VIII° COPPA CIANO
Montenero - Livorno (I), 22 July 1934
12 laps x 20.0 km (12.4 mi) = 240.0 km (149.1 mi)
Moll and Nuvolari shines but Varzi scores
The Mercedes-Benz had entered a single car for Fagioli but it failed to materialize.
The race developed instead into a battle between Nuvolari and the Scuderia Ferrari Alfas
The Alfa Romeo cars were faster than the Maserati and Varzi and Moll in two works Ferrari cars had
a tremendous battle for the first position.
At half distance the order was:
|1. Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m33.2s|
|2. Nuvolari (Maserati)||1h24m54.3s|
|3. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h35m04.4s|
|4. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||1h26m21s|
|5. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)||1h29m106s|
|6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)|
There was absolutely nothing Nuvolari could do and he had to
be content with a third place. Out of nine finishers, eight were Alfa Romeos.
22 July 1934: Malaguti (Maserati 4CM) wins the Coppa Ciano Junior
Voiturette 1100cc race at Montenero, Italy
V GRAND PRIX DE BELGIQUE
Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), 29 July 1934
40 laps x 14.864 km (9.236 mi) = 594.6 km (359.4 mi) (Note 1)
Bugatti's last grande épreuve victory
An expected exiting Belgian GP came to nothing when the Belgian customs asked the
German teams to pay 180,000 francs duty for their alcohol based special fuel.
48 hours before the start the Mercedes-Benz and the Auto Union teams therefore withdrew their entries.
With both the Whitney Straight team, Nuvolari and the other Maserati drivers absent (except Sommer)
the field was down to 7 cars.
It was drizzling as the cars lined up in the grid. Chiron took the start and held a 2 second lead after the first lap
from Dreyfus' Bugatti with Varzi's Alfa in third place. But soon the Bugatti drivers got into troubles with their
plugs and had to enter the pit one after the other.
Order after 10 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||58m48s|
|2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||59m54s|
|3. Sommer (Maserati) ||1h03m32s|
|4. Brivio (Bugatti) ||1h06m44s|
|5. Dreyfus (Bugatti) ||1h07m52s|
Order after 15 laps:
|1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||1h30m12s|
|2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h31m14s|
|3. Sommer (Maserati)||1h37m43s|
|4. Brivio (Bugatti)||1h39m57s|
|5. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||1h40m38s|
Everything thus looked like that it would be another victory for
the Ferrari team. However, that was not to be. Soon after his stop for fuel Chiron made a mistake at the chicane near
Eau Rouge, run off the track and overturned, fortunately over a small gulley leaving the driver unhurt.
Order after 20 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h01m36s|
|2. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||2h02m17s|
|3. Sommer (Maserati)||2h11m14s|
|4. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h11m32s|
|5. Brivio (Bugatti)||2h14m13s|
|5. Benoist (Bugatti)||2h24m59s|
Situation after 25 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h33m06s|
|2. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||2h42m26s|
|3. Brivio (Bugatti)||2h44m57s|
|4. Sommer (Maserati)||2h47m03s|
|5. Benoist (Bugatti)||2h59m04s|
Even when Varzi now had a comfortable lead he went on to make a new lap record (5m47s). But on the next lap Varzi's car was
smoking and he had to retire, officicially with a broken oil pipe but unofficially with a blown engine.
Order at 30 laps:
|1. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||3h13m57s|
|2. Brivio (Bugatti)||3h15m11s|
|3. Sommer (Maserati)||3h19m35s|
|4. Benoist (Bugatti)||3h28m47s|
Order at 35 laps:
|1. Dreyfus (Bugatti)||3h44m59s|
|2. Brivio (Bugatti)||3h45m15s|
|3. Sommer (Maserati)||3h51m59s|
|4. Benoist (Bugatti)||3h58m24s|
Now no one could any longer hinder Dreyfus and Brivio from cruising home to give the Bugatti team an unexpected double
Another unexpected thing at the end of the race was when the spectator gallery over the pits collapsed,
sending spectators down on the heads of the team crews.
|1.||4||René Dreyfus||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||40||4h15m03.8s|
|2.||6||Antonio Brivio||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||40||4h16m54.8s||+ 1m51.0s|
|3.||12||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Maserati||8CM?||3.0||S-8||39||4h18m27.2s|
|4.||2||Robert Benoist||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||37||4h20m22.0s|
|5.||24||Charles Montier||C. Montier||Montier-Ford||Speciale||3.6||V-8||30||4h23m25.0s|
|DNF||16||Achille Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||25||engine|
|DNF||14||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||20||crash|
Fastest lap: Antonio Brivio (Bugatti) on lap 36 in 5m45.0s = 155.1 km/h (96.4 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 139.9 km/h (86.9 mph)
1. Course length counted from data in The Motor and Motor Sport
2. Grid recontructed from pictures shown during a discussion at the Atlas Nostalgia Forum. Thank you all who participated!
