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VII GRAND PRIX DU COMMINGES

St. Gaudens (F), 16 August 1931.
15 laps x 26.3 km (16.3 mi) = 394.5 km (245.1 mi)
1500cc: 12 laps x 26.3 km (16.3 mi) = 315.6 km (196.1 mi)
1100cc: 10 laps x 26.3 km (16.3 mi) = 263.0 km ( 163.4 mi)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Libre:
2Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
4Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8
6Jean de MaleplaneJ. de MaleplaneMaserati26M2.5S-8
8Stanislas CzaykowskiCount CzaykowskiBugattiT512.3S-8
10Boris IvanowskiB. IvanowskiMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6DNA - did not appear
12Jean GaupillatWimille/GaupillatBugattiT512.3S-8
14Henri StoffelH. StoffelMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6DNA - did not appear
16Dimitri DjordjadzePrince DjordjadzeMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6DNA - did not appear
18Michel DoréM. DoréBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
20Albert BroschekA. BroschekBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
22Jean PesatoJ. PesatoAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
24Honoré LormandH. LormandBugattiT35C2.0S-8
26Lucien BlancL. BlancBugattiT352.0S-8
28Charles WersantC. WersantBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
30"Mlle. Helle-Nice""Mlle. Helle-Nice"BugattiT35C2.0S-8
32René FerrantR. FerrantPeugeot174S3.8S-4DNA - did not appear
34BesauceleBesauceleBallot2LS2.0S-4
36ConsiglioConsiglioAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6
38Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousBugattiT352.0S-8
40G. d'ArnouxComte d'ArnouxBugattiT35B2.3S-8
42RamtyRamtyBugattiT352.3S-8DNA - did not appear
44CousinieCousinieBugattiT35B2.3S-8
90Henri DurandH. DurandBugattiT352.0S-8
92Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
96MinangoyMinangoyBugattiT352.0S-8
98Max FournyM. FournyBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
 
1500cc:
48Jean DelormeJ. DelormeBugattiT37A1.5S-4
50Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT37A1.5S-4
52Louis JolyL. JolyMaserati261.5S-8
54Anne-Cécile Rose-ItierMme. Rose-ItierBugattiT37A1.5S-4
56Jean GallayGallayBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
58Francois GivaudanGivaudanBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
60"Antonio"A. ValetteMaserati261.5S-8
62Christian de MesionC. de MesionBugattiT37A1.5S-4
64Luis MonteiroComte MonteiroDémo-De Coucy1.3S-8DNA - did not appear
66AmadeAmadeBugattiT371.5S-4
68Pierre ReyP. ReyBugattiT37A1.5S-4
70Miro ToselliM. ToselliBugattiT37A1.5S-4
88Casimir RagotC. RagotRagot-FiatSpéciale1.4S-4
94Emile TetaldiE. TetaldiBugattiT37A1.5DNA - did not appear
 
1100cc:
72Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar1.1S-6
73Roger LabricR. LabricCabanDNA - did not appear
74Charles CharrierC. CharrierBNC-Lombard5271.1S-4
75Robert CourbinR. CourbinDNA - did not appear
76Lucien DevauxL. DevauxAmilcarDNA - did not appear
77Gustave LemoineG. LemoineCaban Salmson
78Auguste RongierasA. RongierasBNC-Salmson5271.1S-4
79Just-Émile VernetJ. VernetCabanDNA - did not appear
80Jean JudetJ. JudetSalmsonDNA - did not appear
82Lucién DemazelL. DemazelSalmson
84Louis FaureL. FaureAmilcar1.1S-6
86Hector DavidH. DavidSalmsonDNA - did not appear


