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GRAND PRIX DE TUNISIE

Carthage (F), 5 May 1935
40 laps x 12.6 km (7.8 mi) = 504 km (313.2 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Marcel LehouxSEFACSEFAC2.82x4DNA - did not appear
4Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
6Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
8Philippe EtancelinScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.7S-6
10Goffredo ZehenderScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.7S-6
12Pietro GhersiScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
14Eugenio SienaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati8CM3.0S-8
16Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
18Renato BalestreroGruppo San GiorgioMaserati8C3.0S-8
20Albert ChambostEcurie GirodMaserati8CM3.0S-8
22Robert BrunetEcurie BraillardMaserati8CM3.0S-8
24Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati8CM3.0S-8
26Benoît FalchettoEcurie BraillardMaserati26M2.5S-8
28Maurice MablotM. MablotBugattiT512.3S-8
30Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
32"Raph"B. de las CasasAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
34Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16
36Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8
38Emile DupontE. DupontBugattiT512.3S-8DNA - did not appear
40Giuseppe FarinaGino RovereMaserati6C-343.7S-6
42Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
44Pierre ReyP. ReyBugattiT512.3S-8
46Charles MartinC. MartinAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
48László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-8
50André FevrierA. FevrierBugattiT35C2.0S-8



Varzi makes it look easy

by Leif Snellman
Achille Varzi, who drove his debut race for Auto Union, totally dominated the event from start to finish. The fast circuit took a great toll on the material and causing several retirements. Initially Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) held second position but he had to make stop for repairs and eventually retired. Wimille (Bugatti) took over second position. The hood of his Bugatti was blown away, but that did not hinder him from holding on to his position until the end. Etancelin (Maserati) managed to finish third using just one gear during the latter part of the race.
After a one year interval the Tunis Grand Prix was back on the calendar for 1935. The participation was restricted to 25 entries, invited by the Automobile Club of Tunis and had time to 27 April 1935 to answer the invitation.
      The Carthage circuit had already been fast and for 1935 the chicane before the grandstands was removed. This shortened the circuit from 12.714 km to 12.6 km and made it even faster beacuse the cars could drive the over 3.6 km long main straight flat out. The race was run over 40 laps on the 12.6 km long circuit or a total of 504 km. A hazard for the drivers was that a great part of the circuit was exposed to the strong gusty wind. At Carthage the sea breeze blew from the north during day time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. beacuse the sea warmed up more slowly than the desert. The hot temperatures there caused the warmer air to rise which created created a pressure difference and the wind.
      Lapped cars were not allowed to complete the full distance and the whole field was flagged off immediately after the winner had passed the finish line.
      The prize money was 40,000 Fr for the winner, 15,000 for second, 10,000 for third and 8,000 for fourth while the fastest lap was worth 2,000 Fr.
Entries:
The Tunis entry list was quite extensive. The race was not among those listed for a Nazi government bonus, so Mercedes-Benz was not present. However, having won the Tunis GP twice before in 1931 and 1932, Achille Varzi was keen to have his first start as an Auto Union driver there. The new Auto Union cars were not yet ready but Varzi persuaded the team to send an upgraded 1934 car to Tunis. It featured a new cockpit with metal sides instead of canvas, a new type of exhausts and closed in front suspension. The car retained some 1934 features like the reserve tank in front of the driver and air intakes on top of the engine bonnet. It was claimed to be the same car that Stuck had used for speed records on 20 October 1934 at Avus.
      Then there was unsuspected trouble when Varzi wanted his salary paid in Lire, the new Nazi economic policy having very hard restrictions on bringing cash out of Germany. It was decided that Varzi would start the race as an independent and collect the starting money and prizes for himself, but in the last moment the Germans changed their mind and Varzi was entered as a works driver. A dozen mechanics and personnel led by Willi Walb accompanied the car. Auto Union's first driver Stuck was not amused when he found out the arrangements and said in a letter to Walb that he was amazed "that a German firm gets a foreigner to drive its car in the first race abroad".
      Tazio Nuvolari was meant to race the new Alfa Romeo Bi-motore but trouble to find satisfactory tyres prevented this and instead Scuderia Ferrari entered two Tipo Bs, a 2.9 litre car with a new variant of the Dubonnet independent suspension for Comotti and a 3.2 litre car with the old type front suspension for Nuvolari. The Mantuan obviously wasn't too keen after the Monaco failure of the Dubonnet / hydraulic brake car. Antonio Brivio was the reserve driver. Scuderia Ferrari used 19" tyres on their cars for this fast circuit.
      Some of the old Tipo Bs had been sold to independent drivers and three of them appeared at Tunis, all of the early type with bodywork hanging down outside the frame to comply with the 850 mm bodywork rule, easily recognizable on pictures by the vertical slots at the bottom of the frames. Sommer raced his blue (#5003) already seen at Monaco. Count Raphaël Béthenod de Montbressieux, with the pseudonym "Raph", raced his newly acquired Tipo B (#5006), possibly painted blue, and Ferdinando Barbieri was to race a Tipo B probably owned by Swiss Carlo Gari. The Chilean born Juan Zanelli appeared with his ex-Raymond Sommer Alfa Romeo Monza, which had won the 1932 Le Mans 24h race.
      Scuderia Subalpina was out in force with two 6-cylinder independent suspended Maseratis for Philippe Etancelin and Goffredo Zehender, a Maserati 8CM for Eugenio Siena and an Alfa Romeo Monza for Pietro Ghersi. Piero Dusio was the reserve driver. Giuseppe Farina was to race Gino Rovere's 6-cylinder independent suspended Maserati.
      Ecurie Nelly Braillard entered a Maserati 8CM for Robert Brunet and an old 2.5 litre 2-seater Maserati for Benoit Falchetto. French driver "Raymond" Chambost, Italian Luigi Soffietti and Hungarian László Hartmann raced 8CMs as well. Gruppo San Giorgio entered a Maserati 8C for Renato Balestrero.
      The works Bugatti team entered a T59 for Jean Pierre Wimille while the French SEFAC once more failed to appear. Pierre Ray and local driver Maurice Mablot, both with Bugatti T51s, and André Février in a Bugatti T35C completed the entry list.
Practice:
Grid positions were decided by the times in the practice, which took place from Thursday to Saturday, 2-4 p.m.
      A strong wind swept over the circuit as practice started on Thursday. Not all drivers had yet arrived. Nuvolari with his Alfa Romeo was fastest with a time of 4m35 1/4s. Wimille in the works Bugatti was second, driving a lap in 4m36 1/3s. His car looked good in the curves but lost to the stronger cars on the straights. Varzi was getting used to racing the rear engined Auto Union, reaching 230 km/h on the straights but making the curves carefully. In the end he was third fastest with a time of 4m42s followed by Etancelin 4m48 1/4s, Zehender 4m53s, Sommer 5m02s and Brunet 5m03s. Siena was about as fast as Brunet.
      On Friday Nuvolari was again fastest with 4m28.4s while Wimille reached 4m29.2s, the dsame time as Varzi. They were followed by Zehender and Etancelin.
      Varzi had shown signs that more was to come, so no one was surprised when the Auto Union driver, who now had familiarized himself with the car, was fastest during the final practice session driving a lap in 4m24.8s and taking pole position with a 3.6s margin. His hesitation in the corners had now disappeared. Nuvolari's and Wimille's times from Friday were good enough for front row positions.
Race:
Race day came with hot and sunny weather. Unwelcome for the drivers but enjoyable for the spectators the sharp wind was constantly blowing from the sea, helping the latter to resist the suffocating heat. While most of the 30,000 spectators were locals there were also many tourists and race enthusiasts present, especially from Italy and France.
      At 1.30 p.m. to the sound of the Marseillaise, Marcel Peyrouton, Resident General of Tunisia, arrived accompanied by civil and military dignitaries and representatives of the AC Tunisia. Later during the race he would surprisingly be joined by the Bey of Tunis, Ahmad II ibn Ali, attended by numerous dignitaries of the Tunis court.
      At 1.45 the grid had been assembled and the drivers were ready to go. The cars were lined up three per row in a rather tight formation. There was one oddity on the grid which placed Brunet to the right of the fourth row instead than to the left of the fifth row, where he belonged according to the qualifying times.
Pole Position
36
Wimille

