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IV GRAN PREMIO DI MONZA

Autodromo di Monza (I) - C-circuit, 6 September 1931.
Voiturette: 20 laps x 6.861 km (4.263 mi) = 137.22 km (85.27 mi)
3 heats of 14 laps x 6.861 km (4.263 mi) = 96.05 km (59.69 mi)
Repechage: 14 laps x 6.861 km (4.263 mi) = 96.05 km (59.69 mi)
Final: 35 laps x 6.861 km (4.263 mi) = 240.14 km (149.21 mi)


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Class up to 1100cc
2Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcarMCO1.1S-6
4Albino PratesiA. PratesiSalmson1.1S-4
6Engelbert Graf ArcoE. Graf Arco-ZinnebergAmilcar1.1S-6
8Aldo GerardiA. GerardiAmilcar1.1
10Louis DecaroliL. DecaroliSalmson1.1S-4
12Roger BouclyR. BouclySalmson1.1S-4
14Filippo ArdizzoneF. ArdizzoneMaserati26C1.1S-8DNA - did not appear
16Gigi PremoliL. PremoliSalmson1.1S-4
18Luigi PlatèL. PlatèB.N.C.-Ruby5271.1S-4
20Emile DourelE. DourelAmilcarCO1.1S-6
22XXMaserati26C1.1S-8DNA - did not appear
24Giulio AyminiG. AyminiMonaco1.1DNA - did not appear
26Gerhard MacherG. MacherDKWRWD1.0S-4
28Victor MarretV. MarretSalmson1.1
30P. ChevallierP. ChevallierAmilcar1.1
32Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloTalbot-Special7001.1S-6
34XXXDNA - did not appear
36Spartaco PaschettaS. PaschettaAmilcar1.1
38Umberto KlingerOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CTR1.1S-4
40Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousCabanSpecial1.1S-4
 
Class up to 2000cc
2XXXDNA - did not appear
4Stanislas CzaykowskiS. CzaykowskiBugattiT35C2.0S-8
6Pierre ReyP. ReyBugattiT352.0S-8
8Carlo PedrazziniC. PedrazziniMaserati26B2.0S-8
10Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroBugattiT352.0S-8
12Frederic ToselliF. ToselliBugattiT352.0S-8
14Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousBugattiT352.0S-8DNS - started in 1100 cc class
16Amedeo RuggeriOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26B2.0S-8
18XXXDNA - did not appear
20Giuseppe MorandiG. MorandiBugattiT352.0S-8
22Carlo Di VecchioScuderia MaterassiTalbot7001.5S-8DNA - did not appear
24Francesco PirolaF. PirolaAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.8S-6
26Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiT352.0S-8
28Clemente BiondettiC. BiondettiBugattiT35C2.0S-8
30XXXDNA - did not appear
32XXXDNA - did not appear
34Mlle. Helle-NiceHelle-NiceBugattiT35C2.0S-8
36Vittorio CobianchiV. CobianchiAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.8S-6
38Sergio RuscaS. RuscaBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
40Gerolamo AntonaciG. AntonaciBugattiT352.0S-8
42Guglielmo PeriG. PeriBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
44Carlo GazzanigaC. CazzanigaAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.8S-6
46Giovanni "Nini" JonochG. JonochAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.8S-6
48XXXDNA - did not appear
50XXXDNA - did not appear
52Emilio EminenteE. EminenteBugattiT352.0S-8
 
Class up to 3000cc
54Ferdinando MinoiaSA Alfa RomeoAlfa Romeo8C-2300 spider2.3S-8
56Mario DafarraM. DafarraBugattiT35B2.3S-8
58Baconin BorzacchiniSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
60Amedeo RuggeriOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8DNS - started in 2000 cc class
62René DreyfusOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati8C-28002.8S-8
64XXXDNA - did not appear
66Luigi FagioliOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati8C-28002.8S-8
68Pietro GhersiP. GhersiBugattiT35B2.3S-8
70Giovanni MinozziSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
72Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8
74Domenico Rosso di CeramiPrincipe D. CeramiMaserati26M2.5S-8
76Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
78Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati26M2.5S-8
80Emilio GolaE. GolaBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
 
Class over 3000cc
82Achille VarziAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT545.0S-8
84XXXDNA - did not appear
86Ernesto MaseratiOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaseratiV44.02x8
88Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT545.0S-8
90Giuseppe CampariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x6
92Tazio NuvolariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x6


