VI GRAND PRIX DE LA MARNE
Reims-Gueux (F), 29 June 1930.
50 laps x 8 km (4.97 mi) = 400 km (248.5 mi)
Dreyfus wins the Marne Grand Prix
by Hans Etzrodt
A total of 19 drivers started in the Marne Grand Prix on the Reims-Gueux Circuit and only three cars finished the 400 km race. Almost the entire field was comprised of various Bugatti types interrupted only by Scaron's
fast 1100 Amilcar which retired after 20 laps and Casali's 1500 La Perle which was flagged off in fifth place. Lehoux was the early leader but on lap five Etancelin moved into first place, chased by Dreyfus. Chiron
encountered carburation problems, resulting in numerous pit stops. On lap ten Dreyfus held the lead ahead of Etancelin and Lehoux. Etancelin broke a wheel on lap 13 and obtained a replacement running to his pit far
away. In the meantime Dreyfus followed by Lehoux and Doré were the only ones to complete the 50 laps, while Faggioli, Casali, de Bondeli and Etancelin, all many laps behind, were stopped when the crowd invaded the course.
For the sixth time l'Automobile-Club Ardennes-Champagne-Argonne (Section Marne) together with the journal l'Eclaireur del'Est organized the Grand Prix de la Marne. The entries were divided into three categories,
750 cc to 1100 cc, 1500cc and 2000 cc, all race cars, which had to start at the same time and complete 50 laps of the 8 km circuit or 400 km. The category up to 1100 cc raced for the Prix du C. O. F. A. C. A.
(Prix du Comité d'Oorganisation des Fêtes de l'Automobile Club Argonne (Section Marne), the 1500 cc category raced for the Prix de la Sociétè du Circuit de Reims and the 2000 cc category raced for the Prix du Journal
l'Eclaireur de l'Est. The race was run over the triangular permanent Circuit de Reims-Gueux, which had been used for the Marne Grand Prix each year since 1925. The course featured two long straights, one curved back
leg and three sharp right hand turns at the village of Gueux, La Garenne on Route 31 and Thillois before the finish straight.
The prize money for the 1100 cc category was 5,000 francs for first, 2,500 fr. for second and 1,500 fr. for third. In the 1500 cc category, first received 6,000 francs, second 3,000 fr. and third 2,000 fr. In the
2000 cc category, first received 8,000 francs, second 4,000 fr. and third 2,000 fr.
The competitor driving the fastest lap, regardless of category, received a special price of 1,000 francs. The competitor breaking the existing lap record received a special price of 2,000 francs (The current record
holder was Chiron, 2-L Bugatti at 146.938 km/h). The competitor breaking the existing race record received a special price of 3,000 francs (The current record holder was Etancelin, 2-L Bugatti at 137.850 km/h). The
overall winner Dreyfus received the challenge award of the Ancien Automobile Club de La Marne, an objet d'art worth 10,000 francs, was to be held for a year by Dreyfus, the owner of the winning car, and permanently
assigned after three consecutive victories (the current holder was Etancelin, 2-liter Bugatti).
Scrutineering of the cars took place on Saturday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM outside the offices of the newspaper "Eclaireur de l'Est" in the Place d'Erlon in Reims.
From 24 entries 19 cars appeared at the start of which seven were in the 2000 cc class, 11 in the 1500 cc class and one 1100 cc Amilcar. Amongst a horde of Bugattis there was one Amilcar and one 1500 cc La Perle.
Two Maseratis were entered but did not appear. Hence, only two interlopers interrupted an otherwise pure Bugatti field of cars which are listed at the beginning of this report.
The day of the race was very hot. The Paris newspaper, Figaro, stated that near the start and finish area 50.000 spectators were present with another 100.000 around the circuit, making a total of 150.000 spectators.
When the cars assembled for the start, Sandri, Czaykowski, Nenzioni, Lennart and Givaudan did not appear. The remaining 19 cars lined up on the grid opposite the grandstand and their engines were started.
At 2:30 PM Mr. Pallette lowered his flag to start the race. The thundering cars left the grid to the indescribable enthusiasm of the spectators and the struggle on the track began
from the outset. Lehoux was first at Gueux, also at Garenne and still at Thillois. He finished the first lap at an average speed of 135.849 km/h ahead of Etancelin, Dreyfus, Miquel, Zanelli, Chiron and the rest,
while Doré headed the 1500 category at a speed of 121.008 km/h. After the first lap the order was:
|1.||Lehoux (Bugatti)||3m32s||2000 cc|
|5.||Zanelli (Bugatti) ||?||2000|
|6.||Chiron (Bugatti) ||?||2000|
After lap two Lehoux was still in the lead, followed by Dreyfus and Miquel both of whom had overtaken Etancelin and were bolting past the grandstand. Chiron encountered carburation trouble and stopped at his pit.
On the third lap Etancelin turned a record lap at 140.383 km/h while Chiron stopped for the second time and fell further behind. During the race he was forced to stop several times and therefore was no longer with
the leading group. With Chiron sidelined, the remaining 2000 cc contenders Lehoux, Dreyfus, Etancelin and Zanelli had a splendid race in their battle for the lead. The dog fight between Etancelin, Lehoux and
Dreyfus was superb. Etancelin passed the leader Lehoux at Garenne to be first by the grandstand on the fifth lap at 140.480 km/h average speed ahead of Dreyfus who had also passed Lehoux. Meanwhile Miquel had
dropped to fifth behind Zanelli. Doré headed the 1500 category with an average speed of 129.612 km/h after five laps:
|1.||Etancelin (Bugatti)||17m05s||2000 cc|
|4.||Zanelli (Bugatti) ||?||2000|
The exciting fight between Etancelin, Dreyfus and Lehoux continued with their positions frequently changing. On lap eight Dreyfus passed Lehoux in front of the grandstand to take the lead. Etancelin followed closely
and also passed Lehoux. At around the tenth lap Gaupillat retired his 1500 Bugatti while in fourth place of his class and Chiron made another of his pit stops. After 80 kilometers Dreyfus held the lead at 141.592 km/h
average speed ahead of Etancelin, Lehoux and Zanelli with less than 10 seconds separating the first three, while Doré headed the 1500 category at 130.140 km/h average speed after lap 10:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||33m54s||2000 cc|
On lap 12 Dreyfus established a new lap record but was still chased closely by Etancelin, who on lap 13 skidded on the slippery tar at Garenne corner where he hit a tree and broke his left rear wheel. Despite the
heat of the day Etancelin ran a few kilometers to his pit to return with a new wheel. Lehoux encountered problems with his engine at Gueux and on lap 15 he stopped for 30 seconds at his pit. Veličkovič in the
1500 Bugatti crashed and retired with a broken fuel pipe. Auber retired his 1500 Bugatti when he arrived completely exhausted at his pit suffering from a badly burned leg, possibly caused by his car's exhaust.
Brunier had also retired his 1500 Bugatti earlier on the circuit and had walked back to the pits. Longueville in another 1500 Bugatti also retired around lap 15. Lehoux and Zanelli were engaged in a close battle
for second place and were just two seconds apart. After 15 laps Dreyfus held the lead at 142.762 km/h average speed ahead of Lehoux while Doré headed the 1500 category at 130.277 km/h average speed after lap 15:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||50m26s||2000 cc|
|8.||de Bondeli (Bugatti)||58m34s||1500|
After 160 km Dreyfus maintained the lead at 143.034 km/h average speed ahead of Zanelli who had left Lehoux behind to the tune of over a minute. The close, exciting battle of the opening laps had now become a race
of attrition as the three leading protagonists were now over a minute apart from each other. Doré still headed the 1500 category at 130.375 km/h average speed after 20 laps:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h07m07s||2000 cc|
|7.||de Bondeli (Bugatti)||1h17m14s||1500|
After mid race, it was the time for pit stops to refuel and change tires. Dreyfus continued to hold the lead at 143.027 km/h ahead of Zanelli, Lehoux and Miquel. Doré kept the lead in the 1500 category at 130.493 km/h
average speed after lap 25:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h23m54s||2000 cc|
|7.||de Bondeli (Bugatti)||1h36m27s||1500|
Chiron was struggling with his car and stopped for the 4th time at his pit. By now he had fallen hopelessly behind. Doré refueled at the halfway point, having led his class for 200 km with surprising regularity.
Dreyfus slowed in front of the grandstand and refueled very quickly, and was followed by Faggioli and Casali who also stopped at the pits. By now Etancelin, had walked back to Garenne Corner, mounted the new wheel
and to the spectators' applause left the scene with a huge handicap. After 30 laps, Dreyfus was leading at 141.084 km/h average speed while Doré, despite his pit stop, still headed the 1500 category at 130.493 km/h
average speed after 30 laps:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h42m04s||2000 cc|
|5.||de Bondeli (Bugatti)||1h56m07s||1500|
Doré stopped for the second time at his pit for 12.4s. After 280 km, Dreyfus held the lead at 141.285 km/h average speed ahead of Zanelli while Doré held first place in the 1500 category after lap 35:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h58m54s||2000 cc|
After 320 km Dreyfus held the lead at 141.159 km/h average speed ahead of Lehoux while Doré was leading the 1500 category after lap 40:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h16m01s||2000 cc|
On lap 41, Dreyfus extended his lead and gained a few seconds from Zanelli, who stopped to refuel. His car would not restart and after several failed attempts he was forced to retire. Soon afterwards Delbos
crashed his 1500 Bugatti and the driver luckily escaped without injury. It is unknown how many laps Chiron had fallen behind during his multiple pit stops but he retired when Dreyfus completed lap 41.
Chiron came into the pits with de Bondeli riding on the back of his car whom he had picked up after his car had broken down on the circuit. After 45 laps, Dreyfus' lead was a minute ahead of Lehoux while
Doré was now third, following the retirement of Zanelli, and still headed the 1500 category after lap 45:
|1.||Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h32m43s||2000 cc|
At the end of lap 50, Dreyfus finished after 2h49m27.6s and Lehoux followed just over two minutes later. Doré who had been lapped several times carried on completing the 50 laps after which the large crowd
started to invade the course. This caused the officials to flag down the remaining drivers, Faggioli and Etancelin, and probably also Casali who was not shown as retirement. All three of them were many laps
behind. Faggioli was reported as the fourth finisher, nine laps behind. Dreyfus drove the fastest lap in 3m18s at 145.454 km/h but did not beat the existing record of 3m17s at 146.938 km/h established
in 1928 by Chiron.
|1.||40||René Dreyfus||R. Dreyfus||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||50||2h49m27.6s|
|2.||38||Marcel Lehoux||M. Lehoux||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||50||2h51m30.4s||+ 2m02.8s|
|3.||2||Michel Doré||M. Doré||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||50||3h06m14.2s||+ 16m46.6s|
|4.||36||Giorgio Faggioli||G. Faggioli||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||41||flagged|
|DNC||16||Louis Casali||L. Casali||La Perle||1,5||S-4||40||flagged|| |
|DNF||6||Albert de Bondeli||A. de Bondeli||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||40||mechanical|| |
|DNF||44||Juan Zanelli||J. Zanelli||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||car would not restart|
|DNF||34||Philippe Etancelin||P. Etancelin||Bugatti||T35C||2-0||S-8||38||flagged|
|DNF||52||Louis Chiron||L. Chiron||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||?||mechanical|
|DNF||42||Raoul Miquel||R. Miquel||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||22||wheel problem|
|DNF||26||José Scaron||J. Scaron||Amilcar||C6||1.1||S-6||20||mechanical|| |
|DNF||8||Willy Longueville||W. Longueville||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||20||mechanical|| |
|DNF||10||Veličkovič||Veličkovič||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||13||crash and fuel pipe|
|DNF||4||Philippe Auber||P. Auber||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||13||driver injured by exhaust|
|DNF||22||Jean Gaupillat||J. Gaupillat||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||9||mechanical|| |
|DNF||18||Max Fourny||M. Fourny||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||5||mechanical|| |
|DNF||12||Emile Tetaldi||E. Tetaldi||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||5||mechanical|| |
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus in 3m18.0s = 145.5 km/h (90.4 mph)|
Winner's medium speed 2000cc (Dreyfus): 141.6 km/h (88.0 mph)
Winner's medium speed 1500cc (Doré): 128.9 km/h (80.1 mph)
Weather: hot, sunshine.
The information published by the newspaper L'Eclaireur de l'Est was of utmost importance with individual lap times but the report itself often provided just superficial information which left several details doubtful and
inconclusive. Chiron's progress at the back of the field was not described, except that he retired on the 41st lap. Etancelin stopped on lap 13 with a broken wheel, ran to his pit to fetch a new one which he fitted to
his car after lap 25. At the very best he had dropped only 12 laps behind the leader, probably more. The official time keeping and/or the reporting in the organizing newspaper l'Eclaireur del'Est left much to be desired
and puts to question the accuracy of the various retirements at lap 5, 13 and lap 40 when groups of drivers simultaneously dropped out of the race.
The label '2000 cc category' used by the organizers is rather odd as both 1991cc and 2262cc Bugattis took part in it. 'Category over 1500 cc' would have been more correct.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
L'Eclaireur de l'Est, Reims
Motor Sport, London
Special thanks to: