Montenero - Livorno (I), 21 July 1929.
10 laps x 22.5 km (14.0 mi) = 225 km (139.8 mi)
Varzi wins the Coppa Ciano on the Montenero circuit in record time
by Hans Etzrodt
The international motor sport week at Livorno ended with the Coppa Ciano race around the difficult 22.5 km Montenero circuit, which proved to be another classic battle between Varzi and Brilli Peri in the fastest
cars, the P2 Alfa Romeos. Brilli Peri took an early lead until lap four, when he slowed down and Varzi attacked to take first place. When Brilli pitted on lap eight the race was decided. Varzi did not stop and
finished first ahead of the 1750 Alfa Romeos of Nuvolari and Campari, followed by Arcangeli (Talbot) and Brilli Peri, who ended up fifth. Biondetti (Bugatti), who at one time held third place, retired on the
last lap. Pastore in the fastest Maserati held fourth place for some time and finished sixth ahead of the three 1750 Alfa Romeos driven by Ghersi, Razzauti and Benini. There were a total of 16 finishers and
The races on the Montenero Circuit near Livorno (Leghorn in English) had been held since 1921. From 1922 onwards a 22.5 km circuit was used from Ardenza Mare - Montenero - Savolano - Castellaccio - Romito -
Ardenza Mare. The narrow road circuit twisted through endless curves with steep up and down slopes through the mountains and was a small replica of the Madonie but considerably shorter. The start and finish
with the grandstand were at Ardenza.
The 1929 international event counted towards the Italian Championship and was the ninth time that the race was held on the Circuito del Montenero for the third Coppa Ciano on July 21, 1929. The coppa or trophy
was donated by Italian Navy hero Costanzo Ciano for a 1927 Montenero sports car race, which was named after him. The Coppa Ciano name was applied for the second time to the 1928 sports car race. As of 1929,
when the sports car race was dropped from the program, the Coppa Ciano name was assigned to the racecar event for the first time.
The Automobile Club Livorno and Moto Club Livorno had staged the Coppa del Mare, a motorcycle race, the week before. The automobile race for the Coppa Ciano and Coppa Montenero on the 22.500 km circuit had
to be lapped ten times. The cars were divided into class 1 up to 1100 cc and class 2 over 1100 cc. Additionally, a special classification was provided for 1500 cc cars for scoring in the Italian Championship.
To be classified, the large cars had to finish within 3 hours and 20 minutes and the 1100 cc cars in 3 hours and 40 minutes. These maximum times were based on 20 minutes per lap for the large group and 22 minutes
for the little cars. The number of entries was limited to 40 cars, but if there were more, the Livorno Automobile Club reserved the right to deny those late entries.
The prize money was distributed as follows: the victor received the Ciano Cup and 50,000 lire; second 20,000, third 10,000, fourth 8,000, fifth 7,000, sixth 6,000, seventh 5,000, eighth 4,000, ninth and tenth
each 2,000 lire. The winner of the small car class received 3,000 lire, second 2,000 and third 1,000.
Most of the better known Italian drivers appeared at the start for the Coppa Ciano since the race counted towards the Italian Championship. There had been a six week break between the race at Mugello and the Montenero
Circuit, giving drivers and teams ample time to prepare for a new battle. Since several drivers had been dissatisfied with the outcome at Mugello, a few of them wanted genuine revenge, in particular, Brilli Peri, Varzi,
Campari and Nuvolari, the drivers most affected for a rematch after Mugello. Although Brilli Peri had won at Mugello, in order to remove any doubt about the legitimacy of his triumph, he was looking forward to meeting his
opponents again. After his victory in Rome, Varzi had disappointed at Mugello for no obvious reason. Now he gave up the opportunity to race at Germany's Grand Prix for sports cars on July 14 so that he could undertake
preparations for Montenero and be ready for battle. Campari had a great desire for revenge and was looking forward to this weekend after being baulked by Biondetti for several laps at Mugello. Montenero was only
Nuvolari's second race with an Alfa Romeo after the Mugello Circuit. He started with a plaster corset which the doctors fitted to protect two fractured ribs which he had suffered in a motorcycle racing crash the
weekend before at the Coppa del Mare race on the Montenero circuit.
Societá Anonima Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo e C. was the official name of the Alfa Romeo factory, which entered tipo P2s for Brilli Peri and Varzi and 6C-1750 GS Alfa Romeos for Campari and Nuvolari. These cars and
probably also that of Ghersi, could be considered as a second stage of well-known 1750 improvements, which included some slight modifications to the engine by increasing the capacity to almost 1800 cc and above all to
the chassis to give a better weight distribution in order to obtain, as it was obtained, better handling. In fact at the Targa Florio and at Mugello the inferior road holding of the Alfa 1750 compared to the 1500
version was recognized, which, however, was no longer evident at Montenero. Besides the official Alfa Romeo entries, there were another four 6C-1750 GS Alfas in independent hands, those of the young enthusiasts
Sirignano, Benini, Ghersi and Razzauti. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that during practice Benini and Pintacuda were in an Alfa Romeo when the car swerved sharply to the right in a turn and crashed into a
support pole for the overhead tram wires. When the car spun around, both drivers were thrown from their seats. While Benini escaped with only minor bruises, Pintacuda suffered bruises and a broken leg, which
prevented him from starting.
