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Legat (Bugatti)Knepper (Bugatti)Zigrand (Bugatti)

GRAND PRIX DES FRONTIÈRES

Chimay (B), 24 May 1931.
15 laps x 10.87 km (86.75 mi) = 163.1 km (101.3 mi)
1100cc: 10 laps x 10.87 km (86.75 mi) = 108.7 km (67.5 mi)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Class between 750cc and 1100cc
Emile CuvelierE. CuvelierRally - Chapuis-Dornier ABC1.1S-4
Georges de MarotteG. de MarotteSalmsonGrand Prix1.1S-4
 
Class between 1100cc and 1500cc
4Arthur LegatA. LegatBugattiT37A1.5S-4
VilainVilainBugattiT371.5S-8
van Winkelvan WinkelBugattiT37A1.5S-4
 
Class between 1500cc and 3000cc
Joseph ZigrandJ. ZigrandBugattiT43A2.3S-8
"Eftee"Freddy ThelussonGeorges Irat17 cv2.9S-6
Robert VidalR. VidalBugattiT35B2.0S-8
Georges PuissantG. PuissantBugattiT35A2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
18Willy LonguevilleW. LonguevilleBugattiT35B2.3S-8
20Robert GoemansR. GoemansBugattiT443.0S-8
22?Constant KnepperC. KnepperBugattiT35B2.3S-8
22?Emile CornetE. CornetBugattiT352.0S-8


Legat's first victory

by Leif Snellman
A fatal crash put its shadow over the Frontières Grand Prix. The race was run in three classes, race cars voiturettes and cycle cars. On the first lap French driver Robert Vidal (Bugatti) missed a braking and crashed with fatal consequences. The early part of the race was led by Bugatti driver Knepper from Luxembourg until trouble struck and local voiturette driver Legat took over the lead to win. Last year's winner de Marotte won the cycle car class.
Created by Jules Buisseret the Belgian Frontières Grand Prix was organized from 1926 all the way to the 1970s. It was run on the 10.87 km long fast road circuit over the fields west of the city of Chimay near the French border.
      The race was run in three classes, racing together, with the 1100cc class being flagged after 10 laps while the 1500cc and the 3000cc classes did 15 laps. The race was run in clockwise direction.
Entries:
The organizers managed to collect a decent start field, especially considering the economic situation at that time. In the big class there were three Bugattis driven by Constant Knepper from Luxembourg and Willy Longueville and his friend Robert Vidal from France, the latter in Longueville's former car. Among other Bugatti entries Emile Cornet entered an unsupercharged T35, Joseph Zigrand from Luxembourg a T43A roadster, and Robert Goemans a 2991 cc T44, racing with mudguards and with the headlights turned inwards. Finally there was Frontieres regular Freddy Thélusson with French built Georges Irat 17cv, a car brand more associated with early Le Mans rather than with Grand Prix racing.
      In the 1500cc class there were three Belgian Bugatti entries: Arthur Legat, who had raced at Chimay since it opened in 1926, and amateurs Vilain and van Winkel.
      In the cyclecar class, finally, there were only two entries, last year's winner Georges de Marotte with his Salmson and Emile Cuvelier with a Rally ABC equipped with a Chapuis-Dornier, both car and engine manufacturers Paris based.
Race:

     
 
Le Mans type grid
Grid not available

The event started in the morning with motor cycle racing under sunny weather. Early afternoon the weather then turned bad with rain and winds but as the time for the car race approached the rain had luckily stopped.
      The race was started Le Mans style with the cars lined up in an angle and the drivers standing across the track ready to rush to their vehicles.
      Knepper was first away followed by Legat, Vidal and Longueville. De Marotte had problems starting his Salmon and was away last. The cars passed through part of Chimay itself, then westwards to Salles and returned via Robechies and Beauchamps.
      Near the end of the first lap after Beauchamps at the downhill section in the second last left turn before the pits, Vidal made an effort to pass Legat's voiturette but braked too late. The Bugatti spun with a speed of 150 km/h, turned left leaving the road and crashed nose first into a tree. Without its front wheels the car spun on and crashed into another tree. Vidal had been thrown out and was lying at the side of the wreck unconscious and without helmet. Suffering from a skull fracture and serious internal injuries he was rushed to the Chimay hospital, but there was not much that the doctors could do and Vidal was declared dead at 8 p. m. the same evening.
      Longueville, having seen his friend's accident at close distance, immediately retired from the race. At the end of the first lap the race order was:
1.Knepper (Bugatti)
2.Legat (Bugatti - voiturette)
3.Zigrand (Bugatti)
4.Cornet (Bugatti)
5.Goemans (Bugatti)
6.Thelusson (Georges Irat)
7.van Winkel (Bugatti - voiturette)
8.Vilain (Bugatti - voiturette)
9.Cuvelier (Rally - cyclecar)
10.de Marotte (Salmson - cyclecar)

Goemans and Thelusson attacked Cornet and passed him and then Thelusson passed Goemans, putting the Georges Irat up to 4th position. Further down de Marotte had got his little Salmson up to speed after his late start and soon managed to pass both Cuvelier and the voiturettes of Vilain and van Winkel. At mid race (lap 7 or 8) the situation was thus:
1.Knepper (Bugatti)
2.Legat (Bugatti - voiturette)
3.Zigrand (Bugatti)
4.Thelusson (Georges Irat)
5.Goemans (Bugatti)
6.Cornet (Bugatti)
7.de Marotte (Salmson - cyclecar)
8.van Winkel (Bugatti - voiturette)
9.Vilain (Bugatti - voiturette)
10.Cuvelier (Rally - cyclecar)

Prewar Chimay was a fast circuit with long straights over grassy fields but still the better drivers seem to have had the edge over pure horse power. Legat knew every part of the course by heart and was not allowing Knepper to open up any gap but kept his voiturette close to the race leader in the bigger car. On the 10th lap Knepper's Bugatti started to misfire on two cylinders.
      On the same lap de Marotte was flagged as winner of the cycle car race with Cuvelier finishing second in the class.
      On the 11th lap with Knepper still struggling, Legat took over the lead to the joy of the spectators. Cornet had retired as had Vilain leaving six cars in the race. Knepper decided to continue rather than to stop for plugs as the victory was lost anyway. In the end Legat won by almost a minute from Knepper with Zigrand third over 4 minutes further behind

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Arthur LegatA. LegatBugattiT37A1.5S-4151h25m48.8s
2.22?Constant KnepperC. KnepperBugattiT35B2.3S-8151h26m43.4s
3.Joseph ZigrandJ. ZigrandBugattiT43A2.3S-8151h31m01.4s
4."Eftee"Freddy ThelussonGeorges Irat17 cv2.9S-6151h35m11.8s
5.20Robert GoemansR. GoemansBugattiT443.0S-8151h40m04.6s
6.van Winkelvan WinkelBugattiT37A1.5S-4
DNF22?Emile CornetE. CornetBugattiT352.0S-8
DNFVilainVilainBugattiT371.5S-8
DNF18Willy LonguevilleW. LonguevilleBugattiT35B2.3S-8
DNFRobert VidalR. VidalBugattiT35B2.0S-8fatal crash

1.Georges de MarotteG. de MarotteSalmsonGrand Prix1.1S-4101h05m39.8s
2Emile CuvelierE. CuvelierRally - Chapuis-Dornier ABC1.1S-4
Fastest lap: Constant Knepper (Bugatti) in 5m 27s = 119.7 km/h (74.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 104.0 km/h (70.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed (1100cc): 99.3 km/h (61.7 mph)
Weather: overcast after rain.
In retrospect:
Later the section of the course between Beaucamps and the finish line was named "Descente Vidal" and the following curve "Virage Vidal".