Fagioli wins for Maserati at Monza

by Hans Etzrodt
The Monza Grand Prix was the second to last big international event of the 1931 season with the top European drivers present. It was a battle between Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Bugatti, also called "the battle of the giants" because some of the participating cars had unusually large capacity engines. The series of short races began with a 137 km curtain-raiser for 16 voiturettes. Scaron (Amilcar) won ahead of Premoli (Salmson) and Arco-Zinneberg (Amilcar), followed by seven other 1100 cc cars. Heat 1 for 2000 cc cars was won by Ruggeri (Maserati) ahead of Biondetti and Czaykowski in Bugattis, then Pedrazzini (Maserati) fourth and another seven finishers. The 3000 cc heat was won by Fagioli (Maserati), leading his teammate Dreyfus and Minoia (Alfa Romeo) in third place, ahead of Lehoux and Ghersi in Bugattis, followed by five more finishers. Heat 3 for unlimited cars - the giants - proved to be an exciting event between the 5-liter Bugattis of Varzi and Chiron against the twin-engined 2 x 6-cylinder Alfa Romeo monoposti of Campari and Nuvolari plus the 16-cylinder Maserati of Ernesto Maserati. At the end the new Bugattis were leading the Alfa Romeos with the Maserati last. The repêchage had just four starters and was marred by a sad accident when Etancelin's car skidded into a group of spectators illegally standing near the track at Lesmo corner. Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo) won with Ghersi (Bugatti) second and Minozzi (Alfa Romeo) third.
      Only nine drivers started in the final race, the Monza Grand Prix, which was initially led by Fagioli (Maserati) ahead of Chiron (Bugatti), Dreyfus (Maserati), Nuvolari and Minoia in Alfa Romeos. When Nuvolari retired, the front group consisted of Fagioli, Varzi and Chiron. Then Varzi had to deal with two burst tires. When Fagioli also stopped for tires, Dreyfus was leading for a short while until he had to retire. This placed Fagioli back into the lead to finish first ahead of Borzacchini and Varzi, Minoia/Nuvolari followed next ahead of Minozzi, Lehoux and Chiron.
At their December 1930 meeting the Commissione Sportiva des RACI (Reale Automobile Club d'Italia) set the fourth Monza Grand Prix date for 12. July 1931. In March of 1931 the RACI changed the date of the Italian Grand Prix from September 6 to May 21 and also moved the Gran Premio di Monza (Monza Grand Prix) to the now vacated 6th September. On the same date the Gran Premio vettutette (Voiturette Grand Prix) was also to take place. The Monza Grand Prix was again held as an international event for racecars without weight or engine capacity restrictions. The Commissione Sportiva des RACI and the Società Autodromo di Monza carried out the organization under the supervision of Vincenzo Florio, the president of the RACI sporting commission and the Racing Director, Renzo Castagneto. The agenda was maintained from the year before and was to begin with the Voiturette Grand Prix for cars up to 1,100 cc which had to complete 20 laps or 137.22 km. The following heats were divided by engine capacity into three races up to 2,000 cc, up to 3,000 cc and over 3,000 cc, then a repêchage race and the final, all on the same 6.861 km Florio circuit, which was also used in 1930. It comprised the greater part of the 5.5 km asphalt circuit, connected at the back stretch via two sharp turns, left and right, with the second part of the high-speed oval track. The various groups of the eliminating races all had to cover 14 laps, 96.054 km, except the Final which was over 35 laps or 240.135 km.
      The prize fund of the Monza Grand Prix was very good; 55,000 lire were assigned for the voiturette race, of which the winner was to receive 25,000 lire. Each of the three heat races was earmarked with 43,000 lire, of which the winner received 15,000, the second 10,000 and the third 8,000 lire. The winner of the final received 50,000 lire, second 20,000, third 15,000, fourth 10,000 and fifth 5,000 lire. The total prize money amounted to 284,000 lire.
      Of great interest was the outcome of the Italian Automobile Championship, which definitely would be decided with the race at Monza. Nuvolari, Varzi and Campari faced each other with the same point score. While these three drivers were leading the championship each with two points, Ernesto Maserati followed in fourth position with just one.
Entries:
The spectators were looking forward with great interest to the Monza Grand Prix race because it promised to be a decisive battle between Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati, especially as each company was to arrive with new cars. The Alfa Romeo factory entered five works cars, the twin 6-cylinder 3.5-liter tipo A monoposti for Campari and Nuvolari while Minoia, Borzacchini and Minozzi were driving 8-cylinder 2.3-liter Monza models. Maserati works arrived with the already proven 2800 cc 26M to be driven again by Fagioli and for the first time there was a second 2800 cc 26M for Dreyfus. Ernesto Maserati was assigned the very fast V4 type, with a 4000 cc 16-cylinder engine. Ruggeri was first entered with a 2500 cc 26M but instead drove a 2000 cc 26B with which he would have a chance to gain a class victory. Klinger received works support for the new 4-cylinder 1100 cc 4CTR Maserati, which started here for the first time. The Bugatti factory arrived with two brand new large cars, the 5-liter s/c 8-cylinder T54's for Varzi and Chiron, which the factory had assembled within the last two weeks from various parts of other Bugatti models and were racing here for the first time. Altogether there were 66 numbered entries, which are listed at the beginning of this report.
Practice:
As early as Tuesday, Campari and Nuvolari circled around the track in the double-six-cylinder monopostos and Minoia with the 8-cylinder Monza, completing numerous laps with assistance from factory technicians and mechanics. Campari registered laps of 2m32s and 2m31s, comparable with Arcangeli's 1930 existing lap record of 2m29.6s in the Maserati. The works Maserati also arrived with the 2500 and the 16-cylinder car for a test. Ernesto Maserati, Dreyfus and Ruggeri drove many laps. Minozzi (Alfa), Cobianchi (Alfa), Gerardi (Amilcar) and Etancelin (Alfa) also turned laps.
      On Wednesday Alfa Romeo and Maserati intensified their practice preparations. Nuvolari, Campari and Borzacchini alternated in driving with the tipo A monoposto. Minoia, Minozzi and Borzacchini practiced with the 8-cylinder car. The Alfa Romeo Company's managing director Gianferrari, his great designer Vittorio Jano and team manager Aldo Giovannini supervised the proceedings. Ernesto Maserati with the 16-cylinder car, also Fagioli, Ruggeri and Dreyfus in the 2500 Maserati completed numerous laps. For Thursday practice the Maseratis of the Italo-Swiss Pedrazzini and that of Prince Cerami were expected.
      On Thursday Campari and Nuvolari again practiced with the tipo A monoposto, in which Campari registered a time of 2m32s an average speed of about 163 km/h. Borzacchini and Minoia drove with great regularity; both had turned numerous laps around 2m36s at an average speed of 158 km/h. In Etancelin, Alfa Romeo had another good independent support in a 2300 Monza. Ernesto Maserati lapped with the 16-cylinder at an average of 156 km/h while Dreyfus and Ruggeri practiced alternately with their 2500 type. Pedrazzini, Count Castelbarco and Prince Cerami drove numerous practice laps with their Maseratis. Ghersi and Lehoux arrived with their 2300 Bugattis and completed some laps. A squadron of voiturette drivers, like Scaron, the German Count Arco, Dourel, Premoli, Marret, Decaroli and Boucly practiced with their small cars.
      On Friday the 5-liter Bugattis finally arrived with Varzi and Chiron on the track, with good practice times. In fact one timekeeper clocked Varzi at 2m31s identical to what Nuvolari had done the other day.
Categoria veturette:
The weather was beautiful, warm with a blue sky. An immense crowd, estimated at 100,000, dispersed around the race course a long time before the actual race started. The first event to warm up the crowd was the Grand Prix for the voiturettes, where 16 cars lined up in four rows.
Pole Position
2
Scaron

