2nd July 2010
SAN REMO GRAND PRIX
For the first time this season Alfa Romeo are making a serious effort to see how they stand against the might of Maranello. Admittedly with only one car but that car is to be driven by Juan Manuel Fangio - arguably their number one driver, (Farina might disagree!) The race will be run over 90 long laps around the winding streets of the small Italian coastal town just a few kilometers to the west of the city of San Remo, from whence comes the race's name.
As might be expected, there is much red on the entry list, though there are five Talbots and two British H.W.Ms to add some variation. Within the red ranks Fangio's Alfa is pitted against four works Ferraris (Ascari, Villoresi, Gonzales and Serafini) as well as Rudi Fischer with his Swiss-entered car. There are four privately entered Maseratis for Farina, Schell, Chiron and de Graffenried. David Murray was entered with his own 4.CLT Maserati but he did not appear.
The Talbots are to be driven by four Frenchman and a Belgian - Sommer, Rosier, Louveau and Giraud-Cabantous in the blue ones with Johnny Claes in his Belgian yellow version.
The brave invaders from across the English Channel, the two H.W.M F.2 cars are to be driven by Lance Macklin and the new star of British motor racing, young Stirling Moss.
Practice whetted the appetite for the Alfa and the best of the Ferraris, Fangio and Ascari respectively, were separated by a mere half a second with Gonzales, having his first outing in a works Ferrari, joining them on the front row. De Graffenried and Farina put their Maseratis on row two ahead of Villoresi with three of the Talbots next up. Moss did well to put his H.W.M in 13th place but Macklin, along with Louveau's Talbot were rather tailed off at the back of the field. Apart from those two six seconds covered the top 15 cars.
The first ten laps of this race promised much as Ascari and Fangio roared away from the rest and completed lap 10 just two seconds apart, with Ascari ahead. But that's as far as it went because just before the first corner on lap 11 the Alfa engine note went sky high - the transmission had failed and Fangio found that the engine was no longer driving the wheels. That was that, really, because Gonzales had already slotted solidly in behind Ascari and the burly Argentine followed his leader around for 80 more laps. The gap between the two went out to 30 seconds at one point about half way through the 90 laps but as Ascari eased off, Froilan picked up his pace, set fastest lap on lap 68 and finished just 6 seconds behind, though there was never any question of him actually racing Ascari.
Some excitement ensued with a good battle between Villoresi in the third Ferrari and a hard trying Farina in his Maserati. De Graffenried had stopped as early as lap 7 so it was left to the Good Doctor to take the fight to the Ferraris. And fight he did, leading Villoresi for around 20 laps until Luigi found his true speed and passed the little Maser, eventually drawing away to an advantage of over half a minute with 10 laps to go. Farina was still driving on top form and 4th place was really scant reward for his efforts. Sadly, he didn't even get that as his left front wheel departed the scene on lap 82. This left Raymond Sommer in a secure 4th place following the retirements of all the other Talbots.
Harry Schell won his battle with Moss' H.W.M to take 5th and Fisher and Macklin were the only other finishers after not far off three hours of racing. So once again the Ferrari team is victorious, sweeping the first three places in a demonstration of extreme superiority. It is said that Alfa Romeo will take over the Monza circuit soon to give their cars a thorough test session before their next appearance which will almost certainly not be at either Montlhery, the next race, or Jersey, the one after. Hopefully they will appear again before the British Grand Prix, which starts the World Championship series.
Here is the full result of the 90 lap race:
|1.||4||A. ASCARI||FERRARI 375||2.50. 09'98|
|2.||8||F. GONZALES||FERRARI 375||2.50. 16'08|
|3.||6||L. VILLORESI||FERRARI 375||2.50. 46'01|
|4.||16||R. SOMMER||TALBOT LAGO T.26||89 laps|
|5.||24||H. SCHELL||MASERATI 4.CLT||88 laps|
|6.||34||S. MOSS||H.W.M ALTA||88 laps|
|7.||30||R. FISCHER||FERRARI 212||87 laps|
|8.||36||L. MACKLIN||H.W.M ALTA||85 laps|
|Fastest lap: GONZALES, FERRARI 375, on lap 68, 1.48'19|
|20||N. FARINA||MASERATI 4.CLT||81 laps|
|28||Y. GIRAUD-CABANTOUS||TALBOT LAGO T.26||67 laps|
|18||L. ROSIER||TALBOT LAGO T.26||48 laps|
|12||J. CLAES||TALBOT LAGO T.26||25 laps|
|14||L. CHIRON||MASERATI 4.CLT||24 laps|
|22||H. LOUVEAU||TALBOT LAGO T.26||13 laps|
|10||D. SERAFINI||FERRARI 375||11 laps|
|2||J. FANGIO||ALFA ROMEO 158||10 laps|
|26||E. de GRAFFENRIED||MASERATI 4.CLT||6 laps|
slow, with the driver never knowing how it would behave from one lap to the next.
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