My main source has been André Biaumet's Le Grand Prix des Frontières a Chimay, as I have been unable to find any articles in contemporary newspapers.



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I GRAND PRIX DE GENÈVE

Meyrin - Genève (CH), 7 June 1931.
1100cc: 21 laps x 9.3 km (mi) = 195.3 km ( mi)
3 heats x 16 laps x 9.3 km (5.8 mi) = 148.8 km (92.5 mi)
Final: 27 laps 9.3 km (mi) = 251.1 km ( mi)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Class up to 1100cc
2André SchlumbergerA. SchlumbergerRally1.1S-4DNA/DNF?
4Benoit FalchettoB. FalchettoAmilcarC61.1S-6
6Etiénne LepicordE. LepicordDonettSpéciale1.1S-4DNA/DNF?
8NaefNaefRally1.1S-4DNA/DNF?
10Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiT37A1.1S-4
12Ernst SchneiderE. SchneiderRally1.1S-4DNA/DNF?
14Gustav WillyG. WillyRally1.1S-4DNA/DNF?
16Victor MarretV. MarretSalmson1.1S-4
20Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousCabanSpéciale1.1S-4
22Edgar MarkiewiczE. MarkiewiczAustinSeven0.75S-4DNA/DNF?
24Emile DourelE. DourelAmilcarC61.1S-6
26Hans KesslerH. KesslerAmilcarC61.1S-6
28Roberto SerboliR. SerboliFiat509SM1.0S-4DNA/DNF?
Two of seven listed as DNA/DNF? started
 
Class between 1100cc and 1500cc
30André MorelA. MorelBNC1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
32XScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo6C-1500SS1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
34Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT37A1.5S-4
36Jean-Pierre WimilleJ.-P. WimilleBugattiT37A1.5S-4
38Joseph KesslerJ. KesslerAlfa Romeo6C-1500S1.5S-6
40Edoard RouxE. RouxBugattiT37A1.5S-4
42Robert SenechalR. SenechaDelage15S81.5S-8
44L. WittwerL. WittwerBugattiT371.5S-4
46Anne-Cecile Rose-ItierMme. Rose-ItierBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
48Giovanni LuraniG. LuraniAlfa Romeo6C-1500GS1.5S-6
50Ciro BasadonnaC. BasadonnaAlfa Romeo6C-1500SS1.5S-6
52Guido AvondetG. AvondetBugattiT37A1.5S-4
54Jean GaupillatJ. GaupillatBugattiT37A1.5S-4
CagnateCagnateAlfa Romeo6C-15001.5S-6DNA - did not appear
 
Class between 1500cc and 2000cc
Goffredo ZehenderG. ZehenderAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6DNA - did not appear
58Sergio RuscaConte RuscaAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
60Ignazio ConsiglioI. ConsiglioAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
62Joseph KarrerJ. KarrerBugattiT35C2.0S-8
64Henri DurandH. DurandBugattiT35A2.0S-8
66André MinangoyMinangoyBugattiT35C2.0S-8
68TreichlerTreichlerBugattiT35A2.0S-8
70Jean de MaleplaneJ. de MaleplaneBugattiT35C2.0S-8
72Louis PesatoL. PesatoAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
74Giuseppe TuffanelliG. TuffanelliAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
 
Class over 2000cc
76Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8
78Baconin BorzacchiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
80Fritz CaflischF. CaflischMercedes-BenzSS7.1S-6
82Emilo GolaE. GolaBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
84Stanislas CzaykowskiCount CzaykowskiBugattiT512.3S-8
86Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8DNA - did not appear
88Umberto KlingerU. KlingerMaserati26M2.5S-8
90Georges d'ArnouxComte d'ArnouxBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
92Aristide LumachiA. LumachiBugattiT35B2.3S-8
94Ferdinando MinoiaScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNA - did not appear


