VI° COPPA ACERBO
Pescara (I), 17 August 1930.
Class over 1100 cc: 10 laps x 25.5 km (15.85 mi) = 255.0 km (158.5 mi)
Achille Varzi victorious with the new Maserati
by Hans Etzrodt
The warm-up to the main event was a short dash in the early morning for 1100 cc cars, which was won by Premoli (Salmson) leading Alfieri Maserati and Fagioli to the finish. After a brief
break twenty racecars appeared at the start for the sixth Coppa Acerbo. Arcangeli was entrusted with the 16-cylinder Maserati in which he led the first three tours until a tire blew at top
speed and he crashed. Nuvolari, in the outdated Alfa Romeo P2, led the race for the next two laps until he made a pit stop to cure his ailing engine. Thereafter Fagioli held the lead for
four laps but near the very end his Maserati broke down and, due to outside help, he was disqualified. The lucky Varzi inherited the lead to win the Coppa Acerbo in his new Maserati but
only after his most dangerous opponents Arcangeli and Fagioli had retired. Ernesto Maserati in a similar car finished second ahead of Borzacchini with a 1750 Alfa Romeo in third place.
Brivio in the little Talbot placed fourth ahead of Nuvolari, Caflisch, Fontanini and Sartorio.
The 1930 Coppa Acerbo was in its sixth running and was one of to the more important events on the international calendar. In 1924 Minister Giacomo Acerbo had named the race in honor of his
brother Capitano Tito Acerbo, a decorated war hero, who was killed during the last year of WW I. The same triangular 25.5 km Pescara circuit was used for the 1930 race, which went over ten
laps. The start was outside the seaside resort of Pescara, where the road went straight for about one kilometer along the shore. Before the town of Pescara the course made a wide right turn
heading inland for about 11 km along a winding road up into the Abruzzi Mountains through the villages of Villa Raspa, Spoltore and Capelle. From here, the road led into the approximately
11 km long Montesilvano downhill straight to the coast at blistering speed where every car could reach its maximum speed. A fast right turn at Montesilvano railroad station led into the
Lungo Mare straight along the coast through a chicane to slow the cars just before start and finish.
The Coppa Acerbo promoters received 32 entries for the class over 1100 cc of which only 20 appeared for the race. The more important ones included Baconin Borzacchini, who had been the team
captain of Maserati. After his disappointing Targa Florio and the failure at Indianapolis, he left for the Scuderia Ferrari at the Coppa Ciano, where he joined his friend Tazio Nuvolari both driving Alfa Romeos. Scuderia
Ferrari managed the Alfa Romeo works entries, an outdated P2 for Tazio Nuvolari, a 1750 GS for Borzacchini and another 1750 for team owner Enzo Ferrari himself. Giuseppe Campari was entered
with an Alfa Romeo, possibly also by the Scuderia, but he did not appear. The same was true for Scuderia founder-member Alfredo Caniato in a 1500 Alfa Romeo. Achille Varzi, who had driven
one of the Alfa P2's for SA Alfa Romeo two weeks earlier at the Coppa Ciano, had defected to the Maserati camp. Luigi Arcangeli who was driving at the Targa Florio and Rome for Maserati,
changed to Scuderia Ferrari for the Coppa Ciano race. Thereafter he moved back to the Bologna stable, following simultaneously with Varzi to join regulars Luigi Fagioli and Ernesto Maserati,
brother of admired team leader Alfieri Maserati. Varzi felt motivated because the 2500 Maserati was a faster car than the old Alfa P2.
For the first time since Tripoli, Scuderia Materassi appeared with two 1500 Talbots, one for Clemente Biondetti as raced at Monaco and Rome and the other was the rebuilt car which Brilli-Peri
crashed at Tripoli but now in the hands of Antonio Brivio. Two additional Talbot entries were made but obviously could not appear since Scuderia Materassi only had two cars.