Bugatti
4m29.2s

4
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo
4m28.4s

34
Varzi

Auto Union
4m24.8s

16
Sommer

Alfa Romeo
4m49.0s

14
Zehender

Maserati
4m31.0s

8
Etancelin

Maserati
4m30.8s

40
Farina

Maserati
5m01.0s

10
Siena

Maserati
4m56.0s

6
Comotti

Alfa Romeo
4m53.0s

20
Chambost

Maserati
5m08.0s

24
Soffietti

Maserati
5m04.0s

22
Brunet

Maserati
5m25.0s

12
Ghersi

Alfa Romeo
5m16.0s

42
Zanelli

Alfa Romeo
5m15.0s

30
Barbieri

Alfa Romeo
5m12.0s

50
Fevrier

Bugatti
5m36.2s

18
Balestrero

Maserati
5m35.0s

48
L Hartmann

Maserati
5m25.0s

28
Mablot

Bugatti
6m14.0s

44
Rey

Bugatti
6m07.0s

32
"Raph"

Alfa Romeo
5m42.0s

26
Falchetto

Maserati

Chambost's Maserati refused to start and a mechanic was still working in vain with a handle when the Resident General dropped the flag at exactly 2 p.m. and the rest of the field went away. The acceleration of the Auto Union was superior and Varzi immediately took the lead followed by Etancelin and nineteen other competitors. After some pushing the engine of Chambost's car finally started and he joined the race as well. Nuvolari soon passed Etancelin for second position.
      Varzi drove the first lap in 4m46s (158.6 km/h). Nuvolari followed about 100m behind, ahead of Etancelin, Wimille, Farina, Zehender, Siena, Sommer, Comotti, Soffietti, Barbieri, Balestrero, Hartmann and Ghersi. Zanelli passed the grand stand slowly and would stop at the pits after the following lap.
      After the second lap Varzi led Nuvolari by 12 seconds followed by Wimille 31s behind and Etancelin.
      Varzi drove the fourth lap in 4m28.4s (169.0 km/h) and further increased the lead over Nuvolari. It was to be the fastest lap of the day, improving the old speed record by 34.6s (but not comparable since the chicane was missing).
      After five laps Varzi led Nuvolari by 43 seconds and Wimille by 56 seconds. Etancelin had gearbox trouble and had fallen back 1m27s. He was followed by Farina, who was 2m02s behind the leader.
      The fast circuit almost immediately proved to be a car-breaker. While sources generally agree on the retirements, there is confusion regarding in which order and on which laps the incidents took place. On the fourth (?) lap Brunet arrived slowly at the pit and retired because of a mechanical problem. Falchetto was an early retirement as well, abandoning his old Maserati at El-Aouďna due to transmission problems. Mablot had some technical problems as well but was able to continue the race. Zehender went wide in the Sidi Fredj corner, spun, overturned the 6-cylinder Maserati and ended up in an orange orchard. Zehender escaped unhurt but the car was damaged and he was unable to continue.
      On the sixth lap Etancelin attacked Nuvolari, who was now struggling with an engine problem, and passed him for second position. On the next lap Nuvolari came into the pit to change the plugs on his Alfa Romeo. At about the same time Balestrero retired his Maserati, either because of a broken clutch or due to ignition problems. Between the sixth and the eighth lap Soffietti and Ghersi stopped at the pits, the first with a broken supercharger, the other due to gearbox trouble.
      After eight laps Varzi was leading Wimille by 1m10s and Etancelin by 2m30s and the Auto Union driver was able to slow down a bit to save his car.
      After his early pit stop Zanelli was able to continue but he retired on the ninth lap when Nuvolari returned to the pits as well. Siena also retired. The situation after 10 laps was as follows:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)45m59.8s
2. Wimille (Bugatti)47m08s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)48m39s
4. Farina (Maserati)50m02s
5. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)50m03s
6. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)50m06s
7. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)52m02s
8. Chambost (Maserati)53m19s
9. Hartmann (Maserati)54m26s

After a lengthy pit stop Nuvolari returned to the race but after 12 laps he finally retired his Alfa with lubrication trouble.
      The event as a race was now more or less over. Varzi was in full control and could afford to ease up. Wimille's Bugatti was slower on the straights than the Auto Union and he lost four to five seconds per lap to the leader. After one hour (12 laps) Wimille was 1 min. 14 sec. behind and Etancelin was still third.
      Sommer was driving a good race. He managed to pass Comotti for 5th position and then also passed Farina for 4th.
      At around lap 15 Wimille had a scary moment when the bonnet of his Bugatti came off and almost hit his head. He was able to continue but his speed suffered a bit after rhe incident. The race order after 15 laps:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)1h08m53s
2. Wimille (Bugatti)1h10m24s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)1h12m55s
4. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h14m49s
5. Farina (Maserati)1h14m52s
6. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h15m06s
7. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)1h17m45s
8. Chambost (Maserati)1h19m34s
9. Hartmann (Maserati)1h22m10s
10. Fevrier (Bugatti)

From lap 15 onwards Etancelin had lost all gears on his Maserati apart from the top gear and he was losing 20 seconds per lap on the leader. Soon Varzi closed in on him and put him one lap down. Now only Wimille remained on the same lap as the leader.
      On the 16th lap Comotti came in to change plugs. After 17 laps Wimille had lost 1m46.4s to Varzi while Etancelin was 4m39s behind and falling back. Sommer was closing in on Etancelin by about 4-5 seconds per lap. The situation after 20 laps:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)1h31m47s
2. Wimille (Bugatti)1h33m44s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)1h37m32s
4. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h39m14s
5. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h43m06s?