Lehoux wins, Czaykowski incolved in tragic crash

by Leif Snellman
The Geneva Grand Prix included a cycle car race, won by Falchetto (Amilcar), and three heats for different classes, with top four finishers from each heat going to the final. The 1500cc heat was won by Veyron, the 2000cc heat by Maleplane and the big cars heat by Lehoux, all three in Bugattis. In the third heat Czaykowski crashed into a house taking the life of the resident.
      In the final Lehoux was in his own class leading from start to finish with Lumachi equally sure in second position throughout the race while Caflisch in a Mercedes finished third but far behind.
After a very minor race in 1923, a race for cycle cars and voiturettes in 1925 and a 1100cc race in a 1927, which clashed with the Marne GP resulting in a catastrophic entry list of just four cars of which three came to the start and just two made it to the flag, there was a fourth attempt to arrange a car race at Geneva in 1931. Organized by ACS Genève the decision was this time to create a real international race, but the decision was made too late for the race to be accepted by AIACR as the Swiss Grand Prix so it had to be named the Geneva Grand Prix instead. Baron Horst von Waldthausen was essential in the arrangements for his financial support.
      As for the 1920s races the circuit of Mayrin was used. It was located west of the city near the airfield and almost touching the French border. It was triangular in shape with corners at Chatelaine, Meyrin and Mategnin. The asphalt roads on the 9.3 km circuit were improved. At the middle of the main straight a 1200 seat grand stand was erected in connection with the pits and paddocks.
      The event was to include a 21 lap race for cycle cars and three 16 lap heats for car up to 1500, 2000 and over 2000cc with four top finishers from each heat going to the 27 lap final. Entry cost was100 SFr and the deadline was 21 May for privateers and 3 June for teams.
      Total prizes were 25000 Swiss franc with 1500 SFr for the winner of the cycle car race followed by 1000, 600 and 400 SFr for the following three finishers. Top four winners in the three heats received 1200, 800, 500 and 300 SFr. In the final the top five finishers were to receive, 4000, 2000, 1000, 600 and 400 SFr.
Entries:
The race clashed with the Rome Grand Prix so most of the Italian drivers were not present in Geneva.
      There were only five entries in the unlimited class. Two of the new Bugatti T51s were to be run by Marcel Lehoux (#51128) and Count Czaykowski (#51126) and a T35B (probably #4942) was entered by Aristide Lumachi from Marseilles. Swiss driver Fritz Caflisch entered a Mercedes-Benz SS (Super Sport), a huge car, having a wheelbase of 340 cm (133.9") against 295 cm for the shortened SSK (Super Sport Kurtz). Italian Umberto Klinger from Ferrara was to race a new 2.5 litre Maserati 26M (#2512).
      Emilio Gola had sent an entry to both the Geneva GP and the Rome GP but appeared at neither as the car was not back in shape after his crash at Alessandria on 26 April.
      The works Bugatti of Louis Chiron was also entered but never reached Geneva. For some reason Chiron was late and decided not to use a lorry for the transport but he would go in advance to Geneva in a 5 litre car while a mechanic should follow with the T51. During the transport from Molsheim to Geneva, the mechanic, due to fatigue, badly crashed the Bugatti. Chiron visited the mechanic at the hospital and was after a request informed by Molsheim that no other works car was available.
      There were several non appearances in the class including the Scuderia Ferrari Monza meant for Borzacchini.
      In the two litre class five Bugattis met four Alfa Romeo 1750. Swiss Dr. Joseph Karrer, Bugatti importer for Switzerland, was to race his Bugatti T35C (#4936 bought in June 1929), while another Swiss, Treichler, raced a T35A. Of the French drivers André Minangoy raced a T35C, de Maleplane a T35C (#4864, ex-Lehoux) and Henri Durand a T35A (or possibly a T35C).
      Swiss-Italian driver Louis Pesato from Quartier des Eaux-Vives in Geneva (who initially, probably by mistake, was entered in the 1.5 litre class) and Italians Count Rusca, Ignazio Consiglio and Beppe Tuffanelli were to race 6 cylinder Alfa Romeos.
      In the 1500cc voiturette class 4 cylinder Bugattis dominated the entry list with Swiss drivers Dr. Guido Avondet, gynecologist from Geneva, (#37379), and L. Wittwer, the latter with an unsupercharged T37 (#37317). There was also a French Bugatti driver quartet consisting of Jean Gaupillat (#37317), Edoard Roux, Pierre Veyron (#37316) and young Jean-Pierre Wimille. Swiss veteran Joseph Kessler, Ciro Basadonna, born in Turin but living in Geneva and being holder of a Swiss license, and Italian Count Lurani were racing Alfa Romeos. Kessler's car was stripped of its chassis apart from the white/red motor hood. French driver Robert Sénéchal entered a five year old 8 cylinder Grand Prix Delage.
      In the cycle car class there were 13 entries but just 8 starters. It is not known exactly which drivers came to the start but they included Benoît Falchetto, racing under the name "F. Benoit" with an Amilcar, and Yves-Giraud-Cabantous, racing his own car, the "Caban". Emilio Romano probably raced his T37A (#37304).
Practice:
Race positions were to be decided by ballot on Tuesday before the race. Practice sessions were run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday early in the morning from 4-6 a.m. Even with those odd times it's claimed that thousands of spectators turned up for the practice sessions.
      Already on Thursday morning some 15 cars took part in the first practice including Lehoux, Czaykowski, Veyron, Kessler and Avondet. The fastest made laps down to around 4m08s.
      By Friday evening most of foreign drivers had arrived and were able to take part in Saturday practice.
Heat 1 (class up to 1500 cc):
Some 15,000 spectators had already arrived before the first start and some 15,000 more would come during the day. There was a change in the program as the 1100cc race was moved further on so that the competitors in the bigger classes should have more time to prepare themselves between their heats and the final.

      So the first event was a 16 lap heat for cars up to 1500cc that started at 8:05 a.m. Of the 15 entries four were missing and Louis Pesato had been moved up to the 2 litre class so there were 10 cars on the grid in front of Café de l'Aviation as Mr. Decrauzat, president of the N.S.K., dropped the flag. The grid was decided by ballot:
Pole Position
52
Avondet

Bugatti

34
Veyron

Bugatti

42
Senechal

Delage

54
Gaupillat

Bugatti

50
Basadonna

Alfa Romeo

38
Kessler

Alfa Romeo

??
??

?

??
??

?

48
Lurani

Alfa Romeo

??
??

?

Veyron immediately took the lead followed by Gaupillat and Roux while Sénéchal, who had had ignition problems with his Delage during the Italian Grand Prix, immediately noticed that the problems had not been cured. There is a picture where one can see two mechanics pushing the Delage as the flag drops. Also favorite Wimille soon struck technical problems as well and had to pit after the first lap. Then Gaupillat also got into trouble and had to let Roux past. After five laps the situation was as follows:
1. Veyron (Bugatti)22m10s
2. Roux (Bugatti)22m26s
3. Gaupillat (Bugatti)22m32s
4. Senechal (Delage)22m34s

Gaupillat retired his Bugatti on the sixth lap. With Sénéchal falling back, still suffering from ignition problems, Kessler moved up to third position and started to attack Roux, while Avondet followed in fourth and Lurani in fifth positions. After 10 laps Veyron was leading Roux by 52 seconds:
1. Veyron (Bugatti)43m35s
2. Roux (Bugatti)44m27s
3. Kessler (Alfa Romeo)45m48s
4. Avondet (Delage)47m20s

On the 11th lap Sénéchal gave up and retired to the pits. On the same lap Lurani tried to pass Avondet for fourth position and a place in the final but he went wide and had to stop to avoid a crash. With jammed brakes it took some time for him to rejoin the race again. Kessler gave up the chase on Roux and concentrated on taking his Alfa Romeo to the finish. Seven drivers made it to the end with French Bugatti drivers taking a double win, Veyron taking an easy victory followed by Roux. Local drivers Kessler and Avondet brought their cars to the flag in 3rd and 4th positions to make it to the final as well to the joy of the spectators. Lurani finished fifth, just out of a place in the final followed by Wimille and Wittwer, who had held on to 7th position for the whole race.

Results (Heat 1)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.34Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT37A1.5S-4161h09m37.8s 
2.40Edoard RouxE. RouxBugattiT37A1.5S-4161h11m06.0s+ 1m28.2s
3.38Joseph KesslerJ. KesslerAlfa Romeo6C-15001.5S-6161h12m58.8s+ 3m21.0s
4.52Guido AvondetG. AvondetBugattiT37A1.5S-4161h15m02.0s+ 5m24s

5.48Giovanni LuraniG. LuraniAlfa Romeo6C-15001.5S-6161h19m29.0s+ 9m51s
6.36Jean-Pierre WimilleJ.-P. WimilleBugattiT37A1.5S-4161h20m00.0s+ 10m22s
7.44L. WittwerL. WittwerBugattiT371.5S-4 1h26m34s 
DNF?50Ciro BasadonnaC. BasadonnaAlfa Romeo6C-1500SS1.5S-6   
DNF42Robert SenechalR. SenechalDelage15S81.5S-811ignition 
DNF54Jean GaupillatJ. GaupillatBugattiT37A1.5S-46mechanical 
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 128.2 km/h (79.7 mph)


Heat 2 (class up to 2000 cc):
After a break it was time for the 2 litre heat. Goffredo Zehender with his Alfa Romeo was a non starter but Swiss driver Louis Pesato had been moved up to this heat so there were still nine competitors.
Pole Position
72
Pesato

Alfa Romeo

68
Treichler

Bugatti

?
?

