CIRCUITO DI CREMONA
Circuito di Cremona (I), 29 September 1929.
5 laps x 62.94 km (39.11 mi) = 314.7 km plus 7.168 km = 321.9 km (200.0 mi)
Brilli Peri wins the Cremona 200 Miles with an Alfa Romeo P2
by Hans Etzrodt
The Cremona 200 miles race was preceded by a 10 kilometer speed trial on Saturday, which Borzacchini won with the Maserati 16-cylinder at 246.083 km/h, a new 10 km world record. From the 16 drivers that started in
Sunday's race only seven finished with the Alfa Romeos of Brilli Peri and Varzi first and second followed by E. Maserati (Maserati), Arcangeli (Talbot), F. Sartorio (Amilcar), Premoli (Salmson) and A. Sartorio (Salmson).
Borzacchini (Maserati) retired early on followed by Nuvolari (Talbot) and another seven drivers.
Two weeks after Monza another but smaller race for grand prix cars was held at Cremona. In the middle of the Italian lowland Lombardy region, south of Brescia, on completely flat terrain, there was the town of Cremona.
In 1929 the Circuito del Cremona was held for the fourth time, previous races having been held there in 1923, 1924 and 1928, always on the same 62.940 km dirt road circuit from Cremona - Piadena - Palvarato - Cremona.
From Gadesco near Cremona to San Antonio near Piadena the road stretched monotonously straight for 18 kilometers without any turns. This first section of the race course was also used for the 10 kilometer speed trial,
which had been held since 1924. The start and finish with grandstand were at Cremona. Five laps of the 62.940 km circuit added up to 314.700 km distance, just 7.168 km short of 321.868 km, equal to 200 miles.
To reach the 200 miles distance, the fifth lap was extended for 7.168 km where at its end near Gadesco village was the fifth lap finish line.
The Auto Club Cremona divided the cars into three classes, class 1 up to 1100 cc, class 2 up to 1500 cc and class 3 over 1500 cc.
Italy's top drivers were present. The Alfa Romeo factory entered P2s for Brilli Peri and Varzi while Officine Alfieri Maserati appeared with the 16-cylinder V4 for Borzacchini and a 2-liter car for Ernesto Maserati.
Scuderia Materassi entered two of their 1927 grand prix Talbots for Arcangeli and Nuvolari. The winner would almost certainly only come from one of these six, while the remaining ten independent drivers had at best a
chance of a good placing. Another car worth mentioning was the 8-cylinder 1100 cc Maserati 26C of Antonio Zanelli, which was the first of four of these cars built. He bought it in September from the Bologna factory
just in time for the Cremona event, which was the first contest for a 26C Maserati. Caflisch with his heavy Mercedes-Benz 4-seat sports model was unable to take part after he hit a roadside stone marker during practice,
causing his car to overturn. The Swiss/Italian suffered significant injuries and his Mercedes was damaged. A complete list of entries is shown at the beginning of this report including those cars which did not make it to
the starting line.
Class 1 Race:|
After an exciting Saturday evening, to celebrate the successful Cremona 10 kilometer speed trial, the crowd arrived in large numbers for Sunday's 200 mile race to see the fight between Maserati and Alfa Romeo. At 3:00 PM the
Duke of Bergamo started the seven cars of the 1100 cc class, which were lined up as reported by La Stampa according to their race numbers.
All drivers left rapidly except Premoli who lost 5 or 6 seconds to tighten a broken hood strap.
At the end of the first 62.94 km lap, Clerici was in the lead after 28m15.8s with a race average of 133.616 km/h, ahead of Platé, F. Sartorio, Premoli and A. Sartorio. Biondetti retired his Salmson with a faulty supercharger
tube and Zanelli in his new Maserati also ended his race. As soon as the 1100cc cars had completed their first lap and passed the finish the class 2 and 3 cars were started, but their progress is shown separately in this report,
following the proceedings of the 1100 cc class.
|3.||F. Sartorio (Amilcar)||31m58.4s|
|5.||A. Sartorio (Salmson)||32m19.2s|
After the second lap, with the field down to five cars, Clerici had extended his lead to Platé to over two minutes, driving the fastest lap for his class in 28m06.4s. The Sartorios and Premoli followed further behind.
