VIII GROßER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND
Nürburgring (D), 28 July 1935
22 laps x 22.810 km (14.17 mi) = 501.82 km (311.82 mi)
Nuvolari defeated nine superior German grand prix cars.
by Hans Etzrodt
The 1935 German Grand Prix will always be remembered as Tazio Nuvolari's greatest race. In a monumental drive, the Italian beat nine superior German Silver Arrows with an inferior red Alfa Romeo. This year's
German string of eight victories was suddenly interrupted at the Nürburgring after a race with many position changes, producing the greatest upset that the Germans had ever received. The race was lost by
von Brauchitsch and Daimler-Benz. Caracciola led the first nine laps. Nuvolari held second place after lap one but fell back after he spun his car. He then fought his way back to the top and led for two laps
at mid race. Through no fault of his own, Nuvolari lost over one minute at the pit stop and dropped down to sixth place. At that time Fagioli held first place for one lap until Brauchitsch as of lap 13 held
the lead. Persistent fast driving brought Nuvolari again close to von Brauchitsch after lap 19. The German had to pay the prize for his tire-murdering driving style, when the left rear tire came apart on lap
22, only nine km from the finish. Nuvolari passed von Brauchitsch's stricken Mercedes, heading towards a well-deserved victory for Alfa Romeo. Stuck (Auto Union) finished second ahead of Caracciola
(Mercedes-Benz), Rosemeyer (Auto Union) with von Brauchitsch's Mercedes on the rim in fifth place.
The VIII German Grand Prix in 1935 was considered the most important of the big races and was the annual climax. The ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde) had organized the eighth German Grand Prix, but the DDAC
(Der Deutsche Automobil-Club e. V.) and the NSKK (National-Sozialistische Kraftfahr-Korps) were charged with the execution of this race. The German Grand Prix was to be run over 22 laps of the 22.810 km
Nordschleife. Two drivers could be entered for every car. Only racing cars complying with the present 750 kg formula were admitted. At close of entries on June 28, a total of 22 grand prix cars, from six nations
and six manufacturers were to do battle. Altogether there were 43,000 Reichsmark in prize money. Besides the Preis des Führer's, the victor received 20,000 RM, second 10,000 RM, third 6,000, fourth 4,000, fifth
2,000, and sixth 1,000 RM. Additionally, all drivers finishing received a valuable memorial prize.
The Auto Union team was back for the German GP after having missed Barcelona and Spa in order to cure their engine problems. They had Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi, Bernd Rosemeyer and Paul Pietsch registered as drivers with Hermann
Prinz zu Leiningen as reserve driver.
Daimler-Benz did not spare their efforts either and was present in full force with seven cars for Rudolf Caracciola, Luigi Fagioli and Manfred von Brauchitsch.
In addition they entered rebuilt 1934 cars for their junior drivers Hanns Geier together with Hermann Lang besides one extra 1934 car for practice. The 1936 prototype supposedly also was brought along to be tested during practice
but this could not be confirmed. The team had done 1000 km tests on the track the weeks before and was confident.
Scuderia Ferrari brought three red Type B Alfa Romeos with the proven 3.2-liter engine and new Dubonnet independent front suspension for Tazio Nuvolari, Louis Chiron and Antonio Brivio with René Dreyfus as the
Scuderia Subalpina had planned to come with their new V8-cylinder Maseratis but withdrew the cars two days before the race. Instead they arrived with the old red 6C 34 cars for Geoffredo Zehender and Philippe
Etancelin and an 8CM for Pietro Ghersi. Benato Balestrero, a private entry was officially entered by Gruppo San Giorgio with an older Alfa Romeo but in the race he drove a 3-liter Maserati.
Two more independent Maserati entries completed the field; one was the red, silver and green 8CM from Hungarian Laszlo Hartmann and the other a red and silver 8CM of the Swiss
Hans Rüesch. Italian Luigi Soffietti's Maserati with Pietro Ghersi at the wheel did not appear for the race. Antonio Brivio replaced Dreyfus who had become ill. Piero Taruffi drove the only Bugatti, a blue
T59 with 3.3-liter engine from Automobiles Ettore Bugatti, Raymond Mays arrived from England with two green ERA Voiturette cars equipped with 2-liter engines. The larger engines made the cars eligible to race
with the grand prix cars. Ernst von Delius was driving the second car.
Official practice started on Wednesday and took place daily from 9:00 to 12:00 AM and from 3:00 to 6:00 PM except on Saturday only from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The acceptance test, the last check and weighing of
the cars took place on Saturday from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the paddock.
Auto Union had encountered inexplicable engine maladies at the Eifelrennen and the French Grand Prix. They withdrew from the next races at Barcelona and Spa in order to cure their engine problems. Since July 11
they had rented the Nürburgring for one week to test the latest engine improvements to curb engine oil being pumped up to the combustion chambers. At the end of the week, Stuck and Rosemeyer drove a 32 lap race
simulation with two cars to test the durability of their improvements. Their average speed was higher than Stuck's winning average the previous year and Rosemeyer, who had been driving a racecar for only two
months, completed the distance almost as fast as Stuck. During Thursday practice Rosemeyer drove some very fast laps dressed in shorts and not wearing a cloth helmet.
Alfa Romeo accomplished only a few laps when they found a defect in their brake system which they corrected in a local garage. Their times were nothing earthshaking but it was apparent that in the twisty up
and down parts of the circuit the Alfas were faster than the Mercedes and Auto Unions. During Saturday practice Nuvolari tested Brivio's Alfa Romeo and was surprised that this car was much better than his own.
For the race on Sunday they exchanged cars.
The ERA of Mays had an engine with a new set of pistons, which had to be carefully run in. Von Delius drove too aggressively and crashed his ERA on Friday practice in the Junek turn after Breitscheid when he
skidded off over the embankment and hit a pine tree, which stopped the car from falling down a steep slope. Luckily, Delius was not injured, but the car needed a new rear axle, which arrived by special flight.
After its installation it was realized that the chassis was distorted too much, so it was decided to start with only one car, using the already run in engine from von Delius' car installed in the undamaged chassis
and that Mays would drive it.
Since Soffietti's Maserati did not show up, the entry was down to 20 cars. Because practice times were not officially announced, only unofficial practice times were given for Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo) and Rosemeyer
(Auto Union) 10m32s, Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) 10m35s and Pietsch (Auto Union) 10m47s.
Nothing exciting happened during practice besides the Delius crash, but then on Saturday afternoon the excitement became far greater at the acceptance test of the grand prix cars. When the cars had to be weighted,
it turned out that almost all German cars and a few foreign ones exceeded the regulatory 750 kg weight limit. Caracciola's car was first on the scale and Team Manager Neubauer was unpleasantly surprised. When
the Auto Union cars were weighed again, inconsistencies showed up as well. Finally it proved that the scale was faulty and in the end everything was all right.
