28.4.12

GRAND PRIX de NÎMES

EASY DAY FOR ROSIER

An exciting race in prospect was spoiled as early as lap 9 when Rosier's only serious threat, Sommer, saw a front wheel roll away.

ENTRY

There was only ever one Grand Prix de Nîmes and that was in 1947. My race is going to include 16 of the drivers who actually took part in that race but not necessarily in the cars they drove there.

All five of the French-driven Talbot Lagos were entered for the race and all were the newly-bodied cars, all having their very first outing. Their drivers were Rosier, Sommer, Etancelin, Giraud-Cabantous and Levegh. Unlike earlier in the season, the new Talbot bodies are not all exactly the same shade of blue. Cabantous' car is quite a light blue while Rosier's is a darker than the other three which are fairly similar. There were no Gordinis at this race but there were three pre-WW2 two-seater French cars to supplement the local runners. Charles Pozzi brought the rather scruffy and extremely large Delahaye while Ecurie Gersac brought two beautifully finished Delages. These were to be driven by Trintignant and Louveau who would normally drive Gordini and Talbot respectively.

Five Maseratis joined the French cars with drivers from four different countries. From Monaco came Louis Chiron, Bira from Siam, Villoresi from Italy and Enrico Platé and the pseudonymed Comte George Raphaël Béthenod de Montbressieux who, happily, is known simply as 'Raph'.

Finally, three competitors made the journey from Britain. Two E.R.As for Raymond Mays and Fred Ashmore along with the exciting V.16 B.R.M for Reg Parnell to drive, completely refurbished after its big crash at Chimay.

PRACTICE

Two practice sessions resulted in a very predictable front row of the grid. Louis Rosier and Raymond Sommer have battled eachother over and over again this season so it was no surprise to see them set the 1st and 2nd best times with Rosier the quicker of the two. What was slightly surprising was that he was 2.5 seconds ahead of Sommer although as the lap time was close to three minutes, gaps between drivers were always likely to be larger. Reg Parnell had a poor 1st practice but got the B.R.M working very well in the second, moving clearly onto the front row with the two Talbots.

The next six places on the grid were filled by three Maseratis and the other three Talbots with Chiron and Etancelin making up row two and Bira, Levegh and Giraud on row three. Villoresi was a disappointed 9th, only just ahead of Ashmore in the better of the two E.R.As. Mays' E.R.A recorded almost the same time as Ashmore and he shared row 5 with Raph's Maserati and Trintignant with the very pretty but fairly large Delage. The remaining Maserati of Enrico Platé was sandwiched between the other two old French cars.

THE RACE

Raymond Sommer made a superb start and led the field for the opening laps, setting the race's fastest lap as early as lap 3 but towards the end of lap 9 the right front wheel of the Talbot rolled gently away and the #55 car slewed to a halt. It was so disappointing, especially when added to the fact that Reg Parnell who was really the only serious threat left to Rosier, had himself to stop to have a loose wheel tightened on lap 17. By lap 20 Parnell was down in 5th place over a minute and a half behind the leader. The fact that he finished 2nd only 73 seconds behind the winning Talbot shows that the B.R.M was working very well and Parnell drove it beautifully. However, the race was a cruise for Louis Rosier who won his second victory of the current season.

Here is the complete result of the 70 lap race:

   1.
58
L. ROSIER TALBOT LAGO T.26
3. 33. 49'36
   2.
37
R. PARNELL B.R.M Mk.1
3. 35. 02'84
   3.
41
B. BIRA MASERATI 4.CLT
3. 36. 34'77
   4.
30
P. ETANCELIN TALBOT LAGO T.26
69 laps
   5.
36
Y. GIRAUD-CABANTOUS TALBOT LAGO T.26
68 laps
   6.
52
L. VILLORESI MASERATI 4.CLT
68 laps
   7.
34
'RAPH' MASERATI 4.CLT
68 laps
   8.
54
LEVEGH TALBOT LAGO T.26
67 laps
Fastest lap:   R. SOMMER, TALBOT LAGO T.26   on lap 3,   2. 56'14

Retired:
35
R. MAYS E.R.A B-type
57 laps
51
E. PLATÉ MASERATI 4.CLT
48 laps
46
C. POZZI DELAHAYE 135
36 laps
38
L. CHIRON MASERATI 4.CLT
30 laps
32
M. TRINTIGNANT DELAGE D6.70
17 laps
39
F. ASHMORE E.R.A A-type
14 laps
31
H. LOUVEAU DELAGE D6.70
12 laps
55
R. SOMMER TALBOT LAGO T.26
8 laps

NÎMES NATTERINGS











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