Bugatti

60
Consiglio

Alfa Romeo

62
Karrer

Bugatti

64
Durand

Bugatti

?
?

Bugatti

74
Tuffanelli

Alfa Romeo

?
?

Bugatti

To the joy of the spectators Swiss-German driver Karrer immediately took the lead. De Maleplane stalled at the start, losing 40 seconds, but eventually rejoined the race and had already passed two cars before the end of the first lap. Durand never properly got into the race as he had to retire at Le Bouchet after only two laps. De Maleplane continued at his high pace, passing car after car to eventually reach Karrer and pass him too for the lead. After five laps de Maleplane was leading by just one second:
1. de Maleplane (Bugatti)21m42s
2. Karrer (Bugatti)21m43s
3. Minangoy (Bugatti)22m22s
4. Consiglio (Alfa Romeo)22m35s

The spectators were looking forward to a great duel between the duo, but on the 7th lap there was a huge disappointment as Karrer had to retire his car with a broken valve spring. Minangoy thus went up to second while Consiglio dropped back giving Tuffarelli third position and Rusca fourth. Situation after 10 laps was as follows:
1. de Maleplane (Bugatti)43m12s
2. Minangoy (Bugatti)44m32s
3. Tuffanelli (Alfa Romeo)44m56s
4. Rusca (Alfa Romeo)49m15s

So also this heat ended in a double French Bugatti victory with de Maleplane winning from Minangoy. Tuffanelli lost positions at the end so Alfa Romeo drivers Pesato and Rusca were the other two that qualified for the final, finishing 3rd and 4th.

Results (Heat 2)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.70Jean de MaleplaneJ. de MaleplaneBugattiT35C2.0S-8161h09m20s 
2.66André MinangoyMinangoyBugattiT35C2.0S-8161h11m01s+ 1m41s
3.72Louis PesatoL. PesatoAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6161h18m36s+ 9m16s
4.58Sergio RuscaConte RuscaAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6161h20m19s+ 10m59s

5.74Giuseppe TuffanelliG. TuffanelliAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6   
6.68TreichlerTreichlerBugattiT35A2.0S-8   
7.60Ignazio ConsiglioI. ConsiglioAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6   
DNF62Josef KarrerJ. KarrerBugattiT35C2.0S-87valve spring 
DNF64Henri DurandH. DurandBugattuT35A2.0S-82mechanical 
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 128.8 km/h (80.0 mph)


Heat 3 (class over 2000 cc):
There were just five competitors in the big class. Before the heat Chiron went on public speakers and announced the reason why he was a non starter. The cars were lined up like this:
Pole Position
80
Caflisch

Mercedes-Benz

84
Czaykowski

Alfa Romeo

76
Lehoux

Bugatti

88
Klinger

Maserati

92
Lumachi

Bugatti

There were two favorites, Lehoux and Czaykowski, and when the flag dropped the duo immediately took command of the race. Lumachi also in a Bugatti followed in third position, Klinger was distant fourth and Caflisch obviously had problems early in the race as he was last. After five laps the leading duo had already opened up an over a minute gap to Lumachi:
1. Lehoux (Bugatti)19m46s
2. Czaykowski (Bugatti)19m52s
3. Lumachi (Bugatti)21m00s
4. Klinger (Maserati)22m10s

With half the race gone Lehoux and Czaykowski, still in a tight duel, were about to put fourth positioned Klinger a lap down. Lehoux passed without problems and then Klinger steered back to the middle of the track not realizing Czaykowski was just behind him. Czaykowski's Bugatti and Klinger's Maserati touched each other. As there were spectators on the left side of the road, Czaykowski in a split second decision decided to force his car to the right. At high speed the Bugatti left the road and shot through an open gate into a garden of a detached house. The Zaninetti family was sitting on the veranda steps of their house when the Bugatti crashed into the veranda demolishing it. The car continued in a slide along the wall leaving deep scars, hit another veranda construction and ended up with a somersault. 51 year old Vittorio Zaninetti had both his legs crushed and was to succumb at hospital later that day while his wife survived with lesser injuries and his son with a concussion. Czaykowski himself survived the crash with a broken rib and a slightly wounded right leg and could after some first aid treatment return to the pits to show the spectators that he was all right.
      The race now seemed to have lost most of its excitement. Lehoux was now leading the race by almost a lap from Lumachi. After 10 laps the situation was:
1. Lehoux (Bugatti)39m17s
2. Lumachi (Bugatti)41m52s
3. Klinger (Maserati)45m50s
4. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)46m04s

But the drama of the race was not over. Lehoux got brake problems which made the handling of the car difficult. Then he got a puncture and made a pit stop before the last lap. The tyre change took just 16 seconds, quite an astonishing time for 1931 and Lehoux held on to his lead without problems. At the end of the race Caflisch managed to pass Klinger for fourth position. That did not matter much as all four cars that took the flag qualified for the final.

Results (Heat 3)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.76Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8161h05m07.0s
2.92Giovanni LumachiG. LumachiBugattiT35B2.3S-8161h07m20.0s+ 2m13s
3.80Fritz CaflischF. CaflischMercedes-BenzSS7.1S-6161h12m42.8s+ 7m35.8s
4.88Umberto KlingerU. KlingerMaserati26M2.5S-8161h14m40.0s+ 9m33s

DNF84Stanislas CzaykowskiCount CzaykowskiBugattiT512.3S-8~10crash
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 137.1 km/h (85.2 mph)


Race 4 (class over 1100 cc):
Between the heats and the final there was a 21 laps race for 1100cc cycle cars. Eight of thirteen entries came to the start. Kessler was the favorite, having been fastest during practice. Someone had made a protest against Giraud-Cabantous, claiming the engine of his "Caban" was oversized.
 
Grid not available

Marret held an early lead while Kessler immediately had bad carburetor problems and had to come in after the first lap to make a lengthy pit stop that destroyed all his chances to score in the race. Giraud-Cabantous retired after four laps due to clutch failure making no need to solve the protest. This was the race order after five laps:
1. Marret (Salmson)23m23s
2. Falchetto (Amilcar)23m25s
3. Dourel (Amilcar)23m50s
4. Romano (Bugatti)26m57s

One by one the competitors, including race leader Marret, retired and after just nine laps there were only three competitors left in the race: Dourel, who had taken over the lead, Falchetto and Romano. Kessler, now hopelessly behind, was able to reappear for a while only to be flagged back in by race officials. Situation after 10 laps:
1. Dourel (Amilcar)46m50s
2. Falchetto (Amilcar)47m34s
3. Romano (Bugatti)53m20s

Race leader Dourel got mechanical difficulties and fell from the 11th lap back to third position. After 15 laps the order was thus:
1. Falchetto (Amilcar)1h13m12s
2. Romano (Bugatti)1h19m17s
3. Dourel (Amilcar)1h27m00s

The order then remained the same for the last ten laps. So Falchetto was the winner in his Amilcar from Romano in his Bugatti and Dourel in the other Amilcar.