From the independent drivers, Mille Miglia founding member Count Aymo Maggi probably had the best chance of a good result. He arrived with his new T35C Bugatti, in which he had finished third
at the Coppa Ciano two weeks prior. The Sartorios, Arrigo and Filippo, both in smaller tipo 26 Maseratis were also present. Two very large Mercedes-Benz sports cars were entered, both stripped
of fenders, lights and running boards. One was a red SSK for 31-year old Roman Prince Rodolfo del Drago (but really Rodolfo Maria Giovanni Francesco Domenico Giuseppe del Drago) and an older
four-seater SS, the only white painted car in an all-red field, for 38-year old Swiss/Italian businessman Federico Caflisch. A complete rundown of entries is found at the beginning of this
On Sunday morning at 8:10 AM the Italian Leader of Sports, Augusto Turati, lowered the Italian flag to start the 12 cyclecars below 1100 cc over 102 km or four laps around the Pescara circuit.
Luigi Premoli (Salmson) won in 57m16s at an average speed of 106.868 km/h, ahead of Alfieri Maserati (Maserati) and Luigi Fagioli (Salmson). Alfieri Maserati made the fastest lap in 14m09.2s.
After the spectators had been warmed up, the starting area was cleared for the main event where 20 cars took their positions on the grid in numerical order.
At 9:45 AM Augusto Turati started the race, this time however with a checkered flag. Maggi's Bugatti led the 20-car field from the front row as the loud thundering cars shot away. However, Arcangeli, Nuvolari and Fagioli
passed Maggi after Capelle on the fast section to Montesilvano. At the end of the first lap Arcangeli in the 16-cylinder Maserati was in front at an average speed of 123.287 km/h, leading Nuvolari, Fagioli, Maserati
The fifteenth position was held by de Martis (Maserati), followed by Fontanini (Alfa Romeo), Renzi (Bugatti) who retired, Peri (O.M.) and a long distance behind trailed Ferrari and Spinozzi in 1750 Alfas.
|1. Arcangeli (Maserati)||12m24.6s|
|2. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||12m43.8s|
|3. Fagioli (Maserati)||13m02.0s|
|4. E. Maserati (Maserati)||13m17.6s|
|5. Varzi (Maserati)||13m27.6s|
|6. Maggi (Bugatti)||13m54.6s|
|7. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)||14m02.0s|
|8. Biondetti (Talbot)||14m05.0s|
|9. F. Sartorio (Maserati)||?|
|10. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)||14m36.2s|
|11. Brivio (Talbot)||?|
|12. Catalani (Alfa Romeo)||stopped at his pit|
|13. A. Sartorio (Maserati)||?|
|14. del Drago (Mercedes-Benz)||15m03.0s|
At the end of the second lap Arcangeli was even further ahead of Nuvolari and had increased the gap to more than half a minute. Fagioli set a new fastest lap time of 12m20s equal to 124 km/h average speed and was now
only four seconds behind Nuvolari. Varzi overhauled Maserati, leading him by three seconds.
Filippo Sartorio followed in eighth place ahead of Caflisch, Brivio, Arrigo Sartorio, de Martis, del Drago who retired, Fontanini, Catalani in fourteenth place and last Peri in 32m15.6s. Because Maggi (Bugatti),
Renzi (Bugatti), del Drago (Mercedes-Benz), Ferrari (Alfa Romeo) and Spinozzi (Alfa Romeo) had retired, only 15 drivers were left in the field.
|1. Arcangeli (Maserati)||24m43.0s|
|2. Nuvolari (Alf Romeo)||25m18.0s|
|3. Fagioli (Maserati)||25m22.0s|
|4. Varzi (Maserati)||25m59.0s|
|5. E. Maserati (Maserati)||26m02.0s|
|6. Biondetti (Talbot)||26m18.0s|
|7. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)||26m21.0s|
After the third lap Arcangeli's lead had now been cut to eight seconds by Nuvolari. Fagioli in third place established a new fastest lap at 12m11s, which was a new record. Varzi followed in fourth place, Ernesto
Maserati was fifth, pursued by Biondetti, Borzacchini, Filippo Sartorio, Caflisch, Brivio, Arrigo Sartorio, de Martis, Fontanini, Catalini and Peri. The order of the 15 car field remained the same.