On the 21st lap Varzi made his planned fuel stop. While the mechanics worked on the car, chain smoker Varzi jumped out and quietly smoked a cigarette. After the 1m27s stop Varzi rejoined the race, 11 seconds in front of Wimille, who relentlessly was chasing the faster Auto Union. Varzi drove a few faster laps increasing the gap again. Wimille eventually made his fuel stop as well and the gap to the leader increased once more. On the 22nd lap Etancelin made his fuel stop leaving third position over to Sommer. Fevrier also made a stop to replace a broken wheel on his Bugatti.
      On the 25th lap Rey missed the corner at Soucra, destroyed his left rear wheel and spun. The driver was not injuried but his Bugatti was in no condition to continue.
      On lap 26 Sommer, after having driven a good race, was the next retirement with a broken connecting rod. It is not entirely clear if he had already made his fuel stop before that, dropping back to fourth position, or not.
      After 27 laps Varzi was leading Wimille by 2m30s and Etancelin by 4m15s. Mablot (Bugatti) retired with a broken steering rod. After lap 30 Varzi's lead over Wimille was 2m37s:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)2h19m41s
2. Wimille (Bugatti)2h22m18s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)2h29m32s
4. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)2h34m03s?
5. Farina (Maserati)2h34mm32s

The race now continued in a quite monotonous way. Nothing could hinder a Varzi victory except for possibly the wind that came in gusts, blowing across the main straight from right to left and making the drivers' job difficult. After 35 laps Varzi's lead over Wimille was up to 2m57s. Some of the crowd already began to leave the stands.
      Suddenly on the straight at full speed Etancelin more felt than saw a thing flying through the air gracing his face. It was a part of a shock absorber that had come loose on his Maserati, fortunately without causing any harm.
      At the end of the 40th lap Varzi took the chequered flag with Wimille finishing second 3m49.6s behind. Etancelin, having used top gear for 25 laps, managed to take his Maserati to the finish but he had been lapped twice. Comotti took the only remaining Ferrari Alfa Romeo to a rather disappointing fourth position. He was followed by the Maseratis of Farina, Chambost and Hartmann. "Raph" was the last finisher.
      Varzi was carried in triumph to the official gallery, where the Resident General congratulated him and he was offered a bouquet of flowers in French and Italian colors.
      Varzi said that the race had not been long but difficult and that he would have liked it better if there had been no wind.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.34Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionA4.4V-16403h05m40.2s
2.36Jean Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8403h09m29.8s+ 3m49.6s
3.8Philippe EtancelinScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.7S-638
4.6Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-837
5.40Giuseppe FarinaGino RovereMaserati6C-343.7S-637
6.20Albert ChambostEcurie GirodMaserati8CM3.0S-835
7.48László HartmannL. HartmannMaserati8CM3.0S-834
8.32"Raph"B. de las CasasAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-832
DNF28Maurice MablotM. MablotBugattiT512.3S-8 >20steering rod
DNF16Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-826connecting rod
DNF44Pierre ReyP. ReyBugattiT512.3S-825wheel
DNF30Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8 >15
DNF50André FevrierA. FevrierBugattiT35C2.0S-8 >15
DNF4Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-812lubrication
DNF14Eugenio SienaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati8CM3.0S-89
DNF42Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-89engine
DNF26Benoît FalchettoEcurie BraillardMaserati26M2.5S-8~8
DNF24Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati8CM3.0S-8~6supercharger
DNF12Pietro GhersiScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8~6gearbox
DNF18Renato BalestreroGruppo San GiorgioMaserati8C3.0S-8~6
DNF22Robert BrunetEcurie BraillardMaserati8CM3.0S-84-6mechanical
DNF10Goffredo ZehenderScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.7S-62-6crash
Fastest lap: Achille Varzi (Auto Union) on lap 4 in 4m28.4s = 169.0 km/h (105.0 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 162.9 km/h (101.2 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 166.8 km/h (103.6 mph)
Weather: sunny, windy.

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Il Littoriale, Roma
Echo de Paris, Paris
La Stampa, Torino
L'Echo-d'Alger, Alger L'Express du Midi, Toulouse
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Petit Nicois, Nice
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Omnia, Paris

Star 6 May 1935: Luis Fontes (Alfa Romeo Monza 2.3L) wins the JCC International Trophy handicap race at Brooklands, England.
Star 11 May 1935: Donington Second Meeting at Donington Park, England.
Handicap races were won by P. Maclure (Riley 1.1L), H. G. Dobbs (Riley 1.6L) - two races, and Miss Fay Taylour (Frazer-Nash 1.5L). A five lap 1500cc scratch race was also held with following results:
1.Hector DobbsRiley1.565.69 mph
2.Kenneth EvansM.G.0.7
3Thomas Cholmondley-TapperBugatti1.5
E. W DobsonRiley1.1
Peter WhiteheadAlta1.1
J. H SmithM.G.1.1
"Tim D. Davis"Frazer-Nash1.5



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IX° GRAN PREMIO DI TRIPOLI

Autodromo di Mellaha (I), 12 May 1935
40 laps x 13.1 km (8.14 mi) = 524.0 km (325.6 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2René DreyfusScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
4Luigi PremoliL. PremoliMaserati8CM3.0S-8
6Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.7S-8
8Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
10Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.7S-8
12Eugenio SienaScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
14Goffredo ZehenderScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-34S-6
16Philippe EtancelinScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.3S-6
18Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8
20Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P3S-8
22Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
24Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionB4.4V-16
26Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.7S-8
28Pietro GhersiScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
30Giuseppe FarinaGino Rovere/Subalpina?Maserati6C-343.7S-6
32Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati8CM3.0S-8
34Archimede RosaA. RosaMaserati8CM3.0S-8(Note 1)
36Renato BalestreroGruppo San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8(Note 1)
38Piero TaruffiP. TaruffiMaserati8CM3.0S-8
40Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati6C/343.7S-6
42Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoBi-motore6.32x8
44Per-Wiktor WidengrenP-W WidengrenMaserati8CM3.0S-8
46Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
48Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionB4.4V-16streamliner? (Note 2)
50Guglielmo CarraroliG. CarraroliMaserati8CM3.0S-8
52Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.7S-8
54Felice BonettoF. BonettoAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
56Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoBi-motore5.82x8
58Earl HoweEarl HoweMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
60Marcel LehouxSEFACSEFAC2.82x4DNA - did not appear



Mercedes-Benz vs. Auto Union

The Tripoli Grand Prix, a Formula Libre event like the Tunis race the week before, was held on the Mellaha circuit, the fastest road circuit in the world at that time. As usual the state lottery demanded a large field of cars.
Entries:
The high prizes offered attracted the full GP elite with three Mercedes-Benz, two Auto Unions, Gino Rovere's and Scuderia Subalpina's Maseratis and a full Ferrari team with four Tipo B and two of the new "Bi-motore" cars.
      Varzi and Stuck obviously now raced Typ B cars in early 1935 configuration even if initial plans (as seen in Kirchberg's book) was to race the Tunis car and a streamliner (Note 2).
      The German cars showed their class during practice. Stuck's car was fastest with a speed of 220.4 km/h from Nuvolari's Bi-motore and Caracciola's Mercedes. The Maseratis and Alfa Tipo B's were nowhere near to that speed. Practice times did not count for places on the grid however.
     
Practice:

     
Race:
There was some fear before the start that the tyres would not stand the combination of hot weather and fast track during the race. Continental was well prepared with 300 tyres for the German teams alone. The Mercedes team was planning for a three stop tactics, Auto Union for two stops.
Pole Position
10
Fagioli

Mercedes-Benz

8
Magistri

Alfa Romeo

6
Barbieri

Alfa Romeo

4
Premoli

Maserati

2
Dreyfus

Alfa Romeo

18
Brivio

Alfa Romeo

16
Etancelin

Maserati

14
Zehender

Maserati

12
Siena

Alfa Romeo

28
Ghersi

Alfa Romeo

26
Caracciola

Mercedes-Benz

24
Varzi

Auto Union

22
Tadini

Alfa Romeo

20
Sommer

Alfa Romeo

36
Balestrero

Alfa Romeo

34
Rosa

Maserati

32
Soffietti

Maserati

30
Farina

Maserati

46
Pintacuda

Alfa Romeo

44
Widengren

Maserati

42
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo

40
Rüesch

Maserati

38
Taruffi

Maserati

54
Bonetto

Alfa Romeo

52
Brauchitsch

Mercedes-Benz

50
Carraroli

Maserati

48
Stuck

Auto Union

56
Chiron

Alfa Romeo

When the flag fell at 3 PM Caracciola's Mercedes took the lead followed by Nuvolari and Varzi. After three laps Varzi was up to second place as Nuvolari already was in the pits, the "Bi-motore" eating both fuel and tyres at an amazing speed. Two laps later Caracciola was also in the pits for a 20 second stop after a front wheel puncture. Auto Union cars took the command of the race with Varzi leading from Stuck, Fagioli and Caracciola. Von Brauchitsch was already out with engine trouble. Starting down in the sixth row he never really got into the race.
      Nuvolari made his second stop on lap 7 and on lap 8 Caracciola was also in again, the tread gone on the rear tyres. He rejoined the race in 10th position a lap behind the leader, but soon Caracciola unlapped himself. Situation after 10 laps:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)37m57s
2. Stuck (Auto Union)37m59s
3. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)38m36s
4. Farina (Maserati)40m17s
5. Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)41m00s
6. Etancelin (Maserati)41m12s
7. Zehender (Maserati)41m33s
8. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)41m34s
9. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)41m36s
10. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)41m37s
11. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)42m08s
12. Widengren (Maserati)43m27s

When Varzi and Stuck stopped at lap 11 and 12 Fagioli became the new leader. Brivio had a bad crash with his Alfa Romeo, finishing in the cactus woods. At lap 16 Caracciola was in the pits for the third time, but he was not the only one, the speed and the heat were putting tremendous pressure on the tyres.
      At half point Varzi was leading from Fagioli, Dreyfus and Caracciola. Suddenly Stuck's car caught fire. The driver in his closed cockpit was however unaware of it for quite a while driving on with huge flames coming out of the rear of the car. When Stuck finally realized the situation the brakes had already gone and the driver had great problems to stop the car. A shaken Stuck was helped out of the closed cockpit by nearby officials. Order after 20 laps:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)1h19m47s
2. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)1h21m35s
3. Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)1h22m18s
4. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h22m18s
5. Zehender (Maserati)1h22m23s
6. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h23m12s
7. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)1h23m40s
8. Farina (Maserati) 1h23m44s
9. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)1h23m46s
10. Widengren (Maserati)1h25m54s

Varzi continued in the lead chased by Nuvolari's Alfa and Caracciola's and Fagioli's Mercedes cars. At lap 27 Caracciola made his fourth and final pit stop and yet another pitstop dropped Nuvolari down to fourth.
      At 30 laps the order was:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)1h58m56s
2. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)1h59m38s
3. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)2h01m27s
4. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)2h02m42s
5. Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)2h05m38s
6. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h08m25s
7. Sommer (Alfa Romeo)2h08m47s
8. Zehender (Maserati)2h12m41s
9. Widengren (Maserati)2h12m44s

Nuvolari was not the one to leave Varzi in the lead unchallenged and he started the chase, going flat out. With 320 km/h on the straight he left the Mercedes cars standing and started attacking Varzi. The two Italians where racing side by side, banging wheels but then Nuvolari had to do yet another pitstop and Varzi could continue unchallenged. Caracciola and Fagioli followed a minute behind the Auto Union, and behind the two Mercedes cars came Farina in the 6C-34 Maserati, Nuvolari's Alfa and Étancelin with the other 6C-34. 35 laps:
1. Varzi (Auto Union)2h18m34s
2. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)2h20m35s
3. Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)2h21m44s
4. Dreyfus (Alfa Romeo)2h26m09s