Results (Heat 4)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Benoit FalchettoB. FalchettoAmilcarC61.1S-6211h47m30s 
2.10Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiT37A1.1S-4211h50m21s+ 2m51s
3.24Emile DourelE. DourelAmilcarC61.1S-6211m55m45.6s+ 8m15.6s
DNF20Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousCabanSpéciale1.1S-4   
DNF16Victor MarretV. MarretSalmson1.1S-4 clutch 
DNF26Hans KesslerH. KesslerAmilcarC61.1S-6 carburettor 
Additionaly two cars retired
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 109.0 km/h (67.7 mph)


Final:
The four top finishers from the first three heats, twelve participants in total, took part in the final. The positions of the drivers from the 3rd heat are known from pictures. The grid also included Veyron, Roux, Kessler and Avondet from heat 1 and de Maleplane, Minangoy, Pesato and Rusca from heat 2:
Pole Position
88
Klinger

Maserati

76
Lehoux

Bugatti

92
Lumachi

Bugatti

??
??

Bugatti

80
Caflisch

Mercedes-Benz


Rest of grid unknown

When the flag dropped Lehoux from the middle of the first row took the lead. He was followed by Lumachi, de Maleplane, Klinger, Minangoy, Roux and Kessler. Lehoux immediately took command of the race, opening up a gap to Lumachi. Roux was an early retirement with mechanical problems. After five laps Lehoux had already overtaken the last cars of the field. Lumachi's second position was equally clear as he had opened a 49 second gap to de Maleplane:
1. Lehoux (Bugatti)20m19s
2. Lumachi (Bugatti)20m53s
3. de Maleplane (Bugatti)21m42s
4. Klinger (Maserati)22m34s

Third positioned de Maleplane retired with a broken fuel line and Veyron also had to call it a day. Meanwhile Lehoux and Lumachi continued to dominate the race and at 10 laps the leader had already caught Minangoy, who had taken over 3rd position, to put him a lap behind. Situation after 10 laps:
1. Lehoux (Bugatti)40m28s
2. Lumachi (Bugatti)41m46s
3. Minangoy (Bugatti)44m29s
4. Klinger (Maserati)45m44s
5. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)45m50s

Lehoux increased his speed even more and made the 12th lap in 3m55s. Umberto Klinger had to retire his Maserati. On lap 13 Kessler, according to Automobile-Review, moved up the 4th position but then dropped down the field again. Race order after 15 laps:
1. Lehoux (Bugatti)1h00m15s
2. Lumachi (Bugatti)1h02m44s
3. Minangoy (Bugatti)1h08m31s
4. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)1h08m34s
5. Rusca (Alfa Romeo)1h08m52s

From 17 laps onward there were no more retirements and the field remained the same to the end of the race. On the 19th lap Lehoux made the fastest lap again with a time of 3m52s. After 20 laps the order was:
1. Lehoux (Bugatti)1h19m55s
2. Lumachi (Bugatti)1h23m39s
3. Minangoy (Bugatti)1h30m12s
4. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)1h30m46s
5. Kessler (Alfa Romeo)1h31m46s

After the 20th lap Caflisch moved up to 3rd. (See "In retrospect" what happened to Minangoy.) So the race continued with Lehoux in the lead. After 22 laps he had lapped all other competitors at least once. On the same lap Lehoux with a time of 3m50s made the fastest lap of the race.
      After a brilliant race, having led from start to finish, Lehoux took the flag five minutes from Lumachi, who had been second for the entire race. Next came two Swiss drivers, Caflisch took the big Mercedes to third before Kessler and Rusca finished fifth.
      Prize ceremonies were held next day at 11 a.m. at ACS's Geneva office.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.76Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8271h47m42.0s
2.92Giovanni LumachiG. LumachiBugattiT35B2.3S-8271h52m59.0s+ 5m17s
3.80Fritz CaflischF. CaflischMercedes-BenzSS7.1S-6272h01m16.0s+ 13m34s
4.38Joseph KesslerJ. Joseph KesslerAlfa Romeo6C-15001.5S-6272h04m00.4s+ 16m18.4s
5.58Sergio RuscaS. RuscaAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6272h05m24s+ 17m42s
6.66MinangoyMinangoyBugattiT35C2.0S-8   
?.52Guido AvondetG. AvondetBugattiT37A1.5S-4   
?.72Louis PesatoL. PesatoAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6   
DNF88Umberto KlingerU. KlingerMaserati26M2.5S-8
DNF34Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT37A1.5S-4   
DNF70Jean de MaleplaneJ. de MaleplaneBugattiT35C2.0S-8 fuel line 
DNF40Edoard RouxE. RouxBugattiT37A1.5S-4 mechanical 
Fastest lap: Marcel Lehoux (Bugatti) on lap 22 in 3m50s = 145.6 km/h (90.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 139.9 km/h (86.9 mph)
Weather: sunny and warm.
In retrospect:
What happened to Minangoy? According to Automobil-Revue, after Caflisch moved up to third, a fight developed between Minangoy and Kessler for 4th position. On lap 21 Kessler passed Minangoy for 4th and was then desperately challenged by Minangoy till the end of the race but was able to keep on to his fourth position. The problem is that it is impossible to find any results for Minangoy. Almost all reports from contemporary magazines concentrated naturally on the Czaykowski crash and gave just the top four finishers. Automobil-Revue itself listed Rusca in 5th position over 80 seconds behind Kessler while Il Littoriale listed Pesato in 5th position with Rusca's time! Only Sheldon puts Minangoy sixth without any lap or time and Sheldon's report of this event seems mostly to follow Motor Sport, which is not the best, as it for example puts the Czaykowski crash in the final.
      Cimarosti seems to have been as confused as I am. He leaves Minangoy out of the results altogether by letting him retire on his lap chart after 22 laps, a thing that doesn't fit with Automobil-Revue's claim that no one retired after lap 17!

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
L'Écho de Paris, Paris
L'Éclaireur de Nice
L'Express du Midi
Le Figaro, Paris
Il Littoriale, Roma
Motor Sport, London
Also:
Adriano Cimarosti "Grand Prix Suisse"
Special thanks to:
Michael Müller




xxxxxxxxx

VII REALE PREMIO DI ROMA

Circuito del Littorio - Roma (I), 7 June 1931.
4 heats x 25 laps x 4.0 km (2.49 mi) = 100.0 km (62.1 mi)
60 laps final = 240.0 km (167.8 mi)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Group IClass 750 cc - 1100 cc
2Filippo ArdizzoneF. ArdizzoneDelage-Special1.0S-6
4Luigi FagioliL. FagioliSalmson1.1DNA or DNS ?
6Gigi PremoliL. PremoliSalmson1.1S-4
8Guido BorisG. BorisMaserati26C1.1S-8DNA or DNS
10Gigi PlatèL. PlatèBNC5271.1S-4
12Gerolamo FerrariG. FerrariTalbot-Special7001.1S-6
14Gianfranco ComottiG. ComottiSalmson1.1S-4
16Secondo CorsiS. CorsiMaserati26C1.1S-8DNA or DNS
18Louis DecaroliL. DecaroliSalmson1.1
20Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloSalmson1.1S-4
22Domenico SilyD. SilyS. E. or S.Z.DNA or DNS
24Piero BucciP. BucciSalmson1.1S-4DNA or DNS ?
26Albino PratesiA. PratesiSalmson1.1S-4DNA or DNS ?
28Domingo GiorgiD. GiorgiLombardAL31.1
30Giovanni SerraG. SerraAmilcar1.1
32Luigi Del ReL. Del ReLombardAL31.1
34Costanzo ArzillaC. ArzillaAmilcar1.1DNA or DNS
36Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar1.1S-6
?Alfonso AttiliA. Attili Salmson1.1S-4started in #4, 24 or 26
 