The order was:
|1.||Clerici (Salmson)||56m22.2s||28m06.4s lap time|
|3.||F. Sartorio (Amilcar)||1h01m27.0s||29m28.6s|
|5.||A. Sartorio (Salmson)||1h03m11.2s||30m52.0s|
After lap three a surprise took place when Clerici retired his Salmson. In addition Platé's Lombard fell behind with a problem, and F. Sartorio's Amilcar was the recipient and took the lead. Platé was now second, followed
by Premoli and A. Sartorio who lost much time when he missed the braking-point for a turn, ending up against a barrier. However, after a brief delay he carried on.
|1.||F. Sartorio (Amilcar)||1h31m02.2s||29m35.2s lap time|
|4.||A. Sartorio (Salmson)||1h44m30.6s||41m19.4s|
After four laps, Platé's Lombard had left the scene, reducing the field to three cars. F. Sartorio remained in command, followed by Premoli and A. Sartorio.
|1.||F. Sartorio (Amilcar)||2h05m02.6s||34m00.4s lap time|
|3.||A. Sartorio (Salmson)||2h20m19.6s||35m49.0s|
After the fifth and final lap, the order had not changed and F. Sartorio's Amilcar won ahead of the two Salmsons.
|1.||F. Sartorio (Amilcar)||2h36m58.8s||31m56.2s lap time|
|3.||A. Sartorio (Salmson)||2h52m06.2s||31m46.6s|
On the fifth and last lap, after the three cars had passed the Cremona start and finish line, their time was taken but they had to keep on racing for another 7.168 km to a second but final finish line near Gadesco village
where another group of timekeepers was waiting for them. At this point the cars had covered the distance of 200 miles. The Gadesco timekeepers provided the final total time for covering the 200 miles. The time between the
two finish lines is shown below including the final total time.
|1.||F. Sartorio(Amilcar)||2h36m58.8s||+ 4m01.6s for 7.168 km|| = 2h41m00.4s|
|2.||Premoli (Salmson)||2h39m17.8s||+ 2m02.6s for 7.168 km|| = 2h41m20.4s|
|3.||A. Sartorio (Salmson)||2h52m06.2s||+ 3m39.6s for 7.168 km|| = 2h55m45.8s|
Class 2 & 3 Race:|
In the second class up to 1500 cc, the starters were Ruggeri, Arcangeli and Nuvolari. The third class over 1500 cc, comprised Bignami, Borzacchini, Brilli Peri, E. Maserati, Varzi and Malcolm. As soon as A. Sartorio, the
last of the class 1 drivers, had completed his first lap, the three class two cars were started. Then the group of six class three cars departed at a half minute interval between each group.
After the first lap, Brilli Peri was leading Borzacchini in the much more powerful 16-cylinder car by half a minute, followed by Varzi, Arcangeli, Nuvolari, E. Maserati, Bignami, Malcolm and Ruggeri.
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||20m08.6s|
|3.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||20m41.0s|
|6.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||21m31.2s|
During the second lap, Brilli Peri's lead over Varzi increased to almost two minutes because Varzi lost a minute somewhere. Borzacchini was unable to continue and had to stop with a flat tire. Since, like the majority of
drivers, he carried no spare wheel, he had to quit and Arcangeli inherited third place. Ernesto Maserati climbed to fourth position after Nuvolari lost nearly three minutes with an engine problem and dropped to fifth place.
Malcolm and Ruggeri had fallen even further behind while Bignami retired due to an accident but was unhurt. After two laps the cars arrived in the following order:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||40m30.0s||20m21.4s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||42m25.2s||21m44.2s|
|4.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||43m00.8s||21m29.6s|
At the beginning of lap three, the delayed Nuvolari arrived at the pits with a smoking engine and retired, while Ruggeri also ended his race. At the end of the lap Brilli Peri was over three minutes ahead of Varzi.
Arcangeli's Talbot in third place was the sole survivor of class two with Nuvolari and Ruggeri out of the race. Ernesto Maserati trailed nearly one minute further behind while Malcolm followed about ¼ hour later. After
three laps the order was as follows:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h00m51.2s||20m21.2s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h03m54.2s||21m29.0s|
|4.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h04m49.4s||21m48.6s|
After four laps, the order remained the same. Brilli Peri's lead had come down to less than two minutes after he had slowed down his pace while Varzi drove a very fast lap in 19m47.6s. His time was certified by the
timekeepers as the official fastest lap of the race. Arcangeli held third place, ahead of Maserati, who stopped at his pit to change spark plugs, losing precious time. Malcolm had fallen over 31 minutes behind the leader.
