#125 1964 French Grand Prix

2021-08-16 22:11

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#1964, Fulvio Conti, Nicoletta Zuppardo,

#125 1964 French Grand Prix

After the Belgian Gran Prix, there is now anxious wait for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The French race, considered as the representative race of the spor


After the Belgian Gran Prix, there is now anxious wait for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The French race, considered as the representative race of the sports cars, called now Gran Turismo Prototypes, has a long history. Everything started in the 20s, when the car was still laboriously progressing, and speed and resistance races were important to look at the general technical evolution of the vehicles. In addition, the race was firstly reserved for cars that were conform to the turismo vehicles’ catalogues, whose market was still in an embryonic stage and represented an important vehicle of advertising. For forty years on the circuit de la Sarthe were written important pages of progress, at the same time of the Italian Mille Miglia, now part of the past. Over the years, the role of the French race changed, even if the organizers always wanted that the meaning of the 24 Hours would have remained unaltered. Le Mans is also a source of attraction for the show that it offers: there are spectators from all parts of Europe, who are set in an area adorned with advertising boxes, shops, restaurants and bars. A lot of them, in fact, for a part of time, get distracted from the competition, because they get lost in this atmosphere. Every year an aerodrome attached to the circuit receives hundreds of private jets and this year have been organized special trains which, from the main French cities, take the atheletes to Le Mans. The 24 Hours is however a serious affair, which requires the commitment of a lot of technicians and expert drivers. During the last four years, in Le Mans, Italian cars won. There is now waiting for the next race, in which Giancarlo Baghetti will drive a car of Maranello teamed with Maglioli, John Surtees with Bandini, Scarfiotti with Parkes and Vaccarella with Guichet.


The Ferrari team will also present the 3300 cc prototypes, vehicles that are similar to the ones that won last year but a little improved. On board of Ferraris participate also the North American Racing Team drivers: Rodriguez, Piper, Hugus, Hudson, Rindt, Rosinki, Grossman and Tavano, and those of the Maranello Limited of London: Graham Hill-Bonnier and Ireland-Maggs, while the couple Dumay-Langlois will defend the colors of their own nation. Next to the Ferraris and the Ford-Cobras there will also be two Jaguars and an Aston-Martin. Will be also there a Maserati, whose preparation is wrapped in a veil of mistery. The technical theme of the 24 Hours of 1964 is the renewed attack of the new Ford-Cobras to the Ferraris. The Italian cars until now have reaffirmed their mechanical superiority towards the American ones, but the track could now make more difficult the work of the Fearrari team, due to the fact that the Ford-Cobras have engines of the same power and a good held at the distance.  The American vehicles, that will take part to the race, are three prototypes with closed body and 8-cylinder rear engines of 4200 cc. The higher technical experience and the quality of Ferraris should be enough to avert the American threat. The last qualifying, held on Friday, 19 June, 1964, consolidate the confidence of Ferrari’s technicians. The English driver Surtees, who together with Bandini drives the only 4-lytres Ferrari official (the others has 3300 cubic centimeters of displacement) managed to improve the performance of the last two days, obtaining in the straigh-line the speed of 315 km/h and beating the lap record (13.461 km) in 3’42"2.


The American Ginther, on Ford, turns in 3’45"10 and realizes the average of 313 km/h. Also the international press is in favour of the Ferrari, and the sportive and technical opinions of people who were at the event give full confidence to the Italian vehicles, of which are praised the evident qualities of stability and speed that make them the most quoted cars for the victory. Qualifiyng are troubled by an accident whose protagonist is the French Orsini. The driver, aboard an Alpine Renault, goes out of track and hit the protection barriers situated along the road. A leg fracture is found to the driver, but due to the accident he has to renounce the race of the following day. On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21, June 1964, is held the 32° edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, valid for the World Championship for Makes Gran Turismo, for the International Trophy Prototypes and the world Challenge of time and speed. Are 110 the drivers who will compete along the 13.461 km of the circuit, while the enormous fair installed as an appendix to the manifestation will be a swirl of lights. There is more and more waiting for the Ferrari-Ford duel: the practice of Thursday evening has demonstrated the greatness of the 4-litres Ferrari driven by John Surtees, who set the new record by reaching the speed of 315 km/h, turning in 3’42"2. At 4 p.m. of Saturday, June 20, 1964 is given the green to the 55 cars. Pedro Rodriguez, on Ferrari, immediately takes the command of the race, but then he is ripped off by Ginther on Ford-Cobra, who in 3’50"9, at the average of 200.80 km/h, sets the new lap record. Around the forth hour of race, Lorenzo Bandini takes the lead, while Ginther, because of a pit longer than usual, is cut out from the struggle for the leadership: so, in Le Mans, is Ferraris’ dominium.