6 August 1934: The B.A.R.C. August Bank Holiday Meeting was held at Brooklands.
The handicap races were won by A. Ashton-Rigby (M.G. 1.1L), W. G. Everitt (M.G. 0.7L), O. Bertram (Delage 10.7L),
D. N. Letts (M.G. Midget 0.7L), H. W. Cook (ERA 1.1L), J. Cobb (Napier-Railton 23.9L), W. E. Humpreys (Alvis 1.5L),
R. J. Munday (leyland Thomas 7.3L), T. S. Fothringham (Bugatti 2.3L), A. Esson Scott (Bugatti 2.0L) and R. K. Rayson (Riley 1.1L).
13-14 August 1934: Cortese/Severi (Alfa Romeo 2300A) wins the Targa Abruzzo
sports car race at the Pescara track in Italy. (Results)
X° COPPA ACERBO
Pescara (I), 15 August 1934 (Wednesday)
20 laps x 25.80 km (16.03 mi)= 516.0 km (320.6 mi)
Fagioli won the Coppa Acerbo, Guy Moll's last race
by Hans Etzrodt
The 1934 Coppa Acerbo was one of the most dramatic and hardest fought races that had been held for a long time. The Italian press called it 'the battle of the titans'. It was the first time that the new German cars
confronted their strongest opponents in their homeland. The first third of the remarkable race was dominated by Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) who had to battle Varzi (Alfa Romeo) and Stuck (Auto Union). After nine
laps all three were out of the race, but Varzi continued in teammate Ghersi's Alfa. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz), in second place since lap five, inherited the lead which he held until his mid-race pit stop. Then Moll
(Alfa Romeo) held first place on lap ten until he stopped for fuel. Now the Ghersi/Varzi Alfa Romeo secured first place till lap 14 when he stopped for new tires. Then Fagioli grabbed the lead once more which he
held till the finish. The race was marred by the death of Guy Moll, in a high-speed crash during the concluding stage of the 20-lap race. Caracciola also had crashed while holding a comfortable lead on lap nine and
was lucky to escape uninjured. Chiron received slight burns in a pit fire, when his Alfa Romeo was seriously damaged. Corsi overturned his Maserati and received only minor injuries. From 17 cars at the start only
six finished the exciting race, won by Fagioli ahead of Nuvolari (Maserati), Brivio (Bugatti), the Alfa Romeo of Ghersi/Varzi, the Sebastian/Stuck (Auto Union) and Henne in the third Mercedes.
Wednesday, 15 August was Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an Italian holiday. For several years this race took place annually on the Pescara circuit except in 1929. 1934 was the tenth running of the Coppa
Acerbo near the coastal town of Pescara on the Adriatic coast. 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 first race was held in 1924 when Campari burst a tire on his Alfa P2 and had to retire as he carried no spare. Enzo Ferrari in an Alfa RL then won the race from Bonmartini's Mercedes.
In 1934, the same road circuit was in use but the road surface had improved over the years. It was triangular in shape like Reims, consisting of regular roads with all the normal road hazards. The Start Finish
line was outside the seaside resort of Pescara, where the road went straight for about one kilometer along the shore. At the following right turn, the circuit headed inland for about 11 km along a winding road
up into the Abruzzi Mountains, through forests and the hill villages of Villa Raspa, Montani, Spoltore, Pornace and Villa S. Maria, rising to 190 meters above sea level. Then began the descent to Capelle sul
Tavo where there was a slow right hairpin exiting under a bridge. From here, the road led into the approximately 11 km long Monte Silvano downhill straight to the coast at blistering speed. This was the fastest
stretch of the circuit and included a one kilometer timed section, which was on a slightly downhill incline. The Monte Silvano straight was followed by a fast right turn at Monte Silvano railroad station, which
led into the Lungo Mare straight along the coast back to the start. To slow the cars on that sea-level straight, a large artificial chicane was introduced for 1934 just before the Start-Finish area, to reduce
the speed as cars passed the pits. This change increased the circuit length from 25.500 km to 25.800 km. (For the 1935 race two additional chicanes would be installed in the middle of each straight giving the
Italian cars a better chance.)
The Coppa Acerbo was Italy's second most important race and consisted of 20 laps, bringing the total to 516 km. For 1934 the event had gained in importance, comparable to the major European Grands Prix. For
the first time since Germany was once more involved in international racing sport, Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union were meeting their toughest opponent in Italy. Scuderia Ferrari represented Alfa Romeo, Maserati
sent no cars but seven independent entries were received. Molsheim sent just one Bugatti and the Germans arrived with three Mercedes and two Auto Unions. Everyone anticipated the result of this five-way battle
with great tension.
Nearly all major teams and drivers were present. Auto Union had two cars for Hans Stuck and reserve driver-mechanic Wilhelm Sebastian. Leiningen had already fallen sick before the German GP and Momberger,
the third driver, had hit his head on the headrest when he went over a dip in the road during the race itself. He had to be relieved by Burggaller because of a bleeding head wound. Team Manager Willi Walb
decided the following week that Wilhelm Sebastian was to take Momberger's place in Pescara, driving the latter's car used at the German GP. It was Wilhelm Sebastian's first race. He had been Caracciola's
riding mechanic at the 1931 Mille Miglia, which they won in the Mercedes SSKL. At Auto Union he became chief mechanic and reserve driver. Stuck's car was also the same as raced at the German GP. Both cars
received the high axle ratio used at the Avus plus improved brakes and better venting. Daimler-Benz had three W25 cars for Caracciola, Fagioli and Henne in place of von Brauchitsch, who had broken his arm a
month previously when he crashed during practice for the German GP. Hanns Geier, one of the two reserve drivers, had driven at the Nürburgring and Team Manager Alfred Neubauer decided for Pescara it was Ernst
Henne's turn. This was to be his first Grand Prix start but during practice he would set the fastest speed at 300 km/h.
As usual, the Scuderia Ferrari entered the Vittorio Jano designed 2900 cc Alfa Romeo P3 cars for Louis Chiron, Achille Varzi, Guy Moll and Pietro Ghersi. Moll and Ghersi had good circuit knowledge since two
days earlier they had driven in the 24-Hour Targa Abruzzo. The Maserati factory did not enter any cars but there were several independent drivers like Secondo Corsi an older 26M and Hugh Hamilton in the same
type on loan from Whitney Straight, which was the ex Birkin Maserati. Maserati 8CM entries were received from independents like Tazio Nuvolari, Goffredo Zehender, Whitney Straight and Earl Howe.
Felice Bonetto entered an Alfa Romeo, probably the same car he had
raced at Alessandria and Tripoli. Clifton Penn-Hughes with a 2.3-liter Alfa Romeo Monza was the last of the privateers. The Molsheim factory entrusted a lone Bugatti T59 to Antonio Brivio who had finished
second for them in the Belgian Grand Prix.
La Stampa reported that some interesting times were registered during first practice on Saturday morning, especially at 11:00 AM when the track had dried in the hot sun and the drivers for the first time drove at
their full potential. All cars, Alfa Romeo, Auto Union, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Bugatti practiced in the morning. Sebastian in the Auto Union drove the most laps, first at 13 minutes per lap, then 12m40.1s
(121.521 km/h), then 12m33.0s and also 12m5.5s (128.038 km/h). Stuck practiced very little, after one lap of 13m58.3s the German stopped in front of his pit to have his steering replaced by an army of mechanics.
The Mercedes drivers, Caracciola, Fagioli and Henne practiced a lot, but made no really fast times. Fagioli was involved in a crash, which fortunately had no serious consequences. While he drove on his second
lap at the stretch of Spoltore and Capelle, Fagioli left the road, jumped a ditch and landed in a field. The Mercedes was towed back to the pits and after being repaired, Fagioli resumed shortly thereafter as if
nothing had happened. He drove a lap in 11m28.2s at an average of 134.900 km/h and his time in the flying Kilometer was 13 seconds flat at 276.923 km/h. Fagioli later said he did not have to ask for the
strongest engine, which in his opinion could reach 300 km/h. Caracciola's best lap was 12m8.2s. The Bugatti of Brivio, which many regarded as uncertain for the race, was timed at 11m51.6s, an average of
134.297 km/h, while Nuvolari in the Maserati did his fastest lap in 11m54.4s, about 130 km/h average speed. The Alfa Romeo drivers Varzi, Chiron and Moll also practiced. Varzi did a lap in 11m17.2s, average
of 137.111 km/h, while Chiron drove around 135 km/h and Moll about 131.
The Targa Abruzzo, a 24-Hour sports car race on the Pescara circuit took place on Sunday and Monday. It was the first 24-hour race in Italy. On Wednesday, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a voiturette
race over four laps had preceded the main event and was won by Hugh Hamilton in an MG Magnette. The Scirocco wind was blowing and brought rain during the half hour interval before the start of the main race.
After the Grand Prix cars were pushed onto the grid, it began to rain. Cockpits of the cars on the grid were covered up and tires were changed from dry-weather type to ones with road-racing threads, better
suited for a wet circuit. The drivers also prepared for a wet race. Caracciola's familiar white overalls were hidden beneath dark waterproof clothing. Although it had stopped raining at the time of the start,
the track was still wet and slippery. Since Bonetto's Maserati and the number 60 Maserati did not show up, only 17 cars stood ready on the starting grid with three different makes on the front row.
There was great excitement as they roared and screamed away, leaving a cloud of sweet scented haze. The Auto Union of Hans Stuck shot into the lead, followed by Varzi's red Alfa Romeo and Caracciola's
Mercedes-Benz. During the first minutes, Stuck, Varzi and Caracciola swapped places on the winding run through the hills. Then 'Rainmaster' Rudi passed Varzi for the last time at the beginning of the long
run down to Monte Silvano and overtook Stuck at the end of the straight just before they reached the fast right turn at the sea. At the finish line Caracciola led Stuck by one second with an 11 seconds gap
to Varzi, who lost some time on the long straights where his Alfa could not keep up with the German cars. Fagioli was fourth, followed by Moll 200 yards behind. Caracciola's average speed for the first lap
was 125.852 km/h.
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) ||12m18.0s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||12m19.0s|
|3.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||12m30.6s|
|4.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||12m39.4s|
|5.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||12m47.4s|
|7.||Henne (Mercedes-Benz) ||13m36.8s|
|8.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||13m45.4s|
|11.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||13m56.0s|
|12.||Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo)||13m56.8s|
|14.||Sebastian (Auto Union)||14m34.2s|
The weather began to improve and from time to time a pale sun appeared through the clouds. During the second lap, Stuck and Varzi lost time as a result of their battle for second place. Caracciola in contrast,
drove flat out and on the Monte Silvano straight was timed at 290 km/h (180 mph). When he passed the pits, his advantage to Stuck and Varzi had increased to 500 meters, followed by Fagioli further back. Moll
pulled into his pits to have a spark plug changed and lost one minute. During that time, Hamilton went by, ahead of Chiron and Nuvolari. After two laps Caracciola's average speed had increased to 130.156 km/h.
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) ||23m17.0s|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||23m58.0s|
|3.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||23m58.8s|
|4.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||24m20.0s|
|5.||Henne (Mercedes-Benz) ||25m50.0s|
|6.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||25m51.0s|
|9.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||26m07.0s|
|11.||Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)||26m26.0s|
|13.||Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo)||27m10.0s|
|14.||Sebastian (Auto Union)||27m21.4s|
On lap three, the fight for second place intensified as Varzi made several serious but unsuccessful attempts to pass Stuck in the winding section, and remained glued to the Auto Union's tail. On the long straight down to
Monte Silvano, Varzi drew level at top speed, racing wheel to wheel with Stuck up to the fast right turn leading into the coastal straight and took second place. Caracciola's third lap speed increased while Stuck now in
third place had fallen back and was signaling to the pits. He was closely followed by Fagioli in fourth place. Further back was the battling trio of Hamilton, Nuvolari and Chiron in that order. Moll pitted for the
second time for yet more spark plugs, which dropped him even further back.
At the end of the fourth lap, Caracciola had further increased his advantage. After the right front tire had stripped its thread, Varzi stopped at his pit to change the wheel. Simultaneously, he topped up with fuel,
increasing his stop to 85 seconds. Stuck was again second and Fagioli third. Meanwhile Moll drove in very determined fashion to make up lost time. Whitney Straight's race ended on the fourth lap due to engine failure
on his Maserati. Zehender stopped at the pits.
On lap five, Caracciola continued to pull further away. When Stuck slowed his pace, he was immediately passed by Fagioli. The motivated Nuvolari who had worked himself up to fourth place appeared next, ahead of Chiron, Henne
and Moll. Varzi stopped again at the pits, but this time his Alfa was retired with gearbox failure. Then Ghersi arrived and Scuderia Ferrari flagged him in, so Varzi jumped into the car and took off. After five laps
Caracciola was leading at an average speed of 135.263 km/h.
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) ||57m13.0s|
|2.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||58m05.2s|
|3.||Stuck (Auto Union)||58m47.4s|
|5.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||1h00m54.0s|
|7.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h01m41.0s|
|9.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h02m32.0s|
|10.||Sebastian (Auto Union)||1h04m10.4s|
|12.||Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo)||1h06m20.4s|
At the end of lap six, Caracciola had built up a massive advantage, leading Fagioli by 1m46s and Chiron by 3m58s, who was followed closely by Henne in fourth place. Stuck had lost his third place when he pulled his
Auto Union into the pits, retiring with a blown piston. Nuvolari lost his fourth place when he stopped at the Scuderia pit with a misfiring engine and it took four minutes until an obstruction in the fuel lines was found.
Moll in fifth place received signs from his pits to drive faster and after having cured the misfire of his engine, he was indeed driving very rapidly. Further back Varzi followed in Ghersi's car, making up lost ground.
Hamilton slowed down as he encountered problems.