Etancelin wins again

by Leif Snellman
The Comminges Grand Prix, run with three classes starting together and flagged off at different laps, proved to be a highly interesting race. Czaykowski (Bugatti) had an early lead but was soon passed by Lehoux(Bugatti) and Etancelin (Alfa Romeo). Czaykowski later fell back with a puncture but the duel between Lehoux and Etancelin continued, the cars swapping positions twice. The race was decided when Lehoux got a puncture and dropped back to third behind Czaykowski while Etancelin went on to take the victory. Joly won the voiturette class with his Maserati and in the cycle car class Lemoine with a Caban proved victorious as Scaron had to retire.
The Comminges Grand Prix was arranged for the 7th time by l'Automobile Club du Midi to be raced on the 26.3 km road circuit, west of the town of St Gaudens in the Haute-Garonne department in the French Pyrenees.
      The organizers had invested in a new concrete grandstand, 232m long and 13.5m high, opposite the pits, where on its 57 rows 15,000 spectators had an excellent view of the event.
      Cars were divided into three classes, all starting together, but while the biggest class did 15 laps the cycle cars were flagged after 10 laps and the 1500cc voiturettes after 12 laps. The cars were identified by the colours of the race numbers. The big cars had a blue number inside a white circle, the 1500cc class a white number inside a blue circle and the 1100cc class a red number inside a yellow circle.
      Prizes were as follows: In the largest class the top five got 10,000, 6,000, 4,000, 2,000 and 1,000 fr, in the 1.5 litre class the top four 7,000, 4,000, 2,000 and 1,000 fr and in the 1.1 litre class the top four 6,000, 3,000, 1,500, and 1,000 fr. There was also a 30,000 fr prize for the overall winner and 15,000 fr for the overall second position. According to the magazine LeMatin (16th August) those overall prizes could not be combined with class prizes. Still the same magazine does exactly that in their results lists the very next day.
      The absolute lap record seems to have been held by Dreyfus with a time of 11m06s while the fastest lap in race conditions was Williams' 11m33.6s.
Entries:
With the high prizes offered the organizers had managed to attract several known names to the entry list. However, as the race clashed with Coppa Acerbo the works Bugatti with Louis Chiron and the works Maserati with René Dreyfus were missing. Still most of the French elite drivers were present in the major class.
      Philippe Etancelin in his Alfa Romeo Monza was challenged by no less than eleven Bugattis. Bugatti T51s were entered by Algerian Marcel Lehoux (#51128), Count Czaykowski (#51126) and Jean Gaupillat (#51130). Count d'Arnoux and Cousinie from Toulouse were to race the older Bugatti T35B, while Honoré Lormand from Toulouse and Mlle. Hellé-Nice each entered a 2 litre T35C. Lucien Blanc from Agen, Henri Durand from Mazamet, and Yves Giraud-Cabantous raced T35s. Minangoy entered an unsupercharged 2 litre T35.
      Jean Pesato and Italian Consiglio from Turin entered a 6 cylinder Alfa Romeo each, and Jean de Maleplane from Biarritz a Maserati 26M. Besaucele entered an ancient 2 litre Ballot.

The 1.5 litre class was dominated by Bugatti as well with T37As entered by Jean Delorme, Anne-Cécile Itier from Capbreton, Christian de Mesion from Bergerac, Pierre Rey from Carpentras, as well as Miro Toselli and Pierre Veyron, both from Nice. Amade from Toulouse entered a Bugatti T37 and Tunis driver Louis Joly and Italian Antonio Valette from Turin a Maserati M26 each. Valette raced under the pseudonym "Antonio".
      Casimir Ragot from Bordeaux entered the Casimir Ragot Spéciale 001, a car he had built together with his son, starting off with a Bugatti chassis and a supercharged 1438cc 4 cylinder Fiat engine. Confusingly he was shown in the 1100cc class in the entry lists.

In the 1.1 litre class entries included Belgian born José Scaron and Louis Faure from Bordeaux, each with an Amilcar, Charles Charrier and Auguste Rongieras from Bordeaux racing B.N.C. (Bollack, Netter, et Cie), Gustave Lemoine in a Caban (i.e. a car built by Yves Giraud-Cabantous) with a Salmson engine and Lucien Demazel from Bordeaux entering a Salmson.
Race:
Sunday came with a blue sky and excellent weather. A huge number of spectators turned up to what would prove to be an exciting event, filling up the new grand stand as well as standing along the roads of the course.
      The event started at eight o'clock in the morning with a motor cycle race with 41 competitors racing in the 175cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc classes.
      At 3 p.m. it was finally time for the car race. An impressive field of 32 cars lined up at the grid, class by class with the biggest cars first, the order in the class decided by ballot.
 
Grid not available

As the flag dropped Czaykowski took the lead of the race and made the first lap in 11m16s, beating the lap record on the standing lap. He was followed closely by Lehoux with Etancelin just a little bit behind. Then followed Gaupillat, Giraud -Cabantous, Lormard, de Maleplane, d'Arnoux and Joly, who was leading the voiturette class. Amade, having burst a tyre early on, retired from the race. On the second lap Lehoux took over the lead from Czaykowski. Lehoux and Etancelin both lowered the lap record doing 11m07s each. The race order after two laps was:
1.Lehoux (Bugatti)
2.Czaykowski (Bugatti)
3.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)
4.Giraud-Cabantous (Bugatti)
5.Lormand (Bugatti)
6.Gaupillat (Bugatti)

On the third lap the order at the top remained the same except that Gaupillat passed Lormand. De Maleplane made a pit stop. Order: Lehoux 33m42s, Czaykowski with Etancelin right behind him, then Girand-Cabantous and Gaupillat.
      The order in the voiturette class was Joly, Rey and Toselli. The latter made a pit stop for new tyres. In the cycle car class Lemoine took over the lead position when Scaron stopped his car with mechanical problems at Valentine.
      On the fourth lap the drivers in the front continued pushing each other to go faster and faster. Toselli overdid it and had a big crash in the curve near the grandstand, fortunately without any injuries.
      Lehoux was still leading the race making the lap in 11m05s as did Etancelin, who passed Czaykowski for second position. Only some 200 meters separated the top trio. Durand retired his Bugatti at Valentine. Order after five laps:
1.Lehoux (Bugatti)56m05s? (140.8 km/h) (Note 1)
2.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)
3.Czaykowski (Bugatti)
4.Giraud-Cabantous (Bugatti)
5.Lormand (Bugatti)
6.d'Arnoux (Bugatti)
7.de Maleplane (Maserati)
8.Gaupillat (Bugatti)
1500cc:
1.Joly (Maserati)1h03m29s (124.3 km/h)
2.Veyron (Bugatti)
3.Rey (Bugatti)
4.Antonio (Maserati)
5.Delorme (Bugatti)
1100cc:
1.Lemoine (Caban)
2.Faure (Amilcar)
3.Demazel (Salmson)