A few hours from the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, arrives a terrible news: three spectators lost their life because of a collision between two vehicles. The three boys who jumped a barrier probably with the aim of crossing the track were gathered up by a metal fragment that splintered off from the two cars collided and died. This happened just after 10:00 p.m. near the curve of Arnage; the cars involved are the Ferrari of the couple Baghetti-Maglioli and the Ford-Cobra of Bolton-Sears. Bolton’s car (he was driving) for a mechanical problem not specified swerves and gets across the track. Behind him runs the Ferrari driven by Baghetti, who, having noticed, tries to steer doing a screeching halt, but does not manage to avoid the collision: the two cars clash violently and finish on the roadside, near to a large hole at the edge of the forest. It is a point of the circuit whose access is strictly prohibited to the spectators, but the three guys escaped the surveillance in the night, were placed there to better watch the race. When the collision occurred, it was impossible for the guys to find shelter, because they were inside the track yet. The rescuers, after extracting the drivers from the wreckage, miraculously unharmed, find the three cadavers a few metres away. Terror spreads among the public and everyone thinks about what happened in 1955, when Pierre Levegh’s car disintegrated among the spectators, causing 84 deaths and over a hundred injuried. It was this event that led toward the adoption of special security measures, among which the protection barriers for the public.


Before this tragedy another accident took place in the track: the English Rotschild, on board of a Triumph, at 6 p.m. swerved on the large curve situated at about 50 metres from the press box, violently hitting the protection barriers and completely wrecking the vehicle. The driver, who was running at about 200 km/h, miracolously got away with it, with a strong shock and a lot of non-serious injuries. The challenge between Ferraris and Ford-Cobras ends at approximately 6 a.m. of Sunday, June 8, 1964, after 14 hours of racing, because the last of the three American prototypes, driven by Phil Hill, is forced to retire while is in fourth position, for some transmission problems. At 11:00 a.m. Guichet and Vaccarella are in the head, followed at 5 laps of detachment by Graham Hill and Bonnier, and at 10 by Surtees and Bandini. Behind them, the non official Ford-Cobra of Gurney and Bondurant, big Gran Turismo car that has not characteristics good enough to preoccupy the three Ferrari prototypes. At the 22th hour, are racing only 24 cars of the 55 that started. In command there are always the Ferraris, that are going on regualrly: the first is the number 20, driven by the couple Guichet-Vaccarella, then the 14 of Graham Hill and Bonnier and the 19 of Surtees-Bandini. At 14 laps of detachment, so at 118.454 km, in fourth position, there is the Ford-Cobra driven by the couple Gurney-Bondurant, while the fifth and sixth positions are occupied by other two Ferraris, with the couple Bianchi-Blaton and Ireland-Maggs. Seven place for the Porsche Gran Turismo 2000 cm³ of Barth-Lyngem followed by another Ferrari, two Porsches and other undersized cars. The Alfa Romeo G.T. 1600 cc of Businello-Deserti and Biscardi-Sala are in 14th and 15th position; the two cars run regularly, even if they are detached of 42 laps (approximately 566 km) from the Ferrari of Guichet and Vaccarella.


Even if it is more than an hour until the end, we can say that the Ferraris have already broken every exhisting record: the lap at the average of 207.714 km/h, recorded by Rodriguez at the average of 210.877 km/h; the distance at 4651.710 km, with 4695.310; finally, the general hourly average, thanks to Vaccarella and Guichet, with 195.638 km/h. After 24 hours of racing, are the Italian Nino Vaccarella and the French Jean Guichet to cross the finish line first, on their Ferrari prototype 3300 cc. In fact, is it tanks to the prototype cars that Scuderia Ferrari mantains its first place in the World Championship for Makes’ ranking. The press lodates the Ferraris, that after five hours of furious battle, dimonstrated their superiority towards the Fords. The Company Maranello-based brings together successes determined by years of efforts, supported by many years of experience. Disappoint for the Ford, from which it was expected the implementation of a technical plan of attack or a strategy capable of surprising the Ferraris. Instead the American company applied one of the most basic maneuvers, that consisted in launching a hare to break the oppositors. That hare was Ginther, that for a little demonstrated to be up to the role, but then has been forced to pit and did not leave anymore. This crazy gallop also damaged another car of the American team, the one driven by Attwood and Schlesser, that, not able to bear that infernal cadence, burned in full action. Attwood, who was driving, did not have the time to slow down, but fortunately he managed to jump out from the car before it caught fire completely. Therefore, just after a few hours from the beginning, two Ford-Cobras have been forced to retire, while the third, driven by Phil Hill and McLaren, was late and at dawn, after mechanical problems that came during the night, had to retire.