But the duel had taking its toll on Varzi's tyres too and with 5 laps to go one of his rear tyres disintegrated just as he passed the pits and the Auto Union had to make almost a full lap on the rims to the reserve pit. The hub was jammed on the wheel and Caracciola took over the lead before the Auto Union team was ready with the change. Varzi came out of the pits and took up the chase. With one lap to go he had caught the Mercedes but then another tyre blew and the race was over. Caracciola took the flag for his first victory of a season that should become one of his greatest.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.26Rudolf CaracciolaDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.7S-8402h38m47.6s
2.24Achille VarziAuto Union AGAuto UnionB4.4V-16402h39m54.2s+ 1m06.6s
3.10Luigi FagioliDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.7S-8402h41m03.8s+ 2m16.2s
4.42Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoBi-motore6.32x8402h47m36.4s+ 7m48.8s
5.56Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoBi-motore5.82x8402h49m14.0s+ 10m26.4s
6.2René DreyfusScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-8402h49m15.4s+ 10m27.6s
7.20Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoTipo B/P3S-8402h50m20.8s+ 11m33.2s
8.14Goffredo ZehenderScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-34S-6382h51m43.4s
9.50Guglielmo CarraroliG. CarraroliMaserati8CM3.0S-8372h57m34.2s
10.22Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8372h58m49.2s
DNF34Archimede RosaA. RosaMaserati8CM3.0S-837
DNF36Renato BalestreroGruppo San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-835
DNF30Giuseppe FarinaGino Rovere/Subalpina?Maserati6C-343.7S-628carburettor
DNF16Philippe EtancelinScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.3S-624carburettor
DNF48Hans StuckAuto Union AGAuto UnionB4.4V-1620fire
DNF38Piero TaruffiP. TaruffiMaserati8CM3.0S-817
DNF8Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-816
DNF46Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-815
DNF18Antonio BrivioScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P33.2S-813crash
DNF28Pietro GhersiScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-811
DNF54Felice BonettoF. BonettoAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-87
DNF4Luigi PremoliL. PremoliMaserati8CM3.0S-86oil pump
DNF40Hans RüeschH. RüeschMaserati6C/343.7S-66oil pump
DNF52Manfred von BrauchitschDaimler-Benz AGMercedes-BenzW253.7S-85engine
DNF6Ferdinando BarbieriF. BarbieriAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.7S-84
DNF32Luigi SoffiettiL. SoffiettiMaserati8CM3.0S-84valve
DSQ44Per-Wiktor WidengrenP-W WidengrenMaserati8CM3.0S-83DSQ
DNF12Eugenio SienaScuderia SubalpinaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-82
Fastest lap: Rudi Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 38 in 3m34.2s = 220.2 km/h (136.8 mi)
Winner's medium speed: 198.0 km/h (123.0 mph)
Weather:

Footnote:
1. Entry lists have Balestrero as #34 and Rosa as #36 but picture and video of the Tripoli pit shows that #34 was a Maserati and #36 a Alfa Romeo Monza so I have swapped the race numbers (with thanks to Francesco Ferrandino).

2. A picture from the start seems to indicate it was NOT a streamliner after all.



XXXXXXXXX

IV ELÄINTARHANAJOT/DJURGĹRDSLOPPET

Eläintarharata - Helsinki (FIN), 12 May 1935
50 laps x 2.000 km (1.243mi)= 100 km (62.1 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

Class A, race cars
1Emil EloE. EloBugattiT35C2.0S-8
2Helmer CarlssonH. CarlssonAmilcarC61.1S-6
3Knut Gustav SundstedtK-G. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-8
4Karl EbbK. EbbMercedesBenz SSK7.1S-6
5Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
6Ivar LindhI. LindhBugattiT37A1.5S-4
15Henken WidengrenH. WidengrenAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
 
Class B, sports cars
7Johan RamsayJ. RamsayChryslerSpecial5.1S-6
8Gunnar ThorsellG. ThorsellChevrolet
9Einar AlmE. AlmFordSpecial3.6V-8DNS - failed scrutineering
10Asser WalleniusA. WalleniusFord
11Arvo SorriA. SorriChrysler
12Gunnar AnderssonG. AnderssonFordV-8
14Alexi PatamaA. PatamaFordSpecial



Karl Ebb's second home win

by Leif Snellman
Ebb (Mercedes-Benz) took the lead on the first lap of the fourth Finnish Grand Prix while Bjřrnstad (Alfa Romeo) stopped early at his pit and Henken Widengren (Alfa Romeo) first lost time behind Sundstedt's Bugatti and then retired with a gearbox trouble. Ebb now dominated the rest of the race to win from Sundstedt with Ramsay finishing third to win the sports car class.
Suomen Automobiili Klubi (SAK) did not want to take the financial risk to arrange the 1935 event. Instead Helsingin Moottori Kerho (HMK) was joined by Suomen Kilpa-ajajat ry (Finnish racing drivers' society) in the arrangements. As usual the event was held on Mother's Day on the same 2 km long circuit as before. This time the car race was divided into two classes, one for race cars and one for "sports cars", i.e. rebuilt specials, usually with American chassis and engines.
      The prizes for the top four finishers in the car classes were 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 & 1,000 Fmk in the racing class and 5,000, 2,500, 1,000 & 500 Fmk in the sports car class.
Entries:
Half of the field consisted of racing cars. From the seven entries four were from Sweden. The entry list included Finnish driver Karl Ebb with his old white Mercedes SSK and Norwegian Eugen Bjørnstad with his Alfa Romeo Monza, red with blue and white cross lines. (Ebb seems to always have used Englebert tyres on the SSK while one usually associates the German cars with Continental.)
      Per-Victor Widengren was at the Tripoli Grand Prix with a 3 litre Maserati, so his brother Henken came from England via Sweden to race Per-Victor's Alfa Romeo Monza, blue colored with a yellow bonnet. The car was totally unfamiliar to Henken.
      There were three Bugattis in the entry list. Ivar Lindh raced a blue T37A voiturette, Karl-Gustav Sundstedt a steel grey ex-Chiron T35B and Finnish driver Emil Elo had recently bought John Isberg's T35C "Blĺen" or "the blue one".
      The smallest car in the field was Helmer Carlsson's nice looking "firebrigade red" 600 kg Amilcar.
      The remaining entries, racing in their own class, consisted of rebuilt Chryslers, Fords and a Chevrolet. All drivers apart from Swede Gunnar Thorsell were from Finland. Thorsell's Chevrolet and Arvo Sorri's Chrysler were blue colored. Baron Ramsay raced S.P. J. Keinänen's Chrysler, prepared for the race by Keinänen. Einar Alm, whose notorious "tail Ford" had been banned from the race in 1934, had now cut off the tail of the car in an attempt to pass scrutineering.
Practice:
The five Swedish and the single Norwegian car with drivers and mechanics arrived onboard steamship SS Oihonna from Sweden om Thursday 4 p.m. Widengren had arrived earlier by plane and was waiting at the harbor and thus became witness of the accident when the steamer made an awful maneuver and crashed, creating a four meter long hole in the quay. Fortunately there was no damage to the ship, passengers or cargo and the cars were soon lifted ashore. The drivers had a chance to study the circuit by foot during Thursday and Friday but as the park and the roads were not closed there were no practice sessions before Saturday.
      The grid was decided from a 300m acceleration test. The exact time and place of the test was kept secret to prevent spectators gathering as there were limited safety arrangements. The event took place on the start-finish straight at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The drivers were alowed two attempts to set a time but most of them were satisfied with their first attempt. Bjřrnstad proved to be fastest followed by Sundstedt and Widengren. The full results can be seen on the grid table.
      After the acceleration test a one hour free practice session was held followed by an hour session for the motorcycles. During the session Elo, unfamiliar with his new Bugatti, braked too hard at the "death curve", lost control of the car and went off the track. The car made a forward somersault but luckily caught a telephone pole between a rear wheel and the body so that the car got struck upside down leaning against the pole with spare room for the driver to crawl out. A straw bale in front of the telephone pole had protected the driver from injuries. Several of the drivers were unfamiliar with the circuit and Andersson had several spins.
      Alm's Ford failed the scrutineering this year as well as the engine was not properly attached to the chassis. Andersson was allowed into the race only on the condition that he changed tyres.
Race:
Sunday sky was overcast with a chilly wind, but that did not hinder 26,650 paying spectators from arriving at the park. At 1:45 p.m. the traditional and popular railway train with its grandstand coaches departed from downtown to go to its position on the railway embankment overlooking the main straight where it arrived to the cheers of the spectators. At 2 p.m. the event started with the motorcycle races. The weather had improved a bit with the sun shining but it was still quite chilly. About 3:15 p.m. it was time for the car race and the 13 cars were driven from the Eläintarha athletics sports field, used as paddock, to the grid. Elo's Bugatti had been repaired during the night and showed no visible signs of the crash.
Pole Position
3
Sundstedt

Bugatti
13.2s

5
Bjørnstad

Alfa Romeo
13.1s

4
Ebb

Mercedes-Benz
14.4s

15
H Widengren

Alfa Romeo
13.6s

14
Patama

Ford
14.9s

7
Ramsay

Chrysler
14.8s

1
Elo

Bugatti
15.3s

6
Lind

Bugatti
15.0s

12
Andersson

Ford
16.4s

*


8
Thorsell

Chevrolet
18.0s

2
Carlsson

Amilcar
17.4s

11
Sorri

Chrysler
-

10
Wallenius

Ford
-

* Alm (Ford) 15.9s
 
Bjørnstad took the start but was immediately in trouble with an ignition problem and was passed by Ebb. The race order was Ebb, Bjørnstad, Sundstedt, Widengren, Ramsay, Lind, Patama, Andersson, Wallenius, Elo, Sorri, Thorsell and Carlsson. Bjřrnstad was also passed by Sundstedt and the Norwegian made a lengthy pit stop at the end of the first lap. On the last corner before the main straight Anderson's Ford went wide, overturned, and made a double somersault, the driver ending up in hospital with a fractured thigh. Elo's Bugatti was slow and had a strange engine noise. The only real challenger for Ebb was now Widengren, but he lost the second place to Sundstedt on one of the first laps as he was trying to get used to the unfamiliar Monza. Widengren had great problems to re-pass the blocking Bugatti driver. After some fist shaking and then a warning to Sundstedt from a flagman, Widengren finally went past at the main straight on lap 8 but had lost a lot of time to Ebb. The order after 10 laps:
1. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)12m09s
2. Widengren (Alfa Romeo)12m24s
3. Sundstedt (Bugatti)12m34s
4. Ramsay (Chrysler)12m34.8s
5. Patama (Ford)12m40s
6. Lindh (Bugatti)12m42s
7. Wallenius (Ford)12m53s
8. Carlsson (Amilcar)13m14s

After having lost 10 minutes in the pit, Bjørnstad rejoined the race without driver's cap and goggles. Once away he immediately became the fastest driver on the circuit driving 1m09s laps against Ebb's 1m11s. On lap 15 a gearbox trouble forced Widengren to retire, leaving Ebb to dominate the rest of the race. After 20 laps Ebb already held almost a one minute lead over Sundstedt, who was closely followed by Ramsay:
1. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)24m10s
2. Sundstedt (Bugatti)25m07s
3. Ramsay (Chrysler)25m08s
4. Patama (Ford)25m16s
5. Lindh (Bugatti)25m22s
6. Wallenius (Ford)25m24s
7. Carlsson (Amilcar)25m39s

Ebb continued to dominate and had already lapped all the other competitors at least once. After 30 laps he was leading by 1m37s. Ramsay was still challenging Sundstedt. Carlsson had passed Wallenius, whose engine was overheating. Situation after 30 laps:
1. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)35m57s
2. Sundstedt (Bugatti)37m34s
3. Ramsay (Chrysler)37m35s
4. Patama (Ford)37m38s
5. Lindh (Bugatti)38m00s
6. Carlsson (Amilcar)38m17s
7. Wallenius (Ford)38m18s

Wallenius made a pit stop to fill up the radiator and fell back in the order. Both Sorri (Chrysler) and Patama (Ford) were warned for reckless driving, the latter after having spun and stopped sideways on Nordenskiöld street, blocking the road.
      After about 35 laps Bjřrnstad, still being the fastest driver but 9 laps behind the leader, caught Ebb and followed him for some laps but then fell back 20 seconds as stones were thrown up in his face from the Mercedes. The order after 40 laps:
1. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)47m44s
2. Sundstedt (Bugatti)50m08s
3. Ramsay (Chrysler)50m10s
4. Lindh (Bugatti)50m27s
5. Carlsson (Amilcar)51m04s
6. Patama (Ford)51m05s
7. Wallenius (Ford)51m27s