After six laps Lehoux had a six seconds gap over Etancelin with Czaykowski still in third position, but now half a minute behind:
1.Lehoux (Bugatti)1h07m19s (140.6 km/h)
2.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)1h07m25s
3.Czaykowski (Bugatti)1h07m55s
4.Girand-Cabantous, (Bugatti)1h09m24s
5.Lormand (Bugatti)
6.d'Arnoux (Bugatti)
7.de Maleplane (Maserati)
8.Gaupillat (Bugatti)
9.Mlle Hellé-Nice (Bugatti)
10.Blanc (Bugatti)
11.Pesato (Alfa Romeo)
1500cc:
1.Joly (Maserati)1h16m04s (124.5 km/h)
2.Veyron (Bugatti)
3.Antonio (Maserati)
4.Rey (Bugatti)
5.Mme Itier (Bugatti)
6.Ragot (Ragot)
7.Delorme (Bugatti)
1100cc:
1.Lemoine (Caban)1h29m16s (106.1 km/h)
2.Faure (Amilcar)
3.Rongieras (BNC)
4.Demazel (Salmson)

Lehoux made the seventh lap in 11m19s. His wrist was still hurting after his crash at Nürburgring but he was doing a great race. The race order remained unchanged.
      Lemoine, still leading the the cycle car class, made his eighth lap in a total time of 1h58m57.2s.
      On the ninth lap Etancelin was able to take the lead but Lehoux retook it soon afterwards. At the end of the lap the cars of the top duo was separated by just a second while Czaykowski in third position now was 59 seconds behind. Order after 10 laps:
1.Lehoux (Bugatti)1h51m59s (140.9 km/h)
2.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)
3.Czaykowski (Bugatti)
4.Girand-Cabantous, (Bugatti)

On the tenth lap Czaykowski had a puncture on the right front wheel and came in for a very fast 18 second stop. Giraud stopped for refuelling and Pesato also made a pit stop giving over the Alfa Romeo to Felix.
      In the voiturette class Joly was leading having done the ten laps in 2h06m22s (124.9 km/h). Veyron was second, Rey third and "Antonio" fourth. Fifth positioned Mme Rose-Itier crashed her Bugatti at Gourdan-Polignan near the east end of the course. She escaped unscathed from the accident.
      Lehoux did the 12th lap in 11m02s. Etancelin was still challenging him with the gap being just 2 seconds while Czaykowski had lost 2 minutes to the duo. Girand-Cabantous remained fourth and the Bugatti of d'Arnoux/Zehender was now fifth.
      As the bigger cars were doing their 12th lap Lemoine took the chequered flag with his Caban to win the cycle car class, having done his 10 laps. Rongieras finished second in the class and Damazel third.
      The race was decided on the thirteenth lap as the unfortunate Lehoux picked up a puncture, obviously far from the pits, because arriving to the grand stand Etancelin already held a 53 second lead. Czaykowski passed the pits to take over second position before Lehoux was able to rejoin the race after his tyre change. He had lost 2m03s to Etancelin.
      The 1500cc class was now flagged off as well with Joly winning from Veyron and Valette.
      Etancelin took it easy on the last lap while Czaykowski was really pushing, just in case something would happen to the leader, making the first sub-eleven minute lap of the race with a time of 10m58s. Still there was a 73 seconds difference to the winner at the flag, Etancelin taking his Monza to victory in an excellent race followed by six Bugattis: Czaykowski, Lehoux, Zehender, Giraud-Cabantous, Gaupillat and Lormand. De Maleplane also made all the 15 laps.
      The newest Alfa Romeo and Bugatti were quite even matched cars but the Monza seems to have had that little edge over the T51 that Etancelin had searched for. Victories at Dieppe, Grenoble and now at St. Gaudens clearly justified his decision to change to Alfa Romeo.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8152h48m55.8s
2.8Stanislas CzaykowskiCount CzaykowskiBugattiT512.3S-8152h50m09.0s+ 1m13.2s
3.4Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8152h52m33.4s+ 3m37.6s
4.40G. d'Arnoux / G. ZehenderComte d'ArnouxBugattiT35B2.3S-8153h01m35.8s+ 12m40.0s
5.38Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousBugattiT352.0S-8153h02m56.8s+ 14m01.0s
6.12Jean GaupillatWimille/GaupillatBugattiT512.3S-8153h05m05.8s+ 16m10.0s
7.24Honoré LormandH. LormandBugattiT35C2.0S-8153h07m39.2s+ 18m43.4s
8.6Jean de MaleplaneJ. de MaleplaneMaserati26M2.5S-8153h11m03.6s+ 22m07.8s
9.30"Mlle. Helle-Nice""Mlle. Helle-Nice"BugattiT35C2.0S-8143h11m54.0s
10.26Lucien BlancL. BlancBugattiT352.0S-8143h18m14s
11.22J. Pesato / P. FélixJ. PesatoAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-6143h22m23s
12.44CousinieCousinieBugattiT35B2.3S-8112h50m48s
DNF96MinangoyMinangoyBugattiT352.0S-8
DNF90Henri DurandH. DurandBugattiT352.0S-8
DNF36ConsiglioConsiglioAlfa Romeo6C-17501.8S-65mechanical
DNF34BesauceleBesauceleBallot2LS2.0S-4
Fastest lap: Stanislas Czaykowski (Bugatti) on lap 15 in 10m58.0s = 143.9 km/h (89.4 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 140.1 km/h (87.1 mph)
Weather: Sunny and fine.


