24th April 2010
GRAND PRIX de PAU
ASCARI WINS BUT PHI-PHI STARS
ASCARI WINS BUT PHI-PHI STARS
The Titans (well, some of them) are out again now for the classic Pau Grand Prix on the tight, twisty street circuit down in south-western France. Once again it is red versus blue as the 15 entries are made up of three Gordinis and five Talbots from France and four Ferraris and three Maseratis from Italy. The Gordinis, Ferraris and Maseratis are all being driven by their regular drivers but there is a change in the Talbot ranks as Henri Louveau is taking part and there is no entry for Raymond Sommer this time.
Following a very difficult first practice session, during which virtually all the cars had problems with a dirty, bumpy circuit, second practice saw times come crashing down and Alberto Ascari re-establish the fact that the combination of himself and the Ferrari 375 is going to be extremely hard to beat this season. As usual he was ably backed up by his mentor Luigi Villoresi and the pair comfortably annexed the front row of the 2 x 2 grid.
Rosier restored the status quo amongst the Talbot drivers by putting his blue car on the second row alongside Harry Schell's Maserati. Particularly impressive improvements from their first practice times were achieved by Farina, who found 6 seconds and the Gordini pair of Manzon and Simon who gained 8 and 6 seconds respectively. Even Ascari was able to lap 4 seconds quicker....
Every car went faster in the second session and for a time Maurice Trintignant was in the top four on the grid but once the quicker cars began to lap faster and faster, Petoulet slipped down to 8th. As expected, Rudi Fischer ended up further down than his 6th after the first session, ending up in 12th place with only the two slower Gordinis and Levegh's Talbot behind him.
Perhaps the most disappointed man on the grid is Toulo de Graffenried whose Maserati seems to be lacking in speed compared with the other two 4.CLTs in the race. The Swiss driver's mechanics will have some work to do before the race, I think.
This race is over a colossal 110 laps around the twisty circuit so it may well come down to survival of the fittest - and there are none fitter than the factory Ferraris.
The rest were nowhere. Farina took 4th place in his Maserati but was two laps behind and not far ahead of Giraud-Cabantous' Talbot. Three others made it to the end, Louveau's Talbot which went quicker and quicker the longer the race went on and two of the Gordinis - Simon and Manzon - both of which were desperately difficult to drive but they too completed the race, albeit several laps behind.
The other two Ferraris both had engine problems, as did Levegh with the 5th of the Talbots, while both Schell and de Graffenried found their Maserati's performance falling away and gave up as a result. Trintignant suffered electrical trouble though he was the quicker of the Gordinis while he was running.
So another easy win for Ascari and this seems to be the way of it until the full might of Alfa Romeo join the circus. Roll on that day.
Here is the full result of the 110 lap race:
|1.||12||A. ASCARI||FERRARI 375||3. 12. 06'51|
|2.||16||P. ETANCELIN||TALBOT LAGO T.26||3. 13. 19'42|
|3.||10||L. VILLORESI||FERRARI 375||3. 14. 02'00|
|4.||2||G. FARINA||MASERATI 4.CLT||108 laps|
|5.||28||Y. GIRAUD-CABANTOUS||TALBOT LAGO T.26||108 laps|
|6.||20||H. LOUVEAU||TALBOT LAGO T.26||107 laps|
|7.||8||A. SIMON||GORDINI 15||105 laps|
|8.||6||R. MANZON||GORDINI 15||104 laps|
|Fastest lap: ROSIER, TALBOT LAGO T.26, on lap 9, 1.40'605|
|14||D. SERAFINI||FERRARI 375||72 laps|
|18||L. ROSIER||TALBOT LAGO T.26||55 laps|
|4||M. TRINTIGNANT||GORDINI 15||54 laps|
|24||H. SCHELL||MASERATI 4.CLT||43 laps|
|30||R. FISCHER||FERRARI 212||40 laps|
|26||E. de GRAFFENRIED||MASERATI 4.CLT||36 laps|
|22||P. LEVEGH||TALBOT LAGO T.26||4 laps|
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