Wallenius made yet another stop for water. In the minds of the referees Patama's driving had not improved and he was eventually black flagged.
      Ebb took the victory with Sundstedt second but almost two laps behind. During the last laps he had pulled away a bit from Ramsay, who was the winner of the sports car class and third overall. They were followed by Lindh in the voiturette Bugatti and Carlsson in his little Amilcar. Wallenius was second in the sports car class followed by a struggling Elo, who had lost almost seven laps to Ebb. Then followed Sorri, Bjřrnstad and Thorsell.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.4Karl EbbK. EbbMercedesBenz SSK7.1S-65059m34.2s
2.3Knut Gustav SundstedtK-G. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-8501h02m31s+ 2m57s
3.7Johan RamsayJ. RamsayChryslerSpecial5.1S-6501h02m48.2s+ 3m14s
4.6Ivar LindhI. LindhBugattiT37A1.5S-4501h03m24s+ 3m50s
5.2Helmer CarlssonH. CarlssonAmilcarC61.1S-6501h03m40.5s+ 4m06.3s
6.10Asser WalleniusA. WalleniusFord501h05m06s+ 5m32s
7.1Emil EloE. EloBugattiT35C2.0S-8501h07m38.6s+ 8m04.4s
8.11Arvo SorriA. SorriChrysler501h08m20s+ 8m46s
9.5Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8501h10m36s+11m02s
10.8Gunnar ThorsellG. ThorsellChevrolet501h11m21s+11m47s
DSQ14Alexi PatamaA. PatamaFordSpecial~45reckless driving 
DNF15Henken WidengrenH. WidengrenAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-815gearbox
DNF12Gunnar AnderssonG. AnderssonFord1crash 
Fastest lap: N/A
Winner's medium speed: 100.7 km/h (62.6 mph)
Weather: sunny but with a chilly wind.
In retrospect:
The fastest lap was not announced but one can guess it was made by Bjřrnstad with a time somewhere around 1m07s-1m08s.

This is one of those races were news reports differ a lot and one has to do educated guesses. Two newspapers listed times for every five laps but there are some major errors in the list. Especially Lindh lost a minute between laps 31-35 and then gained it back during the last five laps of the race. So either Lind indeed made a stop, not reported in any papers, and was then flagged off one lap early by mistake, or then there is a mistake in the lap tables for Lindh at laps 35, 40 & 45. I have assumed the latter, giving Lind 50m27s instead of 51m27s at 40 laps.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki
Hufvudstadsbladet, Helsingfors
Suomen Urheilulehti, Helsinki
Svenska Pressen, Helsingfors
Uusi Suomi, Helsinki



XXXXXXXXX

I CIRCUITO DI BERGAMO / COPPA CITTA DI BERGAMO

Circuito di Bergamo (I), 19 May 1935
70 laps x 2.92 km (1.81 mi) = 204.4 km (127.0 mi)



No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngine

2Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8
4Giuseppe FarinaGino RovereMaserati4CM2.5S-4
6Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8
8Luigi SoffiettiEcurie VersoixAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
10Eugenio SienaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati4CTR?1.5S-4
12Giovanni MinozziG. MinozziAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
14Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiT512.3S-8
16G. Cornaggia-MediciG. Cornaggia-MediciAlfa Romeo8C-23002.3S-8
18Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8
20Piero DusioScuderia SubalpinaMaserati8CM3.0S-8
22Giacomo ClericiG. ClericiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
24Ferdinando BarbieriF. SardiMaserati4CM1.5S-4
Felice BonettoScuderia SubalpinaMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNQ - did not qualify
Sergio CarnevalliS. CarnevalliBugattiT39A1.5S-8DNQ - did not qualify
Renato DaneseR. DaneseAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8DNQ - did not qualify
Pietro GhersiScuderia SubalpinaMaserati6C-343.7S-6DNQ - did not qualify
MoriniMoriniAlfa RomeoDNQ - did not qualify
Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8DNQ - did not qualify
Giuseppe TuffanelliG. TuffanelliMaserati4CM1.5S-4DNQ - did not qualify



The battle inside the town walls

by Leif Snellman
The race was run on a very tight circuit in the old walled medieval part of the city. Nuvolari led the race from start to finish with his Scuderia Ferrari Alfa. His team mates had a harder time, Pintacuda working himself up to third from a low start position and Comotti finishing fifth having lost three laps due to radiator repairs. Instead it was Farina in a 4-cylinder Maserati who was Nuvolari's main challenger, keeping up with Nuvolari's speed during the first part of the race and being the only other driver to do all 70 laps. Soffietti finished fourth in an Alfa Romeo Monza.
On 19 May the first Coppa Citta di Bergamo was held on a 2.92 km circuit in the old walled medieval "upper town" Citta Alta of the industrial city of Bergamo, some 30 km north-east of Milan. The Algerian Grand Prix, planned for the same day, had been scratched so there was no clash with any other race.
      Starting off at Piazza S. Agostino near former monastery of St. Agostino the circuit went clockwise between walls, with climbs and sudden drops and with some sneaky corners and at one point actually going through an archway. The course went like this: Piazza S. Agostino - porta S. Agostino - porta S. Giacomo - Colle Aperto - la Boccola - mura della Fara - Piazza S Agostino. The circuit was very tight is most places with few opportunities to pass. Due to the shortness of the circuit the race was limited to 12 cars.
Entries:
Scuderia Ferrari entered three Alfa Romeo P3s for Tazio Nuvolari, Gianfranco Comotti and Carlo Pintacuda, all three cars having 3.2 litre engines. Pintacuda's car had Dubonnet independent front suspension. The team also entered a 2.6 litre Alfa Romeo Monza for Mario Tadini. On this tight circuit Nuvolari used 16" tyres instead of the normal 18".
      Soffietti did not race his usual Maserati but an Alfa Romeo Monza. The car was red with white bonnet and claimed to be entered by a certain Ecurie Versoix from Switzerland.
      Renato Danese and Giovanni Minozzi, cousin to Alberto Ascari, entered Alfa Romeo Monzas as well, while marquis Cornaggia-Medici entered an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 stripped touring car.
      Scuderia Subalpina entered four Maseratis, a 6C-34 for Pietro Ghersi, two 8CMs for Felice Bonetto and Piero Dusio and a 1.5 liter 2-seater, possibly a 4CTR (?), for Eugenia Siena.
      Farina raced a Maserati 4CM with a 2.5 liter engine, probably entered by Gino Rovene, while 1.5 litre 4CMs were entered for Giacomo Clerici, Ferdinando Barbieri, and Giuseppe Tuffanelli.
      There were also two Bugattis entered by Sergio Carnevalli and Emilio Romano while someone named Morini entered an Alfa Romeo.
Practice:
With just 12 cars admitted the drivers actually had to qualify for a position in the race. Back in 1935 this was usually handled by running heats and a final but not in this case. Nothing is known of the sessions except for the results shown on the grid with times given by Sheldon, Nuvolari taking pole position with a time of 1m59.2s.
      However, it is interesting to notice that several nimble voiturette Maseratis qualified while for example Ghersi with the 3.7 litre 6C-34 failed to do so, showing that there was no advantage with a big engine on this circuit. Scuderia Ferrari driver Mario Tadini also failed to qualify.
Race:
Race day came with excellent weather and a decent number of spectators gathered around the circuit, especially near the start and finish at Parco della Fara. Among those present at the presidential box were Prince Adelberto, Duke of Bergamo, and speed record pilots Colonel Guglielmo Cassinelli and Leutnant Francesco Agello, the latter being the fastest man on earth at that time having done 709.2 km/h with a Macchi M.C. 72 seaplane. (The record still stands as the world's fastest by a propeller-driven seaplane.)
      The twelve cars lined up in five rows like this. Obviously new race numbers must have been given after qualifying. The race numbers used during practice/qualifying are not known.
Pole Position
4
Farina