From the down of Sunday, June 21, 1964, the race became a family affair among the Ferraris, although some delays involved in the company Maranello-based, among which the one caused by the stop of Bandini and Surtees’ car, which had previously gained a good position. The 3300 of Parkes-Scarfiotti and Baghetti-Maglioli were eliminated, while the number 10 of Guichet and Vaccarella flew to an announced triumph. Comes to an end the 24 Hours of Le Mans, witnessed by more than 300.000 people. But for three times at the event it was close to a catastrophe. The first when, immediately after the departure, a billboard fixed near the side of the road was overthrown on the track due to the high wind. The ten people who were climbing on it got injuried and are now hospitalized, but fortunately not in severe conditions. On Saturday, at 6 p.m., happened the already mentioned accident of Rotschild, that fortunately did not have dramatic consequences, while in the night took place the famous and tragic accident that involved Bolton and Baghetti. A few days after the end of the race, it will be opened a judicial inquiry on that. The drivers involved will be interrogated and will be revealed the names of the killed spectators: the parisian Jacques Ledoux, 17 years old, Lionel Yvounick and James Guibert, both 19 years old. The main cause is to be attributed to the imprudence of the three guys, who jumped a protection barrier in order to cross the track in one of its most dangerous points. The three have been mowed by a metal fragment that splintered off from the two cars collided, losing immediately their life.


On Sunday, June 28, 1964, takes place the 1964 French Gran Prix, race valid for the Formula 1 drivers’ World Championship. Even if the French Automobile Club Gran Prix did not truly hold 50 times, this year is celebrated the 50th anniversary. But is also the 70° anniversary of the first car competition, which was the racing from Paris to Rouen in 1894; for this reason, the French Gran Prix is held in Rouen. The 6.542 km circuit of Les Essarts, just south of the city of Rouen, in Normandy, will always evoke memories about the great Fangio at the height of his career, in 1957. Maybe the best photos about competition have been taken in Rouen in 1957, when Fangio left his 250F Maserati in drift along the curves after the boxes, just for the sake of it and to make everyone appreciate the fact that he was really the ruler of his car. This year a big part of the circuit has been repaved, but the two hairpins of Nouveau Monde and La Scierie are still pebbly, and the section from the last hairpin to the boxes’ straightline is still rugged and in cement. Harvesting and cutting of the undergrowht at the end downhill of the circuit give the spectators some of the best imaginable views of the race, and with the Rouen Film Festival, Formula 3 races, historic cars races, demonstrations and a 1894 repetition, the meeting becomes a real British-type speed and sport festival. Except for Robert Walker’s cars and driver, and the BRM Centro-Sud team, the regular camp of the Gran Prix is completely present, even if the Ferrari team does not arrive on time for the first session of practice on Thursday evening. The Team Lotus vehicles use 13-inches wheels. Clark can choose which of the 2 cars he will be driving, the Type 25 modified or the new Type 33, while Arundell has his Type 25 modified.


Both Clark’s cars have the last geometry of rear suspension, with the upper part of the radial arm that goes from the upper part of the support of the hub in the same point of the cross arm, while those of Arundell’s car have the 1963 layout, in which the radial arm is anchored to the middle of the support of the hub. On the Type 33 the motor cover is a lot abbreviated, and leaves the Lucas injections out in the air flow. The B.R.M. team takes to France the same three vehicles that were already racing in Spa; firstly, Graham Hill can choose to use the first 1964 car, adapted to his personal needs for what concerns the behaviour on this circuit, or the more recent model. However, before exiting from the boxes to go to the first session of practice, this vehicles takes damages to the engine during the warm-up, so Hill will be forced to use the more recent model, even if he has not so much time to do the usual adjustements. Ginther has no choice and has to be content of the his usual car. All the three B.R.M.s use the 1963 six-speed gearbox, because the recent boxes used in Spa would not work well in the hairpins of Rouen. Brabham and Gurney have an individual car as in Spa; but in particular, Gurney’s car has a manual regulation of the control of the mixture of the injection pump similar to the one already used by Lotus on Clark’s car the year before, through a flexible cable and a little lever on the vehicle. The two Coopers of McLaren and Phil Hill are now identical: the rear suspension modified on McLaren’s car in Spa has proven successful, and also the second car has been modified in the same way; if there are any problems, the Cooper team has a 1963 vehicle.

The two BRP’s drivers, Ireland and Taylor, can drive the mono-shell vehicles with B.R.M. engine thay they drove in Spa, while the Parnell team of Amon and Hailwood takes the Lotus 25 with B.R.M. engine, both on 13-inches wheels and identical in every way. The only private owners are Siffert with his Brabham-B.R.M., Anderson with his Brabham-Climax and Trintignant with his old B.R.M. V8. On Thursday, June 25, 1964, the first day of practice is characterized by the duel between Jim Clark and Dan Gurney. During the first session, Clark and Gurney dominate the scene, each in turns trying to keep the best time for a lap. Clark starts with the Type 33, the passes on the Type 25 becoming faster, and finally returns on the Type 33 showing himself even faster. The Scottishman realizes an excellent time, lower of about 3 seconds compared to the unofficial record of the track, marked by him two years before. There is satisfaction in Lotus, ma this does not last: Gurney in fact manages to lower more Clark’s time of 0.5 seconds, taking it to 2’11"4. The Lotus’ driver tries again and make the chronometers stop at the excellent time of 2’10"4, but when he returns to the boxes the speaker announces that Gurney concluded in 2’10"1. Colin Chapman prohibites Clark from get off his car and sends him back on track with a terse gesture: in four laps the Scottishman lowers more the time, taking it to 2’09”06. This time is a lot of seconds faster than the existing record on lap established in 1962, but it is not susrprising if we think at the two years passed for the body development, the engines, the the gearboxes, the tyre and the suspension, not to mention the personal improvement of the drivers.


The only other driver who can approach the times made by Clark and Gurney is Arundell, which records a time of 2’11”6, while the other participants are a lot behind due to various mechanical and personal problems. The B.R.M. team seems to be in chaos, after that Ginther bent the front of his car because he evaluated bad his brake in one of the hairpins, while Hill passes more time at the boxes with oil-resistant bars and exhaust systems exchanged, compared to what he cannot do on track. The Britishman starts the practice with long tail pipes on the four exhaust manifold on each side, before passing to the usual four tubes divided into each side. However, in phase of dismantling the right manifold does not come off and the time to do practice ends before Hill can test the different positions. The Britishman, desperate, runs the last lap with tubes separated on the left side and a long manifold on the right side. In the Parnell team, Revson tries Hailwood’s car while the ace of motorcycling is in Netherlands to train for the motorcycle Gran Prix. At the same time, on Friday, June 26, 1964, arrives also the Scuderia Ferrari, that is here with two 1964 vehicles with V8 engine, with big fuel filters ribbed on the left side of the engine, behind the back of the driver. The new position and the fins would try to cure the vaporization problems that emerged in Spa, even if the results will be difficult to be analyzed because the temperature in Roues is not so high, even if the weather is good.

Scuderia Ferrari joins the free practice and also Hailwood goes to France to do practice with his Lotus-B.R.M. before going back to Netherlands to run the motorcycle race on Saturday. Siffert is missing, because his new B.R.M. engine exploded the day before, but all the other participants are present. Even if the practice takes place in the late afternoon in the same conditions of the day before, the times are in general slower, probably because of the floor’s conditions with so much ongoing activity. Once again Clark and Gurney are the main contenders for the best time, even if Surtees is not far from them and Brabham seems to be very competitive. It is a pity that the Ferraris have been forced to skip the first turn of practice, because Surtees, after changing the gear ratios, could have matched Gurney’s time, but he only manages to record a time of 2’11"1, that guarantees to him the third place in the front row of the starting grid, near to Gurney and Clark. Even if Gurney is the faster in this second turn of practice, his time of 2’10”5 cannot match the first time of Clark; even the Scottishman turns slower than the day before and records a time of 2’10”8. In B.R.M., the team made up by drivers and mechanics seems not to be happy, because Hill does not manage to correctly drive his car in the fast curves downhill. During the practice, all the variable are changed but Hill cannot be satisfied of a compromise that can satisfy him.


On Sunday, June 28, 1964, the French Gran Prix should start at 3.15 p.m. The sky is cloudy, but the temperature is hot and the conditions are good. The 17 participants do some warming-up laps, before going on the starting grid. At this point, around Clark’s modified Lotus 25 there is a frenetic movement of mechanics, because the car loses oil from a point of the cover of the box of the camshafts. Graham Hill starts with the last B.R.M. model, while Siffert joins the ranks with a B.R.M. engine, borrowed from Parnell’s team. Ginther’s B.R.M. has a metal flap under the nose, to try to alter the direction of the air flow. Hailwood, who on Saturday won the 500 cc motorcycle race in Netherlands, arrives in France after being forced to drive all night because of a airstrike. When the French flag gows down, Clark, Gurney and Surtees takes immediately the command of the race. The Ferrari’s driver skids the wheels, but manages to not lose contact with Gurney and Clark: his purpose is to mantain himself in the wake of the competitors and make use of the favourable moment to perform his attack. At the end of the first lap Clark and Gurney manage to move away from the other racers, who are –in order- Surtees, Brabham, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Arundell and Bandini. At lap 2, Surtees continues to lose ground and he is not clearly happy of the performance of his Ferrari engine, while Gurney seems very determined to do his best to keep the distance at the minimum towards Clark.


At the hairpin before the straightline of the boxes, where McLaren has incurred in an headtail, also Graham Hill is victim of an headtail, and this thing brings him back in the ranking. Contemporarily, Surtees goes back to the boxes with the engine that is not working well. The Ferrari mechanics find the distributor flooded with oil because of the break of a lubrication tube. On track, Clark continues to gain on Gurney, pulling at the most the brake in the last curve downhill before the hairpin of Nouveau Monde. After just five laps, apparently there is not another driver who seems to be able to mantain the rhythm of the two first contenders to the victory. Phil Hill is in fourth position, behind Brabham, but from the sixth lap the American driver’s car starts to have problems to the rear brake. At the same time, Graham Hill and McLaren try to compensate for their cars’ deficiencies, making their way among the slowest competitors, and Surtees pits again. Here, the mechanics find out that the oil that comes from the broken tube is now inside the distributors. These are mounted in an inaccesible way in front of the engine, so there is nothing else to do except that retire. At lap 15, Clark has an advantage of only 11 seconds on Gurney, who has no choice but to wait and hope that something can broke on the Scottish driver’s car. Amon has a lucky moment when his engine turns off while he is to the entrance of the straightline where the boxes are, and he is able to reach his pit where the Parnell team’s mechanics find a broken wire in the ignition system and the immediately fix it. Contemporarily, Graham Hill continues to gain ground and McLaren reaches Ginther.


The two men come closer to Phil Hill; even if the American Cooper’s driver manages for a bit to keep the distance, he will be then forced to let Ginther pass and McLaren too, but not without a furious battle. This because, even if the rear brakes are blocked, Phil Hill reacts well. At lap 20, Clark’s advantage is up to 15 seconds; when he leaves the hairpin Nouveau Monde, he looks in the valley to see where is Gurney in the downhill section. Meanwhile, the American driver leaves the hairpin concentrated, even if he has a 45 seconds advantage on his team mate Brabham. It follows Arundell, with Graham Hill trying to come close to him, and the trio made up by Ginther, Phil Hill and McLaren, who have not solved their controversy. Behind them, Ireland, Bandini and Hailwood who are fighting among themselves. The only other racers still competing are Amon, delayed by the pit-stop, Anderson, who has carburetion issues, and Trintignant, everyone doubled. At lap 22, Clark establishes a new record on lap with a time of 2’12"7, while Ginther starts to accumulate a good advantage on Phil Hill and McLaren. During the 21th lap, Graham Hill comes closer to Arundell, with the roar of the crowd, while Clark reaches the tail trio, made up by Ireland, Bandini and Hailwood. For an entire lap he will be blocked among them, but will manage to get rid of the dubbing without losing his advantage on Gurney. After being passed by Graham Hill, Arundell starts to press the British driver and at the same time Bandini tries to make his way and pass Ireland. On the circuit there is a lot of filth and dust, that fly away from the lower hairpin while both make their rear wheel slip off-track, on the grass verge.