During the whole night thousands of spectators had arrived from all directions on bicycles, cars, trucks, and buses. The morning fog was very visible in valleys and on hilltops with a fine misty rain and a cool
wind. An estimated 250.000 spectators had assembled around the ring plus those in the grandstands. They were not aware that they would witness a classic, one of the most famous Grand Prix races of all time. The most
expensive tickets for numbered grandstand seats cost 20 RM (Reichsmark) and unnumbered seats were 15 RM.
At the South Turn it cost 3 RM and tickets in general admission were 1 RM.
The promoter had planned to determine the order of the starting grid for the first time by an acceleration test. The idea was to avoid a slower car holding up the faster competitors at the start of the Grand Prix.
The driver would embark at the regular start line through the Südschleife and finish at the extended start line on the back straight, a total of about 1.4 km. This concept was opposed by the drivers who stated that
the end line was too close to the following left Nordkurve and drivers would have to brake before reaching the line. They feared that some eager drivers trying to obtain a good starting position might brake too
late and consequently spin over the embankment of the turn. The promoter had to accept their reasoning and the starting positions were then determined by ballot as usual. As the 11:00 AM starting time approached
on Sunday morning, it was raining hard. The 20 cars lined up in eight rows:
A short time before the start it stopped raining. The old starting method of a waved flag was for the first time replaced by light signals. First the red light came on for Attention and Stop. Then yellow lit up meaning
the start would take place within 15 seconds and at the green the race was started. Nuvolari from the first row shot immediately into the lead, but Caracciola from the third row caught up with him as they passed the pits
and led into the Südkurve. Last to get away were the Auto Unions of Stuck and Pietsch which had both stalled on the grid. Stuck's car in the first row had rolled forward slightly when the engine was started two minutes
before the start and first gear was engaged. The car had to be rolled back and that's when the engine stalled. Stuck raised both arms and his mechanic Rudolf Friedrich came to Stuck's aid and walked next to the Auto Union
to help, which was not allowed and was also very dangerous. When the cars started seconds later, the mechanic was still standing there and three Maseratis went around the stalled Auto Union. Varzi in row five, accelerating
through the oil smoke, heavy rain and water spray, just missed Stuck's stranded car but grazed the mechanic, who was knocked to the ground and lay there unconscious. Friedrich was brought to the nearby Adenau Hospital with
concussion and fractured skull, his memory of the last hour before the accident completely erased. He remained in hospital for four weeks before being released. After the field was gone, the cars of Stuck and Pietsch were
finally push-started and had a hard time passing the other cars.
Lap 1 - It stopped raining. After more than 12 minutes, the cars appeared with Caracciola in the lead with a lap average of 122.4 km/h. He was 12 seconds ahead of Nuvolari's red Alfa, who was followed very closely
by the Silver Arrows of Fagioli, Rosemeyer and von Brauchitsch. Further behind trailed the two Alfas of Chiron and Brivio, then Varzi's Auto Union, Taruffi's Bugatti, then the Mercedes cadet drivers Lang and Geier
and Stuck and Pietsch with their Auto Unions. Geier tried to get around Lang without success and Stuck who had caught up with Geier's Mercedes lost a lot of time because he was unable to pass him due to the water
spray. The five Maseratis and the ERA formed the tail end of the field. They were simply not fast enough while Balestrero did not complete the lap; he spun off the road in his Maserati and crashed. Etancelin
stopped at the pits to change plugs on his Maserati. The order at the end of the first lap was as follows:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||12m07.4s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||12m19.8s|
|4.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||12m23.0s|
|6.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||12m29.2s|
|7.||Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||12m37.2s|
|8.||Varzi (Auto Union)||12m40.6s|
|12.||Stuck (Auto Union)||13m06.6s|
|13.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||13m10.2s|
Lap 2 - Nuvolari had been able to keep up with Caracciola on the rain-soaked circuit, and while trying to close up to the German on the second lap, he spun his Alfa at the Bergwerk turn, a sharp uphill right turn,
ending backwards on the berm. The car was pointing towards the oncoming cars, so he drove it downhill in the wrong direction and then turned it round. Altogether he had lost 25 seconds, enabling Fagioli, Rosemeyer,
Brauchitsch and Chiron, who had all been within 10 seconds of him, to pass the stranded Alfa. Next Rosemeyer and Brauchitsch both passed Fagioli, consequently by the end of lap two Caracciola led Rosemeyer by over
12 seconds, followed by Brauchitsch, Fagioli, Chiron and Nuvolari, who was now in sixth place. Varzi was seventh ahead of Lang, Taruffi's Bugatti, Geier, and the Auto Unions of Stuck and Pietsch. Stuck had a hard
time getting passed Geier through the water spray. Hartmann and Etancelin (again) stopped at the pits to change spark plugs on their Maseratis. Brivio failed to finish the second lap as the Alfa's differential
broke. The order after the second lap was:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||24m04.2s||11m56.8s lap time|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||24m16.8s||11m53.8s|
|5.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||24m35.8s||12m06.6s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||24m46.4s||12m26.6s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||24m53.0s||12m12.4s|
|11.||Stuck (Auto Union)||25m35.0s||12m28.4s|
|12.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||25m37.0s||12m26.8s|
Lap 3 - Caracciola's lead over Rosemeyer had come down to 7 seconds on a drying circuit, because the Auto Union driver was making fastest laps. Fagioli had passed Brauchitsch for third place. It took Stuck until
lap three to find a way around the two Mercedes cadet drivers and Taruffi's Bugatti. At that time Stuck was almost two minutes behind the the leader Caracciola. The order after the third lap was as follows:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||35m52.4s||11m48.2s lap time|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||35m59.2s||11m42.4s|
|5.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||36m32.6s||11m56.8s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||36m51.4s||12m05.0s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||36m54.6s||12m01.6s|
|8.||Stuck (Auto Union)||37m42.2s||12m07.2s|
|11.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||37m56.8s||12m19.8s|
Lap 4 - As the road dried, Rosemeyer in second place broke the lap record in 11m35.6s which placed him just 4 seconds behind Caracciola. Chiron's Alfa Romeo picked up pace and passed Brauchitsch's Mercedes for
fourth place. Etancelin's Maserati in last place was lapped by the five front runners. The order after four laps was as follows:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||47m30.8s||11m38.4s lap time|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||47m34.8s||11m35.6s|
|4.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||48m16.0s||11m43.4s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||48m40.0s||11m48.6s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||48m44.4s||11m49.8s|
|8.||Stuck (Auto Union)||49m36.8s||11m44.6s|
|11.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||50m16.6s||12m19.8s|
Lap 5 - The battle for the lead continued but Rosemeyer was unable to close the gap to Caracciola. For the third time Etancelin changed plugs on his Maserati. Taruffi in the slow Bugatti retired after lap 4
with a broken connecting rod. After five laps Caracciola held the lead at 115.8 km/h average speed with the field in the following order:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||59m04.8s||11m34.0s lap time|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||59m10.0s||11m35.2s|