Group IIClass 1100 - 2000 cc
38Ettore MutiE. MutiMaserati26B2.0S-8
40Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoBugattiT39A1.5S-8
42Giovanni Tabacchi A. VarziBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNS practice crash
44Alberto PaneraiA. PaneraiMaserati261.5S-8DNA or DNS
46Emilio GolaE. GolaBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA or DNS
48Amedeo RuggeriA. RuggeriTalbot7001.7S-8
50Giuseppe SaviG. SaviMaserati26B2.0S-8
52Tazio NuvolariT. NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-8
54"Rover"Lelio Pellegrini QuarantottiItala61 s/c2.0DNA or DNS
56Guido SebastianiG. SebastianiMaserati261.5S-8
58Giovanni MinozziG. MinozziBugattiT35C2.0S-8
60Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroTalbot7001.7S-8
62Carlo PedrazziniC. PedrazziniMaserati26B2.0S-8
64Clemente BiondettiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26B2.0S-8
66Renato DaneseR. DaneseBugattiT352.0S-8DNA or DNS
 
Group IIIClass 2000 - 3000 cc
68Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8
70Tazio NuvolariMario DafarraBugattiT35B2.3S-8
72Alberto AndreoniA. AndreoniMaserati26R1.7S-8started with Group II cars
74Achille VarziA. VarziBugattiT512.3S-8
76Domenico Rosso di CeramiD. Rosso di CeramiMaserati26B MM2.1S-8
78 René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8
 
Group IVClass over 3000 cc
80 Rodolfo del DragoR. del DragoMercedes-BenzSS7.1S-6DNA or DNS
82Ernesto MaseratiOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV44.02x8
84Roberto Di VecchioR. Di VecchioItalaSpl.4.7S-4


Ernesto Maserati wins at Rome with a 16-cylinder car

by Hans Etzrodt
The VII Reale Premio di Roma was held on the new high speed Littorio circuit around the airport. The contest was divided into four 100 km Heat races for the various classes and a 240 km Final to decide the overall winner. Heat 1 for cars up to 1100 cc was won by Scaron (Amilcar), who led from start to finish ahead of Decaroli (Salmson) and Ardizzone (Delage). The race for cars up to 2000 cc had Biondetti and Savi with Maseratis in front and Castelbarco (Bugatti) in third place. Heat 3 for cars up to 3000 cc was won by Varzi (Bugatti) with Fagioli and Dreyfus in 2500 Maseratis, filling the first three places. In Heat 4 Ernesto Maserati was the easy winner in the large 16-cylinder Maserati against an old Itala. The Final developed into an entertaining battle between Varzi's leading Bugatti fighting the various Maseratis. Varzi's demise began after the first quarter, after which the hounding Maseratis dominated, conquering the first three places with Ernesto Maserati, Dreyfus and Biondetti. Balestrero in an old Talbot finished fourth while Fagioli was slowed down with problems. Nuvolari, Varzi and Minozzi retired their Bugattis.
Two years ago the huge and modern Littorio Airport was opened just outside Rome. This year, in only three months, a 12 meter wide road had been built around the airport, forming the Littorio race track. On May 24, Benito Mussolini inaugurated the very fast circuit, which allowed speeds almost like those at the Avus track. The flat 4 km long macadam course consisted of two long straights connected with two large high banked turns for speeds up to 150 km/h, one fast turn allowing speeds of up to 250 km/h, and one sharp, slow hairpin leading back to start and finish.
      The VII Reale Premio di Roma counted as the fourth race of the 1931 Italian Automobile Championship after Alessandria Circuit, Targa Florio and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. It was the second event held at the new Littorio Circuit, only two weeks after its inauguration, and one week after a motorcycle race on May 31. This was to be followed with a race for journalists on June 18. The 42 entries were divided into four classes: 750 cc to 1100cc, 1100 cc to 2000, 2000 cc to 3000 cc and over 3000 cc. Each of the four classes had its own eliminating heat race over 25 laps or 100 km. The regulations explaining which cars could advance into the 240 km Final to decide the ultimate winner, could not be found. Evidently the 12 fastest cars from the four heats did start in the Final. Incidentally, these were the winners of the 1100 and over 3000 Heats, plus the five fastest cars of the 2000 and 3000 Heats.
Entries:
From the 42 Entries received by the Reale Automobile Club d'Italia, Maserati was the only factory to participate. After having skipped the Italian Grand Prix, the Maserati works were heading the entry list with four cars, two 2500s for Fagioli and Dreyfus, the monstrous 4000 cc, 16-cylinder for Ernesto Maserati and a 2-liter car for Biondetti, which the press referred to as a new 1.75-liter car. Alfa Romeo did not enter because the factory was fully occupied with preparations for the 24 hours at Le Mans the coming week and cars were just not available at this time, only a fortnight after the Italian Grand Prix. The event suffered from Alfa Romeo's absence and boiled down to a simple Maserati - Bugatti battle. However, Varzi was listed as an independent with his new twin-cam Bugatti. Nuvolari also entered independently. He was a double starter with one of his former Scuderia Nuvolari 2000 cc Bugatti-TN monoposto to enter in heat for 2-liter cars and a 2.3-liter single-cam Bugatti for heat 3. However, the 2300 Bugatti was not too well prepared by Mario Dafarra.
      The smallest class up to 1100 cc received 18 entries of which the Belgian Josè Scaron in his 6-cylinder Amilcar was the most prominent. Gerolamo Ferrari entered a Talbot Special with 1500cc 8-cylinder engine that had been altered to comply with 1100 cc engine size by having two of the pistons removed. Filippo Ardizzone arrived with a rather old Delage-Special using only one half of its 2-liter V-12 engine. A complete listing of the primarily Italian entries is given above.
      On the same Sunday as the Rome Grand Prix, three other major races took place, the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, the Lwow Grand Prix in Poland and the Geneva Grand Prix in Switzerland. These activities contributed to the noticeable absence of French and German drivers at the Italian venue.
Practice:
On Thursday the Maserati team was seen practicing, establishing fast times. Dreyfus' best lap was 1m34.6s and Ernesto Maserati with the 16-cylinder car did a 1m32.2s lap, his best out of eight, while Varzi turned laps with his 2300 Bugatti in 1m29.6s. Nuvolari lapped in 1m37s and 1m38s with the 2000 Bugatti monoposto. On Friday Dreyfus did one lap in 1m31s at an average speed of 157.240 km/h. Then Varzi did a lap in 1m29s, Fagioli 1m32.2s and Nuvolari 1m34s. On Saturday, official practice continued with many participants on the track but drivers who were not going to start had not yet been announced. Varzi drove a few fast laps at 1m31s and 1m32s with the 2000 Bugatti. He then stopped at the pits and relinquished the car to his faithful mechanic Giovanni "Gianella" Tabacchi. According to IL LITTORIALE, Tabacchi apparently was supposed to take part in the Final in case Varzi qualified in Heat 2 within the first four.
      Tabacchi still made the last check-ups on Varzi's 2300 Bugatti. It was just before midday when Varzi climbed in his 2300 to take off and "Gianella" started immediately after him with the 2000. Then a few seconds later the tragedy. Tabacchi drove very fast towards the right-hand banked turn, at the entry of which he failed to change direction to the right, but evidently drove straight on. According to eyewitnesses, the car approached the turn from the bottom and was forced upwards. The car began to rotate to the right, the driver corrected by steering to the left, then bounced with the left wheels against the upper retaining wall, which it grazed for about 30-50 meters. IL LITTORIALE reported that the Bugatti then launched itself over the edge, tumbled down six meters onto a pile of wood, just in front of a group of workers. The car overturned further in the direction of a gravel bank near the Tiber River and ended in a gully. Amazingly "Gianella" was not dead immediately, though his lifeless body was found underneath the vehicle. LA STAMPA wrote that the car did a flight of more than 100 meters. Tabacchi was taken in a car to the nearby outpatient hospital having suffered several severe injuries. The medical orderlies identified most severe inner and external injuries. After arrival, Tabacchi died at about 12:30 without ever regaining consciousness.
      The cause of the crash could only be assumed, possibly entered the bend too fast, possibly some sand on the concrete, possibly too vigorous a steering movement at the correction. La Stampa stated that the accident was not caused by a mechanical defect and also not by an imperfection of the track, which had been built according to the most up-to-date scientific standards. Nevertheless, it may be of relevance that the entry and exit of the high banked Parabolica turn was altered for the 1932 race because the drivers from the 1931 race had to reduce their speed too much at both transitions.
      Giovanni Tabacchi had accompanied Varzi during his glorious career. He was an experienced man and was his riding mechanic at the 1930 Targa Florio victory. Tabacchi was also a driver having driven at the 1930 Mille Miglia with Natali in an Alfa Romeo 6-cylinder. At the 1930 Monza Grand Prix he had entered the same Bugatti T35C in which he was killed here. The Funeral Service was held on June 9 in Milano and Tabacchi was laid to rest at the Musocco cemetery.
Heat 1
Sunday morning at Littorio promised a sunny warm day. From 18 Group I entries, 750-1100 cc, only 12 showed up for the Heat 1 start at 12:00 Noon. Premoli, Comotti and Attili pulled away as the leading bunch, yet Scarron took the lead at the first bend and advanced from the rest to finish the first lap in1m51.8s. Behind Scaron came Premoli, Comotti, Ardizzone and Decaroli. On the third lap, Scaron established a Group I lap record of 1m33.2s at an average speed of 154.506 km/h. Ferrari retired with a broken oil pipe. Attili came to a stop to refill his radiator while Serra and Platè struggled with ignition problems. Scaron's pace was such, that after 10 laps he had lapped the entire field, leading with his Amilcar in17m25s, followed by Comotti (Salmson) 19m33s, Decaroli (Salmson) 19m56.6s and Ardizzone (Delage) in 20m24s. Scaron advanced continuously from lap to lap. Comotti had to stop after lap 15, losing precious time to the Delage of Ardizzone. After 25 laps or 100 km, Scaron, who had lapped the remaining cars twice, passed the finish line in first place.