Maserati
2m02.0s

2
Nuvolari

Alfa Romeo
1m59.2s

10
Siena

Maserati
2m09.4s

8
Soffietti

Alfa Romeo
2m04.8s

6
Comotti

Alfa Romeo
2m04.4s

14
Romano

Bugatti
2m10.0s

12
Minozzi

Alfa Romeo
2m09.4s

20
Dusio

Maserati
2m11.2s

18
Pintacuda

Alfa Romeo
2m10.4s

16
Cornaggia

Alfa Romeo
2m10.4s

24
Barbieri

Maserati
2m13.4s

22
Clerici

Maserati
2m11.4s

(Note 1)

At 3.30 p.m. the flag was dropped and the race was on its way. Nuvolari took an immediate lead followed by Farina, Comotti and Soffietti. Nuvolari made the first lap in 2m08s (85.4 km/h). He was closely followed by Farina and Comotti. The other competitors were unable to keep up with the trio. Nuvolari made the second lap in 2m03s. Further down the field a fight had developed between the 1.5 litre Maseratis of Siena and Barbieri. Barbieri managed to pass Siena on the fourth lap but the duel continued for several laps.
      Nuvolari made the first five laps in 10m 28.4s (83.6 km/h). Farina was still just 2s behind him. On the 6th lap Nuvolari went down to 2m01.2s (86.7 km/h) but Farina still managed to follow him closely, only losing 3 seconds to the leader during the first 10 laps. Comotti was 10 seconds behind and Soffietti in fourth position had lost over a minute. The race order:
1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)20m42.4s
2. Farina (Maserati)20m45.6s
3. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)20m55s
4. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)21m45s

On the 11th lap Nuvolari went even faster, setting a new lap record of 2m00.8s (87.0 km/h). On lap 13 Pintacuda passed Barbieri for 5th position. Comotti would soon lose 3 laps in the pit with radiator problems, giving Soffietti the third position. He was followed by Pintacuda, Barbieri and Minozzi. At 20 laps Nuvolari was leading Farina by 13 seconds with Soffietti the only other driver still on the same lap:
1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)41m11.6s
2. Farina (Maserati)41m24.6s
3. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)43m06s
4? Pintacuda (Alfa Romeo)
5? Barbieri (Maserati)43m34s

Nuvolari continued keeping up a high pace. After 30 laps his average speed was up to 85.3 km/h and eventually Farina started to lose ground. Minozzi had to retire his Monza with a broken axle and after 30 laps Pintacuda managed to pass Soffietti for third position but by now the duo was already a lap behind Farina. Comotti was charging through the field trying to make up for lost time. At half distance (35 laps) the situation was as follows:
1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h11m49.4s
2. Farina (Maserati)1h12m25.4s
3. Pintacuda (Alfa Romeo)1h14m57s
4. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)1m14m59s

The duel between Siena and Barbieri ended when the former retired with plug problems. By 50 laps Nuvolari held a 25s lead over Farina with Pintacuda third over 3 minutes behind:
1. Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)1h42m42.4s
2. Farina (Maserati)1h43m07s
3. Pintacuda (Alfa Romeo)1h46m14.3s
4. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)1h47m10.6s

On the 57th lap Barbieri crashed against a tree. The Maserati was badly damaged but Barbieri suffered only a slight knee injury. Near the end Dusio managed to pass Cornaggia for sixth position.
      On the 67th lap Nuvolari made a new lap record with a time of 2m00.4s (87.3 km/h).
      Nuvolari took a dominant victory, 2 minutes from Farina, who had done an excellent race throughout. Nuvolari's team mates Pintacuda and Comotti finished third and fifth. Soffietti was fourth with his Monza, Dusio 6th, Cornaggia-Medici 7th and Romano was classified as 8th as Barbieri had retired.

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/StatusDiff

1.2Tazio NuvolariScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8702h23m28.2s (Note 2)
2.4Giuseppe FarinaGino RovereMaserati4CM2.5S-4702h25m38.0s+ 2m09.8s
3.18Carlo PintacudaScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8682h23m53.0s
4.8Luigi SoffiettiEcurie VersoixAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8672h24m43.0s
5.6Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B3.2S-8672h25m09.8s
6.20Piero DusioScuderia SubalpinaMaserati8CM3.0S-8662h24m42.2s
7.16G. Cornaggia-MediciG. Cornaggia-MediciAlfa Romeo8C-23002.3S-8602h25m30.0s?
DNF24Ferdinando BarbieriF. SardiMaserati4CM1.5S-457crash
8.14Emilio RomanoE. RomanoBugattiT512.3S-8562h24m56.0s
DNF10Eugenio SienaScuderia SubalpinaMaserati4CTR?1.5S-450engine
DNF12Giovanni MinozziG. MinozziAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-821half shaft
DNF22Giacomo ClericiG. ClericiMaserati4CM1.5S-413oil pipe
Fastest lap: Tazio Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) in 2m00.4s = 87.3 km/h (54.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 85.4 km/h (53.1 mph) (Note 2)
Pole position lap speed: 88.2 km/h (54.8 mph)
Weather: nice and sunny.
In retrospect:
Farina's good performance at Bergamo might have been one of the factors for Enzo Ferrari's decision to sign him on as works driver for 1936. Farina's involvement with Scuderia Ferrari/Alfa Romeo would then go on through the war culminating in winning the F1 championship 1950.

Footnote:
1. Grid positions from La Stampa and photo evidence. Qualifying times are from Sheldon.

2. All three contemporary sports newspapars Il'Littoriale, La Stampa and Automobile-Revue give 2h23m28.2s as winner's result but the winning speed of 85.382 km/h given by all three papers corresponds to 2h23m38.2s! The results surely are copied from an official source but it is impossible afterwards to know whether a wrong number ("2 " becoming a "3") was used for counting the speed or if there was a writing error in the official results (with "3 " becoming a "2"). 2h23m28.2s would correspond to 85.451 km/h (if using three decimals).

Primary sources researched for this article:
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Il Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Special thanks to:
Piotr Podhajski



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© 2016 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 24.05.2016