Results (1500 cc)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.52Louis JolyL. JolyMaserati261.5S-8122h32m49.6s 
2.50Pierre VeyronP. VeyronBugattiT37A1.5S-4122h36m06.4s+ 3m16.8s
3.60"Antonio"A. ValetteMaserati261.5S-8122h44m49.8s+ 12m00.2s
4.68Pierre ReyP. ReyBugattiT37A1.5S-4122h47m33.2s+ 14m43.6s
5.88Casimir RagotC. RagotRagot-FiatSpéciale1.4S-4122h52m44.2s+ 19m54.6s
DNF54Anne-Cécile Rose-ItierMme. Rose-ItierBugattiT37A1.5S-410crash 
DNF48Jean DelormeJ. DelormeBugattiT37A1.5S-47  
DNF62Christian de MesionC. de MesionBugattiT37A1.5S-43  
DNF70Miro ToselliM. ToselliBugattiT37A1.5S-43crash 
DNF66AmadeAmadeBugattiT371.5S-40puncture 
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 123.9 km/h (77.0 mph)


Results (Voiturette 1100 cc)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.77Gustave LemoineG. LemoineCaban Salmson   102h27m58.0s 
2.78Auguste RongierasA. RongierasBNC-Salmson5271.1S-4102h36m06.8s+ 8m08.8s
3.82Lucién DemazelL. DemazelSalmson   102h39m00.2s+ 11m02.2s
4.74Charles CharrierC. CharrierBNC-Lombard5271.1S-4103h23m49s+ 55m51s
5.84Louis FaureL. FaureAmilcar 1.1S-410  
DNF72Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcar 1.1S-6 mechanical 
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 106.6 km/h (66.3 mph)

Footnote:
1. Some of the times are recalculated from published speeds, while trying to sort out old printing errors. In this case L'Express du Midi gave 58m09s/140.747 km/h, not corresponding to each other. A time of 56m05s would fit better. The same newspaper also gave 1h51m59s/140.513 km/h, a printing error for 140.913 km/h

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
L'Écho de Paris, Paris
L'Express du Midi, Toulouse
La Croix, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Le Petit Nicois, Nice
Motor Sport, London



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VII° COPPA ACERBO

Pescara (I), 15/16 August 1931.
Class below 1100 cc: 4 laps x 25.5 km (15.845 mi) = 102.0 km (63.4 mi) - 15 August
Class over 1100 cc: 12 laps x 25.5 km (15.845 mi) = 306.0 km (190.1 mi) - 16 August


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Coppa Città di Pescara, August 15Class up to 1100 cc
2AiminiAiminiAmilcar1.1DNA did not appear
4Piero BucciP. BucciLombardAL31.1S-4
6Gerolamo FerrariG. FerrariTalbot-Special7001.1S-6
8Aldo TerigiA. TerigiSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
10Luigi PlatèL. PlatèB.N.C.X1.1S-4
12Luigi del ReL. del ReFiat-LombardAL31.1S-4
14Filippo ArdizzoneF. ArdissoneDelageSpecial1.1S-6
16Gigi PremoliL. PremoliSalmson1.1S-4
18Louis DecaroliL. DecaroliSalmson1.1
20RomagnoliRomagnoliSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
22Albino PratesiA. PratesiSalmson1.1S-4
24Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloSalmson1.1S-4
26Daniel DourelD. DourelAmilcarCO1.1
28Roger BouclyR. BouclySalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
30Luigi FagioliL. FagioliSalmson1.1DNS - started in class over 1100 cc
 
Coppa Acerbo, August 16Class over 1100 cc
32Giuseppe CampariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x6
34Francesco SeveriScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C 23002.3S-8
36Pietro GhersiP. GhersiBugattiT35B2.3S-8
38Rodolfo del DragoPrince R. del DragoMercedes-BenzSS7.1S-6DNA - did not appear
40Domenico CeramiPrince D. CeramiMaserati26B MM2.1S-8DNA - did not appear
42Umberto KlingerOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8
44XXMaserati26M2.5S-8DNA did not appear
46Baconin BorzacchiniScuderia FerrariAlfa Romeo8C 23002.3S-8
48René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8
50Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x6
52Ernesto MaseratiOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV44.0V-16
54Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.8S-8
56Louis ChironL. ChironBugattiT512.3S-8
58Achille VarziA. VarziBugattiT512.3S-8
60XXAlfa Romeo6C 17501.8S-6DNA - did not appear
62SalvatucciSalvatucciXDNA - did not appear
64Guido SebastianiG. SebastianiMaserati261.5S-8
66CairelliCairelliMaserati26B2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
68Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroBugattiT35C2.0S-8
70Renato DaneseR. DaneseBugattiT35C2.0S-8DNA - did not appear
72Amedeo RuggeriA. RuggeriTalbot7001.5S-8
74Secondo CorsiS. CorsiAlfa Romeo6C 17501.8S-6DNA - did not appear
76Giuseppe TuffanelliG. TuffanelliAlfa Romeo6C 17501.8S-6DNA - did not appear
78Clemente BiondettiC. BiondettiBugattiT352.0S-8
80R. BredaR. BredaXDNA - did not appear


Campari's third victory at the Coppa Acerbo

by Hans Etzrodt
The great Campari triumphed again at the 1931 Coppa Acerbo, this time in the 12-cylinder Alfa Romeo monoposto. Not only was his teammate Nuvolari taking a shot at victory but also Fagioli (Maserati), Varzi and Chiron in Bugattis. But Campari prevailed while Varzi, Fagioli and Nuvolari lost their good early positions due to lengthy pit stops. Dreyfus, Borzacchini and Ernesto Maserati retired early. Biondetti and Ruggeri followed later, whereas Severi, Klinger, Balestrero, Ghersi and Sebastiani in slower cars lasted till the end. Campari and Chiron finished first and second without any problems, while Nuvolari salvaged third place despite an overheating engine, ahead of Varzi and Fagioli who had been let down by unexpected tire problems.
      The day before the big event, a short race was held to accommodate a gaggle of ten 1100 cc cars. Premoli as favorite lost his chance to win the race at the start when he was forced to get his Salmon's engine running properly. Five cars finished, led by the Frenchman Decaroli in another Salmson.
The 1931 Coppa Acerbo was in its 7th running and belonged to the most important events of the international calendar. The total prize money was 150 000 lire of which the absolute winner would receive 50 000. It was the second to last event counting towards the Italian Championship.
      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 in 1931. 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 any 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.
Entries:
The Coppa Acerbo promoters received 25 entries for the class over 1100 cc, all Italians except for two foreign drivers from France, Chiron and Dreyfus. The Scuderia Ferrari managed the Alfa Romeo works entries of Nuvolari and Campari in the 12-cylinder monoposti. These cars were in fact unloaded from Portello factory trucks while Scuderia Ferrari vans delivered the 2.3-liter Monzas for Borzacchini and Severi.
      The Bugattis of Varzi and Chiron were independent entries but Meo Costantino and some works mechanics were there providing unofficial factory back-up. Both cars arrived in the same specification as seen two weeks prior at the Coppa Ciano with Varzi's red Bugatti, still with race number 58 and Chiron in his blue car but now with race number 56.
      The Alfieri Maserati Works in Bologna arrived with a 2800 cc Maserati 26M for Fagioli, the 16-cylinder 4-liter V4 for Ernesto Maserati and 2500 cc 26Ms for Dreyfus and Klinger.
      Besides these ten works entries, there were 15 independents. Clearly none of them would have much of a chance to end up in one of the leading places. Four Bugattis were entered by Ghersi, Balestreo, Danese and Biondetti. There were four Maseratis entered by Cerami, Sebastiani, Cairelli and a still unnamed entry. Three 6C1750 Alfa Romeos were listed by Corsi, Tuffanelli and an unnamed driver. Finally Amedeo Ruggeri entered a 1500 Talbot, two still unnamed cars by Salvatucci and Breda. Del Drago was to arrive with a Mercedes-Benz SS. AUTOMOBIL-REVUE wrote that according to unconfirmed reports Caracciola and Mercedes could be expected to start with certainty. This was rather unlikely since Caracciola was in Zakopane near Kraków at this time winning the Tatra hill climb event.
Pre-race activities:
On Saturday morning, the day before the big race, the Coppa Città di Pescara took place for ten 1100 cc cycle cars over 102 km or four laps around the Pescara circuit. The cars were lined up in numerical order.
Pole Position
10
Platè

B.N.C.

6
Ferrari

Talbot

4
Bucci

Lombard

16
Premoli

Salmson

14
Ardizzone

Delage

12
Del Re

Fiat-Lombard

24
Matrullo

Salmson

22
Pratesi

Salmson

18
Decaroli

Salmson

26
Dourel

Bugatti

At 9:00 AM Marshall Italo Balbo gave the start signal with the flag. Premoli was unable to start for 3m30s delay while his mechanic got his Salmson's engine to run on all cylinders. After lap one, the Frenchman Dourel was leading a trio of cars at an average speed of 106.34 km/h. Bucci (Lombard) retired and Premoli (Salmson) disappeared with spark plug problems and failed to complete the first lap.
1.Dourel (Amilcar)14m25.6s
2.Decaroli (Salmson)14m25.8s
3.Ferrari (Talbot)14m27.8s
4.Matrullo (Salmson)14m56.0s
5.Platè (B.N.C.)15m17.0s
6.Pratesi (Salmson), next Ardizzone (Delage), then Del Re (Fiat-Lombard) and Premoli (Salmson).

After two laps Decaroli led Ferrari in a close battle for the lead. Frenchman Dourel retired his Amilcar at Capelle after an accident on the second lap.
1.Decaroli (Salmson)28m31.0s
2.Ferrari (Talbot)28m33.8s
3.Matrullo (Salmson)29m32.0s
4.Platè (B.N.C.)30m08.4s
5.Ardizzone (Delage)31m56.0s
6.Pratesi (Salmson) and Del Re (Fiat-Lombard).

After the third lap Decaroli still held the lead, pulling away from Ferrai's Talbot. Pratesi retired on lap three.
1.Decaroli (Salmson)42m34.2s
2.Ferrari (Talbot)42m41.2s
3.Matrullo (Salmson)43m57.2s
4.Platè (B.N.C.)45m01.6s
5.Ardizzone (Delage)51m30.2s
6.Del De (Fiat-Lombard)

There were no changes on the last lap. Decaroli won in his Salmson, ahead of Ferrari (Talbot) and Matrullo (Salmson).

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.18Louis DecaroliL. DecaroliSalmson1.1456m10.6s
2.6Gerolamo FerrariG. FerrariTalbot-Special7001.1S-6456m56.0s+ 45.4s
3.24Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloSalmson1.1S-4458m26.6s+ 2m16s
4.10Luigi PlatèL. PlatèB.N.C.x1.1S-441h02m45.8s+ 6m35.2s
5.14Filippo ArdizzoneF. ArdissoneDelageSpecial1.1S-641h09m04.2s+ 12m53.6s
DNF12Luigi del ReL. del ReFiat-LombardAL31.1S-43
DNF22Albino PratesiA. PratesiSalmson1.1S-42
DNF26Daniel DourelD. DourelAmilcar1.11 accident
DNF16Gigi PremoliL. PremoliSalmson1.1S-40
DNF4 Piero BucciP. BucciLombardAL31.1S-40
Fastest lap: Louis Decaroli (Salmson) on lap 4 in 13m36.4s = 112.4 km/h (69.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 108.9 km/h (67.7 mph)
Weather: sunny and hot.
Race:
On a very hot Sunday morning a gigantic crowd attended this popular race. From 25 entries10 failed to put in an appearance and a mere 15 lined up in numerical order, comprising ten potent factory cars and five independent entries.
Pole Position
36
Ghersi

Bugatti

34
Severi

Alfa Romeo

32
Campari

Alfa Romeo

48
Dreyfus

Maserati

46
Borzacchini

Alfa Romeo

42
Klinger

Maserati

54
Fagioli

Maserati

52
Maserati

Maserati

50
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

64
Sebastiani

Maserati

58
Varzi

Bugatti

56
Chiron

Bugatti

78
Biondetti

Bugatti

72
Ruggeri

Talbot

68
Balestrero

Bugatti

At 10:00 AM Marshall Italo Balbo lowered the blue starting flag. When the cars shot away with loud thunder, Fagioli followed the leading Campari in the 12-cylinder monoposto up to Villa Raspa, whereas Severi had a poor start. When the pack reached Capelle, Campari was still first followed by Fagioli and Varzi. Before Montesilvano Station Dreyfus retired for unknown reasons. Campari finished the first lap with an average speed of 131.141 km/h. The first five cars had broken the old lap record, established in 1930 by Fagioli with a 2500 Maserati in 12m9.4s, a speed of 125.855 km/h. Nuvolari and Varzi were having a battle royal - less than a second apart.
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)11m40.2s
2.Fagioli (Maserati)11m47.0s
3.Varzi (Bugatti)11m56.6s
4.Nuvolari (Alf Romeo)11m57.0s
5.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)12m02.2s
6.Chiron (Bugatti)
7.Ernesto Maserati (Maserati)
8.Severi (Alfa Romeo)
9.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) stopped at the pits.
10.Klinger (Maserati)
11.Biondetti (Bugatti)
12.Ruggeri (Talbot)
13.Balestreo (Bugatti)
14.Sebastiani (Maserati)

During the second lap the struggle for first place became more visible. At Spoltore Campari was still first, Fagioli second and Nuvolari had just passed Varzi for third place. The high speed was deadly for the tires, which rather quickly picked up the very high road temperatures. First affected were the tires of Fagioli's Maserati on the second long straight past Montesilvano where a tire disintegrated, the thread detaching itself from the tire casing. The same problem afflicted Ernesto Maserati in the 16-cylinder car, which threw tire threads. Campari drove another blistering lap in 11m28.4s, increasing his advantage over Nuvolari and Varzi to more than 20 seconds. Although Nuvolari had overtaken Varzi, the gap between them was less than 2 seconds. Borzacchini who arrived in fourth place retired with a dead engine, followed by Chiron and Fagioli, who headed toward his pit for tires, then Ernesto who also stopped for tires. Both lost much time. With Dreyfus and Borzacchini retired, the field was down to 13 cars, though Borzacchini was officially timed in fourth place.
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)23m08.6s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)23m29.4s
3.Varzi (Bugatti)23m31.0s
4.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)23m49.0s
5.Chiron (Bugatti)24m16.4s
6.Fagioli (Maserati), Ernesto Maserati, Severi, Ghersi, Klinger, Ruggeri, Balestrero, Biondetti and Sebastiani.

On the third lap Campari slowed down slightly with a lap of 11m34.0s but maintained his advantage over Nuvolari, who was still closely followed by Varzi and Chiron. Severi was driving very well in fifth position, ahead of Fagioli and Ernesto Maserati. Further behind Ghersi and Klinger brought up the rear. Ruggeri stopped at the pits.
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)34m42.6s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)35m02.4s
3.Varzi (Bugatti)35m04.8s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)36m08.0s
5.Severi (Alfa Romeo)37m38.0s
6.Fagioli, Ernesto Maserati, Ghersi, Klinger, Ruggeri, Balestrero, Sebastiani, Biondetti.

On lap four Campari slowed further to 11m36.2s, while Nuvolari impressed by increasing his pace, reducing the gap to his team mate in the lead. Corrado Filippini wrote that Campari's 12-cylinder monoposto Alfa was faster along the winding hilly section to Cappelle than the quickest Bugatti and Maserati, however a bit slower on the long straights. After four laps Klinger stopped at the pits. The positions were as follows:
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)46m18.8s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)46m31.6s
3.Varzi (Bugatti)46m31.8s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)47m37.0s
5.Severi (Alfa Romeo)49m57.2s
6.Ghersi, Fagioli, Ernesto Maserati, Klinger, Ruggeri, Balestrero, Biondetti, Sebastiani.

On lap five Nuvolari drove a record lap in 11m24.4s at 134.130 km/h average, while Campari maintained his regular pace with 11m36.6s. When the thundering Alfa monoposti reached the grandstand side by side, there was great excitement with Nuvolari barely ahead of Campari. Varzi who encountered tire-disintegration near the pits arrived over one minute later but lost only one place changing tires and joined the race in fourth position. Fagioli in sixth place had to stop again for tires. Ernesto Maserati, already one lap behind, was again the victim of a thrown tire thread and arrived at the pits with much delay to retire. Ghersi also had tire problems on his Bugatti. When Biondetti retired, the field was down to 11 cars.
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)57m55.2s
2.Campari (Alfa Romeo)57m55.4s
3.Varzi (Bugatti)59m05.2s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)59m42.0s
5.Severi (Alfa Romeo)1h02m33.4s
6.Fagioli, Klinger, Ruggeri, Balestrero, Ghersi, Sebastiani.

After six laps at midrace or 153 kilometers, the two Alfa monoposti dominated in front with Nuvolari in the lead at 132.340 km/h average speed, ahead of regular driving Campari. The Mantuan pulled out all of 16 seconds in a single lap. Did Campari let him go in order to preserve his own tires? The wily veteran against the brash newcomer, followed by the works supported Bugattis which had already fallen behind by over two minutes. Balestrero was lapped once, Ghersi and Sebastiani already twice.
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h09m22.0s
2.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h09m38.0s
3.Chiron (Bugatti)1h11m34.0s
4.Varzi (Bugatti)1h11m56.0s
5.Severi (Alfa Romeo)1h14m55.4s
6.Fagioli (Maserati)1h17m28.0s
7.Klinger (Maserati)1h20m07.0s
8.Balestrero (Bugatti)1h23m06.0s
9.Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)1h36m33.0s
10.Sebastinani (Maserati)1h39m46.0s
11.Ruggeri (Talbot)

During the seventh lap Varzi fell further behind when he punctured a tire between Spoltore and Capelle, losing precious time replacing it. Fagioli also had to stop once more at the pits with both rear tires disintegrating. The 15 car field had shrunk to ten cars after Ruggeri retired his Talbot. The order after seven laps was:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h21m05.2s
2.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h21m21.6s
3.Chiron (Bugatti)1h23m14.0s
4.Varzi (Bugatti)1h25m08.8s
5.Severi (Alfa Romeo), Fagioli (Maserati), Klinger (Maserati), Balestrero (Bugatti), Ghersi and Sebastinani.

At the end of eight laps the regular driving Campari found himself again in the lead, while Nuvolari had to stop at the pits to refill the radiator with water after the right side engine had blown its head gasket, causing the engine to overheat. Luigi Fusi wrote, the stress during Nuvolari's fast lap caused the head gasket of one of the two engines to blow up. The order after eight laps was:
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h33m02.6s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h33m10.0s
3.Chiron (Bugatti)1h38m00.2s
4.Varzi (Bugatti)1h38m34.8s
5.Severi (Alfa Romeo)1h39m46.2s
6.Fagioli (Maserati)1h40m24.8s
7.Klinger (Maserati), Balestrero (Bugatti), Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) and Sebastinani (Maserati).

After nine laps Campari held the lead without diminished pace at 11m42.2s for that round. Nuvolari had slowed down considerably to avoid overstessing his overheating engines.
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h44m44.8s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)?
3.Chiron (Bugatti)?
4.Varzi (Bugatti)?
5.Fagioli (Maserati)1h52m05.6s
6.Severi (Alfa Romeo)1h58m05.8s
7.Klinger (Maserati), Balestrero (Bugatti), Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) and Sebastinani (Maserati).