Results (Heat 1)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.36Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar1.1S-625 0h45m53.6s
2.18Louis DecaroliL. DecaroliSalmson1.125 0h49m12.0s
3.2Filippo ArdizzoneF. ArdizzoneDelage-Special1.0S-625 0h50m59.2s
4.14Gianfranco ComottiG. ComottiSalmson1.1S-425 0h51m57.4s
5.32Luigi Del ReL. Del ReLombardAL31.125 0h56m46.6s
6. 10Gigi PlatèL. PlatèBNC5271.1S-4? 
7.?Alfonso AttiliA. AttiliSalmson1.1S-425 1h03m05.4s
DNF6Gigi PremoliL. PremoliSalmson1.1S-4? 
DNF12Gerolamo FerrariG. FerrariTalbot-Special7001.1S-6? 
DNF20Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloSalmson1.1S-4? 
DNF28Domingo GiorgiD. GiorgiLombardAL31.1? 
DNF30Giovanni SerraG. SerraAmilcar1.1? 
Fastest lap: Josè Scaron (Amilcar) on lap 3 in 1m33.2s = 154.5 km/h (96.0 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 130.7 km/h (81.2 mph)


Heat 2:
Immediately after the first Heat finished, 11 cars from the 15 Group II entries, 1100-2000 cc, lined up on the Heat 2 grid. All 11 cars could be identified in one photograph taken seconds after the start. The grid below shows them in their most likely position but perhaps not all in their correct places.
Pole Position
40
Castelbarco

Bugatti

52
Nuvolari

Bugatti

48
Ruggeri

Talbot

72
Andreoni

Maserati

60
Balestrero

Talbot

50
Savi

Maserati

62
Pedrazzini

Maserati

56
Sebastini

Maserati

38
Muti

Maserati

64
Biondetti

Maserati

58
Minozzi

Bugatti

At the 3:15 PM start, Nuvolari immediately took the lead, pressed hard by Ruggeri's Talbot, further back Castelbarco, Pedrazzini, Savi and Biondetti. The clash between Nuvolari and Ruggeri was fascinating during the fast early laps. Neither of the two could get the upper hand. On lap five Ruggeri passed Nuvolari, leading him past the grandstand. Biondetti in his Maserati rapidly gained ground from the last row of the grid. On lap seven he passed both Ruggeri and Nuvolari. The latter stopped at his pit with ignition problems and was forced to retire. Now an exciting battle continued between Biondetti and Ruggeri in second place, followed by Castelbarco and Savi. Pedrazzini retired and Minozzi stopped at the pits. Then, on lap 15 Ruggeri gave up with a broken oil pipe. After the same lap, Muti stopped to refill with water, thereafter he had engine problems and he finally retired. After 20 laps the order was Biondetti, Minozzi, Castelbarco and Savi. Then Minozzi fell back again while Biondetti headed towards victory, pursued by Castelbarco. But the Maserati driver did not give way. In the meantime Savi passed Castelbarco on lap 25 for second place.