At lap 29 also Gurney doubles Ireland, Bandini and Hailwood, while the three men are braking, before entering the section that ends in the hairpin Nouveau Monde. By doing this, Gurney touches with his Brabham’s wheels Bandini’s car, who is surprised while is turning within the curve. A lot of people have the impression that if Ferrari was not there, the American man’s car would have slipped towars the outside. Dan continues to push his car at the maximum speed, to avoid giving to Clark another advantage in terms of distance. But at the same time, the Coventry-Climax engine mounted in Jim Clark’s car loses power. The Scottish driver returns to the boxes, but there is nothing to do; Chapman invites him to go back on track to do another lap, but it is good for nothing. There is a piston broken, probably because of the gravel that comes down along the unprotected air intakes. Clark stops during the 31th lap, and leaves the race. The Brabham team has now two vehicles in first and second place, with Gurney one minute ahead of his superior. But Graham Hill and the tenacious Arundell try to rapidly recover ground on Jack Brabham. Hill is not particularly clean and tidy in his methods of cornering guidance, so Arundell - who follows him - is forced to gather a lot of dust and stones which are raised by B.R.M.’s rear wheels. The next years, Phil Hill is a victim of the irregular behaviour of his Cooper during braking, and loses two positions in favour of Ginther and McLaren. Meanwhile, the trio that closes the ranking lost Ireland’s presence, during lap 32. In the first right turn after the boxes, Ireland lost the control of the vehicle, that splitted on the grass out of the track, scrunchin’ the body and ripping a wheel and a front suspension, but fortunately the driver has no injuries.


At lap 37, Graham Hill passes Jack Brabham and conquires the second place, but Brabham replies to the British driver and manages to recover the position. During the next laps, Hill, Brabham and Arundell, battle and the dust and the stones from the border of the circuit start to rise. This forces Arundell to move away from the fighter duo, who now continues with Graham Hill in front of the Australian driver. Meanwhile Gurney slightly slows down, because he is sure to be at the command, while the ferocity of the battle between Hill and Brabham forces both to turn at a very fast speed, to the point that during the 44th lap Brabham signs a new lap record, with a time of 2’11"4. At few laps from the end, he slows down and takes his advantage gradually from 40 seconds to 25 seconds. With full confidence, the American driver ends the 57th lap and wins the French Gran Prix for the second time (he won also in 1962, but with a Porsche). At the second place the situation is not so quiet, because Brabham is trying to do his best to pass Graham Hill. The battle persists until the checkered flag, and it is Graham Hill who wins the duel for only 0.8 seconds. So Brabham is third, followed by Arundell, Ginther, McLaren, Phil Hill and Hailwood. Bandini slowed down immediately after Gurney’s accident, so he reaches the finish line with two laps of delay. It is a guaranteed success for Gurney, who first crosses the finish line after driving along 372 km at the average of 175.042 km/h, followed by Graham Hill at 24.1 seconds. For what concerns the world ranking, it is to underline that Clark is only a step ahead on Graham Hill, and ten on Ginther and Arundell. It now seems granted that the battle for the world title will have two undoubted protagonists: Jim Clark and Graham Hill. But there is wonder for Clark’s test, who overturned the predictions.


It is clear to the eyes of the international press that the Lotus has not been able to withstand the continous stresses imposed by a path that has been defined by the drivers as exhausting and of high rhythm, necessary to hold of the oppositors. Bad luck also for Surtees, who with his Ferrari has been forced to retire after just three laps, because of the failure of a oil conduct. Even the other 158, driven by Lorenzo Bandini, gave the expected yield. The driver, placed in tenth position from the start, did not manage to keep the leading group’s rhythm and, after losing ground continously, he crossed the finish line with two laps of detachment. Unlucky also Siffert, Taylor and Anderson. Celebrated Dan Gurney, who, against all odds, won the Fench Gran Prix. The result arouses a good impression in the international automotive environment, so as the Brabham-Coventry-Climax, which has demonstrated to be the most suitable machine for the difficult circuit of Rouen-les Éssarts. So the competition has been a triumph for the cars of the Australian constructor-driver, who obtained the third position and has been awarded for the fastest lap at the average of 110.232 km/h. the Brabhams demonstrated to have reached an oustanding efficiency and holding, ad it is clear that they no longer have to act a part of background. Altough, even if they seem to be the vehicles of the moment, it may be absurd to underestimate the possibilities of the Lotus and the Ferraris; but we can have a confirmation during the next race of the Formula 1 World Championship, scheduled on June 11 1964 in Great Britan, on the circuit of Brands Hatch.


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