By the end of lap seven Caracciola led Fagioli and Henne, forming a Mercedes one - two - three. The Italian spectators were devastated. Chiron pulled slowly into his pits with a misfiring engine, having plugs changed and
taking fresh fuel, all of which took 2m30s. During Chiron's delay, Moll sped past the grandstand to take fourth place, followed by Varzi in Ghersi's car with a lap at 141 km/h. Zehender and Earl Howe retired after seven
laps when the order was:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) ||1h19m43s|
|2.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||1h21m08s|
|4.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m06s|
|5.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m42s|
On lap eight, Moll caught up with Henne and passed him for third place after Monte Silvano Station on the Lungo Mare straight. Caracciola who was still suffering from the aftermath of last year's Monaco crash, proved that
he was again in full possession of his skills by completely controlling the race. At the end of lap eight, the order was Caracciola, Fagioli, Moll, Henne, Varzi in Ghersi's car and Chiron, now in sixth place. Hamilton
retired his 8CM Maserati with a broken piston.
During the race the weather was variable with strong winds, intermittent rain showers and sunshine. The ninth lap brought major changes, which entirely altered the complexion of the race. Caracciola, who had led for eight
laps, made one of his rare mistakes on lap 9 when he spun off the wet track near Capelle sul Tavo. In Molter's book 'Rudolf Caracciola', Rudi said that the road was slick as glass as he went down a straight at 200 km/h.
As he approached the following curve, he very delicately felt the brakes but he had the same feeling as in Monte Carlo (1933). Did the wheel lock up? The next moment, the car spun around and flew diagonally backwards up an
embankment. On top, the tail of his car grazed a fence very slightly, but enough to spin it around again, landing on the road facing in the right direction. This incident was obviously just a warning because shortly
afterwards, at a place where Fagioli had already left the track during practice, his car did half a roll to the left and disappeared with a loud crash into a four meter deep ditch. He was lucky to escape without injury but
the car could not continue. At the end of nine laps Fagioli's average speed was 128.559 km/h when the order was:
|1.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||1h48m22s|
|2.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||1h50m07s|
|4.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h52m14s|
After lap nine, Fagioli stopped for fuel, changed wheels and had new spark plugs fitted. During his lengthy pit stop, Guy Moll screamed past the grandstands into first place and the crowd roared with excitement. With the
mechanics still working on Fagioli's car, Henne passed the grandstand 20 seconds ahead of Varzi in Ghersi's car. However, the latter stopped at the pits for 70 seconds and only got away after Fagioli had left. Brivio's
Bugatti held fifth place, followed by Nuvolari.
Chiron arrived next and stopped at his pits with a badly misfiring engine. Not sure whether the problem was due to spark plugs or fuel feed, the engine was left running. While one mechanic tested spark plugs and the other
checked fuel lines, Chiron remained in the car operating the accelerator. Gasoline squirted from a loosened fuel pipe and was ignited by an electric spark caused by the other mechanic testing the plugs. Instantaneously
the car burst into flames, the fire spreading from the engine to the tank, fed by the fuel squirting from the pipe. The spectators watched in horror as Chiron's overalls caught fire, mechanics helped the flaming driver
from the cockpit, while he covered both eyes with his hands and staggered away from the burning car. Chiron managed to get away with slight burns to face and neck, because an official immediately beat out the flames.
The blazing Alfa Romeo stood dangerously close to the pits where drums of gasoline were stored while the car kept burning fiercely. The people, who were standing nearby, started fleeing the volatile scene. Eventually,
with the help of extinguishers and sand, the fire was put out after ten minutes, but the car was totally burned out and parts of the pits were also destroyed. All this excitement almost obscured the fact that Corsi
had seriously crashed his Maserati when he veered off the road breaking some ribs.
At the end of ten laps, Moll was leading Henne by 32s, Varzi in Ghersi's car by 1m1s and Fagioli, who was only one second behind him in fourth place. Nuvolari was fifth, followed by Sebastian's Auto Union, Brivio's Bugatti
and Penn-Hughes' Alfa Romeo. These eight survivors remained the only ones out of a field of 17 cars. At half distance or ten laps, Moll held first place at an average speed of 125.388 km/h.
|1.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||2h03m27.4s|
|2.||Henne (Mercedes-Benz) ||2h03m59.2s|
|3.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h04m28.4s|
|4.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||2h04m29.8s|
|6.||Sebastian (Auto Union)||2h08m27.4s|
|8.||Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo)||2h13m53.0s|
During lap 11, Moll maintained the lead and Varzi, who was now driving very rapidly, passed Henne into second place. At the end of the lap, the two red Alfas were in front with two silver Mercedes third and fourth. At the
completion of the 11th lap, Moll made a refueling stop, which promoted Varzi to first and Fagioli to second place.
| 1.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h16m16s|
|2.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||2h16m40s|
|3.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||2h17m55s|
|4.||Henne (Mercedes-Benz) ||2h19m38s|
After 12 laps the Ghersi/Varzi Alfa Romeo was still leading Fagioli's Mercedes, Moll's Alfa and Brivio's Bugatti, ahead of Nuvolari and Henne.
