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#3 1950 Indy 500

2021-04-02 00:00

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#3 1950 Indy 500

Domenica 28 Maggio 1950 il Gran Premio di Aix les Bains, disputatosi in tre prove (due eliminatorie e una finale), riporta un grande successo di pubbl

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On Sunday 28th May 1950, the Grand Prix of Aix-les-Bains, which unfolds through three trials (two elimination races and one final race), is a huge success in terms of attendance, despite the tricky weather conditions. The Ferrari driven by Raymond Sommer triumphs in the final race, after the mighty Parisian driver had already led his car to victory in the first elimination race. Roberto Vallone, the only Italian driver in the race, is not so lucky. While he was leading the second elimination race (won by American driver Schell), he went outside the track and stayed out too long before resuming the race; however, he managed to claim second place. Simultaneously, the Autodromo Gran Prix, at its third edition, was as unfortunate as the previous two ones. It was born under an unlucky star: two concurrent races, one in France and the other in Belgium, kept away contestants and teams that would have certainly joined the Monza race, which would have made the Grand Prix more engaging; Formula 2, which did not allow the 1500 cc compressor engine-powered Alfa Romeo to compete, Maserati’s lack of preparation on Fangio’s new car, who was forced to race with a Ferrari 2000 while sacrificing Bonetto, who gave away his car to him, and finally the botched participation of Maserati themselves, which registered only two cars and none of them finished the race. The only rivals to the fierce Ferrari batch were the Austrian Stuck with his AFM 2000 and the German Kralau with his BMW 2000, which were not enough to start a battle in great style.

 

Eventually, the Austrian retired on lap 24 due to a plain bearing failure while he was leading with a few minutes advantage and the German abandoned the race shortly after due to engine problems. The other foreign team, Platé, did not even show up at the start. As already said, Maserati did not do very well: Palmieri went outside the track on lap 6 of his category and greatly damaged his car, and Stagnoli’s vehicle suffered an outbreak of fire. None of them were any longer able to join the starting grid. Only Ferrari was left on the track dominating the race and the only technical concern was the behavior of the new car with a tubular chassis. The car was driven by Villoresi, who had obtained it in a draw, and due to his undisputed victory, in which he even got around Ascari, who finished second, it has to be affirmed that the new car had some good qualities and a lot could be expected from its future performances. The first elimination race was easily won by Villoresi. The second elimination race was more intense, due to the fight between Stuck and Ascari for the first place. The Austrian made it by 0.2 seconds and due to the rivalry between the two contestants, the time of this interval was faster than the previous one (162.781 km/h average speed against 160.584 km/h average speed). The repechage, due to the high-power cars damaged in the elimination races that were unable to join the race, unfolded with lower power cars, and Cortese, with the most powerful vehicle in the race, obtained an effortless win ahead of Delfino and Sighinolfi. At the start of the final race, all contestants except Cortese join the grid. Stuck takes the lead, who after lap 1 is overtaken by Ascari and in turn is overtaken by Villoresi.

 

Villoresi gains a huge amount of advantage and, as for the winner, there is no contest. Fangio, who started fifth and painstakingly gained fourth place, retires on lap 18 due to a burned head gasket. The fastest laps of the elimination races and of the final race are set by Villoresi, respectively with 2’14”2 and 2’15”0. The attendance is pretty low and the most interested person must have been the mysterious owner of the ticket K 00948, who thanks to Villoresi’s victory won 25 million lire. Probably, his owner is not present at the race because it appeared that this precious ticket was sold in Rome. Two days later, on Tuesday 30th May 1950, Johnny Parsons wins the 34th edition of Indy 500, which occurs in occasion of the Memorial Day. Parsons, who won the United States Auto Club championship in 1949, beat the speed record during the whole race until it was stopped after 340 miles due to a rainstorm. Parsons’s average speed is 124.002 mph. The only previous Memorial Day race that was suspended because of heavy rain was in 1926. The winner sets another record by passing the checkpoint after 200 miles at 126.319 mph, beating the previous record from 1939 (123.381 mph). 170,000 people are present at the classic race. The Italian drivers Farina and Rol did not join the race, even if they had announced long before that they would, since they could not obtain their special high-power cars in time.

 

Ludovico Nicoletti

 

Translated by Nicola Carriero​

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