Amilcar

4
Pratesi

Salmson

6
Arco

Amilcar

8
Gerardi

Amilcar

10
Decaroli

Salmson

12
Boucly

Salmson

16
Premoli

Salmson

18
Platè

BNC

20
Dourel

Amilcar

26
Macher

DKW

28
Marret

Salmson

30
Chevallier

Amilcar

32
Matrullo

Talbot

36
Paschetta

Amilcar

38
Klinger

Maserati

40
Giraud-Cabantous

Caban

When the flag fell at 10:00 AM, the 16 cars shot away with wild thunder with Scaron's blue Amilcar in front. After the first lap he had already established a clear lead. Scaron completed the second lap in 2m58.8s at 138.14 km/h, which was to remain the fastest lap of this race. Behind the Belgian driver the Italian Premoli followed in a Salmson but he was not fast enough to keep up with the leader. Premoli and Cabantous crossed the line in a dead heat at the end of lap five while Klinger was only a couple of seconds behind. Boucly and Dourel were only a second apart. It looked as if it was an exciting race. After 5 laps the leader's average speed was 135.981 km/h.
1.Scaron (Amilcar)15m08.2s
2.Decaroli (Salmson)15m52.0s
3.Arco (Amilcar)15m57.0s
4.Premoli (Salmson)16m10.0s
5.Cabantous (Caban)16m10.0s
6.Klinger (Maserati)16m12.0s
7.Boucly (Salmson)16m57.0s
8.Dourel (Amilcar)16m58.0s

After a few laps the Belgian had lapped already some drivers and kept the lead uncontested. After 18 laps Cabantous had dropped away from Premoli, as had Klinger from Cabantous and the order was:
1.Scaron (Amilcar)45m17.0s
2.Arco (Amilcar)47m19.0s
3. Premoli (Salmson)47m28.0s
4.Cabantous (Caban)47m48.0s
5.Klinger (Maserati)48m35.0s

These first five were followed by Dourel, Platè, Pratesi, Boucly and Macher while the others had retired. After a good race Count Arco-Zinneberg with his Amilcar lost his second position to Premoli's final spurt on the last lap. During the last two laps Premoli not only eliminated his nine second deficit to Arco, but he overtook him and pulled away to a 21 second advantage in second place, a gain of 30 seconds in just two laps. Count Arco probably ran into some sort of trouble. Scaron completed the 20 laps at an average speed of 135.436 km/h.



Results (Voiturette)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Josè ScaronJ. ScaronAmilcarMCO1.1S-6201h00m47.4s
2.16Gigi PremoliL. PremoliSalmson1.1S-4201h03m06.4s+ 2m19.0s
3.6Engelbert Graf ArcoE. Graf Arco-ZinnebergAmilcar1.1S-6201h03m27.0s+ 2m39.6s
4.40Yves Giraud-CabantousY. Giraud-CabantousCabanSpecial1.1S-4201h04m18.4s+ 3m31.0s
5.38Umberto KlingerOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati4CTR1.1S-4201h05m04.4s+ 4m17.0s
6.20Emile DourelE. DourelAmilcarCO1.1S-6201h06m25.4s+ 5m38.0s
7.18Luigi PlatèL. PlatèB.N.C.-Ruby5271.1S-4201h07m47.4s+ 7m00.0s
8.4Albino PratesiA. PratesiSalmson1.1S-4201h08m48.6s+ 8m01.2s
9.12Roger BouclyR. BouclySalmson1.1S-4201h13m38.6s+12m51.2s
10.26Gerhard MacherG. MacherDKWRWD1.0S-4201h15m42.4s+ 14m55.0s
DNF28Victor MarretV. MarretSalmson1.1857m46.0s
DNF8Aldo GerardiA. GerardiAmilcar1.1830m08.8s
DNF10Louis DecaroliL. DecaroliSalmson1.1S-4825m40.4s
DNF36Spartaco PaschettaS. PaschettaAmilcar1.1535m36.4s
DNF32Francesco MatrulloF. MatrulloTalbot-Special7001.1S-6413m24.8s
DNF30P. ChevallierP. ChevallierAmilcar1.11
Fastest lap: Josè Scaron (Amilcar) on lap 2 in 2m58.8s = 138.1 km/h (85.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 135.4 km/h (84.2 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm.


Heat 1 (class up to 2000 cc):
The voiturettes race had fired up the spectators into the right racing mood. 26 entries were received for the 1100-2000 cc class but only 16 lined up on the grid for the 11.30 start as described by IL LITTORIALE.
Pole Position
4
Czaykowski

Bugatti

6
Rey

Bugatti

8
Pedrazzini

Maserati

10
Balestrero

Bugatti

12
Toselli

Bugatti

16
Ruggeri

Maserati

20
Morandi

Bugatti

24
Pirola

Alfa Romeo

26
Romano

Bugatti

28
Biondetti

Bugatti

34
"Helle-Nice"

Bugatti

36
Cobianchi

Alfa Romeo

40
Antonaci

Bugatti

44
Cazzaniga

Alfa Romeo

46
Jonoch

Alfa Romeo

52
Eminente

Bugatti

Ruggeri went into the lead with his official Maserati. Czaykowski and Biondetti followed closely for many laps. The Swiss Pedrazzini held fourth place, which he maintained till the finish. When Czaykowski fell back, Biondetti took second place with his red Bugatti and also set fastest lap. Toselli (Bugatti) and Pirola (Alfa Romeo) hit the edge of the road and crashed, where Pirola was slightly injured. Behind Ruggeri, Biondetti finished second ahead of Czaykowski and Pedrazzini who were followed by seven cars, while another five had retired. The first four finishers thus qualified for the Final, while the fifth up to eighth could still take part in the repêchage.



