Medio Circuito Madonie - Palermo (I), 5 May 1929.
5 laps x 108.0 km (67.1mi) = 540.0 km (335.6 mi)
Divo repeats his prior year's victory at the Targa Florio. Bugatti's fifth win.
by Hans Etzrodt
The 20th Targa Florio received 29 entries comprising eight Bugattis, four Alfa Romeos, three Maseratis, two each of Fiats and Salmsons. Bugatti with Divo, Minoia, Conelli and Wagner as official drivers, the Alfa Romeo team
with Campari, Brilli Peri and Varzi, as well as the Maserati factory with Borzacchini and Ernesto Maserati emerged as the most potent entries. The 19 car field was completed by ten independent drivers without a real chance
to win of which Lepori and Bittmann with Bugattis were the most prominent. Minoia and Divo in official Bugattis dominated the race although Borzacchini's Maserati held second and third place until falling behind. The race
was then between the faster Bugattis and the factory Alfa Romeos of Brilli Peri and Campari. The exhausting race ended after more than seven hours with Divo victorious ahead of Minoia followed by the Alfas of Brilli Peri
and Campari, who were the only other finishers.
The 20th Targa Florio and 12th Coppa Florio were named after their founder, Conte Vincenzo Florio. There were two classes, the first for formula libre cars, which had to complete five laps of the 108 km circuit, and the
second for cars below 1100 cc, which only had to do three laps. The race counted towards the Italian Automobile Championship. A standing start was required. The maximum time allowed was 8 hours 30 minutes for cars over
1100 cc and 6 hours for the cycle cars. Refueling and wheel changes could be done anywhere along the circuit, while driver changes had to be done with a nominated reserve driver but only at the end of a lap and in the
presence of a race commissioner. The Reale Automobile Club d'Italia and Auto Club di Sicilia offered prize money totaling 250,000 lire. The winner of the General classification received 100,000 lire, the second 40,000,
the third 30,000, fourth 20,000, 10,000 etc. The first in the small category collected 5000 lire, the second 3000, the third 2000 lire. Besides the monetary awards there were also several trophies, including the legendary
Coppa Florio, which is addressed separately at the end of this report.
The race around the Medium Madonie Circuit totaled 540 km. In use since 1919, it included about 1400 corners per lap through the mountainous Madonie region, making the Targa Florio a race of over 7000 corners. The narrow
circuit with its steep gradients was a true measure for both driver and machine. The start and finish took place at the Cerda train station just a few meters above sea level. The road led several miles up to Cerda village
at 273 meters altitude. From here the course twisted uphill through Caltavuturo at 640 meters. From this village the tight, twisting circuit wound along the Madonie Mountains and turned back past a depot in the town of
Polizzi, 917 meters above sea level. Next, tortuous hairpin bends followed, snaking downhill through the mountain village of Collesano at 500 meters and further on to Campofelice, just 50 meters above sea level. From
there it was downhill along the five km fast coastal straight where it was possible to use top gear and pass other cars. Then the circuit turned inland going back to the start and finish near the Cerda train station.
A complete list is shown above with 29 cars that had been assigned race numbers. The more important ones are mentioned here. Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was the favorites not only because they had won the Targa for the last
four years but their cars were truly nimble and pure racecars. The team was managed by Meo Costantini, himself the winner of the 1925 and 1926 Targa Florio. Bugatti arrived with their proven 2-liter supercharged T35C grand
prix cars, producing 125 hp and known for their exceptionally good road holding, which eased the life of their official drivers Divo, Wagner, Minoia, Conelli and Williams as reserve.
The Alfa Romeo factory team under its official name of SA Italiana Ing. Nicola Romeo entered their new 6C-1750 SS cars for Campari, Brilli Peri and Varzi. One of those cars had won the Mille Miglia and it was the strongest
weapon that the Italians could field against the French team. The Targa Florio cars had their rear bodywork removed, an open cockpit with bucket seats, a cylindrical exposed fuel tank and two spare wheels on the back.
Officine Alfieri Maserati was the third team with two racecars, a 26R with an 8-cylinder 1700 cc s/c engine for Borzacchini and a 26B with an 8-cylinder 2000 cc s/c engine for Ernesto Maserati. These cars were known to be
quite fast but reliability over longer distances was still doubtful.
Besides these factory entries there were 10 private drivers including the Czechoslovakian Dr. Ottokar Bittmann and the Swiss Mario Lepori, both with Bugatti T35B's.
Several weeks before the start, the Bugatti team had embarked as early as April 12. Practice took place without any incidents. Alfa Romeo and Bugatti each showed similar strength and the outcome of the race was uncertain.
Both teams were practicing with the greatest care and persistence. Not only had the cars to be prepared, but the drivers also had to study and learn the course with its numerous turns. For Varzi this was his first time at
the Targa Florio. Alfa Romeo had established several supply depots in the mountains since their cars were driven without a riding mechanic. The Bugatti team had established their main depot in Polizzi, high in the mountains.
In the first hours of Sunday morning an enormous pilgrimage of local enthusiasts arrived by train, car and on foot. They came to take possession of the best viewpoints around the entire circuit before these were overcrowded.
The race was well organized, and the spectators were informed of the latest developments through loudspeakers. The weather was beautiful. At the grandstands 15 cars over 1100 cc and four of the smaller category lined up.
Riding mechanics were allowed but the official cars from Alfa Romeo and Maserati were driven solo. The individual start began at 8:00 in the morning in order of the race numbers. Because of the dust from the dirt roads the
drivers were scheduled to be released at intervals of three minutes. However, the cars were not necessarily released at 3-minute intervals. For instance Divo left nine minutes after Foresti. The times were determined
beforehand according to their numbers and if particular cars did not appear at the start (e.g. #6 and #8), car number 10 was held to its predetermined time of departure. But there seems to have been a different rule for
the 1100 cc cars, which were dispatched at 2-minute intervals - or 4 minutes when there was a missing number (i.e. #44 and #50.) There was also an 8-minute gap between the last of the Formula Libre cars and the first of
the cyclecars. And all guaranteed to confuse the spectators. Campari's number 2 Alfa Romeo was first to be sent off and Foresti's number 4 Bugatti followed at 8:03 AM. Each driver was sent away with cheers by the
|8:27||20||Brilli Peri||Alfa Romeo|
Lap 1: Minoia, who was driving in his 11th Targa was leading the pack in 1h25m17s, a new record time at 75.982 km/h average speed, breaking last year's record, which was set by Materassi in 1h25m48s, by 31 seconds. Minoia
had passed Tranchiana, Candrilli and Ruggeri on the road. Borzacchini in second place also broke the record in 1h25m21s at 75.922 km/h, likewise third placed Brilli Peri in 1h25m45s, followed by Divo half a minute behind.
Varzi was fifth and had passed Tranchiana on the road, finishing the first round in 1h27m59s, ahead of Campari and the first independent driver, the Swiss Lepori. The eighth placed Wagner lost time changing a punctured tire
on his Bugatti. Conelli made a three minute refueling stop, his time was 1h32m37s. Ernesto Maserati was reported with the fastest time up to Caltavuturo but retired soon after at Collesano with a broken magneto drive which
could not be repaired.
In the cyclecar group Biondetti (Salmson) held first place in 1h38m14s, ahead of Jacono (Fiat) 1h50m09s and Palmieri (Fiat) in 2h00m12s, while Fagioli (Salmson) retired. After the first lap the order of the Formula Libre
cars was as follows:
|1. Minoia (Bugatti)||1h25m17s|
|2. Borzacchini (Maserati)||1h25m21s|
|3. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h25m45s|
|4. Divo (Bugatti)||1h26m15s|
|5. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h27m59s|
|6. Campari (Alfa Romeo)||1h28m05s|
|7. Lepori (Bugatti)||1h28m21s|
|8. Wagner (Bugatti)||1h30m36s|
|9. Conelli (Bugatti)||1h32m37s|
|10. Foresti (Bugatti)||1h34m07s|
|11. Bittmann (Bugatti)||1h38m59s|
|12. Ruggeri (Maserati)||1h40m21s|
|13. Tranchini (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m44s|
|14. Candrilli (Bugatti)||2h05m51s|
Lap 2: The Bugattis of Minoia and Divo were ahead of Borzacchini's Maserati who had to change tires in Polizzi after one and a half laps into the race. Minoia's advantage had increased with a time of 2h50m51s while Divo
followed in 2h52m25s. Brilli Peri had fallen to fourth position while Campari in fifth place stopped for fuel and tires, all in 1m58s. The Swiss Lepori had moved ahead of Varzi who stopped at the pits for only 1m17s.
Conelli was eighth, followed by Foresti, Bittmann and Ruggeri. Wagner' s Bugatti had encountered a second puncture before he retired with engine bearing damage on the 5 km straight stretch along the coast, while Tranchiana
and Candrilli also retired. The remaining three drivers in the cyclecar class retired, Biondetti's Salmson with clutch trouble. W.F. Bradley wrote that the conditions and pace proved too much for these little cars.
Just 11 cars were left after two laps in the following order:
|1. Minoia (Bugatti)||2h50m51s|
|2. Divo (Bugatti)||2h52m26s|
|3. Borzacchini (Maserati)||2h52m48s|
|4. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||2h53m21s|
|5. Campari (Alfa Romeo)||2h56m42s|
|6. Lepori (Bugatti)||2h57m10s|
|7. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h59m45s|
|8. Conelli (Bugatti)||3h05m23s|
|9. Foresti (Bugatti)||3h08m56s|
|19. Bittmann (Bugatti)||3h25m08s|
|11. Ruggeri (Maserati)||3h26m45s|
Lap 3: Divo had reduced the gap to the leading Minoia to only 44 seconds. These two Bugattis had established a clear lead over the first Alfa Romeo driven by Brilli Peri who moved ahead of Borzacchini due to another puncture by
the Maserati driver. The Alfa Romeos of Campari and Varzi were fifth and sixth, followed by the Bugattis of Conelli and Lepori. The independent Swiss retired at the pits with several broken valve springs on his Bugatti.
Ruggeri in the first of the 1500 Maseratis held ninth position, followed by Bittman's Bugatti. After three laps around the strenuous course Bittmann arrived at the pits totally exhausted and gave up the hopeless race.
Lepori, who had retired earlier, eventually found out that Bittmann's Bugatti was in good shape. He offered to take over, jumped into the car and continued the race. W.F. Bradley reported that Foresti ran out of fuel
before reaching Polizzi and had to walk for two miles to get a bottle of fuel, enough for him to reach his mountain depot. He had to walk another two miles back to his car and as a result had fallen to last place.
|1. Minoia (Bugatti)||4h19m22s|
|2. Divo (Bugatti)||4h20m06s|
|3. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||4h24m17s|
|4. Borzacchini (Maserati)||4h29m54s|
|5. Campari (Alfa Romeo)||4h30m50s|
|6. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||4h33m01s|
|7. Conelli (Bugatti)||4h34m43s|
|8. Lepori (Bugatti)||4h49m25s|
|9. Ruggeri (Maserati)||5h12m50s|
|10. Bittmann (Bugatti)||5h15m31s|
|11. Foresti (Bugatti)||5h47m06s|
Lap 4: Divo had started in his Bugatti 12 minutes after Campari, which gave him the benefit of keeping his rival's Alfa Romeo in sight in some mountain places and assess the distance as he was gaining on the Alfa. On lap four
Divo caught up with Campari's Alfa on the road and passed him. That must have been quite demoralizing for Campari, who did not feel very fit on this day but was one of the most experienced and fearless drivers. He had driven
in the Targa eight times. Minoia who had held the lead for the first three laps, encountered a defect in his steering linkage which slackened his pace since the steering was now less precise. This enabled Divo to move into the
lead by 39 seconds. Brilli Peri and Campari both stopped at the pits for fuel and new wheels, while Borzacchini passed the finish at speed. Conelli's Bugatti hit a rock that had rolled down from the mountain onto the road.
It damaged a fuel line to the carburetor. He repaired it on the road and later attempted further repairs at his pits, but the car was retired. After Varzi and Ruggeri also called it quits, the field was reduced to seven cars.
Foresti was last, almost two hours behind the leader. The order after four laps was as follows:
|1. Divo (Bugatti)||5h46m37s|
|2. Minoia (Bugatti)||5h47m16s|
|3. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||5h54m05s|
|4. Borzacchini (Maserati)||5h58m10s|
|5. Campari (Alfa Romeo)||6h02m24s|
|6. Bittmann (Bugatti)||6h51m23s|
|7. Foresti (Bugatti)||7h25m25s|
Lap 5: The Bugatti manager Costantini erroneously thought that Minoia was in first place, so he slowed Divo down. As a result he took three minutes longer for the last lap. In spite of it, Minoia failed to pass his teammate
because not far from the finish, he suffered a puncture, his first one. Eventually Divo finished first and Minoia remained second. Brilli Peri who encountered high tire attrition followed in third place. His drive was
slowed down at the Caltavuturo stop where the mechanics mistakenly fitted a rear tire to a front wheel. When Borzacchini retired his Maserati with a broken rear axle crown wheel only two miles from the finish, Campari gained
fourth place and at the finish was received with great applause by the Italian spectators, while the victory of Divo was only greeted half-heartedly by the same crowd. Lepori, who had taken over Bittman's Bugatti finished in
fifth position but was disqualified because relief drivers had to be nominated before the start. Foresti was last, almost two hours behind the leader. He exceeded the maximum time and was not classified.
|1.||10||Albert Divo||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||5||7h15m41.0s|
|2.||36||Ferdinando Minoia||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||5||7h17m43.8s|
|3.||20||Gastone Brilli Peri||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 SS||1.8||S-6||5||7h23m52.4s|
|4.||2||Giuseppe Campari||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 SS||1.8||S-6||5||7h34m45.0s|
|DSQ||38||Ottokar Bittmann||O. Bittmann||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||5||8h23m42.0s||disqualified|
|DNC||4||Giulio Foresti||G. Foresti||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||5||9h13m27.0s||exceeded time limit|
|DNF||16||Baconin Borzacchini||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26R||1.7||S-8||4||differential pinion|
|DNF||40||Caberto Conelli||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||3||fuel line damage|
|DNF||34||Amedeo Ruggeri||A. Ruggeri||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||3||mechanical|
|DNF||30||Achille Varzi||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 SS||1.8||S-6||3||engine|
|DNF||24||Mario Lepori||M. Lepori||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||3||valve springs|
|DNF||32||Saverio Candrilli||S. Candrilli||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||1||engine|
|DNF||26||Giuseppe Tranchiana||G. Tranchiana||Alfa Romeo||6C-1500 MM||1.5||S-6||1||engine|
|DNF||22||Louis Wagner||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||1||engine bearings|
|DNF||18||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||0||magneto drive|
|DNF||56||Clemente Biondetti||C. Biondetti||Salmson||1.1||1||clutch|
|DNF||48||Antonio Jacono||A. Jacono||Fiat||509 S||1.0||S-4||1|| |
|DNF||46||Giacinto Palmieri||G. Palmieri||Fiat||509 S||1.0||S-4||1|| |
|DNF||52||Luigi Fagioli||L. Fagioli||Salmson||1.1||0|| |
Fastest lap: Ferdinando Minoia (Bugatti) on lap 1 in 1h25m17s = 76.0 km/h (47.2 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 74.4 km/h (46.2 mph)
Weather: sunny and warm.
The 12th Coppa Florio was held simultaneously with the 20th Targa Florio over the same 540 km distance. The results are therefore the same for the 15 cars over 1100 cc. After winning the trophy in 1926 and 1928,
Bugatti scored its third victory in this 1929 race and therefore won the trophy outright. This fact was confirmed by Rapiditas.
Other sources, which tried to solve the Coppa Florio mystery: Chris Jones in his 1977 Book 'Road Race', "In 1929 it was decided to reintroduce the Coppa Florio - not as a separate race, but as a fourth-lap award
in the Targa Florio. Whatever this was meant to achieve, it evidently failed." Thomas Cullen, 'Coppa Florio' in 1973 Automobile Quarterly Vol.11, No.4, p345: "The Coppa Florio was supposedly awarded to Bugatti in 1929.
How it came about -if it did- is anyone's guess."
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
IL LITTORIALE, Bologna
LA STAMPA, Torino
Lo Sports Facista, Milano
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
The Autocar, London
The Motor, London
Tutti gli Sportz, Napoli
Special thanks to:
GRAND PRIX DE BOURGOGNE
Dijon (F), 9 May 1929 (Thursday).
30 laps x 17.5 km (10.9 mi) = 525.0 km (326.2 mi)
750cc sports: 24 laps x 17.5 km (10.9 mi) = 420.0 km (261.0 mi)
Baron de Rothschild wins at Dijon
by Leif Snellman
This 30 laps event on the triangular Dijon circuit attracted 17 race cars and 10 sports cars.
The event was dominated by the two Bugattis entered by Baron Philippe de Rothschild with the Baron himself taking the victory while his team mate Guy Bouriat respectfully held back to second position.
They were followed to the flag by three other race Bugattis of Gauthier, "Foc" and Tetaldi, while Mme. Marie Depret, also in a Bugatti, finished sixth overall and first of the sports car drivers.
The event that started in rainy conditions included a rather bad incident with Vinatier receiving injuries after crashing his little Rosengart sports car.
The meeting organized by l'Automobile Club Bourguignon had been held the first time in 1927 so this was the third Burgundy Grand Prix and this year it included the Repusseau Cup.
Mr. Francois Repusseau had donated the Repusseau Cup and a 10,000 francs prize for the winner.
The 17.5 km long fast Dijon circuit was triangular shaped and consisted of the road from Dijon to Is-sur-Tille until Savigny-le-Sec, the road from Savigny-le-Sec to Norges-la-Ville and and part of the national road
no 74 from Langres to Dijon. Stands and pits were set up on national road no 74 a few kilometres from Dijon. The race distance was 30 laps apart from the 750cc sports cars for which the distance was 24 laps.
17 race cars and 10 sports cars divided into no less than 11 classes took part in the event.
Clear favourites were Baron P. de Rothschild, racing under the pseudonym "Philippe", and his team mate Count Guy Bouriat with their 2 litre Bugattis. Robert Gauthier was another Bugatti driver in the 3 litre class with his T35 (#4781).
They were challenged by Henri Stoffel and Cyrille Devere with their big Chryslers. There were six Bugatti drivers racing against Michel Doré's Corre-La Licorne in the 1.5 litre class while there were Amilcars and BNC entries
in the minor classes.
Among the sports cars entries can be mentioned lady drivers Derancourt and Depret with their Bugattis, the latter making her race debut. Marces Violet entered a big Mercedes SS,
Goffredo Zehender an Alfa Romeo, Pierre Bussienne a Sizaire et Naudin, a French car made in Paris, and Bula an American Oakland.
On Thursday the weather was not the best with a cloudy sky in the morning but it did not prevent a huge crowd from gathering along the roads.
Louis Devaud (Amilcar) was an late addition to the entry list.
It was raining when at 12.30 p.m. the starter, Mr Francois Repusseau, with Vicomte de Rohan, president of the Automobil club de France, next to him dropped the flag.
Bouriat immediately took command of the race. After the first lap the race order for the racing cars was Bouriat, Gauthier, Foc, and Doré, while for the sports cars the order was Mme. Depret, Zehender, Perot and Bussienne.
Bouriat made the first two laps in 14m42s (142.9 km/h) already breaking the lap record. "Philippe" had advanced to second position. Behind him followed Gauthier with a time of 15m37s, Foc (15m51s), Doré (15m52s), Tetaldi (16m44s), Mme. Depret (16m50s) and Lanciano (17m57s).
On the third lap Vinatier with his Rosengart, who was the only competitor of the 750cc class of sports cars, when trying to avoid another car left the road and crashed at Savigny-le-Sec. Vinatier was taken by ambulance to a
hospital in Dijon where it was found that he had suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.
At the end of the third lap Doré made a pit stop, losing a lot of time.
After 4 laps Bouriat led with a time of 29m24s. "Philippe" was 2nd at 30m15s, Gautier 3rd at 31m flat followed by Foc, Tetaldi, Mme. Depret, Zehender and Lanciano.
On the next lap Lanciano passed Zehender for seventh position overall. After five laps the race order was as follows:
|6.||Mme. Depret (Bugatti)||41m17s||Sports 5 L|
|8.||Zehender (Alfa Romeo)||42m36s||Sports 3 L|
Bouriat now slowed down a bit. From doing the first laps in around 7m21s a lap he made the 6th lap in 7m38s. Behind him the race order remained the same. Bouriat then made the next two laps in about 7m30s a lap. It is
quite obvious that Bouriat was waiting for his team leader "Philippe" who was catching up fast so that at the end of the 8th lap the two Bugattis passed at the finish line with the same time: 59m27s.
On the 9th lap "Philippe" passed Bouriat for the lead but Bouriat retook the lead on the next lap. Lanciano moved up to 6th position, having passed Mme. Depret, who however still was leading the sports car class.
The positions of the competitors after 10 laps were as follows:
|4.||"Foc" (Bugatti)||1h17m39s||1.5 L|
|7.||Mme. Depret (Bugatti)||1h22m36s||Sports 5L|
|8.||Zehender (Alfa Romeo)||1h24m27s||Sports 3L|
|10.||Violet (Mercedes)||1h28m26s||Sports 7L|
|13.||Perrot (Alfa Romeo)||1h31m50s||Sports 2L|
|15.||Doré (La Licorne)||1h32m16s||1.5L|
|16.||de Vere (Chrysler)||1h34m56s|
|17.||Bula (Oakland)||1h35m49s||Sports 5L|
After 11 laps "Philippe" was again back in the lead closely followed by Bouriat.
In the 1.5 litre class there were two retirements as Devaud with his Amilcar gave up the race and Billiet pushed his BNC to the pits and retired as well. That still left 24 cars in the race.
The two Bugatti drivers had now settled to make lap times around 7m30s. 12 laps were covered by "Philippe" in 1h29m27s with Bouriat three seconds behind and 14 laps by "Philippe" in 1h44m27s with Bouriat one second behind.
Bussienne's car caught fire on the 15th lap but fortunately the driver had a fire extinguisher and managed to save the car from being a total loss.
Midway through the race (15 laps) it was Bouriat's time to lead:
|4.||"Foc" (Bugatti)||1h56m34s||1.5 L|
|7.||Mme. Depret (Bugatti)||2h06m09s||Sports 5L|
|8.||Zehender (Alfa Romeo)||2h06m19s||Sports 3L|
|9.||Violet (Mercedes)||2h12m04s||Sports 7L|
|13.||Doré (La Licorne)||2h17m50s||1.5L|
|15.||Bula (Oakland)||2h24m55s||Sports 5L|
|17.||le Gall (Bugatti)||2h35m42s||1.5L|
|18.||Mme Derancourt (Bugatti)||2h37m23s||Sports 2L|
The "duel" between Bouriat and "Philippe" continued during the second half of the race with Bouriat clearly the faster driver but holding back to his team leader.
"Philippe" was back at the lead making 16 laps in 1h59m20s followed closely by Bouriat. Gauthier was third with a time of 2h03m21s followed by Foc 2h04m13s and Lanciano 2h09m26s.
"Philippe" covered 18 laps in 2h16m25s with Bouriat cruising one second behind him. At 20 laps, two-thirds of the race, the situation remained unchanged.
|4.||"Foc" (Bugatti)||2h36m21s||1.5 L|
|7.||Mme. Depret (Bugatti)||2h46m42s||Sports 5L|
|8.||Zehender (Alfa Romeo)||2h50m24s||Sports 3L|
|9.||Violet (Mercedes)||Sports 7L|
|13.||Doré (La Licorne)||1.5L|
|15.||Bula (Oakland)||Sports 5L|
|17.||le Gall (Bugatti)||1.5L|
|18.||Mme Derancourt (Bugatti)||Sports 2L|
"Philippe" made 22 laps in 2h45m54s with Bouriat two seconds behind and 24 laps in 3h01m04s with Bouriat one second behind.
After 25 laps the situation looked like this:
|4.||"Foc" (Bugatti)||3h14m40s||1.5 L|
|6.||Mme. Depret (Bugatti)||3h30m14s||Sports 5L|
During the 26th lap Bouriat took the lead for a few kilometres but at the end of of the lap he returned to his position one second behind his team leader who finished 26 laps in 3h16m10s . Gauthier was still third and Foc fourth.
The second half of the race proved to be hard for the competitors with Doré, Zehender, Labric, de Vere, Stoffel, Le Gall and Lanciano all having to retire.
However, the race continued without any incidents among the top contenders and at the end of 30 laps the two Bugattis took the flag almost side by side to the applaudes of the spectators, Philippe winning the Burgundy GP and
the Repusseau Cup with Bouriat following just 0.2s behind.
Then followed Gauthier, Foc, Tenaldi and Mme. Dupret, who as the fastest sports car driver won the Cup du Matin offered by the newspaper "le Matin". It took half an hour for the last car to finish the race.
After the race itself there was a further accident when a member of the A.C. Bourguignon Committee left the event. His car crashed into a tree and the chauffeur was seriously wounded.
|1.||38||"Philippe"||Baron P. de Rothschild||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||30||3h47m35.2s|
|2.||40||Guy Bouriat||Baron P. de Rothschild||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||30||3h47m35.4s||+ 0.2s|
|3.||32||Robert Gauthier||R. Gauthier||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||30||3h51m09.0s||+ 3m33.8s|
|4.||26||"Foc"||P. Matussière||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||30||3h54m27.4s||+ 6m52.2s|
|5.||24||Emile Tetaldi||E. Tetaldi||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||30||4h02m59.8s||+ 15m24.6s|
|6.||78||Mme. Marie Depret||Mme. M. Depret||Bugatti||30||4h10m23.8s||+ 22m48.6s|
|7.||6||Jean Treunet||J. Treunet||BNC||527 SCAP||30||4h16m41.0s||+ 29m05.8s|
|8.||2||G. Dumont||G. Dumont||Amilcar||30||4h18m08.6s||+ 30m33.4s|
|9.||80||Marcel Violet||M. Violet||Mercedes||SS||7.1||S-6||28||4h10m13.0s|| |
|10.||20||Victor Tersen||V. Tersen||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||28||4h16m21.0s|| |
|12.||12||Jean Lobre||J. Lobre||BNC||527 SCAP||26||4h14m49.0s|| |
|13.||68||Albertine Derancourt||Mme. Derancourt||Bugatti||T40||25||4h15m46.0s|| |
|14.||62||G. Avon||G. Avon||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||24||4h09m35.0s|| |
|15.||60||James||James||BNC||527 SCAP||19||4h14m43.0s|| |
|DNF||16||le Gall||le Gall||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||22||Michel Doré||M. Doré||Corre-La Licorne|| || || || || |
|DNF||28||"Marcel Lanciano"||M. Lanciano||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4|| || || |
|DNF||58||Roger Labric||R. Labric||Bugatti||T43|| || || || || |
|DNF||64||Albert Perrot||Perrot||Alfa Romeo||6C-1500|| || || || || |
|DNF||70||Goffredo Zehender||G. Zehender||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750|| || || || || |
|DNF||72||Pierre Bussienne||P. Bussienne||Sizaire|| || || ||14||fire|| |
|DNF||44||Henri Stoffel||H. Stoffel||Chrysler|
|DNF||46||Cyrille Devere||C. Devere||Chrysler|
|DNF||8||Henri Billiet||H. Billiet||BNC||527 SCAP|| || ||<15|| || |
|DNF||10||Louis Devaud||L. Devaud||Amilcar|| || || ||<15|| || |
Fastest lap: N/A|
Winner's medium speed: 138.4 km/h (86.0 mph)
Winner's medium speed (1500cc): 134.4 km/h (83.5 mph)
Winner's medium speed (1100cc): 122.7 km/h (76.3 mph)
Winner's medium speed (sports): 125.8 km/h (78.2 mph)
Weather: raining during first part of the race.
While the contemporary newspapers made their best to make it appear to be an interesting race, it was clear that Guy Bouriat did what was expected of him as a gentleman.
There were not any close battles behind the leading duo either.
This is another complex race to sort out. Even the published names of the race classes are confusing. I have followed l'Auto's list but
naturally voiturette Bugattis for example should belong to the class under 1.5 litre rather than to the class between 1.5 and 2 litres.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Echo de Paris, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Memorial de la Loire et de la Haute-Loire
Special thanks to:
20 May 1929: The B.A.R.C. Whitsun Meeting was held at Brooklands.|
Handicap races were won by J. S. H. Wilson (Austin 0.75 litre), Kay Don (Sunbeam 4.0 litre),
E. L. Bouts (Sunbeam 4.9 litre), Kay Don (Sunbeam 2.0 litre), Mrs W. B. Scott (Delage 1.5 litre), R. C. Stewart (Bugatti 1.5 litre), C. R. Whitcroft (Riley 1.1 litre), John Cobb (Delage 10.7 litre), Jack Dunfee (Ballot 3.0 litre)
REALE GRAN PREMIO DI ROMA
Circuito Tre Fontane - Roma (I), 26 May 1929.
30 laps x 13.050 km (8.11 mi) = 391.5 km (243.3 mi)
Varzi's second victory with the Alfa Romeo P2
by Hans Etzrodt
Since 1925 the Rome Grand Prix was won every year by Bugatti despite all attempts by the Italians to win their own race. Finally at the 1929 edition they succeeded to the great jubilation of the Italian nation. At this fifth
Rome Grand Prix the official teams from Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Maserati were present. The 23-car field comprised four Alfa Romeos, nine Maseratis, eight Bugattis, two Talbots two Mercedes-Benz, one each Amilcar and Salmson.
The German Stuck (Austro Daimler) led the first two laps, thereafter Varzi (Alfa Romeo) held the lead until a pit stop near the end when Brilli Peri in a sister car took first place, only to lose it again to Varzi when he made
his own pit stop just before the end. Divo in the only official Bugatti finished third, ahead of Arcangeli (Talbot), Nenzioni (Maserati) and Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz), who was followed by five other finishers.
There were 12 retirements amongst them the official Maseratis, also the Bugattis of Bouriano and Nuvolari who was fourth at one time.
Three weeks earlier at the Targa Florio nine of the Italian drivers, Varzi, Brilli Peri, Lepori, Foresti, Borzacchini, Ernesto Maserati, Fagioli, Biondetti and Fisauli, which participated in that race, met again to do battle in
Rome. The Automobile Club di Roma and the Commissione Sportiva del R.A.C.I. (Reale Automobile Club d'Italia) organized the 5th Royal Prize of Rome or Reale Gran Premio di Roma. The race was held at the same
13.050 km circuit as the year before, on the Circuito Tre Fontane, which was known also as Circuito Ostiense. The race was over 30 laps, a total of 391.5 km. The course was a few kilometers to the south of Rome in
slightly hilly terrain, roughly triangular in shape with three sharp turns. The start, opposite the grandstand, was at the southern end of Via Ostiense, which ran northerly between the River Tevere (Tiber) on the
west and alongside the railroad to the east. After more or less four km there followed the first sharp right-hand turn, where the road immediately passed under a railroad bridge and through a wide left-hand turn onto the about
one km uphill stretch of Via Tre Fontane. Thereafter a wide right-hander led south for around four km onto the twisting up and down section of Via Laurentina until the second sharp right turn. At this point the
road, Bonifica No. 9, began heading west for approximately four km through wide downhill turns, crossing a small rivulet. From here the road proceeded along the flat fast turns of Via di Decima and near its end
passed under the second railroad bridge, immediately followed by the slowest right-hand turn towards the finish on Via Ostiense.
The cars were divided into three classes, the first for cars over 2000 cc, the second between 1500 and 2000 cc and the third for cars under 1500 cc.
The A.C. di Roma had a total prize money fund amounting to 250,000 lire. For the overall race there was 149,000 lire in total, 50,000 for first, 20,000 for second, 12,000 for third, 10,000 for fourth, 7,000 for fifth.
An additional 50,000 lire was to be distributed in equal parts amongst the competitors of this group but it was not explained how this was accomplished. In addition, for each of the three classes there was 30,000 lire of
which 15,000 went to first, 10,000 to second and 5,000 to third.
The 27 numbered entries are shown at the beginning of this page. Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Bugatti each appeared with an official team. The French team arrived in Rome with Divo and "Williams" in 2.0-liter Type 35C's.
Alfa Romeo entered Varzi with a P2, a four year old car that had won the 1925 championship and was still a potent machine. Brilli Peri drove another P2, but his car was said to have been bored out to 2006 cc, so it could
start in the over 2-liter class. His car was equipped with a slab tank at the back, surmounted by a spare wheel in place of a streamlined tail. The Maserati factory entered three cars, a 1700 cc car for Borzacchini, a 2000 cc car for Ernesto Maserati and a 1500 cc car for Fagioli, which was entered in the next higher class,
1500 to 2000 cc. No explanation for this could be found.
There were a number of independent entries including the Swiss Mario Lepori with a 2.3-liter Bugatti who also entered a 2-liter Bugatti for his compatriot Foresti. Another Swiss driver was Caflisch, who lived in Naples.
He started with a white 4-seater Mercedes-Benz SS, fitted with wide red fenders and headlamps, so it was practically a touring car amongst the 22 grand prix cars. The absolutely standard bodywork of Caflisch's car aroused the
resentment and anger of spectators who jeered and hissed him on the day of the race. Another large Mercedes, this one a short wheelbase version stripped of its sports car trim, was entered by the German driver Momberger.
There were two potent independent Bugattis, one driven by the vigorous Nuvolari and the other by the respected Belgian Bouriano in a yellow car. According to Alessandro Silva, the #54 Alfa Romeo 6C-1500, entered by Alfredo
Bornigia, was initially driven by Alfredo Bornigia, then Carlo Albini took the wheel. Bornigia was the dealer and Albini the customer. He never raced again.
La Stampa reported that Bouriano spun out of a corner but without serious consequences. Practice times were quoted for Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo) at 6m01s at an average speed of about 130 km/h, Varzi (Alfa Romeo) 6m05s,
"Williams" (Bugatti) 6m06s and Divo 7m05s. AUTOMOBIL-REVUE reported that Divo had brought along the fast "Williams" as a likely pace-maker and became upset during Saturday practice when "Williams" overturned his Bugatti
in a corner and saved himself only by baling out in a flash. As a result Divo did not want to start but received strict orders from Bugatti team management to drive in the race. So, Divo as the only official Bugatti representative had to drive
carefully in the race to ensure that he finished.
On Sunday it was not too hot, mostly overcast with intermittent sunshine. A large crowd attended this long anticipated race. The cars, 23 in total, were pushed to the start area where they lined up in order of the official race
numbers with the lowest number at the right hand side of the front row. At 2:50 PM the cars were finally in place. Photographs showed that some drivers drove alone, while some, including Brilli Peri, Caflisch, Momberger, Lepori,
Tonini, Nuvolari and possibly others not visible in the pictures, carried a riding mechanic on board.
At 3:00 PM Senator Crespi, escorted by Conte Vincenzo Florio, lowered the flag. Stuck in the light-blue Austro Daimler took the immediate lead with Brilli Peri on his heels, chased by 17 other contenders, which were visible in a picture of the start.
The last few cars were not seen, possibly hidden in the smoke and dust or bogged down at the start. This delay was not reported in our sources.
Shortly after the start the close field of cars plunged into the first turn, a sharp right hander, followed immediately by a railroad bridge which obstructed visibility. Gigantic clouds of dust were kicked up at the corner,
preventing any visibility. The greater part of the cars had to stop and remained there for about 20 seconds until the dust settled. Thus, the field was spread out early on.
After the first lap, the cars passed the finish with Stuck's Austro Daimler in front in 6m10.6s at an average speed of 126.766 km/h, followed by Brilli Peri, Varzi, Borzacchini, Caflisch, Nuvolari, Bouriano, Blancas, E. Maserati,
Lepori, Arcangeli, Nenzioni, Momberger, Tonini, Fagioli, Foresti, Divo, Pintacuda, Fisauli, Bornigia, Biondetti, Sartorio and Anselmi.
After the second lap in an amazing 5m52.6s, Stuck held on to first place in 12m3.2s after his full throttle sprint, ahead of Brilli in 12m28s, Varzi in 12m31s, Borzacchini in 12m36.2s, next Caflisch, Nuvolari, Bouriano, Blancas,
Ernesto Maserati, Lepori, Arcangeli, Nenzioni, Momberger, Tonini, Fagioli, Foresti, Divo, Pintacuda, Fisauli, Bornigia, Biondetti, Sartorio and Anselmi.
On the third lap when the engine of Stuck's Austro Daimler began to lose power, Varzi passed into the lead with a lap of 6m02s at an average speed of 129.779 km/h, leading Brilli, Stuck and Borzacchini with a gap of 30 seconds
to Nuvolari, Caflisch, Bouriano, Arcangeli, Blancas, Maserati and Nenzioni. Momberger lost some places when he encountered supercharger problems and his car drove constantly with loud unregularly backfire past the grandstands.
After five laps Varzi and Brilli had lapped all of the cars following Lepori
in eleventh place. The order was:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||30m33.4s|
|2. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||30m42.8s|
|3. Stuck (Austro Daimler)||31m34.6s|
|4. Bouriano (Bugatti)||33m03.2s|
|5. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||33m04.8s|
|6. Arcangeli (Talbot)||33m26.0s|
|7. Divo (Bugatti)||33m34.6s|
|8. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)||33m31.4s|
|9. E. Maserati (Maserati)||33m38.2s|
|10. Fagioli (Maserati)||33m54.4s|
|11. Lepori (Bugatti)||35m27.6s|
|12. Bornigia (Alfa Romeo)||38m04.6s|
|13. Biondetti (Salmson)||38m09.2s|
|14. Sartorio (Amilcar)||38m46.6s|
|15. Anselmi (Alfa Romeo)||39m48.6s|
|16. Borzacchini (Maserati)||?|
|17. Blancas (Bugatti)||?|
|18. Nenzioni (Maserati)||?|
|19. Momberger (Mercedes-Benz)||?|
|20. Tonini (Bugatti)||?|
|21. Foresti (Bugatti)||?|
|22. Pintacuda (Talbot)||?|
|23. Fisauli (Maserati)||?|
At the end of lap five, Stuck stopped at the pits to change plugs and work on engine lubrication only to retire his Austro Daimler on lap seven. As a result Bouriano became third and Nuvolari fourth. Arcangeli, Divo and Caflisch
also moved one position ahead. Blancas had retired his Bugatti on lap six. Borzacchini crashed his Maserati on the same lap while trying to pass another car in a corner. His Maserati left the road and turned over in a ditch. Fortunately
he was uninjured because like Williams he jumped off his Maserati which was too damaged to continue. Sartorio had retired his Amilcar on lap nine when spinning out of the first corner in a cloud of dust. Both the driver and his mechanic escaped uninjured but the
wrecked car remained there for the rest of the race. Fisauli retired his Maserati on the same lap. Momberger retired his Mercedes-Benz on the tenth lap due to a broken supercharger. At this time the field was reduced to 17
cars. After the completion of ten laps Varzi and Brilli had lapped all of the cars following Nuvolari in fourth place. The order was as follows:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h00m47.4s|
|2. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h00m54.4s|
|3. Bouriano (Bugatti)||1h04m45.4s|
|4. Nuvolari (Bugatti)||1h05m08.4s|
|5. Arcangeli (Talbot)||1h07m19.2s|
|6. Divo (Bugatti)||1h07m28.2s|
|7. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)||1h08m11.8s|
|8. Fagioli (Maserati)||?|
|9. E. Maserati (Maserati)||?|
|10. Lepori (Bugatti)||?|
|11. Bornigia (Alfa Romeo)||?|
|12. Biondetti (Salmson)||?|
|13. Anselmi (Alfa Romeo)||?|
|14. Nenzioni (Maserati)||?|
|15. Tonini (Bugatti)||?|
|16. Foresti (Bugatti)||?|
|17. Pintacuda (Talbot)||?|
On the eleventh lap Brilli Peri drove a fast lap in 5m51.2s at a speed of 133.769 km/h, which was to be the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record. On the fourteenth lap the cars began to head for the pits for refueling and
changing wheels. Many cars stopped with boiling radiators and required a water refill. When Anselmi retired his Alfa Romeo on lap 14, the field was down to 16 cars. After 15 laps Varzi was 15 seconds ahead of Brilli Peri while
Divo held third place when stopping to refuel.
Nuvolari had pitted his Bugatti on lap 15, apparently with engine trouble. He called it quits on lap 18, while Bouriano had retired on lap 17 and Fagioli on lap 16. After the completion of 20 laps the field was down to 13 cars
in the following order:
|1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||2h00m39.6s|
|2. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||2h01m39.0s|
|3. Divo (Bugatti)||2h10m16.2s|
|4. Arcangeli (Talbot)||2h11m33.0s|
|5. Nenzioni (Maserati)||2h20m35.4s|
|6. Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz)||2h21m27.4s|
|7. Foresti (Bugatti)||2h22m44.0s|
|8. Pintacuda (Talbot)||2h23m58.6s|
|9. E. Maserati (Maserati)||2h24m33.2s|
|10. Tonini (Bugatti)||2h26m02.0s|
|11. Bornigia (Alfa Romeo)||2h27m56.0s|
|12. Biondetti (Salmson)||2h30m18.4s|
|13. Lepori (Bugatti)||2h31m19.4s|
On lap 21 Varzi stopped at the pits to refuel and filling up with oil, which took 2m35s. This enabled Brilli Peri to pass into the lead with about 1m30s advantage. A few other cars stopped at the same lap for tires and
refueling. Divo also rushed in with his Bugatti and needed only 10 seconds for a quick burst of fuel but he was still about nine minutes behind Varzi. After 22 laps Brilli was leading Varzi by 1m25s. Divo was ahead of
Arcangeli, Nenzioni, Caflisch, Foresti and Maserati.
After 25 laps Brilli was still 1m11s ahead of Varzi. After a gap of ten minutes Divo was next followed by Arcangeli, Nenzioni, Caflisch, Pintacuda, Foresti, Tonini, Maserati, Lepori, Bornigia and Biondetti.
Thereafter Bornigia must have stopped at the pits to hand the Alfa Romeo over to its owner Albini, who was credited for finishing in tenth place.
On lap 26 and 27 everyone was expecting Brilli Peri to stop at the pits and wondered how he could keep going since he had not yet stopped. Ernesto Maserati retired on lap 27 while Lepori also called it quits. In the
meantime Varzi drove every lap faster than his teammate, continuously reducing Brilli Peri's advantage. The suspense was building while both were immersed in their battle. Could Brilli possibly carry on without a pit stop?
Simultaneously he received signals with frantic gestures by the pit mechanic but Brilli stayed out. After the twenty-seventh lap Brilli's advantage had come down to 1m08s.
Finally, on the twenty-eighth lap, with only two more laps to go, he came in. The Motor reported, "...his mechanic seized a huge can of petrol, the cap of the tank was already off; heedless of spilling half, he just dashed
the contents into the tank, then threw aside the container, which shed a spray of spirit over the bystanders, and was off again on his way to victory." His stop had lasted a mere 30 seconds but then Varzi arrived. The pair
hurled towards the first turn with Varzi in front. Who would win? The fight went on with Varzi gaining meter by meter and eventually was 47 seconds ahead at the finish. Divo followed over ten minutes behind in third place,
ahead of the 1500 cc class winner Arcangeli, Caflisch who made several stops for tires and Pintacuda who had been delayed with spark plug problems. Tonini, Foresti, Albini and Biondetti in slower cars finished further behind.
Most of the reports summarized the results by the three classes, which we are following here. Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo) won the over 2000 cc class, ahead of Caflisch (Mercedes-Benz). Varzi (Alfa Romeo) was victorious in the
1500 to 2000 cc class, followed by Divo (Bugatti), third Nenzioni, fourth Foresti (Bugatti), fifth Pintacuda (Talbot) and sixth Tonini (Bugatti). The up to 1500cc class was won by Arcangeli (Talbot), second Albini/Borniga
(Alfa Romeo) and third Biondetti (Salmson).
|1.||22||Achille Varzi||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||30||3h03m10.2s|| |
|2.||4||Gastone Brilli Peri||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.01||S-8||30||3h03m57.4s||+ 47.2s|
|3.||24||Albert Divo||Automobiles Ettore Bugatti||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||30||3h13m21.2s||+ 10m11.0s|
|4.||48||Luigi Arcangeli||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||30||3h17m46.0s||+ 14m35.8s|
|5.||40||Cleto Nenzioni||C. Nenzioni||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||30||3h28m16.6s||+ 25m06.4s|
|6.||8||Fritz Caflisch||F. Caflisch||Mercedes-Benz||SS||7.1||S-6||30||3h29m45.4s||+ 26m35.2s|
|7.||32||Giulio Foresti||Mario Lepori||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||30||3h34m00.4s||+ 30m50.2s|
|8.||26||Carlo Pintacuda||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.7||S-8||30||3h34m09.0s||+ 30m58.8s|
|9.||16||Carlo Tonini||C. Tonini||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||30||3h37m23.4s||+ 34m13.2s|
|10.||54||C. Albini/A. Bornigia||Alfredo Bornigia||Alfa Romeo||6C-1500||1.5||S-6||30||3h42m55.0s||+ 39m44.8s|
|11.||50||Clemente Biondetti||C. Biondetti||Salmson||1.1||30||3h45m07.0s||+ 41m56.8s|
|DNF||14||Mario Lepori||M. Lepori||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||26|
|DNF||20||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||26|| || |
|DNF||18||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Nuvolari||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||17||engine|| |
|DNF||12||Georges Bouriano||G. Bouriano||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||16||mechanical|
|DNF||34||Luigi Fagioli||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||15||mechanical|| |
|DNF||52||Anselmo Anselmi||A. Anselmi||Alfa Romeo||6C-1500||1.5||S-6||13|| || |
|DNF||10||August Momberger||A. Momberger||Mercedes-Benz||SSK||7.1||S-6||9||supercharger|
|DNF||38||Federico Fisauli||F. Fisauli||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||8||mechanical|| |
|DNF||44||Filippo Sartorio||F. Sartorio||Amilcar||1.1||8||crash|| |
|DNF||2||Hans Stuck||H. Stuck||Austro Daimler||ADM-R||3.0||S-6||6||plugs, engine|
|DNF||6||Manuel Blancas||M. Blancas||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||5||mechanical|
|DNF||28||Baconin Borzacchini||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26R||1.7||S-8||5||crash|| |
Fastest lap over 2000 cc class Gastone Brilli-Peri on lap 11 in 5m51.2s = 133.8 km/h (83.1 mph)|
Fastest lap 2000 cc class: Achille Varzi (Alfa Romeo) in 5m56.6s = 131.7 km/h (81.9 mph)
Fastest lap 1500 cc class: Luigi Arcangeli (Talbot) on lap 6 in 6m13.4s = 125.8 km/h (78.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 128.2 km/h (79.7 mph)
Winner, over 2000 cc class medium speed: 127.7 km/h (79.3 mph)
Winner, 1500 cc class medium speed: 118.8 km/h (73.8 mph)
Weather: overcast, warm.
Lacking an Italian source to supply the race numbers, they were copied from Paul Sheldon's book and the Internet. Nine of them could be confirmed from photographs.
Enrico Anselmi in the #52, Alfa Romeo 6C-1500, has been referred to in many reports as Angelini.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
A-Z Motor Welt, Brno
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Frankfurter Zeitung, Frankfurt
IL LITTORIALE, Bologna
La Stampa, Torino
Lo Sport Fascista, Milano
The Motor, London
Tutti gli Sports, Firenze
Special thanks to:
CIRCUITO DEL POZZO
Circuito del Pozzo, Verona (I), 2 June 1929.
25 laps x 12.342 km (7.669 mi) = 308.6 km (191.7 mi)
Alloatti wins with Bugatti at the Pozzo Circuit
by Hans Etzrodt
At the 1929 Pozzo Circuit race there were 18 starters, mostly lesser known Italian drivers. The superior Alloatti with a 2300 Bugatti led from the first lap onwards, gradually increasing his advantage over Mazzacurati
(Bugatti 2000), who soon vanished from the race. Thereafter Giampietro Nenzioni (Bugatti 1500) held second place until lap nine when he fell behind with engine problems, leaving the second position to Valpreda's old
Delage 2000. In the end, despite a fuel stop, over five minutes separated the winner Alloatti from Valpreda in second place. Third was Cleto Nenzioni (Maserati 2000), ahead of his brother's Bugatti and Enzo Ferrari's
1750 Alfa Romeo. Fagioli (Salmson) won the 1100 cc category. There were only eight finishers while the remaining 10 drivers did not qualify and most of them retired.
The races on Circuito del Pozzo south off Verona had taken place since 1926 and had all been won by Bugatti. The first winner was Cosonni, in 1927 Bona was victorious and Nuvolari won the1928 event which had counted
towards the national racing championship but in 1929 it did not. Despite this change l'Automobile Club Verona succeeded in holding its fourth edition of the Pozzo Circuit. Although, the race did not boast the importance
of the previous year, it still remained an interesting race. The fast triangular 12.342 km road circuit started in Verona Palazzina (Forte Tomba), turned right at Bordino Corner from where it headed south along the Via
Palezzina straight to San Giovanni Lupatoto. Here, there was a right turn leading to nearby Pozzo and San Gaetano where the course turned right again heading north onto the long straight of Via Cesare Battisti,
which became Via Legnano further on towards Verona, where another right turn led to the start and finish. The drivers had to complete 25 laps, a distance of 308.55 km. The Pozzo Circuit, which was amongst the
fastest in Italy between the super-fast Cremona and Tripoli, did not present great difficulties for the drivers. It did not require the special skills of mixed road circuits, but demanded the boldness and ability to
drive for two hours at speeds very close to 150 km/h on the two narrow straights of the dirt roads, where the cars reached their top speed. The organizer had established a substantial prize for the driver who would
break the existing 1927 lap record of Balestrero with a 2000 cc Bugatti at 141.492 km/h.
The Verona AC received a total of 36 entries which were divided between categoria I for cars over 1100 cc and categoria II for cars up to 1100 cc. A great disappointment was the nonappearance of two 1500 Talbots, two 2000
Maseratis, Varzi with a 1750 Alfa Romeo, Blancas with a 2000 Bugatti, Bouriano with his 2300 Bugatti, Borzacchini and also last year's winner Nuvolari, all of whom were on the entry list. The problem was evidently, that the
Pozzo Circuit race was squeezed between two major events which counted towards the Italian championship, the Rome Grand Prix the week before and Mugello the week after. With such a concentrated calendar several drivers were
simply unable to prepare their machines in such a short time if they planned to also attend the important Mugello race. So, the big names stayed away.
A strong entry was that of Alloatti, who came from Alessandria and was winner of the 1926 Alessandria race. He arrived with a 2300 Bugatti on loan from Cavaliere Umberto Pugno, president of the Alessandria Automobile Club.
Alloatti's participation in the race became uncertain on Sunday morning because his tires had not arrived from Milan. Only the prompt decision by Pugno, to go to Milan by car and pick up the tires, saved Alloatti's day so
that he was able to start in the race. Other strong entries came from Mazzacurati and Alverà with Bugatti 2000s, Valpreda with a 1926 Grand Prix Delage 2000 and Enzo Ferrari's 1750 Alfa Romeo.
The remaining cars were 1500 cc types and a group of six 1100 cc cycle cars. A list of entries is at the beginning of this report.
In spite of a very hot day, the beautiful weather drew a large crowd, which packed the grand stands, roadsides and meadows. Due to the dry dirt road surface the speeding cars kicked up quite a bit of dust, which made passing
maneuvers a bit tricky. The existing lap record of 5m20.0s from 1927 was expected to be broken during the race.
At 4:20 PM, 12 cars from category I, over 1100cc, lined up at the start according to their race numbers of which only four numbers were identified from photographs. Ten minutes later, the Mayor of Verona launched
the large cars of which the first row consisted of three Bugattis with Alloatti in the middle. Alloatti took an immediate lead, closely followed by Mazzacurati. One minute after the departure of the big cars, the second
category was released, where Fagioli headed the small group of six cars.
At the end of the first lap Alloatti held a lead of 30 seconds over Mazzacurati in second place and had established a new lap record in 4m49s, an average of 153.741 km/h from a standing start. Menegardo retired his Bugatti
on the first lap. Then Cattaneo pulled his Amilcar out of the race on the second round. Mazzacurati managed to maintain second place until he was forced to retire on lap five when Giampietro Nenzioni in the Bugatti 1500
inherited second place. After five rounds the field was down to 15 cars in the following order:
|1. Alloatti (Bugatti)||24m47.6s|
|2. G. Nenzioni (Bugatti)||28m03.8s|
|3. E. Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)||28m27.4s|
|4. Valpreda (Delage)||28m40.2s|
|5. C. Nenzioni (Maserati)||28m42.4s|
|6. Pastore (Maserati)||29m32.4s|
|7. Chierici (Bugatti)||30m57.4s|
|8. Fagioli (Salmson)||31m58.0s|
|9. Premoli (Salmson)||32m29.2s|
|10. Venturi (OM)||32m59.2s|
|11. Cracchi (Bugatti)||35m13.2s|
|12. Avezzù (Marino)||38m06.0s|
|13. Alverà (Bugatti)||38m35.0s|
|14. Ceccini (Fiat)||39m22.0s|
|15. Piccoli (Salmson)||42m51.2s|
On lap seven, Chierici in seventh place, withdrew his Bugatti 2000. On the ninth round Giampietro Nenzioni in the Bugatti 1500 lost second place when he fell behind with engine problems. This passed the second position
briefly to Enzo Ferrari's Alfa Romeo who was passed by the old 2-liter Grand Prix Delage of Valpreda, because Ferrari was having trouble with his Alfa's rear brakes. On lap nine Premoli retired his Salmson, while second
placed Valpreda in the Delage was going to be lapped but decided not to give way to the faster car of the leader. Alloatti, however, passed him with a masterful steering maneuver in the Bordino curve leading onto the
straight towards S. Giovanni Lupatoto. After 10 laps Alloatti had lapped all his opponents and the field was down to 13 cars in the following order:
|1. Alloatti (Bugatti)||51m19.2s|
|2. Valpreda (Delage)|| 56m28.0s|
|3. E. Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)||57m12.0s|
|4. C. Nenzioni (Maserati)||57m17.4s|
|5. G. Nenzioni (Bugatti)||57m58.0s|
|6. Pastore (Maserati)||58m11.4s|
|7. Fagioli (Salmson)||1h04m35.8s|
|8. Venturi (OM)||1h05m48.4s|
|9. Cracchi (Bugatti)||1h06m56.4s|
|10. Alverà (Bugatti)||1h09m52.2s|
|11. Avezzù (Marino)||1h15m04.0s|
|12. Ceccini (Fiat)||1h18m48.0s|
|13. Piccoli (Salmson)||1h25m26.0s|
On lap 12 Avezzù retired his little Marino. Nothing of note happened until lap 13, when Cleto Nenzioni in the Maserati was able to pass the Alfa Romeo of Ferrari, advancing to third place. On lap 16 Pastore retired his
Maserati and Alverà in his Bugatti called it quits on the following lap. On lap 20 Cecchini disappeared with his Fiat, while Fagioli stopped on the same lap to refuel for a minute and a half. The field was eliminated by
half, down to nine cars. Here is the order after 20 laps:
|1. Alloatti (Bugatti)||1h42m23.8s|
|2. Valpreda (Delage)||1h50m10.0s|
|3. C. Nenzioni (Maserati)||1h50m51.4s|
|4. G. Nenzioni (Bugatti)||1h55m45.4s|
|5. E. Ferrari (Alfa Romeo)||1h57m08.0s|
|6. Cracchi (Bugatti)||2h09m39.4s|
|7. Venturi (OM)||2h11m12.6s|
|8. Fagioli (Salmson)||no time|
|9. Piccoli (Salmson)||no time|
On lap 21 Alloatti stopped for about 2m30s at his pit to re-fuel. In the last five laps the positions did not change. Alloatti in the fast Bugatti 2300 won triumphantly, welcomed to the applause by the crowd. Valpreda drove a
truly remarkable race with the 1926 Grand Prix Delage, apart from the fact that he was followed by Cleto Nenzioni's 2000 Maserati, who encountered repeated difficulties. In fourth place was Nenzioni Giampietro's Bugatti, the
first in the unofficial 1500 cc class. Enzo Ferrari with the Alfa 1750 started well but had no luck. He finished fifth while driving two-thirds of the race with only front brakes and would have done better without a fault in
the brake system which slowed him down from the ninth lap. Cracchi with a Bugatti 1500, had minor setbacks with the engine but recovered well to finish sixth. Colonel Ventuni with the normal Mille Miglia type OM could do no
better and followed in seventh place. In the minor category Luigi Fagioli in the Salmson won easily where Premoli in another Salmson was the only serious opponent but he retired on lap nine. Piccolo with the Amilcar was
stopped because he had exceeded the allowable time. Altogether from the12 starters of the class over 1100 cc, seven drivers were classified and from the six drivers of the 1100 cc class just one finished the race.
After Alloatti, the fastest drivers were Cleto Nenzioni 5m00.4s; Valpreda 5m11s; Giampietro Nenzioni 5m30s; Ferrari 5m37s; Cracchi 5m47s. These times suggest that Cleto Nenzioni would have been ahead of Valpreda, if he had not
encountered those 'difficulties'.
|1.||11||Giovanni Alloatti||G. Alloatti||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||25||2h12m31.2s|
|2.||21||Federico Valpreda||F. Valpreda||Delage||2 LCV||2.0||S-8||25||2h17m48.4s||+ 5m17.2s|
|3.||..||Cleto Nenzioni||C. Nenzioni||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||25||2h19m22.0s||+ 6m50.8s|
|4.||..||Giampietro Nenzioni||G. Nenzioni||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||25||2h26m32.0s||+ 14m00.8s|
|5.||16||Enzo Ferrari||E. Ferrari||Alfa Romeo||6C-1750 SS||1.8||S-6||25||2h28m15.0s||+ 15m43.8s|
|6.||..||Pietro Cracchi||P. Cracchi||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||25||2h38m51.0s||+ 26m19.8s|
|7.||..||Leopoldo Venturi||L. Venturi||O. M.||665 S||2.0||S-6||25||2h44m37.0s||+ 32m05.8s|
|8.|| 2||Luigi Fagioli||L. Fagioli||Salmson||1.1||S-6||25||2h54m20.4s||+ 41m49.2s|
|DNC||..||"Enrico" Piccoli||L. Piccoli||Salmson||1.1||20||exceeded max. time|
|DNF||..||Luigi Cecchini||L. Cecchini||Fiat||509||1.0||S-4||19|| || |
|DNF||..||Ogniben Alverà||O. Alverà||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||16||mechanical|
|DNF||..||Cesare Pastore||C. Pastore||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||15|
|DNF||..||Ignazio Avezzù||I. Avezzù||Marino||1.1||11|| || |
|DNF||..||Luigi Premoli||L. Premoli||Salmson||1.1||S-8||8|| || |
|DNF||..||Vittorio Chierici||V. Chierici||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||6|
|DNF||..||Mario Mazzacurati||M. Mazzacurati||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||4|
|DNF||..||Pietro Cattaneo||P. Cattaneo||Amilcar||GP||1.1||1|| || |
Fastest lap class over 1100 cc: Alloatti (Bugatti): on lap 1 in 4m49.0s = 153.8 km/h (95.5 mph).|
Fastest lap class up to 1100 cc: Fagioli (Salmson) in 6m12.2s = 119.4 km/h (74.2 mph).
Winner's medium speed class over 1100 cc (Alloatti): 139.7 km/h (86.8 mph).
Winner's medium speed class up to 1100 cc (Fagioli): 106.2 km/h (66.0 mph).
Weather: hot and dry.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
IL LITTORIALE, Bologna
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
LA STAMPA, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Tutti gli Sports, Napoli