On lap 13 Varzi held the lead followed by Fagioli and Moll who was one minute behind after his fuel stop. The Mercedes pit signaled their drivers to speed up. Moll's Alfa was now ready for the final battle and the
Algerian tried to make up the time lost during his pit stop. In the meanwhile Henne's Mercedes skidded dangerously at the artificial curve before the pits, which lost him so much time that the hard charging Nuvolari
was able to overtake him. When Penn-Hughes retired his Alfa Romeo, the field was down to seven cars.
At the end of lap 14, Varzi pulled into the pits to replace his rapidly wearing rear tires and fill the car with fuel. His stop of 1m55s enabled Fagioli to take the lead and Moll moved into second place. Varzi was
now third and Nuvolari a distant fourth.
After 15 laps, Fagioli held first position with an average speed of 127.708 km/h, leading Moll by 37 seconds, Varzi by 1m41s and Nuvolari by 5m24s, followed by Brivio's Bugatti, Sebastian's Auto Union and Henne's
Mercedes-Benz in last place.
|1.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||3h01m49.2s|
|2.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||3h02m26.4s|
|3.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||3h03m37.2s|
|6.||Sebastian (Auto Union)||3h11m52.8s|
|7.||Henne (Mercedes-Benz) ||3h12m21.6s|
Guy Moll was now the only one able to race on level terms with Fagioli's more powerful Mercedes. The dramatic race had developed into a hard-fought battle. The Algerian was driving faster than ever, knowing that the hopes
of Italy rested on his shoulders. His motivated drive resulted in a new record lap of 10m51.0s at 163.176 km/h on lap 15. Fagioli's lap time was 10m59s, which reduced his advantage to only 29 seconds. The tension was
building because the outcome of the race was uncertain. Could Moll win for Italy in the red Alfa Romeo?
At the end of lap 17, Moll entered the artificial turn before the pits too fast, ending up in a lurid slide, the Alfa skidded broadside and stalled. The Algerian had to get out and start his car with the crank. Despite all
this, his lap time was 11 minutes flat and he would no doubt have broken his previous lap record, if he had not stalled the car. Varzi came slowly into the pits as the car had lubrication problems and also changed plugs.
Discouraged, he threw off goggles and helmet and invited Ghersi to take over with instructions to nurse the Alfa to the finish.
The tropical heat turned the cars into real ovens. The weather had been inconsistent all day and the Scirocco, a rather strong wind with sporadic squalls and rain showers, was blowing. This made it even harder to drive the
powerful cars at their top speed because they already needed the whole road when driven flat out. Henne and Caracciola had been timed in the speed trap both doing 290 km/h early in the race. But after Henne twice ran into
problems and the Scirocco picked up in force, the German slowed down in the final third of the race.
On lap 18, Moll went faster through the winding section than he had ever done before. He was closely following Henne through the Capelle hairpin and as they entered the downhill Monte Silvano straight, Moll attempted to
overtake the German's Mercedes, which was now a full lap behind. The German did not expect Moll to pass on this narrow section where he needed almost the full width of the track just to keep the Mercedes on the road. A
passing maneuver would be just too dangerous. But instead of waiting for one or two kilometers until the road widened, the inspired Moll gradually pulled alongside the German. Moll was slightly in front of Henne's Mercedes,
when the Alfa Romeo fell back, moved too far to the left, the wheels slid over the road edge and veered into the shallow ditch at the side of the road. For about 50 meters the car remained straight with Moll braking and
trying frantically to regain the road. Then one front wheel struck a low stone pillar, which was part of the wall of a small bridge. The impact at over 155 mph caused the car to vault into the air, somersaulting high,
flinging out Moll. He was killed instantly. The car kept tearing through telegraph wires, tumbling repeatedly, felling some young trees and crashing down until it came to rest at the side of a house after 300 to 400 yards.
The spectators who hastened to the site found Moll's lifeless body on the opposite side of the road against a concrete post.
The exact cause of this crash will probably never be known. Statements from various accounts are contradictory and Moll's death was most likely instantaneous. Did a sudden gust of the Scirocco cause Moll to drift off the
road? In Chris Nixon's book, 'Racing the SILVER ARROWS', Ernst Henne said, he could see that Moll wanted to pass him at a stretch were the road was very narrow. As they were doing about 270 km/h (170 mph) downhill, Henne
could see out of the corner of his eyes as Moll tried to pull alongside him only to fall back, but their cars never touched. There were different versions of what happened and, later on, groundless accusations were made
that the cars touched, trying to put the blame of the crash on Henne, his driving was described as wild and suspect. However, he was an easy target since this was his first grand prix race. Even though he had raced
motorcycles for ten years, he was inexperienced driving these fast, poor handling cars. Guy Moll's dreadful crash in essence ended the race, which came to a somber end with the full 20 laps completed.