Results (Heat 1)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.16Amedeo RuggeriOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati26B2.0S-81438m48.6s
2.28Clemente BiondettiC. BiondettiBugattiT35C2.0S-81439m25.8s+ 37.2s
3.4Stanislas CzaykowskiS. CzaykowskiBugattiT35C2.0S-81439m42.2s+ 53.6s
4.8Carlo PedrazziniC. PedrazziniMaserati26B2.0S-81439m56.8s+ 1m08.2s
5.20Giuseppe MorandiG. MorandiBugattiT352.0S-81440m18.2s+ 1m29.6s
6.10Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroBugattiT352.0S-81440m54.2s+ 2m05.6s
7.26Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiT352.0S-81440m56.2s+ 2m07.6s
8.40Gerolamo AntonaciG. AntonaciBugattiT352.0S-81441m28.2s+ 2m39.6s
9.34Mlle. Hellé-NiceHellé-NiceBugattiT35C2.0S-81442m47.4s+ 3m58.8s
10.52Emilio EminenteE. EminenteBugattiT352.0S-81443m59.4s +5m10.8s
11.44Carlo CazzanigaC. CazzanigaAlfa Romeo6C-1750-GS1.8S-61444m10.6s+ 5m22.0s
DNF46Giovanni "Nini" JonochG. JonochAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.8S-61236m59.2s
DNF36Vittorio CobianchiV. CobianchiAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.8S-6423m31.4s
DNF24Francesco PirolaF. PirolaAlfa Romeo6C-1750 GS1.5S-63 9m12.8scrashed
DNF12Frederic ToselliF. ToselliBugattiT352.0S-82 8m24.2scrashed
DNF6Pierre ReyP. ReyBugattiT352.0S-82 6m35.0s
Fastest lap: Clemente Biondetti (Bugatti) in 2m43.0s = 151.5 km/h (94.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 148.5 km/h (92.3 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm.


Heat 2 (class up to 3000 cc):
By now it was past noon and the drivers of the 2000 - 3000 cc class got ready for heat 2. The spectators had a greater interest for this race because the official teams from Maserati and Alfa Romeo had their first clash. Minoia'a Alfa was a 8C-2300 spider with bucket seats, no tail. Dafarra drove the ex-Nuvolari Bugatti. A total of 11 cars lined up in numerical order as described by IL LITTORIALE.
Pole Position
54
Minoia

Alfa Romeo

56
Dafarra

Bugatti

58
Borzacchini

Alfa Romeo

62
Dreyfus

Maserati

66
Fagioli

Maserati

68
Ghersi

Bugatti

70
Minozzi

Alfa Romeo

72
Lehoux

Bugatti

74
Cerami

Maserati

76
Etancelin

Alfa Romeo

78
Castelbarco

Maserati

At the 12:30 PM start, Fagioli went into the lead closely followed by Dreyfus, Minoia, Lehoux and Ghersi. Etancelin did not have a good start from the rear. The third placed European Champion Minoia with his Alfa Romeo could not keep up with the Maseratis and neither could Lehoux, the victor from Geneva, in another Alfa. On lap five Dreyfus took the lead from Fagioli and both had a tussle until lap seven when the Italian regained first place. After ten laps or 68.61 km the order was as follows:
1.Fagioli (Maserati)26m24.4s
2.Dreyfus (Maserati)26m25.4s
3.Minoia (Alfa Romeo)27m28.4s
4.Lehoux (Bugatti)27m33.0s
5.Ghersi (Bugatti)27m39.0s
6.Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)28m07.0s
7.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)28m12.0s
8.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)28m29.0s

The first eight were followed by Cerami (Maserati), Castelbarco (Maserati) and Dafarra (Bugatti). The latter retired on the eleventh lap. Dreyfus was stationed right behind Fagioli for four laps before passing him on lap 11. But on lap 12 the Italian was again in the lead, which he kept until the end. The two official Maseratis finished one, two crossing the line less than a second apart and had lapped the two older independent Maseratis. There was a photo finish between Minozzi and Etancelin for 6th and 7th places, just a fifth of a second between them. It was a really exciting race for the spectators.



Results (Heat 2)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.66Luigi FagioliOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati8C-28002.8S-81436m56.8s
2.62René DreyfusOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati8C-28002.8S-81436m57.6s+ 0.8s
3.54Ferdinando MinoiaSA Alfa RomeoAlfa Romeo8C-2300 spider2.3S-81438m19.2s+ 1m22.4s
4.72Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-81438m21.8s+ 1m25.0s
5.68Pietro GhersiP. GhersiBugattiT35B2.3S-81438m29.2s+ 1m32.4s
6.70Giovanni MinozziSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81439m01.2s+ 2m04.4s
7.76Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81439m01.4s+ 2m04.6s
8.58Baconin BorzacchiniSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81439m29.6s+ 2m32.8s
9.78Luigi CastelbarcoL. CastelbarcoMaserati26M2.5S-81440m09.4s+ 3m12.6s
10.74Domenico Rosso di CeramiPrincipe D. CeramiMaserati26M2.5S-81440m12.0s+ 3m15.2s
DNF56Mario DafarraM. DafarraBugattiT35B2.3S-810
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus (Maserati) on lap 14 in 2m32.6s = 161.9 km/h (100.6 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 156.0 km/h (96.9 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm.


Heat 3 (class over 3000 cc):
The heat three race was anticipated with the greatest interest since this was a race between the very latest and biggest racecars with unusually large capacity engines, all driven by famous top drivers. For this reason the race was also called "the battle of the giants". So, excitement was great amongst the tens of thousands of spectators. Instead of the expected 16-cylinder T45 Bugattis, Varzi and Chiron started with the 8-cylinder 4900 cc T54 cars, which were brand new, delivering 300 hp to give the car a top speed of 240 km/h. Nuvolari and Campari drove the tipo A twin 6-cylinder Alfa monoposti, which with 240 hp could reach a speed of 240 km/h. Ernesto Maserati climbed into his 16-cylinder 240 hp Maserati, in which he had won at Rome. It was capable of 255 km/h top speed and was the holder of the 10-kilometer record. The five cars lined up in one row.
Pole Position
82
Varzi

Bugatti

86
E. Maserati

Maserati

88
Chiron

Bugatti

90
Campari

Alfa Romeo

92
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

At the 2:00 PM start Chiron and Nuvolari took an immediate lead followed by Varzi, Maserati and Campari. At the end of the first lap Varzi was in front with Chiron and Nuvolari behind him followed by Campari and Maserati. While Varzi maintained his tremendously quick pace, Nuvolari had increased his speed. He passed Chiron on lap two and moved constantly closer to the leader in the blue Bugatti. Campari followed in fourth place and Ernesto Maserati remained in fifth position, his heavy car was not in its element. Varzi was aware of the danger looming from behind and pushed his Bugatti a step quicker on the straights. But Nuvolari drove his Alfa faster through the bends, where he gained more time. With a lap of 2m31.6s he had caught up with Varzi on lap eight. By lap nine Nuvolari was in first place but not for long since his right front tire had thrown a thread. The resultant quick change of one wheel took only 14 seconds but he suffered a total loss of 40 seconds. Varzi was now back in first place, maintaining his same speed as before. Chiron had overhauled Campari and held second place. Nuvolari was still able to save third spot while followed by Campari who did not appear to be in top form. Maserati who had started with great expectations finished in fifth place. Bugatti's great victory with their brand new car was remarkable.



Results (Heat 3)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.82Achille VarziAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT545.0S-81436m21.0s
2.88Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT545.0S-81436m48.0s+ 27.0s
3.92Tazio NuvolariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x61437m07.8s+ 46.8s
4.90Giuseppe CampariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x61437m22.6s+ 1m01.6s
5.86Ernesto MaseratiOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaseratiV44.02x81438m27.4s+ 2m06.4s
Fastest lap: Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) in 2m31.6s = 162.9 km/h (101.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 158.5 km/h (98.5 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm.


Repêchage:
The repêchage gave those drivers a second chance after they had recovered from their problems experienced in one of the prior heat races. Only the fifth to eighth positions in each heat were allowed to participate in the repêchage. Only the first three finishers from the repêchage could advance to the final together with the first four finishers of each preceding heat race, comprising the 15 best drivers. The repêchage remained a very relaxed matter, with little interest to the spectators. Only four drivers, all from the 3-liter category, decided to take part and lined up not in numerical order as described by IL LITTORIALE.
Pole Position
58
Borzacchini

Alfa Romeo

70
Minozzi

Alfa Romeo

76
Etancelin

Alfa Romeo

68
Ghersi

Bugatti

At the scheduled 3:00 PM start, the three Italian drivers got away about a second before the fall of the starter's flag without being penalized. Etancelin did not get away until well after the others who had stolen an advantage of about 50 meters. On the third lap while Ghersi held first position, Borzacchini passed Minozzi for second place. On lap five Borzacchini overhauled the leading Ghersi. In the meantime Etancelin had pursued Minozzi and on lap eight caught up with him, starting a fierce two lap battle for the important third place. At 15:55 PM, as he entered Lesmo corner on lap ten, Etancelin attempted to pass Minozzi. However, the Frenchman's Alfa carried too much speed, skidded off the track, hit the embankment and jumped onto the grass where numerous spectators were standing illegally. Two people were killed and 14 injured. Etancelin, who was totally devastated, escaped with a slight leg injury. Motor Sport reported that he returned to the pits to exonerate Minozzi from all blame.
      In the meantime the race proceeded and was not stopped despite the catastrophe, although the accident had left a general depression amongst the spectators. In fact on the tenth lap Ghersi passed the leading Borzacchini and both drivers completed the lap at an average speed of 156 km/h. Three laps later Borzacchini recaptured first position and held it till the finish. The organizers were not accountable for the accident since the affected spectators had moved too close to the track into a restricted area and had fallen victims of their own irresponsible imprudence. With the elimination of Etancelin, the three other drivers qualified for the Final.



Results (Repêchage)

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.58Baconin BorzacchiniSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81437m47.8s
2.68Pietro GhersiP. GhersiBugatti T35B2.3S-81437m56.0s+ 8.2s
3. 70Giovanni MinozziSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81437m57.2s+ 9.4s
4.76Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-89crash
Fastest lap: Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo) & Ghersi (Bugatti) in 2m38.4s = 155.9 km/h (96.9 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 152.5 km/h (94.7 mph)
Weather: sunny, warm.


Final:
The first four from each of the preceding heats were eligible for the final race, including the first three from the repêchage. The spectators were in a mood of anticipation for the final 35-lap race over 240.135 km. It was supposed to start at 4:00 PM but was delayed until 5:00 PM due to the serious accident at Lesmo.
      The drivers from the 2000 cc category realized that they had no chance of winning, so Ruggeri, Biondetti, Czaykowski, and Pedrazzini opted not to start, as did Ghersi from the 3000cc heat. Campari had damaged the shift linkage of one of his monoposto's gearboxes in heat 3 and it could not be repaired in time for the final. This left just nine drivers to line up on the grid, instead of the fifteen allowed by the rules. IL LITTORIALE gave a description of the grid lineup.
Pole Position
54
Minoia

Alfa Romeo

58
Borzacchini

Alfa Romeo

62
Dreyfus

Maserati

66
Fagioli

Maserati

70
Minozzi

Alfa Romeo

72
Lehoux

Bugatti

82
Varzi

Bugatti

88
Chiron

Bugatti

92
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

At the start Fagioli was leading the pack while Nuvolari had a slight delay. After the first lap, Fagioli still had the lead ahead of Chiron, Dreyfus, Varzi, Minoia, Nuvolari, Minozzi, Borzacchini and Lehoux. On the second lap Varzi went past Dreyfus and Chiron while Nuvolari put on some speed. On lap three Nuvolari passed Chiron and chased after Varzi, who tried hard to press Fagioli but his attempt did not bring the expected success. Nuvolari's fifth lap was a very fast one at 2m30.2s, which helped him because after six laps the Mantuan had caught up with Varzi's Bugatti. On lap seven Nuvolari stopped at his pits to have the engines checked over. Luck was not with him because on lap nine Nuvolari headed for the pits once more to retire the Alfa with a broken piston. On the tenth lap Varzi drove a quick lap of 2m30.0s at 164.664 km/h, which was the fastest lap of the race but not as fast as the 1930 record of 2m29.6s set by Arcangeli (Maserati). Dreyfus was only a couple of seconds behind Chiron. After ten laps or 68.61 km the order was as follows:
1.Fagioli (Maserati)25m58.6s
2.Varzi (Bugatti)26m??.?s
3.Chiron (Bugatti)26m20.0s
4.Dreyfus (Maserati)26m22.0s
5.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)27m07.0s
6.Minoia (Alfa Romeo)27m24.0s
7.Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)27m30.0s
8.Lehoux (Bugatti)27m47.0s

After 12 laps Varzi was only a few feet behind Fagioli's Maserati, while Dreyfus was closing in on Chiron in third place. At the end of lap 13 Fagioli passed the grandstands again, but alone, then finally a slow driving Varzi with one tire completely off the rim. His pit stop for a new tire did not take long. During his battle with Dreyfus, Chiron lost his front brakes at the high speed right-hand Curva Grande when a lump of rubber flew off the front tire and cut through the brake cable. He made the turn, but only just. Chiron had a long pit stop. Since replacing the brake cable would take too long, it was decided that Chiron join the race without brakes. Both Maserati drivers were now comfortably in front and their fast speed gave the impression of a possible victory. The order after 15 laps was:
1.Fagioli (Maserati)38m51.0s
2.Dreyfus (Maserati)39m17.0s
3.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)40m27.0s
4.Varzi (Bugatti)40m47.0s
5.Minoia (Alfa Romeo)40m56.0s
6.Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)41m06.0s
7.Lehoux (Bugatti)41m56.0s
8.Chiron (Bugatti)?