After four laps, the order was:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h21m48.0s||20m56.8s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h23m41.8s||19m47.6s|
|4.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h25m35.8s||20m46.4s|
On lap five, the last circuit, the field was reduced to four cars after Malcolm retired. Brilli Peri's lead had come down to 25.8 seconds when he had slowed down even further while Varzi kept on pushing. Arcangeli lost third
place to Maserati, who drove his fastest lap in 19m37.6s. Brilli's fastest lap was 20m08.6s and Arcangeli's fastest time was 21m07.6s. After completion of this last lap, the order was:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m05.8s||22m17.8s lap time|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m21.6s||20m39.8s|
|3.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h45m13.4s||19m37.6s|
On the fifth and final lap, when the four cars passed the Cremona start and finish line, the timekeepers recorded and published each driver's time, but the drivers had to carry on racing for another 7.168 km to make up the
200 miles until they reached the final finish line near Gadesco village where another group of timekeepers were doing their job. At this point the cars had covered the required distance of 200 miles to set international
records. The Gadesco timekeepers provided the final total time at the end of an extended fifth lap. It was here near Gadesco that Borzacchini had started his flying 10 km record the day before. Shown below are the times at
Cremona, the time between the two finish lines and the final total time in Gadesco.
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m05.8s||+ 2m55.0s for 7.168 km||= 1h47m00.8s|
|2.||Varzi (Alfa Romeo)||1h44m21.6s||+ 2m50.4s for 7.168 km||= 1h47m12.0s|
|3.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h45m13.4s||+ 2m50.4s for 7.168 km||= 1h48m03.8s|
|4.||Arcangeli (Talbot)||1h46m23.0s||+ 2m30.4s for 7.168 km||= 1h48m53.4s|
Brilli Peri was acknowledged by the press for having set up a new international 200-mile record at 184.128 km/h, while the press credited Arcangeli with the Talbot for establishing a new international 200-mile record at
177.296 km/h for 1500cc cars. Maserati's fifth lap time of 19m37.6s to Cremona start/finish line did not count as the lap record because, unfortunately for him, that lap terminated seven kilometers later at Gadesco and his
full lap was well over 20 minutes. As a result, Varzi's time stood as the fastest lap.
|1.||40||Gastone Brilli Peri||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||5||1h47m00.8s|
|2.||50||Achille Varzi||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||5||1h47m12.0s||+ 11.2s|
|3.||48||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||5||1h48m03.8s||+ 1m03.0s|
|4.||22||Luigi Arcangeli||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||5||1h48m53.4s||+ 1m42.6s|
|5.||12||Filippo Sartorio||F. Sartorio||Amilcar||1.1||5||2h41m00.4s||+ 53m59.6s|
|6.||6||Luigi Premoli||L. Premoli||Salmson||GP||1.1||5||2h41m20.4s||+ 54m19.6s|
|7.||14||Arrigo Sartorio||A. Sartorio||Salmson||1.1||5||2h55m45.8s||+ 1h08m45.0s|
|DNF||-||Juan Malcolm||J. Malcolm||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8||4||1h52m57.0s|
|DNF||2||Luigi Platé||L. Platé||Lombard||AL3||1.1||S-4||3||1h33m42.8s||engine|
|DNF||20||Amedeo Ruggeri||A. Ruggeri||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||2||1h21m0.0s||mechanical|
|DNF||8||Abele Clerici||A. Clerici||Salmson||VAL||1.1||2||56m22.2s||crash|
|DNF||24||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||2||45m47.2s||engine failure|
|DNF||-||Amedeo Bignami||A. Bignami||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||1||24m28.6s|
|DNF||36||Baconin Borzacchini||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||V4||4.0||2x8||1||20m38.2s||tire puncture|
|DNF||4||Antonio Zanelli||A. Zanelli||Maserati||26C||1.1||S-8||0||mechanical|
|DNF||16||Clemente Biondetti||C. Biondetti||Salmson||1.1||0||clutch|
Official fastest lap over 1500 cc class: Achille Varzi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 4 in 19m47.6s = 190.8 km/h (118.6 mph).|
Unofficial fastest lap over 1500 cc class: Ernesto Maserati (Maserati) on lap 5 in 19m37.6s = 192.4 km/h (119.6 mph).
Fastest lap 1500 cc class: Luigi Arcangeli (Talbot) in 21m07.6s = 178.8 km/h (111.1 mph).
Fastest lap 1100 cc class: Abele Clerici (Salmson) in 28m06.4s = 134.4 km/h (83.5 mph).
Winner's speed over 1500 cc class (Brilli Peri): 184.128 km/h official - should be 180.5 km/h (112.1 mph).
