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#7 1950 Italian Grand Prix

2021-03-29 01:00

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#1950, Fulvio Conti, Ludovico Nicoletti,

#7 1950 Italian Grand Prix

Quando nel 1947 l'Automobll Club barese lanciò sui rettifili della Fiera del Levante la prima edizione del Gran Premio di Bari, i pugliesi accorsero i

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Quando nel 1947 l'Automobll Club barese lanciò sui rettifili della Fiera del Levante la prima edizione del Gran Premio di Bari, i pugliesi accorsero in massa nella capitale della regione perché non avevano mal visto una corsa automobilistica sulle loro strade: con l'entusiasmo poi di questa gente, l'influenza fu tale che venne battuto ogni primato d'incasso e di affluenza di pubblico. Vinse allora - e fu per lui l'ultima volta in terra italiana - Achille Varzi, che contese fino all'ultimo la vittoria al compagno di scuderia dell’Alfa Romeo Consalvo Sanesi. L'anno seguente Achille Varzi era di nuovo alla partenza per l'ultima sua corsa in patria prima della tragedia di Bremgarten, ma per il primo posto ci fu un'indimenticabile lotta, conclusasi soltanto all’arrivo, tra l'argentino Chlco Landl, vlncitore su Ferrari 2000, e Felice Bonetto, al volante della veloce ma poco resistente Cisltalia. Lo scorso anno la Ferrari di Ascari dominò il lotto dei concorrenti. Quest'anno sembrava che il quarto Gran Premio Città di Bari non si potesse correre: c'erano difficoltà d'ogni genere. L’avvocato Francesco Chieco, presidente dell'ACI barese e ideatore della gara, tanto ha lottato e tanto ha fatto perché nel venticinquennio di fondazione del sodalizio da lui guidate la corsa avesse luogo. Ora la risposta delle case e del piloti sembra quasi un plebiscito di comprensione e di amicizia. Sette Nazioni - Italia, Argentina, Svizzera, Francia, Belgio, Inghilterra e Thailandia (col principe Bira) - porteranno al traguardo di partenza il fior fiore dei gioielli meccanici delle case costruttrici europee. Sarà la rivincita di Reims, in primo luogo rivincita per Giuseppe Farina contro la sfortuna avuta nella prova francese.

 

Le nuovissime Alfa Romeo, con Fangio a capogruppo, le nuove Maserati 1500, le ancora sconosciute Talbot (mancherà però Etancelin, infortunato), le Ferrari 3300 guidate da Ascari e Villoresi, le tre HMW dello sfortunato ma audacissimo ventenne Moss, che al circuito di Caracalla diede brividi alla folla, domenica 9 Luglio 1950, di mattina, sotto il sole tropicale di Bari (i bollettini annunciano 38 gradi all'ombra), giocheranno il tutto per tutto per ottenere la vittoria Bari è già da stamane in agitazione come nei giorni della sua Fiera settembrina. Non più un posto negli alberghi, grande animazione quasi da giorno di gran festa nelle sue strade, e previsione dell'accorrere di una folla immensa ed entusiasta come quella pugliese, che ad ogni grande manifestazione sportiva risponde con slancio da neofita. La capitale delle Puglie vive la sua grande giornata di vigilia: c'è persino una specie di totalizzatore, e Giuseppe Farina gode il favore del pronostico. Le vie di Bari sono gremite da una folla immensa, tanto che sembra di vivere uno del giorni classici della grande fiera settembrina: non un posto negli alberghi, code ai ristoranti, bar affollati. Il quarto Gran Premio automobilistico di Bari vedrà tutte le Puglie rappresentate lungo il veloce anello del suo circuito che per massima parte si svolge su rettifili del lungomare. Il ministro Petrilli darà la partenza a guidatori delle sette nazioni. Per treno e per aereo sono giunte le vetture e i piloti: Farina, Ascari, Villoresl, Fangio, Bira, Bonetto, Cortese, Fischer, Moss, Gonzalez, Vallone e altri di secondo piano. Il Presidente della Repubblica Italiana ha inviato agli organizzatori una grande coppa d'argento per il vincitore, e premi sono giunti da ogni parte d'Italia, persino dall'ACI di Sanremo. La sagra pugliese dei motori si presenta sotto gli auspici più felici, e un nome corre sulle labbra di tutti: Giuseppe Farina. Il popolare pilota torinese troverà sulle rive dell'Adriatico un pubblico di tifosi quale non poteva forse immaginare neanche nella sua città natale.

 

E infatti, domenica 9 Luglio 1950 continua la passeggiata dell'Alfa Romeo. Pur avendo avuta una storia drammatica, il quarto Gran Premio automobilistico di Bari non trasmette emozioni per quanto riguarda i due primi posti: Giuseppe Farina, scattato con una bruciante partenza in testa al lotto dei quindici concorrenti, porta alla vittoria Io suo velocissima Alfa Romeo, inseguito come un'ombra dal compagno di squadra Juan Manuel Fangio. Soltanto dal quinto al quattordicesimo giro l'argentino ha superato l'asso torinese, per cedergli poi definitivamente il comando fino al termine della gara che ha visto assieparsi lungo i 5.54 chilometri del circuito una folla entusiasta di oltre 60.000 persone. L'affluenza di pubblico e l'incasso non sono stati gli unici record a crollare: Farina infatti ha abbassato anche il primato ufficiale sul giro, ed anche la media oraria complessiva della corsa è stata superata. Al termine della corsa tutti i rivali più diretti dei piloti della casa milanese sono doppiati due volte e il vincitore taglia il traguardo finale con 45 secondi di vantaggio su Fangio, fermatosi al penultimo giro ai box per un malinteso sulla segnalazione dei meccanici, mentre per tutta la durata dei 310 chilometri soltanto poche decine di metri separano le due macchine. Giuseppe Farina vince senza chiedere alla sua potente vettura il massimo sforzo - i tempi delle prove erano stati nettamente migliori - dato che il fondo stradale sdrucciolevole consiglia la prudenza. Appassionante invece è la più equilibrata lotta per le piazze d'onore tra le Ferrari di Villoresi (sostituito poi al volante da Ascari al ventesimo giro) e di Cortese, la H.W.M di Moss, la Maserati di Bira la Talbot, di Levegh.

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Scomparsa a due terzi della gara la vettura di Maranello per in conveniente meccanico, il ventenne pilota inglese si è classificato ottimo terzo resistendo all'incalzante finale del francese che è riuscito a conquistare il quarto posto davanti a Franco Cortese, dopo una lotta a ruota a ruota durata per quasi tutti gli ultimi dieci giri. Sono questi cinque piloti ad entusiasmare maggiormente la folla perché durante tutta la gara si sorpassano vicendevolmente ripetute volte, restando praticamente in gruppo per tutti i trecento chilometri. Giuseppe Farina, partito con l'unanime favore del pronostico, viene portato in trionfo al termine della gara disputata sotto un sole torrido, rinfrescata a tratti dalla brezza marina. Il quarto Gran Premio Bari, organizzato con signorilità e perfezione dall'ACI barese ha avuto però una storia quasi drammatica prima che il ministro Petrilli abbassasse bandierina dello starter. Giovedì mattina, infatti, la Ferrari aveva telefonato l’ACI dicendo ai suoi dirigenti che avrebbe rinunciato alla corsa: c'erano dei dissensi sull'ingaggio e il team di Maranello che non ha ancora messo punto le nuove vetture, ha colto l’occasione per annunciare la propria astensione. Fino a sabato mattina, tra Bari e Modena le telefonate tra gli organizzatori e Enzo Ferrari recalcitrante continuavano a ripetersi a ogni ora e si deve alla passione e all'autorità di Renzo Castagneto, direttore della prova, se dalla città emiliana sono partiti all'ultimo momento Ascari e Villoresi col furgone della Ferrari che aveva a bordo una delle nuove macchine. Il gruppo giungeva così a Bari alle 6:00 del mattino di domenica, a cinque ore dall'inizio della gara e i piloti potevano provare sul circuito soltanto per pochi giri senza poter forzare.

 

Scongiurato un pericolo ne nasceva tuttavia un altro: il ritiro della Talbot. Il Gran Premio era stato fissato per un totale di settanta giri; il questore di Bari, però, chiedeva nella tarda serata di sabato che la durata della gara venisse ridotta a soli sessanta giri in quanto temeva di fiaccare troppo gli agenti di servizio data alta temperatura e la loro permanenza di lunghe ore sotto il sole perché il circuito non gode di un solo filo d'ombra. Dopo animate discussioni l'ACI di Bari accettava la richiesta e comunicava la decisione ai team soltanto nella prima mattinata di domenica. La Talbot protestava energicamente e minacciava il ritiro, perché la minor durata comprometteva la prova delle sue macchine; la vettura francese, asserivano i tecnici, ha bisogno di un percorso lungo in quanto il motore più si scalda e più gira e maggiormente si fa veloce. In secondo luogo la riduzione consentiva all'Alfa Romeo un solo rifornimento (che viene compiuto a tempo di primato sia per Farina che per Fangio in 23 secondi), mentre i francesi contavano molto sulle due soste ai box obbligatorie per i rivali. Anche qui Renzo Castagneto si è adoperato a lungo e all'ultimo momento la Talbot si è così schierata regolarmente alla partenza. Peccato che Brignard, che aveva la macchina più veloce, abbia dovuto abbandonare dopo appena duecento metri per rottura della pompa dell'olio. I tecnici della Talbot hanno poi mantenuto in gara anche la vettura del belga Claes, ritarda per noie alle candele, per poter collaudare e controllare il nuovo motore. Non il più piccolo incidente turba la giornata e rimane assopito anche il draconiano ordine del prefetto di abbattere sul posto qualsiasi cane anche in braccio o al guinzaglio trovato all'interno del circuito. L’anno scorso, infatti, Villoresi era stato costretto al ritiro perché, investendo un cane che era saltato sulla pista, aveva rotto il radiatore.

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After Juan Manuel Fangio's won at the French Grand Prix, Fangio has obtained 26 points, two ahead of team mate Luigi Fagioli and four ahead of another team mate, Giuseppe Farina. All three of the Alfa Romeo drivers have a chance to win the title at their home race in Monza, Italy. Fangio and Farina have shared the wins this season, the competition is so close between the two at every race. Fagioli, consistently slower, the old veteran competing since 1931 has been suggested to quit, however his consistency has kept him in with a title shout. Whilst Fangio and Farina are battling for wins, Fagioli has managed to pick up the pieces and bring the car home when his teammates pushes and brakes the car beyond the limit. To win the World Championship, Fangio needs to: win or comes 2nd to guarantee the title; come 3rd, 4th or 5th with Farina 2nd or lower; with the fastest lap only, Farina 3rd or lower; scoring no points, Farina would have to finish 3rd or lower without the fastest lap, 4th with; and Fagioli not to win with the fastest lap. Fagioli needs to: win the race with the fastest lap, with Farina 3rd or lower, and Fangio not to score any points. Farina needs to: win with the fastest lap, and Fangio 3rd or lower; 3rd with fastest lap, and Fangio not to score. For the final race of the season the team signed Piero Taruffi and Consalvo Sanesi as fourth and fifth drivers. Taruffi is one of the many drivers to get their rising careers cut short due to the Second World War. Following the end of the war, Taruffi continues to impress but only in minor cars or categories. An opportunity to drive for the top grand prix team would be a final opportunity for him to prove his worth to a top team. Consalvo Sanesi on the other hand is one of the lead Alfa Romeo test drivers, although believes to be an incredibly quick racer, Sanesi prefers developing a car rather than racing it. Nonetheless, an exception for is made for Sanesi at Monza and he decides to enter the race as the team's fifth driver.

 

With their five cars for their home grand prix, Alfa Romeo have a good chance of taking all five points placings at their home grand prix, this result would be a dream result for a team that have totally dominated the inaugural grand prix world championship. Perhaps the only true challengers to the Alfa Romeo squad is  Enzo Ferrari's Scuderia Ferrari. The team's new 275 model have been a failure, however Aurelio Lampredi and the Ferrari design team quickly turns around and release the 375 model, Ferrari's new hope. At the Grand Prix de Nations, Ferrari is  pleased to report that they have finally closed the gap to Alfa Romeo. The team, finally looking like they have  the potential to challenge the Alfa dominance. The 375's impressive debut however is marred by an accident in which their driver, Luigi Villoresi, crashes injuring 24 spectators and killing 3 of them. Villoresi himself is injured with a broken collar bone and femur. Villoresi's injuries would keep him out of action for the Italian Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari is therefore the lead representative in Monza, whilst replacing Villoresi is Dorino Serafini, the former motorcycle racer have signed as a sportscar racer and Formula One test driver for Ferrari. Serafini would therefore enter a 375 alongside Ascari. Giovanni Bracco, another Ferrari sportscar racer have been signed to enter a 125 under the works banner, however Bracco would withdraw his entry prior to the event. Peter Whitehead would be the lone driver to enter a privately owned Ferrari 125. Sportscar racer, Clemente Biondetti, has managed to get his unique privately owned Ferrari 166S sportscar which is notably powered by a Jaguar engine approved to be included in the race entry. In response to the release of the Ferrari 375 and the increase in competitiveness, Alfa Romeo would be debuting their new 159 update of their 'Alfetta' chassis. Gioacchino Colombo, the former Ferrari designer have finally been able to put his influence on the Alfa Romeo team.

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The updates to the chassis would hopefully be enough to keep the old Alfetta competitive into 1951. Fangio, Fagioli and Farina are given the new chassis to assist in their championship fight whilst the one-off entries of Taruffi and Sanesi would compete in the old 158 model. Following their disappointing showing at the French Grand Prix, Talbot-Lago decides to abandon their works team and their development in Formula One. 1950 have not seen much success for the French manufacturer. Nonetheless a host of drivers owning private Talbot-Lago T26C's still arrives at the event. Louis Rosier and Pierre Levegh, who have been driving for the works team are forced to use their privately owned cars in order to enter the event. The other works Talbot-Lago driver, Yves Giraud-Cabantous optes not to participate in the race. Regular Talbot-Lago privateers Philippe Étancelin, Raymond Sommer and Johnny Claes are in attendance whilst Guy Mairesse and Henri Louveau hopes to make their championship debut in their privately owned machines. The Maserati's make up the majority of what is the largest grand prix entry list of the season. The works team have little impression on the 1950 World Championship, yet nonetheless Louis Chiron and Franco Rol are prepared to participate. Scuderia Ambrosiana are in Monza with their regular line-up of Reg Parnell and David Murray. Enrico Platé, the team owner who usually entered non-works Maserati's has arrived with his regular line-up of Prince Bira and Toulo de Graffenried, however in addition, Platé has attempted to acquire an entry for his older cousin Luigi Platé for the weekend. Enrico's amateur racing cousin has planned to enter an old Talbot-Lago 700, an impoverished man, the 700 chassis have been out of date in racing since 1926. Unsurprisingly the entry is withdrawn, the car for a certainty would be much slower than the rest of the field. Enrico Platé has also secured an entry for old Italian Flying Ace, Franco Bordini, who have gained infamy in World War Two as the top pilot in the Italian Air Force, eliminating 19 Allied aircraft. Bordini is known to occasionally race sports cars to replace the thrill of flying.

 

Bordini is due to drive a private Talbot-Lago for the squad, however he eventually decides against participating in the event. Other Maserati privateers that dared enter the Monza event includes the old German veteran, Paul Pietsch and amateur racer, Luigi de Filippis who would eventually withdraw his entry. Scuderia Milano are evolving from a non-works Maserati team into their own manufacturer. Their driver, Felice Bonetto dares enter the team's very first car design, the Milano-Speluzzi. Franco Comotti who has failed to be persuaded to come out of his retirement by Scuderia Achille Varzi makes a grand prix return with the Milano team. Comotti would be driving the Milano engined Maserati that Bonetto has used in France. Now that Talbot-Lago has withdrew its works team, Simca-Gordini is now France's major team represented on the grid. The little team have enjoyed much success in Formula Two during 1950 and Robert Manzon's stunning fourth place at Reims had put some success on their Formula One program. The team's lead drivers, Manzon and Maurice Trintignant would be in action for the team at Monza. Britain is hoping the launch of its nationally funded BRM program at the BRDC International Trophy would provide a chance for Britain to finally make its mark on motorsport and unseat Alfa Romeo from the leading position. The team however suffer from incredible reliability problems despite being quick. The new BRM would require extensive testing still and therefore withdrew its planned entry for Monza. Instead only Cuth Harrison in his old ERA B Type would represent the British manufacturers in the Formula 1 finale. The strength of the Ferrari 375 over the Alfa Romeo 159 is its better fuel economy in comparison to the brute speed of the Alfa. It is therefore surprising to see Alberto Ascari in the fight for the pole position. Not only was the 375 fuel efficient it is also proving to be quite quick. Ascari is only two tenths off the best time set by Fangio's Alfa Romeo. 

 

Alfa Romeo have finally encountered a car capable of challenging its authority, the rivalry between the two Italian manufacturers would set a good prelude for 1951. Nonetheless it is still Fangio on pole, the Argentine therefore ensuring the Alfa Romeo would start on pole for every championship grand prix it compete in during 1950. Fangio is also in prime position for the world championship, Farina has not been as quick as him during practice and Farina's best time is two seconds slower than Fangio. Sanesi the Alfa test driver impressed going fourth fastest in the old 158 chassis. Luigi Fagioli's championship chances are hurt when he could only manage fifth, six seconds adrift of Fangio. Dorino Serafini, the former motorcycle champion, has been doing well in his stand-in race for Villoresi. Serafini is competitive and managed to put his Ferrari 375 sixth fastest ahead of the final Alfa Romeo of Piero Taruffi. The hopes for an Alfa Romeo 1-2-3-4-5 finish are looking more challenging as both Ascari and Serafini looked competitive. The first Talbot-Lago of Raymond Sommer is ten seconds adrift of Fangio's pole time. This also demonstrating the difference in competitiveness between the Talbot-Lago T26C and the Alfa Romeo and Ferrari's. Franco Rol is the leading Maserati in ninth whilst Manzon manage to put his underpowered Simca-Gordini an impressive tenth. Trintignant is not far down, sitting in twelfth with Guy Mairesse's Talbot-Lago splitting the two Simca-Gordini's. Rosier is a disappointing thirteenth ahead of Louveau and the Maserati of Bira. Etancelin is also disappointed to only manage sixteenth in his Talbot-Lago. Chiron meanwhile could only go nineteenth. Levegh and Claes are the last Talbot-Lago's qualifying in twentieth and twenty second. Cuth Harrison has split the two drivers in his ERA. The Milano entries are encountering difficulties, Bonetto is only twenty third whilst Comotti is on the last row in twenty sixth. David Murray is a disappointing twenty fourth in his Maserati, whilst Biondetti's bizarre Ferrari-Jaguar sports car managed to get twenty fifth on the grid. 

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The man in the final grid position is the experienced old veteran, Paul Pietsch in his Maserati. Before the race, the unreliable new manufacturer Milano is having incredible problems and is forced to withdraw the car of Felice Bonetto before the start of the race. As is expected the powerful supercharged Alfa Romeo beat the non-supercharged Ferrari's off the start. Farina has taken the lead from third on the grid with Fangio going second and Sanesi in third. Ascari's Ferrari has been slower off the line than the Alfa Romeo's, however by the end of the first lap, Ascari is back past both Sanesi and Fangio. Paul Pietsch who is starting from last failed to even make it off the line, his car shutting down with engine troubles. Ascari then begins to give chase to race leader Farina whilst Fangio and Sanesi begin to drop back. Behind them Fagioli is in fifth whilst Serafini in the second Ferrari is lapping faster than the slowest Alfa of Taruffi in sixth. The top seven are all in range of eachother. Shortly the after the start, the cars behind the Talbot-Lago of Sommer in eighth have dropped back drastically in the race. Rol in ninth is the fastest Maserati ahead of Manzon who is doing another promising job for Simca-Gordini in tenth. Bira become the next to retire after a lap he too is out of the race with engine failure. Manzon's promising run is then brought to an end on lap seven with transmission failure. Sanesi's promising first world championship drive for Alfa Romeo is brought to an end when he retires on lap 11 with engine failure. On lap 14 Ascari moves ahead of Farina's Alfa Romeo to take the lead of the race, however lost it again when Farina retakes the lead two laps later.
 
Maserati are embarrassed by another engine failure on home turf when Chiron retires his works car. Trintignant's engine also gave out, both of the little Simca-Gordini's  retires from the race. Comotti having begrudgingly return to grand prix racing, bring his Maserati in to retire on lap 15. He is unwilling to race uncompetively in a category that have seen so many of his friends been killed in the past. The circuit then claimed Louveau's Talbot-Lago with brake failure. The bizarre Ferrari-Jaguar sportscar of Biondetti then fell out of the race with engine failure on lap 17. Meanwhile at the front, Ascari continues to hold onto the rear of Farina's Alfa Romeo. It is the first time in 1950, the Alfa Romeo's have been truely threatened. However on lap 21 to the dismay of Ferrari, Ascari has retired with engine failure. Ascari however calls in the second Ferrari of Serafini who is now running fifth into the pits. Serafini gives his car up in order to allow the team leader to get back into the race. Ascari then returnes to the track in sixth, the Alfa Romeo of Taruffi getting past due to the pit-stop. Fangio is taking the race easy in second, trying to manage the car's pace, he still remaines the championship leader in second place and is not taking any risks in challenging Farina for the lead. However only two laps after Ascari's first retirement, Fangio sufferes his own engine failure. He return to the pits and takes the right to take over the car of Taruffi's Alfa who is running fifth. As Fangio has dropped into Taruffi's car and exited the pits, he has lost fifth to the Ascari occupied car of Serafini. The world championship have swung in the favour of Farina who only has to ensure Fangio do not return to second place and for himself to win the race to take the title. Behind Farina comes Fagioli, who's only hope of taking the title is for Farina and Fangio to break down.
 
Pierre Levegh goes out of the race on lap 29 with gearbox problems. But more significantly the Taruffi car being now race by Fangio then retires with engine problems. With no cars left to take over, Fangio is out for good this time. His only hope for taking the title being that neither Farina or Fagioli win this race. With the recent retirements, now in fourth place a long way behind the top three is Sommer's Talbot-Lago ahead of Étancelin and Rosier. At the front, Farina needs to simply maintain his lead and the car to the finish to win the title. With almost a minute lead to Fagioli in second, Farina could take it easy to the finish to take the title. Fagioli is not quick and in the second pit stop phase, the Alfa Romeo drop behind Ascari losing second to the Ferrari. Fagioli like Fangio now has little hope of the title. Franco Rol has pulled out of the race on lap 39, giving up out of frustration of the Maserati's lack of competitiveness. Mairesse then retires on lap 42 with a cracked oil pipe. Sommer who is doing his best in fourth then goes out on lap 48 with gearbox trouble. This therefore put Rosier and Étancelin into the final points positions with their Talbot-Lago's. The final retirements see the lone British constructor of ERA, Cuth Harrison retire with radiator troubles. David Murray, another British driver then goes out of the race on lap 56. The final part of the race is uneventful as Farina cruises to victory and in doing so become the first World Drivers' Champion of Formula One. On the podium, are the two drivers of the shared car between Serafini and Ascari, in third place Fagioli, like Fangio, gratious in defeat. Alfa Romeo has won again to take a clean sweep of the opposition once again in 1950. However, the mighty supercharged 159's have now met their match with the Ferrari 375. Whilst Alfa Romeo have dominanted 1950, it was now being seriously threatened by the Ferrari 375 that is looking continually more competitive.
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In their third official confrontation with Italian cars, the green British B.R.M. 1500 cc supercharged beasts that represent the efforts and hopes of British Industry, cash in on a defeat that, for now, cuts short all discussion and comparisons. The 4500 cc Ferraris without a supercharger are the triumphants across the board, placing in the top three places and taking the lap record as well as the one over the flying kilometer at the Pena Rhin circuit held in Barcelona on Sunday, October 29, 1950. Italian industry thus closed the motoring season magnificently, in front of a crowd that organizers estimate at no less than 300,000 people. At Silverstone the B.R.M. failed to even start; at Goodwood it won in the face of very modest opponents. At Barcelona the British had taken the field after a British preparation certain of a long-awaited victory. The fast start of the Ferraris, whose leading driver was always the ace Ascari, forced the B.R.M.'s to chase, causing the desired effects much sooner than could be logically supposed: in fact, on the second lap the first driver of the green beasts, Reginald Parnell, was put out of the race by a compressor failure. This episode causes everyone present to get the impression that the race is virtually won by the Italian cars, which, separated by short intervals, hold the lead in the race. The first laps are regularly covered by Ascari on the basis of 2'26"2 per lap. After ten laps, Walker, the victim of starting troubles that cause him to lose about twenty seconds, is behind Ascari by 2'25"0 and at the beginning of the eleventh lap he is lapped right in front of the main grandstand to the amazement of the public who expects much more from the English cars, after the colossal claim made on the eve of the race to the B.R.M.'s, and their four hundred horsepower engines. These cars, in short, still need long and patient preparation. II seventh lap is covered by Ascari in 2'24"2, setting an average of 157.897 km/h; a new official record. Also on the flying kilometer the Ferraris set, evidently without forcing, the best time of the day at an average of 263.600 km/h.

 

In the meantime, Manzon's Simca-Gordinl, which started without excessive pretensions and with a regular pace, moved up to fourth position, however clearly detached from Ascari, Serafini and Taruffi, who preceded it in that order, Walker was still fifth on lap twenty-five and that is halfway through the race, when he had to stop at the pit for refueling, an operation in which he took 1'37"0: this allowed Etancelin in his Talbot 4500 to overtake him and bring himself close to Manzon. On lap 31, the Englishman pitted again to replace a wheel and was also overtaken by de Graffenried's Maserati. On the next lap, the surviving B.R.M. driver was forced to make another stop during which his mechanics quickly rummaged through his car's engine, restarting him after about forty seconds, by then in seventh position. But the fate of the last British car is now sealed, as it shows obvious signs of not running normally. At the end of the thirty-third lap, Walker, who in the meantime had also been overtaken by other competitors, abandoned, thus completing the disaster for his colors. With the field now free of competitors who could, even in the slightest, disturb him, Ascari, turning regularly in 2'30"0-2'31"0, continues his triumphant march followed at about 1'30"0 by teammate Serafini, who is the only one not lapped by the winner. It is obvious to sing the praises of Ascari, whose gifts as a driver of great class emerge luminously, despite the fact that he did not have to work hard, and of Serafini and Taruffi, who complete the brilliant Italian achievement. Etancelin, with a very regular race and not asking more of his Talbot than it could give, achieves an honorable fourth place ahead of de Graffenried. A painful accident bedevils the race in its early stages: during its fifth lap, following, it seems, a sudden locking of the brakes, the car of the Turinese Rol runs over some 20 spectators. Three of them lose their lives and a fourth is in desperate condition, while the remainder suffer injuries of some severity. The driver remains miraculously unharmed. At the end of the race, General Moscardo, the protagonist of the siege of the Alcazar of Toledo, presents Ascari with the traditional bouquet of flowers. Excellent in every respect was the organization, taken care of by the Pena Rhln. At the same time, Giovanni Bracco - in a Ferrari - wins the uphill car race from Catania to Etna in record time. The uphill ace takes 20'45"0 at an average of 96.422 km/h. There are sixty participants, with no accidents.


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