COUPE RENÉ le BÈGUE - St. Cloud
ALFA ARE BACK
In Switzerland the Alfa Romeo team had a day to forget but in Paris it was business as usual with Farina and Fangio dominating the event from start to finish.
The St. Cloud circuit in Paris was one of the rarer city tracks in that it was a figure of eight track and in addition to that, it had a tunnel; a long straight one, marked on my circuit map by the red rectangle. It does present a problem because when the cars enter the tunnel, from the left, virtually all the sound from the car disappears and it is very hard to judge the speed coming out - and as you can see, there is a fairly sharp left-hand corner just after the tunnel exit.
The Coupe Rene le Begue was a race held in memory of a French racing driver who died from gas inhalation in an accident caused by a faulty water heater in early 1946. The entry for my race is predominantly made up from drivers who actually took part in the race although I have added a few extras and have left some out. There WERE two works Alfa Romeos in the real race back in 1946 but I have substituted Fangio for Wimille.
There were four Talbot Lagos driven by the regulars Rosier, Sommer, Giraud-Cabantous and Levegh. No entry for Etancelin this time. The three pre-war cars that ran at Nimes are trying again - Louveau and Trintignant in Delages and Pozzi with the big Delahaye.
In addition to the two Alfa Romeos of Farina and Fangio, six Maseratis completed the Italian contingent. Chiron, Schell and 'Raph' brought their own cars while the two Plate cars are there for Enrico himself and Villoresi; and last but not least David Hampshire had the green Maserati with which he won the Jersey Road Race earlier in the season. All the Maseratis were 4.CLTs.
Although Louis Rosier managed to split the two Alfa Romeos with his Talbot in the first practice session, Fangio went faster in the second and virtually equalled Farina's time from the first, thus putting the two dark red cars into the first two positions on the grid. Rosier, like Farina and Sommer, was unable to go any quicker second time around but the top three were comfortably quicker than the rest of the field. Joining Sommer on row two was a very impressive Yves Giraud-Cabantous, who was quicker than all the Maseratis, three of which lined up behind him in the order Schell, Chiron and Villoresi. Levegh posted an encouraging 9th place time, especially considering that he had only one practice session due to his engine refusing to run in the morning session.
Behind Pierre came the other three Maseratis - Plate, 'Raph' and Hampshire (the latter's car taking some time to warm up as it hadn't run for many weeks). The rear of the field was, predictably, brought up by the three old French cars with Charles Pozzi delighted to be ahead of the two Delages, neither of which was going very well, particularly Trintignant's.
Here is the complete result of the 30 lap race:
|N. FARINA||ALFA ROMEO 158|
|J. M. FANGIO||ALFA ROMEO 158|
|L. CHIRON||MASERATI 4.CLT|
|L. ROSIER||TALBOT LAGO T.26|
|H. SCHELL||MASERATI 4.CLT|
|R. SOMMER||TALBOT LAGO T.26|
|Y. GIRAUD-CABANTOUS||TALBOT LAGO T.26|
|E. PLATÉ||MASERATI 4.CLT|
|LEVEGH||TALBOT LAGO T.26|
|D. HAMPSHIRE||MASERATI 4.CLT|
|H. LOUVEAU||DELAGE D6.70|
|Fastest lap: N. FARINA, ALFA ROMEO 158 on lap 17, 2. 59'03|
|M. TRINTIGNANT||DELAGE D6.70|
|L. VILLORESI||MASERATI 4.CLT|
|C. POZZI||DELAHAYE 135|