Nobody was left to challenge Fagioli, who finished the race first in a new record time of 3h58m56.8s at 129.568 km/h, 4m38.2s ahead of Nuvolari's Maserati, who in a heavily thinned out field had moved forward to second
place by consistently fast driving. He was the only surviving Maserati driver out of six at the beginning of the race. Third was Brivio's Bugatti, followed by the worn out Ghersi/Varzi Alfa Romeo now driven again by Ghersi.
One lap behind arrived the Sebastian/Stuck Auto Union and Henne's Mercedes-Benz finished last. From 17 cars at the starting line only six reached the finish. The meteoric but tragically short racing career of Guy Moll
ended here. He was put to rest in the Maison-Caree cemetery in Algiers.
|1.||50||Luigi Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25||3.7||S-8||20||3h58m56.8s|
|2.||30||Tazio Nuvolari||T. Nuvolari||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||20||4h03m35.0s||+ 4m38.2s|
|3.||52||Antonio Brivio||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||20||4h05m07.6s||+ 6m10.8s|
|4.||62||P. Ghersi / A. Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||20||4h05m27.6s||+ 6m30.8s|
|5.||32||W. Sebastian / H. Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||A||4.4||V-16||19||3h59m51.4s|
|6.||34||Ernst Henne||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25||3.7||S-8||19||4h00m57.8s|
|DNF||46||Guy Moll||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||17||fatal crash|
|DNF||48||Clifton Penn-Hughes||C. Penn-Hughes||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.6||S-8||12||rear axle|
|DNF||36||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||9||fire in pits|
|DNF||28||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25||3.7||S-8||8||crash|
|DNF||64||Hugh Hamilton||Whitney Straight Ltd||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||8||mechanical|
|DNF||56||Earl Howe||Earl Howe||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||7||fuel tank|
|DNF||58||Secondo Corsi||S. Corsi||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||7||crash|
|DNF||42||Goffredo Zehender||G. Zehender||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||5||mechanical|
|DNF||44||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||A||4.4||V-16||5||piston|
|DNF||54||Achille Varzi||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||4||gearbox|
|DNF||40||Whitney Straight||Whitney Straight Ltd||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||3||engine|
Fastest lap: Guy Moll (Alfa Romeo) on lap 15 in 10m51s = 142.7 km/h (88.6 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 129.6 km/h (80.5 mph)
Weather: start wet after rain; race windy with intermittent rain showers.
Top speeds timed: Below are the times taken during the race at the one kilometer timed section of the Monte Silvano downhill straight, time in seconds, average speed and the number of lap when timed.
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) ||12.4s = 290.322 km/h (1. lap)||(Note 2)|
|2.||Henne (Mercedes-Benz) ||12.4s = 290.322 km/h (1.)|
|3.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz) ||12.8s = 281.250 km/h (3.)|
|4.||Sebastian (Auto Union)||13.0s = 276.923 km/h (11.)|
|5.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||13.2s = 272.727 km/h (1.)|
|6.||Moll (Alfa Romeo)||13.4s = 268.656 km/h (13.)|
|7.||Stuck (Auto Union)||13.8s = 264.705 km/h (2.)|
|8.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||14.0s = 257.142 km/h (2.)|
|9.||Ghersi/Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||14.2s = 263.620 km/h (7.)|
|10.||Nuvolari (Maserati)||14.4s = 250.000 km/h (3.)|
|11.||Brivio (Bugatti)||14.4s = 250.000 km/h (12.)|
|12.||Zehender (Maserati)||15.4s = 233.766 km/h (6.)|
|13.||Straight (Maserati)||15.6s = 230.769 km/h (3.)|
|14.||Howe (Maserati)||15.6s = 230.769 km/h (3.)|
|15.||Penn-Hughes (Alfa Romeo)||15.8s = 227.848 km/h (11.)|
|16.||Corsi (Maserati)||16.4s = 219.512 km/h (1.)|
|17.||Hamilton (Maserati)||16.6s = 216.867 km/h (3.)|
Contradictions encountered: An earlier edition of this report included alternative race numbers we thought to have been used during practice. The source for those numbers was Paul Sheldon's book and while
such numbers might have been published pre-race, we have failed to find any evidence that those numbers were actually implemented.
Felice Bonetto #38 was previously shown in a Maserati 8CM which could not be confirmed. Instead he was entered in an Alfa Romeo probably the same Monza 8C-2600 he had raced earlier at Alessandria and Tripoli.
Goffredo Zehender #42 drove his Maserati, which was confirmed by the Gazetta dello Sport entry list. Two photographs showing the #42 car support this.