Results (Heat 2)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.64Clemente BiondettiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26B2.0S-82541m23.0s
2.50Giuseppe SaviG. SaviMaserati26B2.0S-82542m40.6s
3.40Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoBugattiT39A1.5S-82542m51.0s
4.58Giovanni MinozziG. MinozziBugattiT35C2.0S-82542m55.6s
5.60Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroTalbot7001.7S-82544m38.6s
6.56Guido SebastianiG. SebastianiMaserati261.5S-82546m50.0s
DNF38Ettore MutiE. MutiMaserati26B2.0S-8?retired after 15 laps
DNF48Amedeo RuggeriA. RuggeriTalbot7001.7S-815engine
DNF62Carlo PedrazziniC. PedrazziniMaserati26B2.0S-8?retired after seven laps
DNF52Tazio NuvolariT. NuvolariBugattiT35C2.0S-86ignition
DNF72Alberto AndreoniA. AndreoniMaserati26R1.7S-8? 
Fastest lap: Giovanni Minozzi (Bugatti) on lap 13 in 1m33.0s = 154.8 km/h (96.2 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 145.0 km/h (90.1 mph).


Heat 3:
Heat 3 for Group III cars of 2000-3000 cc, started at 14:30 PM. Andreoni had raced in Heat 2, so there were only five drivers at the start. Fagioli immediately took the lead, pursued by Varzi and Dreyfus with Nuvolari and Rosso di Cerami further back. Fagioli finished the first lap in 1m40.6s, followed by Varzi 100 meters behind. Fagioli completed the third lap in 1m30.4s. The duel was very exciting and the crowd spurred on the drivers. Up to the tenth lap the positions remained unchanged Fagioli, Varzi, Dreyfus. The average speed of the first three was 160 km/h. On lap 11 the Fagioli and Varzi duo lapped Nuvolari and Rosso di Cerami. Next Rosso di Cerami overtook Nuvolari. Fagioli, who had held the lead up to lap 21, was passed by Varzi, who on round 22 established the lap record of 1m28.6s, to hold the lead for three more tours until the finish.


Results (Heat 3)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.74Achille VarziA. VarziBugattiT512.3S-82537m47.2s
2.68Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-82537m57.2s
3.78 René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-82538m05.0s
4.76Domenico Rosso di CeramiD. Rosso di CeramiMaserati26B MM2.1S-82541m20.2s
5.70Tazio NuvolariMario DafarraBugattiT35B2.3S-82542m42.2s
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Bugatti) on lap 22 in 1m28.6s = 162.5 km/h (101.0 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 158.8 km/h (98.7 mph)


Heat 4:
Heat 4 for Group IV cars over 3000 cc started at 15:45 PM. From three entries only two started for a boring demonstration run of 47 minutes. Ernesto Maserati in the fast 16-cylinder, 4-liter car had an easy time against Di Vecchio's ex-Materassi Itala Special with a 4-cylinder, 4.7- liter Hispano-Suiza engine, finishing four laps ahead of the Itala. Ernesto Maserati was no doubt cruising with no real competition. However on lap 25 he put in a lap identical to Varzi's fastest in heat 3. (A sign of things to come?)


Results (Heat 4)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.82Ernesto MaseratiOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV44.02x82540m34.4s
2.84Roberto Di VecchioR. Di VecchioItalaSpl.4.7S-42546m56.0s
Fastest lap: Ernesto Maserati (Maserati) on lap 25 in 1m28.6s = 162.5 km/h (101.0 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 147.9 km/h (91.9 mph)


Final:
Everybody had waited for the 12 fastest cars that qualified for the Final. They happened to be the first five of heat 2 and heat 3 plus the winners of heat 1 and 4. The grid below was pieced together with help of two photographs, lining up all cars and drivers. Those in row three and four shows them in their most likely position but perhaps some not exactly in their correct place.
     
Pole Position
82
E. Maserati

Maserati

74
Varzi

Bugatti

58
Minozzi

Bugatti

76
Cerami

Maserati

60
Balestrero

Talbot

78
Dreyfus

Maserati

36
Scaron

Amilcar

70
Nuvolari

Bugatti

68
Fagioli

Maserati

40
Castelbarco

Bugatti

64
Biondetti

Maserati

50
Savi

Maserati

The Final started at 5:00 PM when Varzi, Ernesto Maserati and Balestrero made up the leading group. Varzi was in first place after lap one, only ten meters ahead of Ernesto Maserati's 16-cylinder car, followed by Dreyfus and Fagioli. On lap three Scaron retired his Amilcar with a broken clutch. After five laps, Varzi had pulled out a 3.2s advantage over the big Maserati. Nuvolari had to retire his Bugatti after only five laps with a broken valve spring. On lap 10, Ernesto Maserati drove his fastest lap in 1m30.2s, an average of 159.645 km/h. After ten laps Varzi was leading Maserati by only one second. Then, while still in front on lap 15, Varzi burst the right rear tire, losing a lot of time when he had to stop at his pit to change the wheel. Maserati's 16-cylinder was now in the lead, which he was to maintain until the end. The Maseratis of Fagioli and Dreyfus were second and third, followed by Minozzi's Bugatti and Biondetti's Maserati. Varzi was now distanced from the leading Maserati team but with a new wheel he was lapping again at his rather fast pace. On lap 21 Fagioli headed for his pits with a mechanical problem. Two laps later Varzi passed into third place behind Maserati and Dreyfus, followed by Biondetti, Minozzi and Balestrero. On lap 25 Varzi established what was to be the fastest lap of the race in 2m28.4s at an average of 162.896 km/h. Up to lap 30 the positions remained unchanged with Varzi in third place, but on lap 33 Varzi headed for the pits and retired with an ignition problem. The race had now lost its brilliance while Maserati drove with regularity towards victory. Savi (Maserati) retired on lap 53, Castelbarco (Bugatti) stopped on lap 55 and Minozzi had also disappeared. The two leading Maseratis had lapped the remaining cars at least twice. Balestrero passed Cerami for fourth place while the troubled Fagioli remained in last place.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.82Ernesto MaseratiOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV44.02x8601h34m32.2s
2.78 René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8601h35m36.0s
3.64Clemente BiondettiOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26B2.0S-8601h39m26.6s
4.60Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroTalbot7001.7S-8601h39m49.8s
5.76Domenico CeramiD. CeramiMaserati26B MM2.1S-8601h41m10.0s
6.68Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8601h50m02.8s
DNC40Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoBugattiT39A1.5S-855flagged
DNC50Giuseppe SaviG. SaviMaserati26B2.0S-853flagged
DNF74Achille VarziA. VarziBugattiT512.3S-832ignition
DNF58Giovanni MinozziG. MinozziBugattiT35C2.0S-823retired sometime after 23 laps
DNF70Tazio NuvolariMario DafarraBugattiT35B2.3S-85broken valve spring
DNF36Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar1.1S-63broken clutch
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Bugatti) on lap 25 in 1m28.4s = 162.9 km/h (101.2 mph).
Winner's medium speed: 152.3 km/h (94.6 mph)
Weather: .
In retrospect:
Between the various sources some minor contradictions were encountered affecting the results. The two starting grids displayed in this article, cannot be proven to be 100% correct. In any event, the cars are shown in their most likely position on the grid after analyzing photographs of the two starts.
     

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
LA STAMPA, Torino
Motor Sport, London
The Autocar, London
Special thanks to:
Richard Armstrong
Hugo Boecker
Jean-Maurice Gigleux
Alessandro Silva
Bernhard Völker



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© 2016 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 19.07.2016