Winner's speed 1500 cc class (Arcangeli): 177.296 km/h official - should be 177.4 km/h (110.2 mph)
Winner's speed 1100 cc class (F. Sartorio): 119.447 km/h official - should be 119.9 km/h (74.5 mph).
Weather: intermittent sunshine, dry.
Cremona 10 Kilometer Speed Trial:
On Saturday before the 200-Mile race, a two-way speed trial from a flying start was held on the 18 kilometer endless straight that leads from Gadesco near Cremona to San Antonio near Piadena. It offered an ideal venue
for a 10 kilometer speed trial, which was held for the first time in 1924. At each end there were 4 km stretches, an approach run to accelerate up to speed and the other, after the timed 10 km section, for slowing down.
For the 1929 contest the following nine cars had registered to take part.
|4||Antonio Zanelli||A. Zanelli||Maserati||26C||1.1||S-8|
|24||Luigi Arcangeli||Scuderia Materassi||Talbot||700||1.5||S-8||DNS - withdrawn|
|30||Tazio Nuvolari||Scuderia Nuvolari||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8|
|36||Baconin Borzacchini||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||V4||4.0||2x8|
|-||Giuseppe Campari||G. Campari||Bugatti||T35||2.0||S-8||DNS - did not start|
|40||Gastone Brilli Peri||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.1||S-8|
|48||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26B||2.0||S-8|
|50||Achille Varzi||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8|
|52||Fritz Caflisch||F. Caflisch||Mercedes-Benz||SS||7.1||S-6||DNS - practice crash|
At 4:30 PM six cars were ready to start, without Arcangeli, who had withdrawn and Caflisch, who had crashed during practice for the 200 Mile race. Campari, who had reached 217.654 km/h in last year's event with an Alfa Romeo
P2, did not start either. Zanelli in his brand new 1100 cc Maserati started first, which was the first race for a tipo 26C. After five minutes it was Nuvolari's turn with his Bugatti monoposto, followed by Borzacchini in
the 4-liter 16-cylinder Maserati. On the return run Zanelli was again the first car, followed by Nuvolari and then Borzacchini. Nuvolari had a disappointing first run and on the return his car was worse and not running
properly. The sensation however was Borzacchini in the 16-cylinder Maserati, setting a new international 10-kilometer world record in class C (up to 5000 cc) at 246.083 km/h, surpassing Ernest Eldridge's earlier record of
225.776 km/h in a Miller. Brilli Peri in the Alfa Romeo P2 started next, followed by Varzi in the other P2 and Ernesto Maserati in the 2-liter Maserati, who ended his first run with spark plug trouble and retired. Varzi
was timed with the 2-liter Alfa Romeo P2 over the 10 km at 222.914 km/h where five years before Ascari had reached 195.016 km/h when the car was new. Varzi established a new 2000 cc world record at 222.914 km/h, thus
surpassing Kaye Don (Sunbeam) at 202.300 km/h. Brilli Peri, who had bored out his engine over the 2-liter limit, started in the 3-liter class, establishing a new world record at 223.333 km/h, beating the existing
record of G.E.T. Eyston (Bugatti) at 200.000 km/h. All cars were fitted with Dunlop tires. The chart below shows the results of both runs and the average record speed.
September 28, 1929. Cremona: 10 km speed trial with flying start, average of 2 runs, there and back.
|Pos.||No.||Driver (Car)||First Run||Return Run||Average Time & Speed|
|1.||36||Borzacchini (Maserati 4000 cc)||2m25.20s -- 247.933 km/h||2m27.40s -- 244.233 km/h||2m26.30s -- 246.083 km/h|
|2.||40||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo P2)||2m42.20s -- 221.948 km/h||2m40.30s -- 224.719 km/h||2m41.25s -- 223.333 km/h|
|3.||50||Varzi (Alfa Romeo P2)||2m42.20s -- 221.948 km/h||2m40.80s -- 223.880 km/h||2m41.50s -- 222.914 km/h|
|4.||30||Nuvolari (Bugatti 2000 cc)||3m02.60s -- 197.152 km/h||3m37.00s -- 165.898 km/h||3m19.80s -- 181.525 km/h|
|5.||4||Zanelli (Maserati 1100 cc)||4m00.60s -- 149.626 km/h||4m00.00s -- 150.000 km/h||4m00.30s -- 149.818 km/h|
|6.||48||E. Maserati (Maserati 2000)||retired with spark plug trouble|
Primary sources researched for this article:|
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Gran Sport, Firenze
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
Lo Sport Fascista, Milano
MOTOR UND SPORT, Pössneck
Tutti gli Sportz, Napoli
Special thanks to:
12 October 1929:
Jack Barclay and F. C. Clement (Bentley 4.9 litre) wins the B.A.R.C. 500 Miles handicap race at Brooklands, England
with a speed of 107.32 mph (172.72 km/h). It was at the time the fastest long distance race in the world.
