situation had become very tense and incredibly exciting for the crowd with the two team leaders in such a close battle. They passed like that again after lap 29, Benoist still leading Materassi. But the Italian had also raised his pace to 7m36s on lap 30 and to the surprise of everybody Materassi crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of Benoist after 30 laps with the standings as follows:
1.Materassi (Bugatti)3h59m29s
2.Benoist (Delage)3h59m32s
3.Conelli (Bugatti)4h04m03s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)4h05m07s
5.Bourlier (Delage)4h07m48s

Chiron, who had taken over the Dubonnet Bugatti, was catching up with Conelli. On lap 25 Chiron had been three and a half minutes behind Conelli and five laps later he had reduced the gap to only one minute. Benoist, who passed three seconds after Materassi, made a resigned gesture towards his pit. However on the next lap Benoist arrived alone and stopped at his pit but Materassi did not appear. The loudspeakers announced that Materassi had crashed his Bugatti against a wall and damaged his car without suffering injuries.
      On the road along the River Oria there was a long right hand turn with the junction of a road which made the cars jump when they crossed it at high speed. Materassi's accident on lap 31 happened here, and it was the same place where on lap seven he had slid off the track as a result of this jump, colliding with the back of his car against the wall, denting the tail of the body and damaging the left rear wheel. On lap 31 his car once again bounced at the junction, but this time it skidded off the track into the left outside dirt, immediately raising a huge cloud of impenetrable dust, from which it returned in a wide arc back to the track and with the front wheel colliding against the wall bordering the right of the track, ending his race.
      Benoist, who was following less than two seconds behind, was blinded by the intense dust that prevented him from seeing what had happened but he guessed that the road was blocked. Quickly, by intuition, Benoist made a violent turn to the left, leaving the track. He narrowly missed a quarry wagon and after a wide detour re-entered the track. By his fast reactions he had avoided a serious accident. It was not a single accident. They were two, simultaneous, full of emotion.
      At the end of the lap Benoist stopped for several minutes at his pit to inform them about the crash, and also to recover, but he soon continued his triumphant race. The field was now down to four cars and Benoist was no longer challenged. He was first at 129.592 km/h average speed and the standings were as follows after 35 laps:
1.Benoist (Delage)4h40m57s
2.Conelli (Bugatti)4h43m48s
3.Chiron (Bugatti)4h46m01s
4.Bourlier (Delage)4h47m48s

After lap 36 Chiron had an accident without serious consequences when he crashed near some trees. He was not thrown from the car but had a large dent in his helmet which protected him when his head hit the edge of the car's hood. It was a good lesson, which should be to the benefit of drivers who, ignoring all the official recommendations, appeared at this meeting with a cap, a balaclava or the Basque beret, which had won fans among drivers. There were no further changes in the order and after 40 laps and 692.6 km the Delage of Robert Benoist crossed the finish after 5h20m45s at an average speed down to 129.590 km/h. Conelli with a Bugatti finished second, 2m17s behind. Bourlier in the other Delage finished third but since he was one lap behind, he had to drive one more lap to be qualified, all alone on the circuit. Benoist had won the first two events counting towards the World Championship and by doing so had established Delage as the most likely 1927 champion after beating Talbot and Bugatti.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.14Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage 15 S 8 19271.5S-8405h20m45s
2.9Caberto ConelliAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8405h23m02s +2m17s
3.10Edmond BourlierAutomobiles DelageDelage 15 S 8 19271.5S-8405h28m12s +7m27s
DNF12Dubonnet / ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-835crash
DNF4Emilio MaterassiAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-830crash
DNF14André MorelAutomobiles DelageDelage 15 S 8 19271.5S-816
DNF8Joaquín PalacioJ. PalacioMaserati261.5S-82
Fastest lap Robert Benoist (Delage) on lap 27 in 7m33.2s = 137.5 km/h (85.5 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 129.6 km/h (80.5 mph).
Weather: sunny and warm.
In retrospect:
Charles Faroux in L'AUTO, page 2 on 2. August: Shortly before the accident Emilio Materassi with the Bugatti drove at full speed ahead of Benoist in the Delage who followed less than 100 meters behind through the bends along the River Oria. Materassi cut all turns so closely that one shuddered time and again. As a wonderful and safe driver Benoist was waiting for an opening. In a turn Materassi drove very closely alongside the parapet wall, across a depression in the road where the rear of the car lifted in the air and as a result of the centrifugal force the car now drove diagonally along the road. Materassi tried to straighten the car but it scraped along the parapet wall for 40 meters. The trace markings of the Bugatti aluminum wheel hubs were clearly visible on the wall; unfortunately a larger stone stuck out and brought about the crash. Materassi spun around and broke the car without further damage, luckily.
      What could Benoist now do, only two seconds further back? He suddenly saw an impenetrable dust cloud ahead of him which indicated an accident. He braked as hard as he could and after two complete spins he ended up next to Materassi, with the engine stalled. Both drivers exchanged a few words and Benoist drove off again, stopping at the grandstand to tell the good news of his opponent. There was a tragic moment, for this accident we had felt it coming, because of this fierce struggle. We only breathed when we were certain that Emilio Materassi, valiant driver, had no serious injuries.

La Nacion (Madrid) page 7 on 2. August: The catastrophe - a scare with delay. There were nine laps. If the fight had continued some more laps, many spectators might not have endured such intense suspense. If the two titans arrived at the final two laps in that position, how would the race finish? The final outcome of the two giants would have been inconceivable.
      But the outcome did not wait and came on lap 31. Materassi crashed at the same turn that Wagner had crashed on Thursday [Wagner's Peugeot during the formula libre San Sebastian Grand Prix on Thursday had skidded on the heat softened tar and crashed into a tree]. It is a turn that does not seem to offer great danger, between kilometers 3 and 4, near Bazcardo. Materassi hit the wall; the car rebounded, crossed the road to Puerto Vallarta, crossed it again in another direction, lurched and lost two wheels. But he did not overturn; it is the great advantage of these cars that they cling to the ground, being almost impossible to rollover or overturn.
      This happened in seconds, like in a trance and that drive was frightening. Benoist found himself in the dust raised by Materassi's gyrating car; saw him cross the road. He braked as hard as he could; he was off the track, crossed the quarry railroad tracks, missed a few wagons, returned to the road and continued.
      Materassi had not lost the steering wheel, nor had he left the car until it finally stopped. He was taken care of at a first aid post. He felt a thud of the steering wheel against his chest, but it did not fracture any ribs. He seemed to be calm. It was after a few minutes when he entered a great crisis. Injections of camphorated oil had to be applied. When he calmed down he wanted to return to the grandstand on foot but they did not let him.
      For his part, Benoist also did not feel the immediate effects of the scare. He had been traveling for several miles, when a great nervous exasperation took place, an anguish that was resolved in tears. When finishing the lap, he stopped at his pit. We figured not so much because of the need to refill gasoline and water to his car, but more to try to calm down. After several minutes he re-started to the end at a much less rapid pace.

The Spanish Grand Prix was the third round of the 1927 World Championship. Delage was victorious and received 1 point, Bugatti was second with 2 points, Maserati retired and received 5 points. Duesenberg, Miller, Talbot and Halford did not contest the third event and received 6 points each.
      After the Spanish Grand Prix, Delage had scored another victory which gave them the lead in the World Championship with 8 points. Duesenberg was second with 13 points, Miller and Bugatti were equal with 14 points, Talbot had 16, Halford and Maserati had 17 points.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil Motorsport (Budapest)
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Heraldo Deportivo, Madrid
La Nacion, Madrid
La Presse, Paris
La Stampa, Torino
L'AUTO, Paris
L'Echo, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Madrid Automovil, Madrid
Motor Sport, London
Omnia, Paris
Special thanks to:
Alain Thibaudat
Angel Elberdin, Circuito de Lasarte, Kutxa fundación, Bilbao, 1998
Robert Dick


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© 2017 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 13.03.2017