Nuvolari signaled from the pit area with a large round red disc for Minoia to stop, so he could take over his car. On lap 17 the European Champion stopped and had to hand over his car to Nuvolari. This attitude towards Minoia was certainly no special compliment. Around this time, Fagioli had to stop with a burst tire, which for two laps handed the lead to Dreyfus, until the Frenchman also had to stop to replace spark plugs on his Maserati. Due to their pit stops, Fagioli's and Dreyfus' advantage towards the following cars had disappeared so that a renewed battle for the lead developed.
      After 20 laps the Maseratis were still holding the lead ahead of Varzi and Borzacchini. Varzi was hounding Dreyfus but due to another puncture the Italian had to pit once more and dropped to fourth place. He lost much time, so that the fast Borzacchini was able to get past Varzi into second place behind Fagioli. By this time Dreyfus had retired with a burned piston. Varzi gained third place but was unable to catch the consistent Borzacchini, who was the only driver to go through the race without stopping. Nuvolari was able to hold fourth place until the end when Fagioli finished the Grand Prix of Monza as celebrated victor. Three minutes after Fagioli had passed the finish, the enthusiastic large crowd invaded the circuit. Officials ran down the race track, waving yellow flags to stop the remaining oncoming cars.
     

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.66Luigi FagioliOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati8C-28002.8S-8351h32m39.4s
2.58Baconin BorzacchiniSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8351h33m54.6s+ 1m15.2s
3.82Achille VarziAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT545.0S-8351h34m19.6s+ 1m40.2s
4.54F. Minoia/T. NuvolariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa Romeo8C-2300 spider2.3S-8341h37m08.0s
5.70Giovanni MinozziSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8341h37m08.0s
6.44Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8331h34m50.8s
7.88Louis ChironAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT545.0S-8271h36m20.?s
DNF62René DreyfusOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati8C-28002.8S-8261h09m33.8spiston
DNF92Tazio NuvolariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoTipo A3.52x698m42.6spiston
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Bugatti) on lap 10 in 2m30.0s = 164.7 km/h (102.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 155.5 km/h (96.6 mph)
A Weather: sunny, warm.
In retrospect:
Regarding the Monza accident in which Etancelin drove into spectators, the official inquiry into this disaster had been settled before October 30, 1931. The investigation proved that the spectators at the accident scene stayed there at their own volition. The area was separated by means of barbed wire with a sign marked with the wording "Attention, Deadly Danger!" Overly eager and curious spectators had cut the wire with clippers and had settled at the hazardous place despite the posted warning. Although according to Italian law, the involved car can be officially confiscated, after reading the documents the presiding official had personally decided to immediately release the car to its owner Etancelin.
      The Italian Automobil Championship was not yet decided due to the result of Monza which had created a special situation and kept the RACI (Reale Automobile Club d'Italia) busy. After Fagioli's victory, Nuvolari, Campari and Varzi were tied with two points each leading in the final standings, followed by Ernesto Maserati and Fagioli, who each had one point. The first three had equal points, but according to the sporting regulations Nuvolari and Campari had precedence because they each won one of the great races, which were eligible as tie breakers. Nuvolari won the Targa Florio and Campari the Grand Prix of Italy. Accordingly, both had an equal claim to the Italian Championship. However, it is significant that Nuvolari had shared the drive with his teammate Campari, assisted him with the victory at the Grand Prix of Italy. Since the Championship could not be awarded to two drivers, the Italian Sporting Commission had to decide which one would be the Italian Champion. On December 2, the RACI decided at a meeting that Campari had won the Italian Championship because he won the Grand Prix of Italy. In the mark's contest there was another tie, between Alfa Romeo and Maserati, each with four points. It was decided that Alfa Romeo would be the champion for the same reason; they were victorious in the Grand Prix of Italy.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
IL Littoriale, Roma
LA STAMPA, Torino
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
John Humphries




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© 2012 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 6.08.2017