Secondo Corsi #58 was previously shown to be entered by the Maserati Works in their 16-cylinder Maserati V5 which could not be substantiated. Corsi instead entered independently with a Maserati 26M.
The #60 car was a Maserati to be driven by Zehender, confirmed by Il Littoriale. However, Zehender drove the #42 Maserati of which there are pictures but none of the #60 car. The #60 Maserati did not appear.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
IL LITTORIALE, Roma
Kölnische Zeitung, Köln
La Stampa, Torino
Le Figaro, Paris
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
1. I an earlier edition of this report there had been confusion whether Caracciola raced car #28 and Fagioli #50 or vice versa. Caracciola started with a dark rain
coat instead of his usual white overall and head gear. That fact has fooled even the best motor sports historicans including Karl Ludvigsen, Chris Nixon and Paul Sheldon.
Hans Etzrodt and Tony Kaye have made a great effort in trying to get the facts right for me by tracking down old pictures and reports from old magazines. I'm glad to announce that the result of
their work was later confirmed by Stan Peschel at Daimler AG.
2. I have left the table as it was published but as times were taken with 0.1s accuracy, of course the speeds ought to be rounded off to max one decimal be matematically correct.
15 August 1934: Hamilton (MG K3) wins the X° Coppa Acerbo Junior voiturette 1100cc race at Pescara, Italy.
III GRAND PRIX DE NICE
Nice (F), 19 August 1934
100 laps x 3.214 km (1.997 mi) = 321.4 km (199.7 mi)
Varzi a lap ahead
The three Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo cars of Chiron, Trossi and Varzi were facing seven Maserati drivers
including Nuvolari, Ètancelin and Straight and Bugatti drivers Howe and Dreyfus.
At the start the Ferrari cars of Varzi and Chiron
took the lead positions. Behind them Nuvolari (Maserati) and Dreyfus (Bugatti T59) started a duel.
Dreyfus was able to pass Nuvolari, who did his best to re-pass. The speed of the duo was such that they both passed Chiron's Alfa.
The duel ended when Dreyfus missed the breaking point in a corner and went straight into the straw bales.
Situation after 10 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||17m50s|
|2. Nuvolari (Maserati)||18m01s|
|3. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||18m10s|
|4. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||18m20s|
|5. Straight (Maserati)||18m21s|
|6. Etancelin (Maserati)||18m30s|
|7. Zehender (Maserati)||18m51s|
|8. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)|
|9. Rüesch (Maserati)|
|10. Veyron (Bugatti)|
Now the race developed into a fight between arch rivals Varzi and Nuvolari both crushing the lap records.
Situation after 20 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||35m42s|
|2. Nuvolari (Maserati)||36m10s|
|3. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||36m30s|
|4. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||36m31s|
|5. Etancelin (Maserati)||36m44s|
|6. Zehender (Maserati)||37m25s|
|7. Howe (Bugatti)|
|8. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)|
|9. Rüesch (Maserati)|
|10. Villapadierna (Maserati)|
|11. Veyron (Bugatti)|
|12. Marret (Bugatti)|
In their challenge for the lead. That was too much for Nuvolari's engine and he had to retire with a broken piston.
Order after 30 laps:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||54m01s|
|2. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||54m53s|
|3. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||54m54s|
|4. Etancelin (Maserati)||55m13s|
|5. Rüesch (Maserati)||57m25s|
|6. Zehender (Maserati)|
|7. Howe (Bugatti)|
|8. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)|
|9. Villapadierna (Maserati)|
|10. Veyron (Bugatti)|
|11. Marret (Bugatti)|
|11. Brunet (Bugatti)|
At half distance the order was:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h29m51s|
|2. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||1h30m51s|
|3. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||1h31m12s|
|4. Etancelin (Maserati)||1h31m48s|
|5. Zehender (Maserati)||1h34m18s|
|6. Villapadierna (Maserati)||1h35m09s|
|7. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h35m22s|
|8. Rüesch (Maserati)||1h35m27s|
|9. Howe (Bugatti)||1h36m25s|
|10. Veyron (Bugatti)|
|11. Marret (Bugatti)|
With both Chiron and Trossi making lenghtly pit stops, Etancelin now advanced to second place.
order after 90 laps
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h43m61s|
|2. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)||2h44m43s|
|3. Etancelin (Maserati)||2h45m31s|
|4. Zehender (Maserati)|
|5. Villapadierna (Maserati)|
After Nuvolari's retirement Varzi was never challenged and he finished the race a lap ahead of the Maserati driver. Trossi was third ahead of the Maserati cars of de Villapadierna and Zehender.
1. There is something wrong with the race numbers shown as a picture from the grid clearly shows Minozzi to have #8 and not #18.
19 August 1934: Stuck (Auto Union) wins Großer Bergpreis von Deutschland hillclimb in Freiburg Germany.