The fourth lap produced an exciting scene at the finish-line. Nuvolari was now first with Arcangeli barely one second behind. Fagioli was third a bit less than 11 seconds further back, followed by Varzi, Ernesto
Maserati, Filippo Sartorio, Borzacchini and Brivio. Next trailed Biondetti who retired with a breakdown, Caflisch, Arrigo Sartorio, de Martis and Fontanini.
About 300 meters beyond the finish line Arcangeli had a tire burst at top speed on the straight. His car skidded and collided violently against a gate of a country house, twisting a wheel and ending the race for
Arcangeli and the 16-cylinder Maserati, fortunately without serious consequences to the driver. Now the field was down to 13 cars.
After the fifth lap Nuvolari remained in first place but Fagioli always posed a threat to reduce the distance and continuously improve his pace. In fact, at mid race Fagioli established a new record lap at 12m09.4s,
which was the fastest lap of the race at 125.855 km/h average speed. Fagioli showed that he really was a great champion. Varzi held third place followed by Ernesto Maserati, Borzacchini, Brivio and Caflisch seventh.
Filippo Sartorio retired; he drove well until his car broke down. Peri and Catalani were no longer mentioned in the reports and neither were Biondetti and Arcangeli, so the field was now down to 10 cars.
|1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h01m49.4s|
|2. Fagioli (Maserati)||1h01m57.6s|
|3. Varzi (Maserati||1h03m27.4s|
|4. E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h04m01.4s|
|5. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)||1h07m31.6s|
|6. Brivio (Talbot)||1h08m29.2s|
|7. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)||1h11m17.0s|
|8. A. Sartorio (Maserati)||1h12m16.6s|
|9. de Martis (Maserati)||1h13m46.0s|
|10. Fontanini (Alfa Romeo)||1h14m40.0s|
On lap six Nuvolari lost the lead. His pace had slowed and he was falling back. Fagioli was the first to pass the slowing Alfa at Capelle. Next Varzi went by and then Ernesto Maserati passed the stricken Alfa Romeo.
At the end of lap six the Maseratis of Fagioli, Varzi and Ernesto Maserati were in the first three positions while Nuvolari's Alfa arrived in fourth place and stopped at the pits for new plugs.
|1. Fagioli (Maserati)|
|2. Varzi (Maserati)|
|3. E. Maserati (Maserati)|
|4. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)|
|5. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)|
|6. Brivio (Talbot)|
|7. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)|
|8. A. Sartorio (Maserati)|
|9. de Martis (Maserati)|
|10. Fontanini (Alfa Romeo)|
During the seventh lap the three leading positions remained the same. Varzi received a signal from his pit to go faster, while Nuvolari had fallen to fifth place and was followed by Brivio's fast little Talbot.
At the end of lap seven the order was:
|1. Fagioli (Maserati)||1h26m44.4s|
|2. Varzi (Maserati)||1h28m26.4s|
|3. E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h29m26.2s|
|4. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)||1h34m13.2s|
|5. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h35m37.0s|
|6. Brivio (Talbot)||1h37m08.6s|
|7. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)||1h39m21.0s|
|8. A. Sartorio (Maserati)||?|
|9. de Martis (Maserati)|
|10. Fontanini (Alfa Romeo)|
On the eighth lap Fagioli maintained his lead ahead of Varzi who was 1m15s behind. Varzi had closed the gap by half a minute in a single lap. Ernesto Maserati was third, after that there was a long gap to Borzacchini,
then Brivio who had overtaken Nuvolari, who was now in sixth place. Caflisch's Mercedes in seventh position was the only other car on the same lap. Arrigo Sartorio and Fontanini had fallen way behind. De Martis had
overturned his Maserati at Spoltore and was seriously injured but was said to be recovering.
On lap nine Fagioli's lead over Varzi had come down slightly to 1m08s. Ernesto Maserati was third, followed by Borzacchini, Brivio, Nuvolari and Caflisch in seventh place, who had now been lapped by the leader.
Fontanini trailed in eighth place with Arrigo Sartorio last.
On the final lap, Fagioli remained in the lead at Capelle. But then came a dramatic turn of events at the last turn at the center of Montesilvano, just a few kilometers from the finish. The pinion of the differential
broke and Fagioli's Maserati rolled to a stop. Varzi passed his stranded teammate, heading towards a lucky victory. Then the others passed one by one, Ernesto Maserati, Borzacchini, Brivio, Nuvolari and Caflisch.