Officine Meccaniche SA from Brescia were present for this race, although the circuit did not suit their two OM 2200 cc cars for Rosa and Morandi, while Giorgini in a third OM raced independently. Officine Alfieri
Maserati appeared with a 2000 cc grand prix car for Ernesto Maserati and the independent Pastore in a second Maserati type 26 with a 26B engine bored to 2100 cc while Ruggeri drove a 1500cc type 26 Maserati. The
Scuderia Materassi entered a 1927 Talbot 1500 cc grand prix car for Arcangeli while three independent Bugattis were to be driven by Balestrero, Decaroli and Biondetti. Moradei (Salmson), Bucci (Fiat), Villa (Derby)
and Sartorio (Amilcar) started in the 1100 cc class. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report including those which did not make it to the starting line.
A large crowd had come to witness the outcome of the duel between Brilli Peri, Varzi and Campari, the leading drivers at Alfa Romeo, and also to see the famous Alfa Romeo P2 that had never raced at Montenero before.
The Minister of Communications Count Costanzo Ciano di Cortelazzo, the donor of the Cup, and Princess Maria Ciano appeared with a large group of other officials. The RACI Sporting Commissioners were Fabio Vecchioni
and Renzo Castagneto.
It was an extremely hot day, when from the 35 officially entered cars, as many as 22 appeared ready for the race. Before the start one minute silence was called in remembrance and in recognition of the deceased champion
driver Emilio Materassi, who had won here the year before and died in 1928 at the Monza tragedy.
Because the dirt road circuit was rather narrow at some places and difficult for drivers to pass each other, as a safety precaution the cars were started individually from a standing start, with intervals of 30 seconds
between each car and 1m30s between the two classes. However, the cars were not necessarily released at 30 seconds intervals, similar to the Targa Florio or Mugello starting procedures. The start times had been
determined beforehand according to their numbers and if particular cars did not appear at the start (e.g. #4, #6 and #8), car number 10 was held to its predetermined time of departure. For instance -as per calculation-
Bucci left two minutes and 30 seconds after 3:00 PM because the #4, #6 and #8 cars which did not appear had been assigned for an earlier starting time.
The actual start began at 3:00 PM on the Boulevard Prince of Naples, when Princess Maria Ciano gave the signal to the drivers and Moradei's Salmson with the lowest number 2 was released. Next in line was number 10,
Bucci's Fiat and so one after the other cars were started individually. The crowd was very enthusiastic and applauded the most prominent drivers as they were preparing for the start. Benini was still sore from the
fall he made in practice. Campari received great applause as did Razzauti, the hope of the Livorno sports fans. Brilli Peri started near the end as absolute favorite. So one after the other the 22 cars were started
individually until after 16 minutes and 30 seconds when Biondetti in the Bugatti was the last to leave. The following drivers did not start: Dante Agnelli (Bugatti), Ermanno Checcacci (Bugatti), Guglielmo Sandri
(Maserati) and Carlo Pintacuda (Alfa Romeo).
|1.||Moradei||2||(Salmson)||- 3:00'00"||up to 1100 cc class|
|5.||E. Maserati||16||(Bugatti)||- 3:05'00"||over 1100 cc class|
|6.||Giorgini||18||(O. M.)||- 3:05'30"|
|7.||Sirignano||22||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:06'30"|
|8.||Benini||24||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:07'00"|
|10.||Varzi||28||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:08'00"|
|13.||Campari||36||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:10'00"|
|15.||Ghersi||40||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:11'00"|
|16.||Morandi||42||(O. M.)||- 3:11'30"|
|17.||Razzauti||44||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:12'00"|
|19.||Rosa||48||(O. M.)||- 3:13'00"|
|20.||Brilli Peri||50||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:13'30"|
|21.||Nuvolari||54||(Alfa Romeo)||- 3:14'30"|
Just over two minutes after Biondetti had started, Moradei in the little Salmson was the first to appear at the grandstands, finishing the first lap in 18m36s, then Bucci arrived in 19m05s, hounded by Maserati
only two seconds behind in 16m37s, who had already passed Villa and Sartorio. Sartorio appeared next in18m51s ahead of Giorgini in 17m03s. That was how the cars were positioned on the road while they passed the
grandstands but below they are listed after the first lap according to classification.
|1.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||15m32s|
|2.||Brilli-Peri (Alfa Romeo)||15m32.2s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||15m45s|
|5.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||15m57s|
|7.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||16m01s|
|9.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||16m06s|
|15.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||16m52s|
|16.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||16m56s|
During the second lap Brilli Peri still held the lead with a lap of 15m27.2s a new record at an average speed of 87.358 km/h, ahead of Varzi, Nuvolari and Pastore. Villa retired the Derby with mechanical failure.
Decaroli stopped his Bugatti at the pits which dropped him seven places. Bucci was already one lap behind. Exciting battles were developing in the field. Ghersi and Razzauto were within a second of each other
in elapsed time and Balestro and Benini were in a dead heat. The individual lap times had to be calculated and are shown below next to the classification times after two laps:
|1.||Brilli-Peri (Alfa Romeo)||30m59.4s||15m27.2s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||31m03.0s||15m31.0s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||31m29.4s||15m44.4s|
|5.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||31m57.4s||15m56.4s|
|6.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||31m57.8s||16m00.8s|
|8.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||32m00s||15m54s|
|11.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||33m17s||16m40s|
|13.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||33m20s||16m28s|
|17.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||35m54s||18m58s|
During the third lap Brilli Peri maintained his lead and held an advantage of 12 seconds to Varzi. Nuvolari was still third ahead of Pastore, Biondetti, who had moved from seventh to fifth, Ghersi, Campari, Morandi,
Arcangeli and Razzauti, who had fallen to tenth. Rosa moved up to 11th spot and Benini from 13th up to 12th position. Moradei stopped at his pit with a steering problem. Ruggeri, Giorgini and Sartorio also made
pit stops. The order after three laps was as follows:
|1.||Brilli-Peri (Alfa Romeo)||46m27.2s||15m27.8s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||46m39.8s||15m36.8s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||47m03.8s||15m34.4s|
|6.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||47m49.6s||15m52.2s|
|7.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||47m55.2s||15m55.2s|
|10.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||48m08.8s||16m11.0s|
|12.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||49m47.0s||16m27.0s|
|14.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||50m03.4s||16m46.4s|
|15.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||50m59.4s||15m05.4s|
After four laps Brilli Peri still prevailed just three seconds ahead of Varzi, followed by Nuvolari, Biondetti now in fourth place and Pastore.
Campari had worked himself into sixth spot with Arcangeli in seventh position. Ernesto Maserati made a brief pit stop. Giorgini retired the O.M with mechanical failure. After four laps the order was:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h01m57.4s||15m30.2s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h02m07.0s||15m27.2s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h02m34.4s||15m30.6s|
|6.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||1h03m37.6s||15m42.4s|
|7.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||1h03m49.4s||15m59.8s|
|9.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||1h04m00.2s||15m51.4s|
|12.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||1h06m12.0s||16m25.0s|
|14.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h07m36.8s||17m33.4s|
|15.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||1h07m47.0s||16m47.6s|
During lap five Varzi went even faster with a lap record of 15m11.8s at an average of 88.340 km/h and took the lead with a time of 1h17m18.8s at a race average of 87.318 km/h. Brilli Peri had slowed down a little and
followed 14 seconds behind, followed by Nuvolari, Biondetti with an even faster pace and Campari, who inherited fifth place when Pastore stopped at his pit. Arcangeli was seventh, ahead of Ghersi, Morandi, Razzauti,
Rosa, Benini and Balestrero thirteenth. The order after five laps was:
|1.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h17m18.8s||15m11.8s lap time|
|2.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h17m33.2s||15m35.8s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h18m10.2s||15m35.8s|
|5.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||1h19m16.4s||15m38.8s|
|8.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||1h19m57.2s||16m07.8s|
|10.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||1h20m17.4s||16m17.2s|
|12.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||1h22m42.6s||16m30.6s|
|14.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m48.4s||17m01.4s|
|17.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h28m55.0s||20m18.2s|
On lap six Varzi further increased his pace, with a new lap record of 15m10.4s at an average of 88.971 km/h, which was the fastest lap of the race. With his race time of 1h32m29.2s Varzi was leading Brilli Peri by 39
seconds, who was ahead of Nuvolari. Biondetti had increased his pace and after Varzi was now in the second fastest car, Campari, Arcangeli now in sixth position, followed by Razzauti, Ghersi and
Rosa while Pastore in tenth place stopped again at his pit. The race of the 1100 cc class was uninteresting with Bucci in the Fiat ahead of Sartorio while Moradei had fallen behind due to small failures that occurred
repeatedly. The order after six laps:
|1.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h32m29.2s||15m11.4s lap time|
|2.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h33m08.2s||15m35.0s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h33m51.0s||15m40.8s|
|5.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||1h34m52.0s||15m35.6s|
|7.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||?|
|8.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||?|
On lap seven Varzi continued his fast pace and his time was 1h47m44.6s leading Brilli Peri by a considerable margin, of 1m23s. Brilli Peri was pressured by Nuvolari, who was now only 16 seconds behind. Biondetti,
who lost some time, was fourth, followed by Campari, Arcangeli, Razzauti, Pastore, Ghersi, Rosa, Benini, Balestrero, Sirignano, Decaroli and Maserati. There was a good battle going on for eigth place, Pastore and Ghersi
being only a second apart and a similar fight for tenth place between Rosa and Benini. Morandi was forced to retire on lap seven when a lever of the gearbox broke and Ruggeri also called it quits on that lap. In the
1100 cc class was Bucci was still ahead of Moradei after seven laps in the following order:
|1.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h47m44.6s||15m15.4s lap time|
|2.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h49m07.4s||15m59.2s|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h49m23.4s||15m24.0s|
|5.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||1h50m28.4s||15m36.0s|
|7.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||1h52m42.0s||?|
|9.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||1h53m02.0s||?|
|11.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||1h56m07.2s|
|13.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||1h59m06.4s|
|15.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||2h03m23.0s|
On lap eight Varzi carried on in first place when Brilli Peri stopped at his pit and lost two positions. The race, at least at the front, was now decided. Nuvolari inherited second place almost two minutes behind and
Biondetti was now third. Campari maintained his fifth place ahead of Arcangeli, Razzauti, Pastore, Ghersi, Rosa, Benini, Balestrero, Sirignano, Decaroli and Maserati. The order of the
1100 cc class was Bucci ahead of Moradei while Sartorio retired his Amilcar with mechanical failure on this lap when the field was down to 17 cars after eight laps.
|1.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h03m10.0s||15m25.4s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h05m00.0s||15m36.6s|
|4.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||2h05m43.0s||16m35.6s|
|5.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||2h05m56.0s||15m47.6s|
|7.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||2h09m10.4s||16m28.4s|
|9.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||2h09m28.4s||16m26.4s|
|11.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||2h12m55.4s||16m48.2s|
|13.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||2h16m18.4s||17m12.0s|
|15.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||2h20m20.0s||16m57.0s|
After the ninth lap Varzi was still out front ahead of Nuvolari and Campari, who had moved into third place. Arcangeli had passed into fourth spot followed by Biondetti, who had a problem with his car and Brilli Peri, who
was once more delayed with another pit stop. Pastore had advanced into seventh place, ahead of Ghersi, Razzauti, who had lost two places, Benini, Balestrero, Rosa, who also had lost two positions, Sirignano, Decaroli and
Maserati. In the 1100 cc class Bucci was still ahead of Moradei after nine laps.
|1.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h18m47.4s||15m37.4s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h20m38.4s||15m38.4s|
|3.||Campari (Alfa Romeo)||2h21m45.4s||15m49.4s|
|6.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||2h23m51.0s||18m08.0s|
|8.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||2h25m41.0s||16m12.6s|
|9.||Razzauti (Alfa Romeo)||2h25m48.0s||16m37.6s|
|10.||Benini (Alfa Romeo)||2h29m17.0s||16m21.6s|
|13.||Sirignano (Alfa Romeo)||2h33m33.0s||17m14.6s|
|15.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||2h38m38.0s||18m18.0s|
At the end of lap ten Varzi was received with great applause, finishing in the record time of 2h34m51.5s at an average of 87.175 km/h and thereby beating the previous record of 2h38m57.4s (84.928 km/h) set up by Materassi
in 1928. Over the last two laps Varzi had slightly slowed down. Nuvolari followed two and a half minutes behind with a lap of 15m43.6s, while Campari finished third driving his fastest lap at the end in 15m29.6s ahead of
Arcangeli's 1500 Talbot. Biondetti, who began the last lap in fifth place, encountered engine problems on the last lap and retired. He had shown that he can drive well. The unfortunate situation that stopped him did not
detract from his merits as one of the better upcoming drivers. Brilli Peri drove his last lap in exactly 16 minutes, finishing a disappointing fifth. No specific information could be found about the cause of Brilli's pit
stop which ruined his chance of victory. Giovanni Canestrini reported in La Gazzetta dello Sport that without question the P2 of Brilli Peri was not adjusted like the one of Varzi, but it gave the impression to dominate.
Pastore in sixth place had climbed yet another place in his brilliant recovery from 10th place on lap 6 to 6th at the end i.e. four places in four laps. In the 1100 class Bucci ran into trouble and lost his lead which
gave the class victory to Moradei. The race was over in the best way, without incident and after a memorable fight that permitted four drivers to improve on the previous race record established the year before.
|1.||28||Achille Varzi||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||10||2h34m51.6s|
|2.||54||Tazio Nuvolari||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h36m22.2s|
|3.||36||Giuseppe Campari||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h37m15.0s|
|4.||26||Luigi Arcangeli||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||10||2h38m34.4s|
|5.||50||Gastone Brilli Peri||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||10||2h39m51.0s|
|6.||46||Cesare Pastore||C. Pastore||Maserati||26B||2.1||S-8||10||2h41m27.4s|
|7.||40||Pietro Ghersi||P. Ghersi||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h42m04.4s|
|8.||44||Mario Razzauti||M. Razzauti||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h42m19.4s|
|9.||24||Enrico Benini||E. Benini||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h45m54.6s|
|10.||32||Renato Balestrero||R. Balestrero||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||10||2n46m10.0s|
|11.||48||Archimede Rosa||Fabbrica O. M.||O. M.||665 SMM||2.2||S-6||10||2h47m36.6s|
|12.||22||Francesco Sirignano||Principe de F. Sirignano||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h50m51.4s|
|13.||16||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||10||2h53m33.4s|
|14.||38||Louis Decaroli||L. Decaroli||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||10||3h02m21.4s|
|15.||2||Mario Moradei||M. Moradei||Salmson||1.1||10||3h04m12.8s|
|16.||10||Piero Bucci||P. Bucci||Fiat||509||1.0||S-4||10||3h22m36.4s|
|DNF||62||Clemente Biondetti||C. Biondetti||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||9||engine|
|DNF||14||Filippo Sartorio||F. Sartorio||Amilcar||1.1||7||engine|
|DNF||42||Giuseppe Morandi||Fabbrica O. M.||O. M||665 SMM||2.2||S-6||6||gearbox lever|
|DNF||30||Amedeo Ruggeri||A. Ruggeri||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||6||mechanical|
|DNF||18||Max Giorgini||M. Giorgini||O.M.||665 SMM||2.0||S-4||3||engine|
|DNF||12||Luigi Villa||L. Villa||Derby||1.1||1||engine|
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 6 in 15m10.4s = 89.0 km/h (55.3 mph).|
Fastest lap (1100 cc): Mario Moradei (Salmson) on lap 5 in 18m12.6s = 74.1 km/h (46.1 mph).
Winner's speed: 87.2 km/h (54.2 mph).
Winner's speed 1100 cc (Moradei): 73.3 km/h (45.5 mph).
Weather: sunny, dry, tropical heat.
IL LITTORIALE published after the race a short news clip without any detail explanation:
After the Coppa di Montenero, the seventh race in the Italian National Automobile Championship, the classification was:
Absolute classification: Varzi 5 points; Brilli Peri 2 points; Morandi 1 point.
1500 class: Brilli Peri 2 points; Morandi 1 point.
1100 class: Biondetti 4 points, Morandi 2 points; Castelbarco 1 point.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Gran Sport, Firenze
IL LITTORIALE, Bologna
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Manifestazioni by Automobile Club Livorno
RACI settimanale, Roma
Special thanks to:
GRAN PREMIO DE SAN SEBASTIÁN
Circuito de Lasarte - San Sebastián (E), 25 July 1929 (Thursday).
40 laps x 17.315 km (10.759 mi) = 692.6 km (430.4 mi)
Chiron wins the San Sebastian Grand Prix with Bugatti
by Hans Etzrodt
The Grand Prix of San Sebastian took place over 40 laps of the Lasarte circuit held in rainy weather and brief periods of sunshine. The 14 cars at the start comprised a horde of Bugattis and a sole
1750 Alfa Romeo of independent Italian driver Platè. Besides Chiron, Bouriat and Philippe, the most capable were Etancelin, Zanelli, Lehoux, Dreyfus and Bourlier.
The remainders like Broschek, Bouriano, Foresti, Lepori and de Maleplane did not stand a chance of challenging the faster drivers. The battle for the lead would be decided between the Bugattis of Philippe
and Chiron against Etancelin each of whom held first place at some time during the race. Platè's Alfa retired after only one lap, while Zanelli held second place when he called it quits and Bouriat followed him,
both affected by the rain. Broschek, Foresti and Etancelin also retired later on. On lap 21 Chiron took the lead and dominated the race until the finish ahead of Philippe/Bouriat
Bugatti. Lehoux finished third ahead of Dreyfus, Bourlier, de Maleplane and Bouriano. Lepori was shown in eighth place but did not complete the required distance. It was a hard and long race fighting through
the persistent rain.
The 1929 automobile sport week at San Sebastian, which took place at great expense, included the seventh Grand Prix of San Sebastian on Thursday, July 25 and the Spanish Grand Prix for sports cars on Sunday, July 28, a
12-hour endurance race. The A.I.A.C.R. granted permission to the Royal Spanish Automobile Club to hold this largest Spanish automobile race, organized by the Real Automóvil Club de Guipúzcoa. The San Sebastian Grand Prix
was not staged to the international fuel consumption formula but was held to formula libre. The race went counter clockwise over 40 laps of the 17.315 km Lasarte circuit, a total of 692.600 km. The victor was to receive
the Coupe of His Majesty the King of Spain and 10,000 pesetas, the second 5,000, third 3,000 and fourth 1,500. For the fastest lap an extra award of 500 Pesetas was offered.
A total of 19 entries were received for the formula libre race, but only 14 cars appeared for the start, comprising 13 Bugattis and one Alfa Romeo.
Charles Faroux wrote in L'AUTO, "It is noteworthy that the manufacturer from Molsheim does not run officially." The Bugattis were all independent entries by the 1928 winner Chiron, the young skilled 'Philippe', who
was the son of Paris millionaire Baron Henry de Rothschild, and Bouriat, including Dreyfus, who drove de Bondelli's Bugatti on loan, the same car he had driven to victory in the Dieppe Grand Prix.
The Swiss driver Lepori, winner of the Antibes Grand Prix earlier in the year, teamed together with the Belgian driver Bouriano and the Frenchman Bourlier. The German Broschek appeared in his 2300 Bugatti, not
with a Delage as published in some reports. Etancelin, who earlier in July had won the Marne Grand Prix, was a very strong independent driver, similar to Lehoux, the stocky little resident of Algieria, who had
won the 1928 Algerian and Tunis Grands Prix and again in Algeria in 1929. Zanelli represented Spain where he lived although he came from Chile. Earlier in June he won the Grand Prix Bugatti and five weeks later
finished second in the Marne Grand Prix. The independent Milanese driver Platè drove a 1750 Alfa Romeo, representing Italy. It was a shame that Caracciola didn't make the trip to Spain. A white Mercedes would
have added an extra dimension to the race. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report.
On Thursday, a large crowd of visitors streamed to the long Lasarte circuit to see the cars speeding through the villages of Oria just after the start, Andoain after 5 km, Urnieta at half distance, Hernani after 11 km, and Lasarte only 1.3 km before the start and finish. The spectators were well informed of the race progress through loudspeakers mounted at the grandstands. The starting grid had been arranged in traditional numerical order for this event. Numbers 13 and 17 had not been assigned due to the widely held superstition of bringing bad luck to the drivers whose cars were carrying those numbers.
From 10 o'clock in the morning rain showers had fallen intermittently before the race. At 11 o'clock the road circuit was closed to the public and the racecars were pushed to the start. Chiron, Zanelli, Foresti, Bourlier, Broschek, Lepori and Bouriano carried a spare wheel on the left of their Bugattis while the remaining cars did not. The road was dry for the flying start at noon when the pilot car sped by before pulling off to the right, followed at a short distance by the formation of racing cars, three per row.
Chiron in the first row took the lead right away ahead of Philippe and Zanelli, while de Maleplane's Bugatti was delayed. At the end of the first lap as the cars came past the grandstands, it was Philippe first in 8m37s at
120.560 km/h, leading Chiron by one second and Zanelli at his rear wheel. This was an exciting battle. After some distance there followed Broschek, Lehoux, Dreyfus, Bouriat, Bourlier, Etancelin, Bouriano, Lepori, Maleplane,
Foresti and Platé. At the same time clouds approached downloading a formidable amount of rain. Despite their almost reckless courage, the drivers slowed their pace on the slippery roads.
After the second lap Philippe was still first but Zanelli had passed Chiron for second place. Broschek was fourth while Bourlier, Bouriat and Etancelin had passed Dreyfus and Lehoux. Bouriano was tenth ahead of de Maleplane
who had passed Lepori while Foresti remained last. IL LITTORIALE stated that Platè retired his Alfa Romeo with engine trouble, while Erwin Tragatsch wrote that Platè's Alfa turned over without injuring the driver and El Mundo
Deportivo reported that Platè ditched his Alfa and retired on lap two. The field was down to 13, all of them Bugattis in the following order: Philippe, Zanelli, Chiron, Broschek, Bourlier, Bouriat, Etancelin, Lehoux, Dreyfus, Bouriano, Maleplane,
Lepori and Foresti.
On the third lap the rain increased in intensity making the roads very slippery which resulted in a remarkable change when the daring Zanelli passed Philippe for the lead. The struggle between the two excited the spectators
who were also interested in the battle for fourth place between Broschek and Bourlier.
The rain stopped on lap five when Philippe regained first place after an intense battle with Zanelli. Chiron was third ahead of Bourlier, Broschek, Etancelin, Lehoux, Dreyfus, Bouriat and de Maleplane. It appeared that Chiron
intentionally held back and drove a tactically smart race. He probably also had the fastest Bugatti. The classification after five laps was:
|10.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||57m15s|
|11.||Foresti (Bugatti)||57m55s||1 lap down|
|12.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||58m16s||1 lap down|
|13.||Lepori (Bugatti) ||59m41s||1 lap down|
The rain returned on lap seven to the annoyance of the drivers, who were still in the same order as on lap five. IL LITTORIALE reported that Zanelli had difficulty with his steering and arrived late after lap eight, while Erwin
Tragatsch wrote that Zanelli's Bugatti turned over without injuring him. When Bouriat also retired on lap eight, the field was down to 11 cars.
After ten laps Philippe was leading, completing 173,150 km in 1h41m12s at an average of 102.186 km/h, ahead of Chiron, Etancelin, Dreyfus, Bourlier, Broschek, Lehoux, de Maleplane, Bouriano, Foresti and Lepori. The classification
after ten laps was:
|8.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||1h52m51s||1 lap down|
|9.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||2h00m20s||2 laps down|
|10.||Foresti (Bugatti)||2h02m40s||2 laps down|
|11.||Lepori (Bugatti)||2h02m43s||2 laps down|
After 12 laps the order was Philippe, Chiron, Etancelin, Bourlier, Lehoux now in fifth place, Broschek, Dreyfus, who had fallen to seventh, de Maleplane, Bouriano and Lepori. Foresti had stopped at the pits and handed over his
car to Zanelli, who was his appointed reserve driver and had retired his own car on lap nine. Lap 13 passed without a change of positions.
At the end of lap 14 Philippe passed the grandstands in first place, then the public waited with interest for Chiron but Etancelin appeared next. Chiron had lost his second place due to a burst tire and arrived with much delay,
losing about 15 minutes due to this incident. The sun had replaced the rain clouds which resulted in an increase in average speeds.
After 15 laps, it was still Philippe ahead of Etancelin and Chiron, followed by the battling trio of Lehoux, Bourlier and Broschek. There was a large gap to Dreyfus, de Maleplane, Foresti, Bouriano and Lepori. The order after
15 laps was:
|7.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h38m56s||1 lap down|
|8.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||2h47m58s||2 laps down|
|9.||Foresti/Zanelli (Bugatti)||2h51m17s||3 laps down|
|10.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||2h51m35s||3 laps down|
|11.||Lepori (Bugatti)||2h53m57s||3 laps down|
On lap 16, Broschek left the road and wrecked his Bugatti, but fortunately without any injuries to himself. Philippe covered lap 17 in 8m32s, the fastest lap so far, but well below last year's record lap of more than 141 km/h
by Chiron. Chiron suffered a delay with another puncture but was determined to regain the lost time. He was driving faster now and on lap 18 achieved a better time in 7m57s, an average of 130.679 km/h. Despite his delay,
Chiron had managed to overtake Etancelin and by the end of lap 18 the order was: Philippe, Chiron, Etancelin, Lehoux, Bourlier, Dreyfus, de Malplane, Foresti, Lepori and Bouriano.
When the rain came to a halt on lap 20, Philippe and Chiron both stopped at the pits for fuel and tires before they reached the line of the timekeepers. At the pit stop Philippe handed the car over to Bouriat, who had retired
on lap eight. Etancelin arrived next but drove past the grandstand without stopping at his pit. Lehoux in fourth place was followed by Bourlier, Dreyfus, de Maleplane, Bouriano, Foresti, and Lepori. The classification
after 20 laps was:
|5.||Bourlier (Bugatti)||3h20m08s||1 lap down|
|6.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||3h22m30s||1 lap down|
|7.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||3h32m05s||2 laps down|
|8.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||3h34m35s||3 laps down|
|9.||Foresti/Zanelli (Bugatti)||3h42m20s||4 laps down|
|10.||Lepori (Bugatti)||4h01m07s||6 laps down|
On lap 21 Chiron passed Bouriat and Etancelin for first place. Bouriat in Philippe's car also passed Etancelin to take second place.
Chiron covered lap 22 in 7m37s at an average of 139.290 km/h, the fastest up until then. The order after Chiron was Philippe/Bouriat, Dreyfus and Bourlier. On lap 24 there were no significant changes.
After 25 laps, it was still Chiron first ahead of Philippe/Bouriat, Etancelin and Lehoux all on the same lap. Behind this front group there was Dreyfus, Bourlier, de Maleplane, Bouriano, Foresti and Lepori.
The order after 25 laps:
|5.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||4h01m39s||1 lap down|
|6.||Bourlier (Bugatti)||4h04m58s||1 lap down|
|7.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||4h17m16s||3 laps down|
|8.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||4h20m20s||3 laps down|
|9.||Foresti/Zanelli (Bugatti)||4h30m35s||5 laps down|
|10.||Lepori (Bugatti) ||5h00m34s||9 laps down|
On lap 26, when the Foresti/Zanelli Bugatti retired, the field was down to nine cars. On lap 29 Chiron drove the fastest lap of the day in 7m27.4s at an average of 139,449 km/h, still slower than his best lap
the previous year. Probably the wet track was the reason. At the end of this lap it started to rain
again and the race average was going to drop considerably. On this lap Etancelin retired before he reached the finish because of the poor road conditions. L'Auto reported that he spun his car on lap 30 and retired.
At the end of lap 30 Chiron remained in the lead ahead of Philippe/Bouriat, Lehoux, Dreyfus, Bourlier, de Maleplane, Bouriano and Lepori. The classification after 30 laps was:
|3.||Lehoux (Bugatti)||4h42m47s||1 lap down|
|4.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||4h43m30s||1 lap down|
|5.||Bourlier (Bugatti)||4h50m31s||2 laps down|
|6.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||5h04m41s||4 laps down|
|7.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||5h09m04s||5 laps down|
|8.||Lepori (Bugatti)||5h47m50s||10 laps down|
After 35 laps the classification had not changed.
|2.||Philippe/Bouriat (Bugatti)||5h23m30s||1 lap down|
|3.||Lehoux (Bugatti)||5h25m15s||1 lap down|
|4.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||5h29m28s||1 lap down|
|5.||Bourlier (Bugatti)||5h35m39s||2 laps down|
|6.||de Maleplane (Bugatti)||5h43m38s||3 laps down|
|7.||Bouriano (Bugatti)||5h52m24s||4 laps down|
|8.||Lepori (Bugatti) ||?|
On lap 36 Chiron had a rear tire puncture, which helped Philippe and Lehoux, who recovered their lost lap. Over the last ten laps there were no changes in the procession of the eight Bugattis. At the end of the race it was
still raining and the wet course prevented a final sprint. The two Bugattis of Chiron and Philippe remained in the lead. Chiron won the cup of the King of Spain. Lehoux finished in third position, the first of the
independent Bugattis, followed by Dreyfus, Bourlier, de Maleplane, Bouriano and Lepori in eighth place. The latter was seven laps behind and probably did not classify, not having completed the required distance.
|1.||1||Louis Chiron||L. Chiron||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||5h57m06s|
|2.||2||Georges Philippe/Bouriat||G. Philippe||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||6h02m59s||+ 5m53s|
|3.||6||Marcel Lehoux||M. Lehoux||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||6h04m18s||+ 7m12s|
|4.||16||René Dreyfus||R. Dreyfus||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||6h10m01s||+ 12m55s|
|5.||8||Edmond Bourlier||E. Bourlier||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||40||6h19m05s||+ 21m59s|
|6.||15||Jean de Maleplane||J. de Maleplane||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||40||6h32m05s||+ 34m59s|
|7.||19||Georges Bouriano||G. Bouriano||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||6h38m31s||+ 41m25s|
|8.||12||Mario Lepori||M. Lepori||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||33|
|DNF||14||Philippe Etancelin||P. Etancelin||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||29||crash|
|DNF||5||Giulio Foresti/J. Zanelli||G. Foresti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||25|
|DNF||11||Albert Broschek||A. Broschek||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||15||crash|
|DNF||18||Guy Bouriat||G. Bouriat||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||7|
|DNF||4||Juan Zanelli||J. Zanelli||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||7||crash|
|DNF||9||Luigi Platè||L. Platè||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750||1.8||S-6||1||spun off track|
Fastest lap: Louis Chiron (Bugatti) on lap 29 in 7m27.4s = 139.3 km/h (86.6 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 116.4 km/h (72.3 mph)
Weather: various rain showers, intermittent sunshine.
The times and speeds published by the various sources researched for this report, showed great diversity from one to another. This could be a sad reflection on the performance
of the timekeepers or possibly carelessness on the part of the journalists. This seems more likely as it's doubtful that the timekeepers would have given different times to the
various journalists. It was therefore decided to use the most credible times in this report and ignore the others.
The following shows the fastest laps of each driver:
As can be seen, the order of the fastest laps did not disagree with the final classification. The faster cars and faster men were the best classified and were less affected by difficulties.
The fastest laps were obviously registered after the rain soaked circuit had dried by the sun. Drivers with slow laps covered them before they were forced to leave for different reasons.
|Chiron on lap 29||7m27.4s at 139.325 km/h|
|Philippe/Bouriat on lap 27||7m42.4s at 134.805 km/h|
|Dreyfus on lap 25||7m43.8s at 134.398 km/h|
|Lehoux on lap 30||7m47.4s at 133.363 km/h|
|Etancelin on lap 28||8m04.2s at 128.736 km/h|
|Broschek on lap 14||8m04.4s at 128.683 km/h|
|Bouriano on lap 25||8m11.2s at 126.901 km/h|
|Foresti/Zanelli on lap 23 & 24||8m18.4s at 125.068 km/h|
|Bourlier on lap 27||8m25.6s at 123.287 km/h|
|de Maleplane on lap 38||8m28.4s at 122.608 km/h|
|Zanelli on lap 1||8m48.8s at 117.878 km/h|
|Lepori on lap 20||9m06.7s at 114.019 km/h|
|Bouriat on lap 1||9m17.2s at 111.870 km/h|
|Platè on lap 1||11m00.8s at 94.331 km/h|
The Guipuzcoa Authority donated for the first time the 'Cup of Nations' competition at the 1929 Sebastian Grand Prix. The Sporting Commission of the R.A.C. of Guipuzcoa, having recorded the
practice times of the historical competitors, designated 24 hours before the race a team of three drivers for each represented nation. To decide the winning grand team, the following rules
were to be applied:
The team that totals the least points will be the winner of the trophy by the Guipuzcoa Authority, being presented the 'Cup of Nations' to the Automobile Club of the corresponding nation,
which keeps it for one year. For one nation to keep the cup permanently it would need to win three consecutive years or an alternative of five. (It was not reported if this contest was held as planned.)
1st - Points will be added from the individual classification in the San Sebastian Grand Prix as follows:
2nd - Every stop in the pits will be penalized with five points.
- Zero points for first.
- Five points for second.
- Ten points for third and so on.
3rd - Every minute or fraction thereof in pit stop delay, a driver will be penalized by one point.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
IL LITTORIALE, Bologna
Le Figaro, Paris
Madrid Automovil, Madrid
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
5 August 1929: The B.A.R.C. August Meeting was held at Brooklands.|
Handicap races were won by John Cobb (Delage 10.5 litre), Rigg (Lombard 1.1 litre),
Froy (Delage), Wallbank (Humber), Wilkinson (O.M. 1.5 litre), Bouts (Sunbeam 5 litre), Spero (B.C. Austin), Cyril Paul (Benz) and Kaye Don (Sunbeam).