|4.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||59m52.4s||11m36.4s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||60m16.2s||11m36.2s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||60m25.2s||11m40.8s|
|8.||Stuck (Auto Union)||61m22.0s||11m45.2s|
|11.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||62m44.2s||12m27.6s|
Lap 6 - Everyone expected Rosemeyer to appear close to Caracciola on lap six but instead he arrived 28s behind the Mercedes with a wobbling rear wheel. In his chase after Caracciola, Rosemeyer had spun off and
slid into the ditch at Breidscheid. He bent a rear wheel and collected so much grass and mud in the engine compartment that the linkage jammed and caused the throttle to stick. At the end of lap six Rosemeyer
headed for his pits after his off-track excursion. Even with a jammed throttle, Rosemeyer kept ahead of Fagioli who was third followed by Brauchitsch, but Chiron retired at the concrete North turn with a broken
piston. The only Alfa Romeo now left in the race was that of Nuvolari who was now in fifth place with the departure of Chiron. After six laps the order was:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||1h10m42.6s||11m37.8s lap times|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h11m10.2s||12m00.2s|
|5.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h11m57.8s||11m41.6s|
|6.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h12m14.4s||11m49.2s|
|7.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h13m07.2s||11m45.2s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||1h15m36.8s||12m52.6s|
Lap 7 - At the beginning of lap 7, Rosemeyer stopped at his pits where he received a new right rear wheel and had his accelerator linkage repaired, all of which dropped him back to fifth place. At the end
of lap 7, Caracciola led Fagioli by 33 seconds, followed by Nuvolari, Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer, Varzi and a distant Stuck in seventh place ahead of Lang, Geier, Pietsch, Ruesch and Zehender. The remaining drivers,
Mays, Hartmann, Ghersi and Etancelin were lapped. Hartmann changed the plugs on his Maserati for the second time. Ghersi also changed plugs on his Maserati, losing two positions. As the circuit dried lap times
tumbled, especially those of the more powerful German cars. Nuvolari also made up time and was fastest in the winding and downhill sections, where the higher engine power of the German cars was ineffective. The
flying Mantuan had made up eight seconds on Brauchitsch and in a bold move went past the German on the outside of the Karussell. At start and finish line he was four seconds ahead of Brauchitsch, a total of 12
seconds in one lap taken away. At the end of lap 7, Varzi in sixth place stopped at his pit and explained that he could no longer drive as he was very concerned about the condition of the mechanic that he had
accidently run into at the start. After seven laps the order was as follows:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||1h22m37.8s||11m55.2s lap time|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h23m25.8s||11m28.0s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h23m37.4s||12m27.2s|
|6.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h24m21.0s||12m06.6s|
|7.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h24m46.2s||11m39.0s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||1h29m27.4s||13m50.6s|
Lap 8 - At the end of lap eight on the almost dry road three Mercedes were in front, Caracciola, Fagioli and von Brauchitsch, who had regained third place after repassing Nuvolari at the long straight before the
Döttinger Höhe. At the finish line he was more than three seconds ahead of the Alfa with a new lap record of 11m16.6s. Nuvolari's lap time was 11m23.2s, but he knew that his Alfa was capable of more. Rosemeyer
followed five seconds behind in fifth place with a distant Stuck now in sixth place after he had passed Varzi during his pit stop. The Mercedes duo of Lang and Geier followed next, ahead of Pietsch, Ruesch and
Zehender. After eight laps the field was in the following order:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||1h34m14.0s||11m36.2s lap time|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h34m49.0s||11m23.2s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h34m54.0s||11m16.6s|
|6.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h36m12.4s||11m26.2s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h37m44.2s||13m23.2s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||1h42m07.0s||12m39.6s|
Lap 9 - The tension was increasing. Caracciola was still in the lead but Fagioli had fallen to fifth place when he was passed by Nuvolari, Brauchitsch, and Rosemeyer. Nuvolari having made up almost half a minute
on Caracciola by making the fastest lap of the race so far in less than 11 minutes and was now less than eight seconds behind the German. Von Brauchitsch was third, eight seconds ahead of Rosemeyer and Fagioli
followed a further 10 seconds behind. The first four were now close together, only 17 seconds covering them. Rüesch changed plugs on his Maserati. Zehender in twelfth place had now been lapped by the six
leading drivers. Quite out of the blue, Etancelin in last place, made a sub-12 minutes lap, which was faster than the six cars immediately ahead of him, one of which was Pietsch's Auto Union. After nine laps
the field was in the following order:
|1.||Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz)||1h45m39.4s||11m25.4s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h45m46.8s||10m57.8s|
|4.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h45m56.6s||11m02.6s|
|6.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h47m28.4s||11m16.0s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||1h49m19.6s||11m35.4s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||1h54m07.2s||12m00.2s|
Lap 10 - There was great excitement at the end of lap 10 because Nuvolari in the old Alfa Romeo had passed Caracciola and was in the lead, while Rosemeyer in third place crossed the line almost side by side with
Caracciola, attacking the Mercedes ahead and von Brauchitsch was in their slipstream, less than a second behind Rosemeyer. But the major excitement was that the first four cars were covered by just over 10 seconds
and the three silver arrows were separated by a few meters. The Swiss Ruesch with the Maserati in eleventh place was now also lapped. After ten laps Nuvolari held the lead at 117.3 km/h average speed ahead of the
German armada in the following order:
|1.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||1h56m42.2s||10m55.4s lap time|
|3.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||1h56m51.8s||10m55.2s|
|6.||Stuck (Auto Union)||1h58m35.4s||11m07.0s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h00m49.8s||11m30.2s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||2h06m18.4s||12m11.2s|
Lap 11 - There was even bigger excitement at the end of lap 11, when the leading three cars stopped practically simultaneously, first Nuvolari, then 3 seconds later Rosemeyer and one second behind him Brauchitsch
who had passed Caracciola during the eleventh lap. They were followed 19 seconds later by Caracciola who had fallen to fourth place. In the grandstand the crowd excitedly stood up in their seats, gesticulating
and shouting wildly while mechanics changed rear wheels and refueled the waiting cars in the shortest possible time. Finally, after only 47 seconds, Brauchitsch left first, next Rosemeyer 1m15s, then Caracciola
1m07s while the Alfa was still standing there after 1m27s. In the excitement Nuvolari's mechanics broke the refueling pump handle and then reverted to pouring the fuel from churns through a large funnel. Nuvolari
jumped out of his car like a flash and was understandably upset and shouted at his mechanics to hurry up, walking and jumping around. Eventually, after 2m14s the unlucky Nuvolari left to begin his chase. Not only
had he lost the lead but he also lost1m27s to his contenders and had fallen to sixth position. Lang and Geier also made their pit stops. Zehender changed plugs on his Maserati while Hartmann's Maserati retired.