At the finish Varzi was first, Maserati second, Borzacchini third, Brivio in the small Talbot, Nuvolari and Caflisch next. Finally Fagioli appeared with his stricken car, 17m5s after the victor and pushed by a group of
enthusiastic spectators. He was timed at 2h23m13.4s, which would have placed him seventh but due to outside assistance he was disqualified.
|1.||28||Achille Varzi||Officine Alfiero Maserati||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||10||2h06m08.2s|
|2.||32||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfiero Maserati||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||10||2h07m35.0s||+ 1m26.8s|
|3.||42||Baconin Borzacchini||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 GS||1.8||S-6||10||2h14m18.8s||+ 8m10.6s |
|4.||18||Antonio Brivio||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||10||2h16m12.2s||+ 10m04.0s|
|5.||22||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0 ||S-8||10||2h17m41.2s||+ 11m33.0s|
|6.||4||Federico Caflisch||F. Caflisch||Mercedes-Benz||SS||7.1||S-6||10||2h21m41.4s||+ 15m33.2s|
|DQU||8||Luigi Fagioli||Officine Alfiero Maserati||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||10||2h23m13.4s||+ 17m05.2s|
|7.||58||Bruno Fontanini||B. Fontanini||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750||1.8||S-6||10||2h27m18.6s||+ 21m10.4s|
|8.||54||Arrigo Sartorio||A. Sartorio||Maserati||26||1.7||S-8||10||2h29m56.6s||+ 23m48.4s|
|DNF||60||Creste de Martis||C. de Martis||Maserati||26R||1.7||S-8||6||crash|
|DNF||64||Guglielmo Peri||G. Peri||O. M.||665 S||2.2||S-6||4|
|DNF||40||Luigi Catalani||L. Catalani||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750||1.8||S-6||4|
|DNF||26||Filippo Sartorio||F. Sartorio||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||4||mechanical|
|DNF||16||Luigi Arcangeli||Officine Alfiero Maserati||Maserati||V4||4.0||2x8||4||crash|
|DNF||14||Clemente Biondetti||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||3|
|DNF||2||Rodolfo del Drago||Price R. del Drago||Mercedes-Benz||SSK||7.1||S-6||1||mechanical|
|DNF||44||Luigi Spinozzi||L. Spinozzi||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750||1.8||S-6||1|
|DNF||50||Enzo Ferrari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750||1.8||S-6||1|
|DNF||62||Cesare Renzi||C. Renzi||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||1|
|DNF||6||Aymo Maggi||Conte A. Maggi||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||1||engine|
Fastest lap: Luigi Fagioli (Maserati) on lap 5 in 12m09.4s = 125.9 km/h (78.2 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 121.3 km/h (75.4 mph)
Weather: sunny and very hot.
The list of entries and the starting grid, finally for the first time in correct arrangement, originate from four sources:
• La Stampa August 17, 1930 p4 preview with entries only
• Santuccione/Smoglica: Circuito di Pescara (published 2003)
• Federico Valeriani: Coppa Acerbo Circuito Internazionale Degli Abruzzi (published 2008)
• Photographs of the starting grid and start were also helpful.
All three text sources contained errors but when thrown together a clear picture emerged. Also desired but not available at the time were the relevant 1930 R.A.C.I. magazine, La Gazetta dello Sport,
L'Auto d'Italiana and Il Littoriale.
Driver changes during the 1930 season: The newly established Scuderia Ferrari was in need of well-known drivers, which was the cause of the unusually large number of driver changes during 1930.
At the beginning there was just Enzo Ferrari with two wealthy founder-members Alfredo Caniato and Mario Tadini as drivers. Ferrari, who had previously been a member of the Alfa Romeo team, had a
close working relationship and contacts with the Alfa Romeo factory. Eventually every SA Alfa Romeo driver ended up with Scuderia Ferrari or Maserati.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
La Stampa, Torino
Lo Sport Facista, Roma
Tutti in Automobili, Roma
Special thanks to: