Circuit de Monaco - Monte Carlo (MC), 17 April 1932.
100 laps x 3.180 km (1.976 mi) = 318.0 km (197.6 mi)


2Rudolf CaracciolaR. CaracciolaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
4Earl HoweEarl HoweBugattiT512.3S-8
6Clifton Penn-HughesC. Penn-HughesBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNS - practice crash, injury
8Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliNacional Pescara3.0S-6DNS - broken spring
10Guy BouriatAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
12Louis ChironAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
14Albert DivoAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
14Albert DivoAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT535.0V-16DNS - too difficult to drive
16Achille VarziAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-8
18Stanisłas CzaykowskiS. CzaykowskiBugattiT512.3S-8
20Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-8
22"Williams""W. Williams"BugattiT512.3S-8
24Mario U. BorzacchiniSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
26Giuseppe CampariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2-3S-8
28Tazio NuvolariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
30Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2-3S-8
32Goffredo ZehenderG. ZehenderAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
34René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8C 28002.8S-8
36Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8C 28002.8S-8
38Amedeo RuggeriOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-8

Nuvolari wins the Monaco Grand Prix

by Hans Etzrodt
This was the first time the Alfa Romeo works team started at Monaco, where they faced the teams from Bugatti and Maserati. After the favorite and early leader Chiron had left the field behind at a merciless pace, he made a rare error on lap 30 while lapping back markers, resulting in a serious accident with his Bugatti. Nuvolari then inherited first place, which he kept until the end. When the Bugatti of second placed Varzi dropped out on lap 57, Caracciola was still half a minute behind the leader. From there on the race was between Nuvolari and Caracciola in Alfa Romeos, followed by Fagioli's Maserati. These last 40 laps looked like an exciting battle between the two Alfas since the gap between Nuvolari and Caracciola was diminishing, both lapping the rest of the field at least twice except for Fagioli in third place. Caracciola declined to win when presented with the opportunity near the end and finished 2.8 seconds behind Nuvolari. From the 17 cars at the start only ten finished after 3˝ hours of racing.
On April 14, 1929 racecars had run for the first time through the streets of Monte Carlo. The response had surpassed all expectations and stood unparalleled in automobile sport history. At a single running the race had acquired international fame. In 1932 the event was held for the fourth time and could already be counted among the classic automobile races. The race was open for racecars over 1500 cc engine capacity and the 3.180 km circuit through the streets of Monte Carlo had to be lapped 100 times. The uneven streetcar tracks along the start/finish straight and up the steep incline to the casino were no longer visible and a new layer of tarmac was laid down, which should account for slightly faster lap times.
      The winner of the fourth Grand Prix de Monaco was to receive the valuable, heavy and massive silver cup from the Prince of Monaco plus 100,000 French francs. The second-place finisher would receive 40,000 francs and the third 30,000 francs. The total prize money was 205,000 French francs. Additionally there were special prizes for fastest laps, for leading after every ten laps, and for establishing a new overall lap record. Further, there were valuable prizes, amongst them the Coupe Paloma for the most successful private driver.
As in previous years, the entry list was by invitation only. By limiting the entry to 19 first-class international drivers -27 names were on the 1931 list- the Monaco race attained the status of a special elite event. Six weeks before the race the organizer had published the entry list of the 19 competitors. The factory of Automobiles Ettore Bugatti from Molsheim, France, arrived with four of last year's 2.3-liter cars and one 5-liter four-wheel-drive machine for Louis Chiron, Achille Varzi, Albert Divo and Guy Bouriat. The 5-liter Type 53 was a brand new design, making its first race appearance at Monaco. This decision was influenced by its Italian design engineer Antonio Pichetto, who persuaded Ettore Bugatti that the twisty Monte Carlo course would be a good place to test the car since the Type 54 with the same 5-liter engine was known to be unreliable, especially its brakes.
      Societá Anonima Alfa Romeo, located in Portello, Italy, entered the Monaco race for the first time. Their team manager Aldo Giovannini sent three specially prepared red 2.3-liter Alfa Romeo Monzas into battle for Tazio Nuvolari, Giuseppe Campari and Mario Umberto Borzacchini. There was a fourth car, a white Alfa Romeo Monza for the German Rudolf Caracciola, who was not yet part of the official factory team. Nevertheless, Caracciola had a contract to drive for Alfa Romeo in 1932, after Daimler-Benz had withdrawn from racing at the end of 1931. However, no love was lost between Nuvolari, Campari and Borzacchini, the closely-knit Italian drivers, and their new teammate from Germany. Legend has it that the three Italians had a brotherly agreement, pooling their start and prize money and then dividing it in three equal parts amongst themselves. They did not think that Caracciola would be fast enough in the light Alfa Romeo, which was new to him. Therefore the German was not part of the Alfa Romeo factory team and drove as an independent. However, the week before the Monaco Grand Prix Caracciola had raced in the Mille Miglia with a red painted factory Alfa Romeo because of insufficient time to paint his car white. While in the lead only 50 km before the finish at Brescia, Caracciola had to retire with a broken valve spring. His outstanding performance in this long race probably gained him already some respect from the three skeptical factory drivers.
      The third works team came from Officine A. Maserati in Bologna, Italy. As a result of the recent death of their popular leader Alfieri Maserati, his brother Ernesto had taken over the direction of the factory. He entered Luigi Fagioli, René Dreyfus and Amedeo Ruggeri in their two 8C 2800 cars, which were already raced the previous year at other circuits, plus an old 26M, an 8-cylinder 2.5-liter machine. AUTOMOBIL-REVUE reported that the wheelbase of the Maseratis was specially reduced by 12 cm for the race in Monte Carlo.
      Independent entries came from Philippe Etancelin and Goffredo Zehender with Alfa Romeo 2.3-liter Monzas. Three Englishmen, Clifton Penn-Hughes, "Williams" and Earl Howe entered their Bugattis, as did Marcel Lehoux and Count Stanislas Czaykowski. The Chilean Juan Zanelli, winner of the 1931 European Mountain Championship, appeared with a 3-liter Nacional Pescara, a car of Spanish origin.
      A special attraction was the presence of the famous British world record driver Sir Malcolm Campbell, who would drive the opening lap. A very early entry list by AUTOMOBIL-REVUE had shown two additional drivers, which were not part of the final 19. One was the Italian Pietro Ghersi to be entered by the Scuderia Ferrari in one of their Alfa Romeo Monzas but neither the car or its driver appeared . Likewise, the German Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen had intended to start with his 5-liter Bugatti T54, but since he had returned it to Molsheim following its disappointing performance in the Tunis Grand Prix, he was without a car for Monaco. After the Monaco race the German would be given Varzi's Bugatti painted white and ready for him to race the following week in Rome.
This year for the first time practice was officially timed and the best times of each driver were announced. The record for the 3.18 km long circuit was established in 1930 by Dreyfus at 2m07s, at an average speed of 90.14 km/h. Chiron, Fagioli and Varzi achieved the same time in 1931 but failed to break the record. The first day of practice was on Thursday for just one hour. Before sunrise and ahead of the six o'clock start, the town was already experiencing the noisy and busy activity of spectators, police, officials and photographers. Heavy traffic from out of town cars blocked the side streets.
      Exactly at six in the morning the engines started thundering. Accentuated by the siren-like wail of their superchargers, they sent their morning song across Monaco Bay and up the rocky cliffs of Monte Carlo. The main interest centered around last year's winner Chiron. Caracciola's white Alfa Romeo stood out from the team's red Alfas. The German appeared to be just as familiar with his new white machine as the experienced Alfa Romeo drivers. It was a surprise for everyone to see that Caracciola was not an official part of the Alfa Romeo team, even though in the Mille Miglia he had driven a red Alfa.
      After about 30 minutes of practice the bunch of cars slowly melted away while busy activity was beginning at the pits. Penn-Hughes crashed his Bugatti into the outside sandbag wall at the Station Hairpin corner or into the wall along the sea front, depending which report you prefer to believe. Helpers pulled Penn-Hughes out of his car with slight head injuries and a broken ankle. Dreyfus crashed his Maserati at the corner on the hill leading to the Casino, as he stated in his memoirs. When pressing the brake pedal nothing happened and he tried to slow the car with the gearbox. The car spun and came to a stop by clouting a small private grandstand. In the last 15 minutes of practice all drivers except the injured Penn-Hughes returned to the circuit, trying to go faster than before. In the late morning the cars were inspected for compliance with the regulations. Some drivers were represented by their mechanics. Thursday's best practice times:
Campari (Alfa Romeo)2m08s out of16 laps
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2m08s13
Dreyfus (Maserati)2m08s18
Bouriat (Bugatti)2m09s7
Chiron (Bugatti)2m09s7
Zehender (Alfa Romeo)2m10s11
Earl Howe (Bugatti)2m11s6
Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)2m11s10
Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)2m12s15
Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)2m14s14
Divo (Bugatti T53)2m18s7
Czaykowski (Bugatti)2m19s6
Lehoux (Bugatti)-4
Penn-Hughes (Bugatti)-crash (leg injury)
Fagioli, Ruggeri, Varzi, "Williams" and Zanelli did not practice.

Friday practice was again for just one hour, starting, as before, at six in the morning. Divo as the strongest driver of the Bugatti equipe, had been assigned to drive the new 5-liter four-wheel-drive T53, which was physically demanding to drive. The lap times Divo reached with the car during the first two days of practice reflect the problems he encountered with the heavy car. He eventually decided to continue practicing with the well proven 2.3-liter T51 on Saturday and use it for the race. René Dreyfus recalled the Bugatti T53 practice at Monaco in his memoirs 'My Two Lives' "...-at Monaco of all places- the services of relief driver Albert Divo, physically the strongest man available to Molsheim, were called upon. The result in practice was a car that overheated, brakes that worked none too well, and a driver who was dead tired after only a few laps. Divo didn't even attempt the race." Varzi and several other drivers lowered the current record, which Dreyfus had established in 1930 at 2m07s. Penn-Huges had injured himself in Thursday's crash and could no longer take part. Ruggeri was the only other driver who did not appear on Friday. The day's best practice times were:
Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)2m05s out of22 laps
Varzi (Bugatti)2m06s14
Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)2m06s22
Dreyfus (Maserati)2m06s14
Fagioli (Maserati)2m06s9
Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)2m07s13
Chiron (Bugatti)2m07s18
Lehoux (Bugatti)2m07s9
"Williams" (Bugatti)2m07s19
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2m07s18
Campari (Alfa Romeo)2m09s11
Earl Howe (Bugatti)2m10s7
Bouriat (Bugatti)2m10s13
Czaykowski (Bugatti)2m11s17
Zehender (Alfa Romeo)2m15s9
Divo (Bugatti T53)2m19s6
Zanelli (Nacional Pescara)2m29s8

Saturday's one hour practice was curtailed to half an hour, according to Christian Moity's report. Chiron lowered the fastest lap time to 2m04s and Campari followed with 2m05s. AUTOMOBIL-REVUE reported that a spring broke on Zanelli's Pescara on Saturday morning and he had to abandon the start. This was no great loss since the Nacional Pescara was the slowest car during practice. Divo had abandoned the difficult 4WD Bugatti T53 and instead practiced with the 2.3-liter T51 for the race. Saturday's best practice times were:
Chiron (Bugatti)2m04s out of22 laps
Campari (Alfa Romeo)2m05s12
Varzi (Bugatti)2m06s9
Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2m07s9
Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)2m07s13
Lehoux (Bugatti)2m07s5
"Williams" (Bugatti)2m07s13
Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)2m07s11
Zehender (Alfa Romeo)2m07s15
Fagioli (Maserati)2m08s16
Ruggeri (Maserati)2m08s16
Bouriat (Bugatti)2m10s23
Divo (Bugatti T51)2m11s13
Czaykowski (Bugatti)2m11s11
Zanelli (Nacional Pescara)2m17s13
No times available for Earl Howe, Etancelin or Dreyfus.
The sky on Sunday was overcast, but it remained dry during the race. An enormous crowd of 70,000 had taken possession of all vantage points around the circuit. World record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell drove the opening lap in a beautiful Rolls-Royce to the great applause from the crowd. Since Penn-Hughes was injured and Zanelli's car was unable to start, only 17 cars appeared on the grid. Despite the fact that all cars had been timed throughout practice, the order of the starting grid was still decided by ballot. However, the following year Monaco would be the first race in Europe where the cars started according to their practice times.
  Pole Position



Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo



When Faroux dropped the starter's flag at 1:30 PM, the battle for the lead began immediately. Chiron had started from the second row and was in the lead as they raced up the hill. At this early stage he was already opening a gap to his pursuers. Behind Chiron, "Williams" and Lehoux followed, and then Ruggeri. After five laps the order changed to Chiron, "Williams", Lehoux and Nuvolari, who had already passed seven cars. Caracciola had worked his way through the field from the second to last row and on lap six passed Campari into eighth position. Chiron established a new lap record on lap six at 2m05s, equal to an average speed of 91.584 km/h and only one second slower than his fastest practice lap. "Williams" remained in second place for eight laps, followed by Lehoux and Nuvolari, who had worked himself systematically to the front and passed both of them. The order after ten laps was as follows:
1.Chiron (Bugatti)21m10s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)21m27s
3."Williams" (Bugatti)21m29s
4.Lehoux (Bugatti)21m33s
5.Varzi (Bugatti)21m34s
6.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)21m38s
7.Dreyfus (Maserati)21m40s
8.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)21m42s
9.Fagioli (Maserati)21m47s
10.Campari (Alfa Romeo)21m48s
11.Ruggeri (Maserati)21m52s
12.Czaykowski (Bugatti)21m58s
13.Howe (Bugatti)22m00s
14.Bouriat (Bugatti)22m04s
15.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)22m05s
16.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)22m07s
17.Divo (Bugatti)22m09s

Despite Nuvolari's speed, he was unable to catch Chiron at this stage of the race but Nuvolari set a new fastest time with 2m04s on lap 12. Ruggeri had to stop on lap 13 at his pits. After several tries he got his car going, but then had to retire his Maserati out on the circuit. Varzi, who had started from the second to last row, had succeeded in working himself into third place. While trying to keep up with those ahead, Varzi established a new record on lap 19 of 2m02s, which was five seconds below the old record. Caracciola, who had also started from the rear next to Varzi, had improved his position slowly. These early skirmishes brought some position changes and the order after 20 laps was:
1.Chiron (Bugatti)41m59s
2.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)42m15s
3.Varzi (Bugatti)42m20s
4."Williams" (Bugatti42m36s
5.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)42m38s
6.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)42m39s
7.Fagioli (Maserati)42m42s
8.Lehoux (Bugatti)42m49s
9.Dreyfus (Maserati)42m51s
10.Campari (Alfa Romeo)43m08s
11.Czaykowski (Bugatti)43m31s
12.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)43m35s
13.Bouriat (Bugatti)43m37s
14.Howe (Bugatti)43m38s
15.Divo (Bugatti)43m43s
16.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)43m44s

Gradually the leading trio pulled away from the rest of the field with Chiron in the lead, followed about 20 seconds later by Nuvolari and Varzi who were not far apart and who held the pace set by the leader. The advantage of these three progressively grew so large that Chiron caught up with the tail-enders on lap 26, when he passed Divo and Zehender. He had lost some time and soon the next group consisting of Bouriat and Czaykowski had to be lapped, where Chiron lost again valuable time. Nuvolari, now in attack mode, was closing and catching up with Chiron on lap 30. Both had just lapped Bouriat and right in front of Chiron was Czaykowski as a moving hurdle. This bunch of four cars went through the Station Hairpin bend and a moment later as they came out of the tunnel, Chiron tried to get past a sliding Czaykowski in the chicane. Chiron's Bugatti probably hit a sandbag, suddenly spun round, toppled over several times and came to rest slightly damaged at the sandbag barrier along the pier, which prevented the car from falling into the sea. The driver in the meantime was ejected from the tumbling car and lay lifelessly on the ground of the promenade. Czaykowski's car just weaseled through the Chicane and Nuvolari and Bouriat only seconds behind also squeezed through the turmoil avoiding further trouble with their quick reactions. Fortunately Chiron was just dazed by the fall and recovered quickly. With exceptional luck he only received slight abrasions and contusions on his head and face. After treatment on the spot, an ambulance boat took him to the first aid station. Chiron later claimed that the accident was caused by Czaykowski, however without any intent and came to the inside of the turn at the same moment that Chiron moved forward to pass him. But in truth it was really Chiron who had made a rare error of judgment. If Nuvolari hadn't been catching up, Chiron would probably have waited for a more judicious point to overtake Czaykowski. Apart from that Chiron neglected to mention that the high-speed harbor chicane was not particularly suitable for passing maneuvers. In any event, Bugatti's greatest hope for victory was now wrecked and the likelihood of success for the Molsheim team had become doubtful. The lead now passed to Nuvolari and Alfa Romeo. With Ruggeri and Chiron out of the race the field was down to 15 cars. After completion of 30 laps the situation was as follows:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h02m55s
2.Varzi (Bugatti)1h03m01s
3.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)1h03m28s
4.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)1h03m36s
5.Fagioli (Maserati)1h03m48s
6.Dreyfus (Maserati)1h04m00s
7."Williams" (Bugatti)1h04m01s
8.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h04m24s
9.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)1h05m05s1 lap behind
10.Czaykowsky (Bugatti)1h05m08s1 lap behind
11.Bouriat (Bugatti)1h05m12s1 lap behind
12.Lehoux (Bugatti)1h05m13s1 lap behind
13.Howe (Bugatti)1h05m18s1 lap behind
14.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)1h05m21s1 lap behind
15.Divo (Bugatti)1h05m31s1 lap behind

Now Alfa Romeo was predominantly in the lead withVarzi's Bugatti a mere six seconds behind and Fagioli's Maserati having only an outside chance. The heavy burden for the Bugatti team now rested on Varzi, who was fully aware of the situation. But Varzi inexplicably slowed down and his slower pace allowed Nuvolari to relax a little, whilst still increasing his lead. Between laps 30 and 40 Varzi lost more than 20 seconds and Nuvolari did not speed up. Gradually the strain on the cars became apparent and the first pit stops began. First Etancelin made a brief stop with fading brakes, followed by Lehoux with a long stop to fix his car, which was losing oil and overheated. Divo who was in last place had trouble losing oil. After 40 laps the order was:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h23m54s
2.Varzi (Bugatti)1h24m22s
3.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)1h24m34s
4.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)1h24m45s
5.Fagioli (Maserati)1h24m58s
6.Dreyfus (Maserati)1h25m15s
7."Williams" (Bugatti)1h25m23s
8.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h25m52s
9.Bouriat (Bugatti)1h26m40s1 lap behind
10.Czaykowsky (Bugatti)1h26m49s1 lap behind
11.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)1h26m57s1 lap behind
12.Howe (Bugatti)1h27m03s1 lap behind
13.Etancelin (Alfa Romeo)1h29m25s2 laps behind
14.Lehoux (Bugatti1h32m05s3 laps behind
15.Divo (Bugatti)1h34m51s5 laps behind

Up to lap 50 the positions of the leading cars remained the same. Nuvolari maintained his slower pace, enabling Varzi, Borzacchini and Caracciola to reduce the gap to the leader. Nonetheless, Nuvolari was still leading Varzi by 17 seconds and appeared to be well in control of the race. Etancelin and Czaykowski had to retire on lap 49 with gearbox problems, reducing the field to 13 cars. The order at mid race was:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h45m06s
2.Varzi (Bugatti)1h45m23s
3.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)1h45m40s
4.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)1h45m49s
5.Fagioli (Maserati)1h46m13s
6.Dreyfus (Maserati)1h46m32s
7."Williams" (Bugatti)1h47m00s
8.Campari (Alfa Romeo)1h47m22s1 lap behind
9.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)1h48m31s1 lap behind
10.Bouriat (Bugatti)1h48m50s1 lap behind
11.Howe (Bugatti)1h48m51s1 lap behind
12.Lehoux (Bugatti)1h53m35s4 laps behind
13.Divo (Bugatti)1h58m07s6 laps behind

The field shrank further with the retirement of Etancelin, who had spent much time in the pits. Lehoux remained in his pit for five minutes to repair an oil leak and refill the oil he had lost. For half the race Borzacchini was the second Alfa Romeo, ready to take over the team's lead if anything happened to Nuvolari's car. Throughout this time he was ahead of Caracciola and even pulled away from the German. Then his brakes started to fade and Caracciola caught and passed him on lap 57. Then Varzi encountered a problem with his Bugatti on lap 57. The mechanics worked feverishly on his car but it was in vain. With the retirement of Varzi's Bugatti, the race turned to a fight between the two Alfa Romeos. Fagioli's Maserati trailed over a minute behind and had never shown the speed of the Alfas or Bugattis either in practice or the race. Then Dreyfus' race ended on lap 58 when the axle shaft broke and the left rear wheel came off while rounding the Gasometer hairpin turn on the brake drum. The gap between Nuvolari and Caracciola had shrunk from 43 seconds to 30. This was not due to increased speed on the part of the German, but sensible relaxation on the part of the Italian. Now that the Bugatti threat had evaporated, there was no need for Nuvolari to stress his car or take risks overtaking backmarkers, as an Alfa Romeo victory was virtually guaranteed. The reduction of Nuvolari's advantage had added significance, because without it, Caracciola might not have been in a position to challenge Nuvolari at the end. Nuvolari effectively allowed Caracciola to get closer. In doing so he behaved like a mature team leader, rather than the all-or-nothing daredevil as he was normally characterized. With the retirement of Varzi and Dreyfus the field was down to 11 cars. The sixtieth lap presented a significantly altered picture:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h06m20s
2.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)2h06m50s
3.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)2h06m58s
4.Fagioli (Maserati)2h07m27s
5."Williams" (Bugatti)2h08m46s1 lap behind
6.Campari (Alfa Romeo)2h09m03s1 lap behind
7.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)2h10m12s1 lap behind
8.Howe (Bugatti)2h10m42s2 laps behind
9.Bouriat (Bugatti)2h11m09s2 laps behind
10.Lehoux (Bugatti)?4 laps behind
11.Divo (Bugatti)2h21m31s7 laps behind

When Borzacchini stopped at the pits, his advantage over Fagioli reduced precariously. Campari had stopped several times to replace plugs and had never been a factor in the race. He had now fallen to the end of the field. "Williams" fell further behind with lengthy pit stops. Caracciola, who had held back in the first half of the race without straining his machine, found himself in second place after lap 57. Nuvolari was 30 seconds ahead of the German who maintained his pace, which was characterized by enormous consistency. Caracciola even slowed towards the end, but this may have been due to all the oil on the track. The gap between Nuvolari and Caracciola diminished further, due to Nuvolari taking it easy, not to Caracciola leaving his foot on the throttle longer and braking later. However, to the spectators it appeared differently and gave the impression that Caracciola was chasing after Nuvolari. So, the crowd expected a clash of the two giants and watched with great enthusiasm how the gap between them continuously dwindled, while both were lapping the rest of the field. But the positions in the front of the field remained the same up to lap 70:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h27m54s
2.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)2h28m03s
3.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)2h28m38s
4.Fagioli (Maserati)2h28m46s
5.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)2h31m46s1 lap behind
6.Howe (Bugatti)2h32m38s2 laps behind
7.Lehoux (Bugatti)2h37m51s4 laps behind
8."Williams" (Bugatti)2h38m37s5 laps behind
9.Bouriat (Bugatti)2h42m14s5 laps behind
10.Divo (Bugatti)2h45m41s8 laps behind
11.Campari (Alfa Romeo)?

Bouriat, the third man of the Bugatti team hit trouble when his car left the road at the Station hairpin. He lost a lot of time extracting his car from the protective wall of sandbags and then stopped at his pit to change a damaged wheel. Then Campari made a lengthy pit stop. On lap 71 Fagioli gained third position when he succeeded in getting past Borzacchini, whose brakes were fading fast. By Caracciola still driving at his relatively moderate pace and Nuvolari also taking it easy, the Italian's advantage shrunk to just eight seconds. After 80 laps the order was:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h49m05s
2.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)2h49m13s
3.Fagioli (Maserati)2h50m20s
4.Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo)2h50m52s
5.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)2h53m25s2 laps behind
6.Howe (Bugatti)2h54m44s2 laps behind
7.Lehoux (Bugatti)3h00m07s5 laps behind
8."Williams" (Bugatti)3h00m46s5 laps behind
9.Bouriat (Bugatti)3h04m22s7 laps behind
10.Divo (Bugatti)3h09m16s9 laps behind
11.Campari (Alfa Romeo)?

The Alfa Romeo duo was leading the field with a large gap to the third man, Fagioli in the Maserati. The rest of the field, at least two laps behind, was spread out. After lap 85 Borzacchini stopped at his pit and retired with the brake problems, which had delayed his progress. Due to the constant lapping of the slower back markers the gap between the first two cars moved up and down but it appeared that Caracciola was slowly gaining. The first three places remained the same while Zehender and Earl Howe had moved forward after Borzacchini's retirement. The order on lap 90 was:
1.Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)3h10m27s
2.Caracciola (Alfa Romeo)3h10m34s
3.Fagioli (Maserati)3h12m14s
4.Zehender (Alfa Romeo)3h16m48s3 laps behind
5.Earl Howe (Bugatti)3h17m17s3 laps behind
6.Lehoux (Bugatti)3h22m41s5 laps behind
7."Williams"?5 laps behind

Earl Howe's position was especially remarkable as he had started at the back of the grid. Solely by driving with irrepressible regularity he gradually gained positions whenever other drivers dropped out of the race or lost time due to car trouble. He was up to fifth place by lap 90. The last ten laps brought unexpected excitement for the crowds of spectators. In his early tussle with the Bugattis of Chiron and Varzi, Nuvolari had been forced to go much faster than the Alfa Romeo team had expected. In turn, this meant that he used more fuel than they had calculated. A few laps from the end Nuvolari's car began to suffer from fuel pick-up problems and, as a result Caracciola was able to catch him. It is quite likely that Caracciola could have passed Nuvolari in the last few laps, but he decided to stay behind. Caracciola's gentlemanly conduct in this race was characteristic of his demeanor throughout his career. Caracciola was particularly anxious to move his second place car as close as possible to the leader but while trying to work himself around a group of lapped cars, the German became separated by a greater distance from Nuvolari. Eventually, once past the pack, Caracciola driving now at a desperate pace, succeeded near the end in once more closing the gap to Nuvolari. Both passed the finish, a mere 2.8 seconds apart to enormous cheering.
      Incidentally, the reason Caracciola did not suffer similar fuel problems was that, since he was not the team leader, he was free to drive at a more constant pace throughout the race using less fuel. It was Nuvolari who effectively destroyed the Bugatti challenge single-handedly, so it would have been a harsh reward to have finished second.
      Fagioli, already lapped in third place, had to do another lap to complete the full distance and the remaining drivers also kept on until they were flagged off. After the race the 'Flying Mantuan' spontaneously walked up to Rudi and silently pressed the German's hand for keeping up such a hard chase. Once again a wave of thunderous applause accompanied both drivers as they completed the lap of honor, decorated with large flower bouquets. After returning to the finish line the distribution of prizes took place and Nuvolari was presented with the wonderful trophy.



1.28Tazio NuvolariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81003h32m25.2s
2.2Rudolf CaracciolaR. CaracciolaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-81003h32m28.0s
3.36Luigi FagioliOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8C 28002.8S-81003h34m43.0s
4.4Earl HoweEarl HoweBugattiT512.3S-898
5.32Goffredo ZehenderG. ZehenderAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-896
6.20Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT512.3S-895
7.22"Williams""W. Williams"BugattiT512.3S-895
8.10Guy BouriatAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-893
9.14Albert DivoAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-891
1026Giuseppe CampariSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2-3S-886
DNF24Mario U. BorzacchiniSA Alfa RomeoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-885brakes
DNF34René DreyfusOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8C 28002.8S-857broken driveshaft, lost wheel
DNF16Achille VarziAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-856rear axle
DNF30Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinAlfa RomeoMonza2-3S-849gearbox
DNF18Stanisłas CzaykowskiS. CzaykowskiBugattiT512.3S-849gearbox
DNF12Louis ChironAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT512.3S-829crash
DNF38Amedeo RuggeriOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati26M2.5S-812supercharger
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Bugatti) on lap 19 in 2m02.0s = 93.8 km/h (58.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 89.8 km/h (55.8 mph)
Weather: overcast and dry
In retrospect:
Years later a lot was written in various books about the 1932 Monaco battle between Caracciola and Nuvolari during the exciting last ten laps. It is certainly peculiar that none of these incidents had been reported in the contemporary magazines or that these episodes were possibly ignored, had they indeed happened, which appears rather unlikely. Consequently the question arises as to whether the following versions are fact or fiction.
      In his book "Rennen-Sieg-Rekorde", published in 1936, Caracciola summons, "It was hard luck that the good Nuvolari fell back near the end of the race. He had difficulties with the fuel supply, had to change over to reserve - if I had passed him in this situation, this would not have been very friendly, because the victory of the Make was not at stake.
      "The end of the race stood under a sign of a noble friendship; with some meters apart I drove behind Nuvolari and to the roaring and the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators we passed the finishing line almost simultaneously, 2/5 seconds separated us."
[However, it was officially 2.8 s as photographs will prove.]
      There is considerable contrast to what Caracciola wrote four years later about after the finish. In the first quote the public seemed happy and in the second the spectators jeered with whistles of contempt, in his 1940 published book "Mein Leben als Rennfahrer", where he recalls, "I followed behind Nuvolari's red car and noticed that I closed up from second to second. On the last lap I was so close that I could look inside his car. He had become much slower now, and we were almost wheel to wheel, next to each other. I saw, how he changed gears in nervous haste. Obviously his fuel supply was interrupted, or he had to change over to the reserve tank."
      "Like a flash I thought: I don't belong to the equipe. They have rejected me. I have no obligation with the Alfa people. If I take Nuvolari now, nobody can reproach me. It would have been fairer, however, if I let him keep the lead. I became slower, I slackened my speed. While driving I looked over at the grandstands. The people jumped up and yelled. Then we reached the finish. Nuvolari came first, I followed close behind."
      "When I got out of the car there were jeers and whistles of contempt from the spectators. They felt betrayed; they thought that I had made a deal with Nuvolari. I left the track and went over to the pits. My mechanic came to me. 'Why did you do that, Signor Caracciola?' he asked. 'I don't know,' I said. I felt miserable. After all, it was the first time the public had hailed me with jeers. Then I saw Giovannini coming toward me, holding out both arms. 'That was decent of you, Caracciola,' he said. 'That was really very decent. And I'm to ask you on behalf of the others, whether you'd like to be a member of the team.' 'And Campari?' I asked. 'He wants you too, very much so.' Thus I became a member of the Alfa team."

      A much later version appeared in the 1995 published book "Rudolf Caracciola" by Günther Molter: "...Witnesses of this time [quote from Alfred Neubauer's book] give an account that five laps from the end Nuvolari suddenly slowed down at the Casino turn. Caracciola saw how the Italian fumbled under the dashboard: the main tank was empty; he had to change over to the reserve tank. Caracciola passed Nuvolari, when he saw in the rear view mirror the rage in Nuvolari's face. As a result he reduced the speed a little and waved Nuvolari past. After the race Nuvolari should have walked spontaneously to Caracciola and wordlessly shook his hand."
      The success achieved by Alfa Romeo was especially admirable because Nuvolari and Caracciola completed the 100 laps without a single stop and both cars ran regularly like clockwork. As was learned later, Alfa Romeo's victory was owned not to an insignificant part to an advantageous gear ratio, which was especially selected for this circuit. After the first trials on Thursday the Chief Designer Vittorio Jano called for a smaller gear ratio, considering a 10:51 ratio best which was confirmed later during practice. With this setup the engines could at all times work at the highest revolutions, so that the drivers remained constantly in third and fourth gear. Bugatti instead had chosen a higher gear ratio of 12:54, which was not suitable for the engines, so that drivers often had to use the lower gears.
      Regarding the fuel situation, Alfa Romeo had also made extremely careful preparations. On hand of practice results the fuel consumption was carefully calculated and it was learned that drivers could complete the 100 laps without refueling. The subsequent check after the event revealed however that the race could not have lasted two laps longer since only a minimal amount of fuel was left in both cars. Only then was it realized that due to the continuing high-revolution work of the engine the fuel consumption had been greater than even with calculating a certain safety margin on hand of the practice results. In addition both drivers stressed the engines to the highest in the chase between themselves, Chiron and Varzi.

Primary sources researched for this article:
ADAC-Motorwelt, München
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeiting, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeiting, Wien
A-Z Motorwelt, Brno
L'Auto, Paris
L'Éclaireur de Nice, Nice
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Motor, London


© 2017 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 02.01.2017