Here is the order after 11 laps but before the pit stops:
|1.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h07m37.6s||10m55.4s lap time|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h07m40.8s||10m49.0s|
|6.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h09m38.6s||11m03.2s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h12m27.2s||11m37.4s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||2h18m30.4s||12m12.0s|
12 - Fagioli had taken the lead, but he stopped at the end of lap 12 for rear wheels and fuel. Brauchitsch, who was driving flat out, now took first place. Rosemeyer and Caracciola followed after about 40 seconds.
Stuck was next but he also stopped for fuel and tires. With a light fuel load - and a dry track Stuck completed his first sub 11-minute lap. In sixth place was the flying Nuvolari, who was trying to close up to the
leaders. Pietsch in tenth place also pitted. Delius had taken over Mays ERA, but the car developed a misfire and was finally retired after 12 laps when the order had become as follows:
|1.||Fagioli (Mercedes-Benz)||2h19m42.6s||11m14.0s lap time|
|3.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h20m27.2s||12m46.4s|
|5.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h20m37.2s||10m58.6s|
|6.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h20m51.8s||13m14.2s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h23m47.2s||11m20.0s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||2h30m35.8s||12m05.4s|
13 - Brauchitsch was leading, 1m09s ahead of Rosemeyer with Caracciola and Nuvolari close behind. Fagioli and Stuck followed at a distance. Pietsch in tenth place was lapped by the four front runners. Brauchitsch's
lap in 10'33.8" was the fastest so far. Fagioli lost three minutes while stopping at his pits to have the friction shock absorbers tightened. The order after 13 laps was as follows:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2h30m22.6s||10m33.8s lap time|
|2.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h31m32.0s||11m04.8s|
|4.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h31m41.6s||10m49.8s|
|6.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h32m43.0s||12m05.8s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h35m27.8s||11m40.6s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||2h44m00.0s||13m24.2s|
14 - At the beginning of lap 14, Rosemeyer stopped at his pit to attend to the accelerator linkage, which was still binding. That stop not only dropped him to fifth place but he was no longer a contender for
victory. Brauchitsch was still going flat out and drove the fastest lap of the race in 10m32s at 130 km/h average speed. He was leading Caracciola by 1m30s with Nuvolari only six seconds behind. Stuck held
fourth place after he had passed Rosemeyer. Fagioli was sixth ahead of Varzi who pitted at the end of lap 14 for reserve driver Leiningen to take over.
Disturbed about the accident with Stuck's mechanic, Varzi did not want to continue.
Varzi, a sensitive driver, had clearly been disturbed
by the incident with the mechanic, and had driven a lustless race. The order then was:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2h40m54.6s||10m32.0s lap time|
|3.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h42m30.2s||10m48.6s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h43m38.4s||10m55.4s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h44m16.4s||12m44.4s|
|7.||Varzi (Auto Union)||2h47m45.6s||12m17.8s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||2h56m08.6s||12m08.6s|
15 - On lap 15, Brauchitsch and was 1m37.4s ahead of Nuvolari, who had overtaken Caracciola. Both were driving at an incredible pace. From the pits Neubauer signed to Brauchitsch to slow down. The first
five were all cutting laps under 11 minutes and Rosemeyer - after his throttle was fixed - was only three seconds slower than Nuvolari. Caracciola, Stuck, and Fagioli could not keep up the pace of the two drivers
in the lead but Rosemeyer could with a lap of 10m46.4s. After 15 laps von Brauchitsch held the lead at 119.7 km/h average speed when the order was as follows:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||2h51m36.4s||10m41.8s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||2h53m13.8s||10m43.6s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||2h54m29.8s||10m51.4s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||2h55m02.8s||10m46.4s|
|7.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||3h01m23.4s||13m37.8s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||3h08m09.4s||12m00.8s|
16 - Brauchitsch was now 1m26.8s ahead of Nuvolari, who had gained 10.6 seconds in one lap. The Mercedes crew held pit sign for Brauchitsch to slow down. There was no change in the order except Rosemeyer made
another pit stop and Lang slowed down before retiring after the sixteenth lap. The order then was:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3h02m33.6s||10m57.2s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h04m00.4s||10m46.6s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h05m22.8s||10m53.0s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h05m51.2s||10m48.4s|
|7.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||3h13m16.4s||11m53.0s|
|11.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||3h21m58.8s||13m49.4s|
17 - Brauchitsch was still in the lead, but was now only 1m13.2s ahead of Nuvolari. The Italian had gained 13.6 seconds in this lap. As was later reported by reliable corner workers, Nuvolari drove with a
vengeance. At certain corners he tore entire grass berms to shreds, skidded and side-slipped, straightened out the car again but indeed matched the speed of the German leading group. On lap 17 he not only
matched their speed, but he was faster than them. Since lap 14, when Brauchitsch drove the fastest lap, Neubauer had given him repeatedly signs to slow down. Caracciola was third, followed by Stuck, Rosemeyer
and Fagioli, while Geier, Varzi/Leiningen, Rüesch and Pietsch were already lapped. The order after 17 laps was as follows:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3h13m32.2s||10m58.6s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h14m45.4s||10m45.0s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h16m13.8s||10m51.0s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h16m41.6s||10m50.4s|
|8.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||3h25m12.2s||11m55.8s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||3h34m26.0s||12m27.2s|
18 - Brauchitsch lead had shrunk to just 47 seconds over of Nuvolari. Nuvolari made up 17 seconds in a single lap. Unless Brauchitsch was deliberately to preserve his car, it looked as if Nuvolari might be
able to regain the lead in the few remaining laps. The order remained the same, except that Rosemeyer had passed Fagioli. The order after 18 laps looked like this:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3h24m43.0s||11m10.8s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h25m30.0s||10m44.6s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h26m56.6s||10m42.8s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h27m31.4s||10m49.8s|
|8.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||3h37m18.8s||12m06.6s|
|10.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||3h46m56.6s||12m30.6s|
19 -Brauchitsch had gained momentum and was now 53.2 seconds ahead of Nuvolari, who drove at an incredible pace and had made up 42.4 seconds since lap 14. With the very real threat of Nuvolari, Brauchitsch
suddenly put in a fast lap, after he had slowed down, adhering to pit signs shown to him. There was a gap of 59.4s to Caracciola in third place, followed by Stuck, Rosemeyer and Fagioli. Pietsch was handicapped
with a faulty fourth gear and could only use third and fifth gears on his Auto Union. Despite this problem he was able to pass Rüesch in the fastest Maserati. Since the second lap Etancelin in his Maserati had
been driving at the very end of the field and when he retired after the19th lap, he had already been lapped twice and had only completed 17 laps. The order after 19 laps was as follows:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3h35m31.2s||10m48.2s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h36m24.4s||10m54.4s|
|4.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h37m44.2s||10m47.6s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h38m25.6s||10m54.2s|
|8.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||3h49m10.0s||11m51.2s|
|9.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||3h59m24.8s||12m28.2s|
20 - Brauchitsch drove the twentieth lap in 10m58s while Nuvolari's time was 10m47.2s. Nuvolari had chiseled a further 11s from Brauchitsch's lead, which was now down to only 42.4 seconds. When Brauchitsch
passed the pits, he pointed to his rear tires; he had seen the breaker strip. Neubauer interpreted the gesture to mean that Brauchitsch would stop on the following lap to have the rear wheels changed. Accordingly,
Neubauer made arrangements for the mechanics to be ready waiting with spare wheels, jack and copper hammer. Stuck had caught up with Caracciola and passed him into third place, which was the only position change
during lap 20. Caracciola who was the only one of the leading drivers running laps at over 11 minutes was shown pit signals to go faster. The order after 20 laps was now:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3h46m29.2s||10m58.0s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h47m11.6s||10m47.2s|
|3.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h48m25.4s||10m41.2s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||3h49m19.0s||10m53.4s|
|8.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||4h01m01.2s||11m51.2s|
|9.||Pietsch (Auto Union)||4h11m47.6s||12m22.8s|
21 - Brauchitsch lapped even faster than before. He did not stop at the pits as expected by his shocked team waiting in suspense. All drivers had fallen further behind including Nuvolari, who was now 45.2s behind
Brauchitsch, who was signaled from his pit, to slow down. They were obviously aware of a tire problem, having also seen the visible breaker strip on the left rear tire. Pietsch, Rüesch, Zehender and Ghersi were
all two laps behind, meaning they were still on their 19th lap and therefore are no longer shown with those drivers on lap 21:
|1.||Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||3h57m13.4s||10m44.2s lap time|
|2.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||3h57m58.6s||10m47.0s|
|3.||Stuck (Auto Union)||3h59m24.6s||10m59.2s|
|5.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||4h00m20.2s||11m01.2s|
|8.||Varzi/Leiningen (Auto Union)||4h15m35.6s||14m34.4s|
22 - On the last lap at the Karussell the track radio announcer reported that Nuvolari was only ten seconds behind Brauchitsch. Minutes full of tension faded away and then Nuvolari's flying red Alfa appeared,
taking the checkered flag first to a dead silence from the grandstands, such was the disappointment of the stunned crowd. But then the Italian was met by tremendous cheers from the crowd. What had happened to
the nine German racing cars, all of them superior machines? The great little man from Mantua had beaten them all with an outstanding driving performance. The victorious Nuvolari was followed 1m38.6s later by
Stuck in the Auto Union, who came second in a fantastic drive from one of the last places at the start. Caracciola finished third followed by Rosemeyer's Auto Union and finally von Brauchitsch who had fallen to
fifth place. As his Mercedes went into the Karussell the left rear tire raptured. Von Brauchitsch had continued on the rim only to see the Alfa Romeo pass and win. With half a kilometer to go
the right rear tire burst as well and Brauchitsch had to see three more cars pass his hobbling car.
He slowly crossed the line on the left rear rim with the right rear tire flat and in shreds. He drove past his pits, not to show his disappointment and was so depressed, he was weeping.
Geier's Mercedes and the Auto Union of Varzi/Leiningen were one lap behind and were flagged off. The order after 22 laps was as follows:
|1.||Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||4h08m40.2s||10m51.6s lap time|
|2.||Stuck (Auto Union)||4h10m18.8s||10m54.2s|
|4.||Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||4h12m51.0s||12m30.8s|
There was an embarrassing moment at the victory ceremonies as the organizers confident about a German victory had only the German national anthem available. Fortunately Nuvolari always brought his own record
to the races! It was of course the "Marcia Reale", not the post-war "Fratelli d'Italia, l'Italia s'è desta".
|1.||12||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||22||4h08m40.2s|
|2.||1||Hans Stuck||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||22||4h10m18.8s||+ 1m38.6s|
|3.||5||Rudolf Caracciola||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||22||4h11m03.1s||+ 2m22.9s|
|4.||3||Bernd Rosemeyer||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||22||4h12m51.0s||+ 4m10.8s|
|5.||7||Manfred von Brauchitsch||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25B||4.0||S-8||22||4h14m17.4s||+ 5m37.2s|
|6.||6||Luigi Fagioli||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25A||4.0||S-8||22||4h15m58.6s||+ 7m18.1s|
|7.||8||Hanns Geier||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25A||3.4||S-8||21||4h11m47.8s||- flagged|
|8.||2||Achille Varzi||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||21||4h15m35.6s||- flagged|
|9.||4||Paul Pietsch||Auto Union AG||Auto Union||B||5.0||V-16||20||4h11m47.6s||- flagged|
|10.||21||Hans Rüesch||H. Rüesch||Maserati||8 CM||3.0||S-8||20||4h12m22.2s||- flagged|
|11.||16||Goffredo Zehender||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.3||S-6||20||4h14m43.2s||- flagged|
|12.||18||Pietro Ghersi||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||20||4h19m29.4s||- flagged|
|DNF||17||Philippe Etancelin||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.3||S-6||19||4h13m14.4s||- engine|
|DNF||9||Hermann Lang||Daimler-Benz AG||Mercedes-Benz||W25A||3.4||S-8||16||engine|
|DNF||10||R. Mays / E. von Delius||H. W. Cook||ERA||B||2.0||S-6||12||misfire|
|DNF||20||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||8 CM||3.0||S-8||10||ignition|
|DNF||14||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||5||differential|
|DNF||23||Piero Taruffi||Automobiles E. Bugatti||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||4||engine|
|DNF||15||Antonio Brivio||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||1||differential|
|DNF||11||Renato Balestrero||Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio||Maserati||8C 3000||3.0||S-8||0||crash|
Fastest lap: Manfred von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz) on lap 14 in 10m32.0s = 129.9 km/h (80.7 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 121.1 km/h (75.3 mph)
Weather: rain at start, intermittent rain showers, cloudy.
|von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)||10m32.0s||14|
|Stuck (Auto Union)||10m41.2s||20|
|Nuvolari (Alfa Romeo)||10m43.6s||15|
|Rosemeyer (Auto Union)||10m46.4s||15|
|Varzi (Auto Union)||11m20.0s||20|
|Chiron (Alfa Romeo)||11m36.4s||5|
|Leiningen (Auto Union)||11m51.2s||19|
|Pietsch (Auto Union)||12m00.2s||9|
|Brivio (Alfa Romeo)||12m37.2s||1|
During the early laps of the race, Geier tried to get around Lang but without success. Stuck who had caught up with Geier was unable to pass him due to the water spray.
Our thanks go to Hugo Boecker who provided much more information about this incident, as published in the Wuppertaler Generalanzeiger of 2 August 1935: "A section of the German press
reported that a penalty had been levied on the Mercedes-Benz driver Geier during the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Korpsführer Hühnlein responded that this had happened without ONS authorization,
which was a violation of the normal procedure. Mercedes-Benz had subsequently appealed against the penalty. The matter is currently under investigation and a decision will be made by Korpsführer Hühnlein."
Wuppertaler Generalanzeiger 15. August 1935: Hans Geier penalized. The ONS announced: "At the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring the sporting commissionaires announced a penalty against
H. Geier (start number 8) regarding his impeding another driver. Geier's entrant, Daimler-Benz, had placed an appeal with the ONS against this penalty. As a result of this appeal, and the subsequent
investigation by the president of the ONS, it has been confirmed that during the initial laps after the start, Stuck (start number 1) was obstructed by Geier (start number 8), even if it was
unintentional. As a result of the embarrassing attention that was given to this lapse of driving discipline, the ONS president has overruled the appeal by the entrant. Unfortunately, after the
race, several ill-informed conclusions had been made by the general public and especially by the press, in particular that without Geier's obstruction another driver would have won. The ONS has
the duty to strongly reject such groundless conclusions especially if they were aimed at belittling a foreign champion's honestly gained victory."
The true reason for the German defeat: a freely translated extract from A-Z Motorwelt.
Continental Tires: Before the race, the almost 60 year old Carl Dietrich, head of the Continental Tire Racing Department, gave the answer to the tire situation. Dietrich, already a generation ago, had
been driving mechanic of Mercedes race driver Camille Jenatzy in the Gordon Bennett races. At the end of Saturday practice, the experienced Dietrich had a meeting with the Daimler-Benz team management to discuss
their number one problem, tires. Since the Mercedes were the most powerful cars with 445 hp, their tires were more stressed than Auto Union's with only 375 hp. After some fast laps by Caracciola and von Brauchitsch
the wear of the rear tires was measured with the result that the left rear tire was worn a bit more than the right. This was due to the particular load in some sharp corners. Dietrich explained that Caracciola with
his calm, elegant driving style would get along with one tire change during the race. After inspecting the tires of Brauchitsch's car, he pointed out to Brauchitsch and Neubauer obvious heavy tire wear especially on
the left rear tire. The damages were sliding and braking marks, which went down to the casing, rendering the tires useless. He concluded that if Brauchitsch was going to drive that fast in the race, he would
definitely have to change twice because of the higher heat buildup. The tires had to endure temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius (212 F). It became dangerous, when the casing under the rubber layer heated up to
over 120 degrees (248 F), which caused separation of the rubber tread from the casing, since the India rubber could not withstand these temperatures. Synthetic rubber for race tires did not yet exist in 1935.
Manfred von Brauchitsch and Daimler-Benz:
Up to the end of lap 11, during the first half of the race, Brauchitsch's tires lasted because lap times were slow on a wet and drying circuit. After his quick tire
change, von Brauchitsch inherited the lead, did his excellent mid-race sprint, and established the fastest lap on lap 14. The tire-wear increased because of that record lap. At the end of lap 19, the white
breaker strip was already visible at the left rear tire. Since lap 14, Neubauer had given him repeatedly signs to slow down. At the end of lap 20, Brauchitsch was aware of his tire condition because when he
passed his pits, he pointed towards his rear tires. Neubauer interpreted his sign language that his driver would stop the following lap to change tires. Neubauer then ordered the mechanics to prepare for a
quick tire change. They brought the spare wheels out of the pit and had a jack and copper hammers ready for action. To the disbelief of a stunned Mercedes team, Brauchitsch then passed the grandstands at full
speed at the end of lap 21. He must have changed his mind, believing more in his own luck than in his mechanics speed.
The Mercedes team however, neglected to order Brauchitsch into the pits. His mid-race pace to facilitate an advantage of 1m27.5s at the end of lap 15 was stunning. Since he drove at such fast a pace, it should
have been obvious to Neubauer that the tires were now in serious danger. A tire change including the time of stopping and accelerating would take at least one minute. Had his team stopped him at around lap 18,
and given him new tires, von Brauchitsch would have been the deserved winner. He would then have been prepared for the hottest battle with Nuvolari since the Italian's tires were also worn down to the casing at
the end of the race. What made this defeat so tragic was the fact that it happened to Mercedes of all racing teams, which was acknowledged to have the best and most reliable organization in the world at its disposal.
A sure victory was given away because of an avoidable organization mistake, also because of the undisciplined temperament of von Brauchitsch.
What was wrong with Rudi Caracciola?
Rudi Caracciola led commandingly from the start of the race. After lap six, it became obvious that with each lap Caracciola became slower and slower. The normally relaxed and
upright sitting Rudi became from lap to lap smaller and smaller in his seat. His movements, hand signals, and head nodding to the pits became more and more tired. No doubt, Caracciola had become seriously sick
behind the wheel and was unable to participate in the battle for the lead. For that reason Dr. Gläser, the medical caretaker of the German drivers, immediately received Caracciola at the finish. Caratsch
complained about attacks of weakness, which at times had become so intense during the race, that he could not make out the circuit. For a time he had seen blue and black in front of his eyes, he had seen double
images and had only continued to save at least one good place for his company.
Dr. Gläser finally diagnosed that Caracciola had a large tape-worm. Monday evening at the Hotel Eifeler Hof in Adenau, on doctor's orders, he ate a sour marinated herring and on Tuesday he was released from his
Additional notes by Leif Snellman:|
Another Neubauer story:
According to Alfred Neubauer in his book Männer, Frauen und Motoren this was the event when Paul Pietsch (in the book called "Peter Paulsen") found out that his wife was having a affair with Achille Varzi and the
two drivers had had a private duel during the race, banging wheels. However, according to
Pietsch in the book Doppelsieg: "Neubauer had made this whole story up. Because Varzi had fallen in love only at the Nürburgring, at the Grand Prix. At this point of time nobody besides the two (Ilse and Varzi)
knew about this of course, not me and especially Neubauer not at all. I learned about the affair only in the fall when my former wife told me."
A theory existed that Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo had a 3.8-liter engine installed, but this assumption proved incorrect because the 3.8-liter Alfa Romeo engine was a bit longer and did not fit into the chassis of Nuvolari's car,
as confirmed by Alfa Romeo historian and engineers. See for example Simon Moore in an article in Motorsport - May 2008.
(A special thanks to Francesco Ferrandino for providing me with that article.)
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
A-Z Motorwelt, Brno
DDAC Motorwelt, München
Der Nürburgring, Adenau
Il LITTORIALE, Roma
Motor Sport, London
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Autocar, London
Special thanks to:
XI GRAND PRIX DU COMMINGES
St Gaudens (F), 4 August 1935
2 heats of 10 laps x 11.005 km (6.838 mi) = 110.05 km (68.38 mi)
Final: 15 laps x 11.005 km (6.838 mi) = 165.08 km (102.57 mi)
Private driver beats Scuderia Ferrari
by Leif Snellman
The race was run in two 10 lap heats which in fact were unnecessary as all competitors went on to the 5 lap final. Sommer in his private Alfa Romeo won the first heat as Scuderia Ferrari
driver Chiron got a puncture. Chiron's team mate Comotti won the second heat. In the final the Scuderia Ferrari drivers immediately got in trouble with Comotti retiring and with Chiron
dropping so far back that despite being fastest on the track he could only reach fourth position in the end. Lehoux led until lap five when Sommer passed him to go on to take the
victory. Lehoux' Maserati run out of fuel just before the finish line and "Raph" and Hartmann in their private Maseratis passed him to finish 2nd and 3rd.
For 1935 l'Automobile Club du Midi had changed the format of the race. Instead of the 35 laps done in 1933 and 1934 it was now to be run with two 10 lap heats plus a 15 lap final.
The following prizes were provided: 5000 Fr, 3000 Fr and 1000 Fr for the top three finishers in each heat. In the final the winner received 25,000 Fr, second 15,000 Fr, third 10,000 Fr,
fourth 7,000 Fr, fifth 5,000 Fr, sixth 3,000 Fr and seventh 1000 Fr.
The race was held on the same day as the Coppa Ciano so naturally the entry list suffered a bit.
The Scuderia Ferrari team once more divided their effort with four cars appearing at Livorno while they sent two Tipo Bs of the earlier type without independent front suspension to
St. Gaudens for Gianfranco Comotti, who had won the 1934 event, and for Louis Chiron. In addition to that Tadini also raced a seventh Scuderia Ferrari Tipo B at the Grossglocker
hillclimb the same weekend.
Raymond Sommer entered his private Tipo B (#5003) as did "Raph" (#5006). Both cars were of the early narrow type with added bodywork added to follow the 1934 rules. It is not known
if Raph's car was red or blue at that time. Sommer had a new engine after the old one had blown up during the Belgian Grand Prix. Motor Sport speculated that the new one might possibly
be of a 3.2 litre type.
Once again the Scuderia Subalpina team, representing Maserati, was expected to show up with their new V-8RI cars and once again there was disappointment as Philippe Etancelin and Goffredo
Zehender came with their old 6C-34s. The team almost failed to arrive as their lorry broke down twice on the way to St. Gaudens, first at Limoges and then at Cahors.
Count Villapadierna entered two yellow Maserati 8CMs for himself and for Marcel Lehoux while László Hartmann was to race his own Maserati 8CM.
Mlle. Hellé-Nice entered her blue Alfa Romeo Monza and Mme. Itier raced a voiturette Bugatti T51 (#511142).
Jean-Pierre Wimille and possibly also Robert Benoist were present at St. Gaudens waiting, but Automobiles Bugatti failed to send a car for them.
Practice started on Friday afternoon. The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers were as expected fastest with Chiron making a lap of 4m09s, three seconds faster than Wimille's lap record from 1934,
and Comotti doing 4m20s. Other practice times were: Lehoux 4m23s, Zehender 4m34s, Hartmann 4m57s, Raph 5m06s, Itier 5m49s and Hellé-Nice 5m27s. Sommer, who needed to run in his new engine,
did not make any timed laps.
On Saturday all drivers bettered their times. Chiron went down to 4m03s reaching an average of 163 km/h to take pole position in heat 1. His team mate Comotti made the second fastest time
of 4m11s for a pole position in heat 2. The rest of the drivers were assigned alternately to the heats according to their practice times, Sommer (4m12s) going to heat 1, Lehoux (4m16s) to
heat 2 and so on. The Saturday practice times for all drivers can be seen on the heat grids below.
With just eleven cars present all participants had guaranteed a position in the final. So the heats were only about the prize money and for deciding the grid positions in the final.
The sun was obscured by mist that had descended from the surrounding mountains as the cars lined up at the bottom of the slope before the grand stand for the first race start at 2 p.m.
The cars climbed up the slope past the grand stand with Chiron in the lead. Chiron made the first lap in 4m16s and he was followed by Sommer, Etancelin, Hartmann, Raph and Itier.
It was expected that the Scuderia Ferrari driver would dominate the event so it came as a huge surprise when Chiron stopped after the second lap because of a puncture on the left
rear tyre. Sommer was now in lead followed by Etancelin, Raph and Hartmann. After a tyre change that lasted 34 seconds Chiron returned to the race in fifth position, 1m07s behind
the new leader. The order after three laps:
|1.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||13m01s (152.2 km/h)|
|3.||Raph (Alfa Romeo)|
|5.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
At the fourth lap Sommer passed the stand with a fair gap to Etancelin, then followed Raph and Hartmann. Then there was a bigger gap before Chiron arrived while Itier was last.
Chiron had taken up the chase on Hartmann and made the fourth lap in 4m14s.
On the fifth lap Chiron passed Hartmann for fourth. Chiron gained another 17 seconds on Sommer during that lap but the latter was in no danger, having made 5 laps in 21m37s keeping
up an average speed of 152.7 km/h.
Chiron still increased his pace and made the sixth lap in 4m10s passing Raph to gain third position.
On the eighth lap Raph lost his fourth position as well as he was passed by Hartmann. Chiron closed in further on the leader making the fastest lap of the race with a time of
4m09s (159.1 km/h) but it was clear that unless something unexpected happend he would not be able to reach neither Sommer nor Etancelin.
The race continued the two last laps without incidents. So the first heat was won by Sommer from Etancelin and Chiron.
|1.||28||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||10||42m56.2s|
|2.||6||Philippe Etancelin||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||10||43m11.2s||+ 15.0s|
|3.||2||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||10||43m25.4s||+ 29.2s|
|4.||38||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||10||45m35.4s||+ 2m39.2s|
|5.||18||"Raph"||"Raph"||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||10||46m02.2s||+ 3m06.0s|
|6.||34||Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier||Mme. Rose-Itier||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||9|
Fastest lap: Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo) on lap 8 in 4m09s = 159.1 km/h (98.9 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 153.8 km/h (95.6 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 163.0 km/h (101.3 mph)
There were only five competitors in the second heat that started 30 minutes after the finish of heat 1.
Zehender took the lead of the start but by the end of the first lap Comotti had taken control of the race making the first lap from a standing start in 4m16s, the same time that Chiron
had done in the first heat. After Comotti made lap 2 in 4m15s he immediately got a pit signal to take it easy. He was followed by Lehoux and Zehender while Villapadierna and Hellé-Nice
already were far behind. Comotti pulled away from Lehoux by a few seconds a lap. Halfway through the race after five laps the situation was as follows:
|1.||Comotti (Alfa Romeo)||21m25s (154.2 km/h)|
|5.||Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)||24m45s|
There were no changes in the order and the heat victory went to Comotti followed by Lehoux and Zehender. (Note 1)
|1.||4||Gianfranco Comotti||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||10||43m03.2s|
|2.||24||Marcel Lehoux||Scuderia Villapadierna||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||10||43m32.6s||+ 29.4s|
|3.||8||Goffredo Zehender||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||10||45m52.8s||+ 2:49.6s|
|4.||26||José de Villapadierna||Scuderia Villapadierna||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||10||46m30.4s||+ 3:27.2s|
|5.||36||Mlle "Hellé-Nice"||Mlle "Hellé-Nice"||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||9|
Fastest lap: Gianfranco Comotti (Alfa Romeo) on lap 2 in 4m15s = 155.4 km/h (96.5 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 153.4 km/h (95.3 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 157.8 km/h (98.1 mph)
The 15 lap final started at 4.45 p.m.
| (Note 2)|
Etancelin took the lead followed by Lehoux, Comotti, Zehender, Sommer, Raph and Hartmann but during the first lap both Etancelin and Comotti had car troubles and fell back. So at the end of the lap the order was:
|1.||Lehoux (Maserati)||4m18s (153.6 km/h)|
|2.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||4m21s|
|5.||Raph (Alfa Romeo)|
|8.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)|
Already Scuderia Ferrari's chances to win the event had decreased dramatically. Comotti retired with a broken drive axle and Chiron's engine was misfiring and he had to make a 2m45s stop to change plugs and returned
to the race in last position.
Just like in the first heat Chiron found himself chasing the rest of the field. He made the third lap in 4m08s. On the next lap he passed both Itier and Hellé-Nice for eighth position.
Lehoux continued in the lead but soon the Maserati driver could see Sommer's blue Alfa in his mirror. After a fierce duel in which the drivers were banging wheels Lehoux had to see Sommer get past to
take the lead on the fifth lap. The race order after five laps:
|1.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||21m15s (154.3 km/h)|
|4.||Raph (Alfa Romeo)||22m10s|
|8.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)|
Chiron went still faster and made the fifth lap in 4m06s. On the sixth lap Etancelin, who had struggled with engine problems, made a long stop and dropped down the order. Then Chiron lost everything he had gained as he
was forced to make another pit stop for adjustments and he found himself once again in last position. The race order after seven laps:
|1.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|4.||Raph (Alfa Romeo)|
|7.||Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)|
|10.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
On the eighth lap Etancelin and Chiron gained two positions by passing the lady duo. Chiron made the lap in 4m04s and that proved to be the fastest lap of the race. On the next lap he passed Etancelin for seventh
position. The situation after ten laps:
|1.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)||42m24s (155.7 km/h)|
|4.||Raph (Alfa Romeo)||44m12s|
|7.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)|
At the front Lehoux was unable to keep the pace of Sommer, who started to pull away by a few seconds a lap. Chiron had passed Villapadierna but he had lost his earlier speed and he found himself struck behind
Hartmann. Zehender made a short stop and Raph moved up to third. The race order after 13 laps was like this:
|1.||Sommer (Alfa Romeo)|
|3.||Raph (Alfa Romeo)|
|6.||Chiron (Alfa Romeo)|
|9.||Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)|
Zehender retired on the fourteenth lap so Hartmann moved up to fourth and Chiron to fifth.
After 15 laps Sommer, who had made a brilliant race, took the chequered flag to win the Comminges Grand Prix. The spectators then started to wonder what had happened to Lehoux. Finally he appeared, but he was
cruising at 30 km/h and at the bottom of the slope before the grand stand the Maserati came to a standstill out of fuel. A frustrated Lehoux tried in vain to push his Maserati uphill to the finish line less
than 200 meters further on while he had to see one car after another pass him. So it was the day of the privateers with Sommer, "Raph" and Hartmann on the top, while Chiron finished fourth, five seconds behind Hartmann.
|1.||28||Raymond Sommer||R. Sommer||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||15||1h03m46.2s|
|2.||18||"Raph"||"Raph"||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||15||1h06m40.8s||+ 2m54.6s|
|3.||38||László Hartmann||L. Hartmann||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||15||1h07m47.4s||+ 4m01.2s|
|4.||2||Louis Chiron||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||15||1h07m52.2s||+ 4m06.0s|
|DNF||24||Marcel Lehoux||Scuderia Villapadierna||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||14||no fuel|
|5.||26||José de Villapadierna||Scuderia Villapadierna||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||14|
|6.||6||Philippe Etancelin||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||14|
|7.||36||Mlle "Hellé-Nice"||Mlle "Hellé-Nice"||Alfa Romeo||Monza||2.3||S-8||14|
|8.||34||Anne-Cecile Rose-Itier||Mme. Rose-Itier||Bugatti||T51A||1.5||S-8||13|
|DNF||8||Goffredo Zehender||Scuderia Subalpina||Maserati||6C-34||3.7||S-6||13|
|DNF||4||Gianfranco Comotti||Scuderia Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||3.2||S-8||1||rear axle|
Fastest lap: Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo) on lap 8 in 4m04s = 162.4 km/h (100.9 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 155.3 km/h (96.5 mph)
1. According to Motor Sport Zehender lost the oil pressure and had to make a pit stop to fix the oil pump, dropping to fifth, and then climbing back to third position. This is not reported by any other newspaper
and it is contradicted by L'Auto's report. But in fact Zehender did the second half of the race 1m32s slower than the first half for some reason. There is more odd stuff in Motor Sport's report about the final.
There are some other odd things in Motor Sport's report of the final.
2. Grid according to L'Auto with order according to finishing time in heats and with the pole position to the right in heats and final as in Paul Sheldon's black books. Automobil Revue has a mirror image
with some other differences.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Echo de Paris, Paris
La Croix, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Il Littoriale, Roma
Le Petit Nicois, Nice
Motor Sport, London