After lap ten Nuvolari slowed his pace even more in an attempt to bring his crippled car to the finish. This enabled Chiron to take second place from a defeated Nuvolari. The order was now:
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h56m22.2s
2.Chiron (Bugatti)1h58m17.0s
3.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h58m35.6s
4.Varzi (Bugatti)2h02m50.4s
5.Fagioli (Maserati)2h03m37.6s
6.Severi (Alfa Romeo)2h04m30.6s
7.Klinger (Maserati), Balestrero (Bugatti), Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) and Sebastinani (Maserati).

On lap 11 Fagioli had to stop at his pit for the fourth time with tire damage. The order remained the same:
1.Campari (Alfa Romeo)2h07m59.4s
2.Chiron (Bugatti)2h10m02.0s
3.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h11m23.6s
4.Varzi (Bugatti)2h14m54.8s
5.Fagioli (Maserati)2h15m18.6s
6.Severi (Alfa Romeo)2h16m19.0s
7.Klinger (Maserati), Balestrero (Bugatti), Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) and Sebastinani (Maserati).

There were no changes on the last lap. Campari finished after 2h19m42.4s to the great enthusiasm of the ecstatic crowd. Chiron followed over two minutes later. Their's were the only cars that did not encounter trouble during the race. They finished ahead of Nuvolari in third place, followed by Varzi, Fagioli and Severi. Klinger, Balestrero and Ghersi were one lap behind. Sebastiani qualified in tenth place although he completed only seven laps.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.32Giuseppe CampariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x6122h19m42.4s
2.56Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8122h21m49.4s+ 2m07s
3.50Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x6122h25m17.8s+ 5m35.4s
4.58Achille VarziAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8122h26m35.6s+ 6m53.2s
5.54Luigi FagioliOfficine Alfiero MaseratiMaserati26M2.8S-8122h28m14.6s+ 8m32.2s
6.34Francesco SeveriScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8122h29m36.2s+ 9m53.8s
7.42Umberto Klinger Officine Alfiero MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8112h30m51.8s
8.68Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroBugattiT35C2.0S-8112h32m03.0s
9.36Pietro GhersiP. GhersiBugattiT35B2.3S-8112h39m47.0s
10.64Guido SebastianiG. SebastianiMaserati261.5S-87flagged off
DNF72Amedeo RuggeriA. RuggeriTalbot7001.5S-86engine or tires or crash
DNF78Clemente BiondettiB. BiondettiBugattiT35C2.0S-84tires
DNF52Ernesto MaseratiOfficine Alfiero MaseratiMaseratiV44.0V-164tires
DNF46Baconin BorzacchiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-82engine
DNF48René DreyfusOfficine Alfiero MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8_0crash or tires
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) on lap 4 in 11m24.4s = 134.1 km/h (83.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 131.4 km/h (81.7 mph)
Weather: sunny and very hot.
In retrospect:
The problem of the day was tires. Maserati and Bugatti encountered tire problems but Alfa Romeo were the only ones to stay out of trouble. Campari, Nuvolari and Chiron had no difficulty regarding tires but Fagioli, Ernesto Maserati and Varzi incurred problems. Dreyfus, Biondetti and Ghersi were less troubled by tire mishaps. All cars ran Dunlop tires.
      The drivers used various types of tires. The 12-cylinder Alfa Romeos used tires with small rectangular patches on the surface. Varzi used the same style heavier-cased threaded tires. Why did he encounter problems?
      However, both Alfas were the first to encounter tire-disintegration and thread throwing problems during Saturday morning practice but then mysteriously ran problem free during the race. Did Scuderia Ferrari possibly solve the problem before the race? This would explain why the Alfas were immune to the problem and the others were not. Knowing that there was a tire problem, did they drive in the race in such a way as to prevent a recurrence, i.e not all out on the very fast parts of the circuit? Corrado Filippini wrote that Campari's 12-cylinder monoposto Alfa was faster along the winding hilly section to Cappelle than the quickest Bugatti and Maserati, however a bit slower on the long straights. Probably Campari was taking it relatively easy on the fast straights in an attempt to preserve his tires.
      Maserati mounted Fagioli's car with front tires with a smooth surface because they were lighter and in theory had to be more robust but this was not the case. The Maseratis encountered repeated thread throwing problems, which apparently affected all their cars.
      An explanation of these contradictions pointed to the possibility of incorrect tire pressure. The high road temperatures affected all tires. But the general opinion concluded that the tire load had increased due to greater engine power and higher speed of racecars compared to 1930 but that the quality of the tires had not.

      The Italian Championship after the Coppa Acerbo showed the driver standings of Nuvolari, Campari and Varzi each with two points while Ernesto Maserati had one point. On the manufacturer's side, Alfa Romeo had four points and Maserati three.

      The 15 car starting grid was assembled with the help of two photographs. The race numbers were published in IL LITTORIALE, together with the listing of drivers and cars, plus the arrangement in numerical order.

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
Motor Sport, London
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
Bernhard Völker


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© 2015 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 09.04.2016