GRAND PRIX DE TUNISIE
Bardo - Tunis (F), 17 November 1929.
40 laps x 8.023 km (4.985 mi) = 320.92 km (199.41 mi)
Brilli Peri wins Tunis Grand Prix with an Alfa Romeo P2
by Hans Etzrodt
The Tunis Grand Prix on the fast Bardo road circuit was the last great race of the 1929 international racing season. The event represented an Italian-French duel and developed into one of the hardest fought races
of the season. From 24 cars at the start, Borzacchini's 16-cylinder Maserati initially held the upper hand but soon retired, handing the lead to Brilli Peri's Alfa Romeo P2. A remarkably fast horde of independent Bugattis driven
by Lehoux, Dreyfus, Etancelin, Lamy and Liagre gave the Italian count no quiet moment. Varzi in another Alfa P2 had retired after just a few laps, as did German Count Arco in his large Mercedes-Benz and de Maleplane whose
Bugatti caught fire. Brilli Peri led from the seventh lap and did not budge an inch while Dreyfus pursued him tenaciously until lap 21 but did not have the momentum to close up to him. When the Frenchman was forced to stop,
second place was passed on to the Algerian Lehoux, who after a quick fuel stop increased his pace but not enough to catch the Italian's victorious Alfa. Dreyfus finished third ahead of Etancelin, de Bondelli, Ernesto Maserati,
Lamy and Scaron (Amilcar), first of the 1100 cc class. There were 13 finishers and no accidents amongst the non-finishers.
The 1929 racing season ended with the event in the North-African French protectorate of Tunisia. This race had been organized for the first time in the prior year also at Bardo. The Commission Sportive of the
Automobile-Club de Tunisie divided the entries into three categories, up to 1100 cc, up to 1500 cc and over 1500 cc. All competitors had to complete 40 laps of the 8.023 km Bardo circuit, a total of 320.920 km.
Bardo was a western suburb of Tunis with the start located on a short stretch of Route 5, followed by a slight right kink onto Route 7 and after 300 meters another slight right followed by a wide left turn along
Route 8 heading uphill north for just over three kilometers to a hairpin near Ettadhamen. From there the circuit turned south along Route de Bab- Bou-Saadoun for a bit over one kilometer with a fast right kink back
onto Route 8 going slightly downhill for about 2 kilometers to Ras-Tabia (now Ras Ettabia) where the course made a sharp right turn, heading south-west for a good kilometer downhill back to the Bardo start.
The maximum time allowed for all cars was 4 hours from the time of departure. Thereafter the commissioners would stop competitors remaining in the race. In case category 1 or 2 did not have at least four starters, those
competitors would have to start in in the next higher category. Category 3 would have to consist of at least four starters to qualify for the 30,000 francs award.
Only even race numbers were allocated, which were decided by drawing lots and by class, starting with the smallest displacement cars first. This was however changed on the day of the drawing, with the lowest
numbers for category three, while the 1100 cc cars had the largest numbers. The draw was to take place at the Headquarters of the Tunis AC, on November 14 at noon, in the presence of competitors. Cars had to wear their race
number, painted white on the radiator and each side of the body. Numbers had a height of 35 cm and a body width of 6 cm. Only two people were allowed to assist with wheel changes and refueling and they were not allowed
to leave the pit assigned to them. Smoking in the pits was not allowed.
The winner of each class received 12,000 French Fr., the second 6,000 Fr. and the third 4,000 Fr. The grand prize of 30,000 francs was awarded to the overall winner, regardless of the category and 15,000 francs
was awarded to the second overall finisher also regardless of category. The winners of the 30,000 and 15,000 francs grand prizes were denied the right to participate in the award of any other prize, except for the fastest lap.
A prize of 1,000 francs per category was awarded to the competitor who drove the fastest lap.
The importance of the Tunisian event was evident from the entry list that comprised 28 competitors, some of high international standing. The large car category had 11 entries. The Bologna Maserati factory arrived with their
V4 type 16-cylinder 4-liter car of Cremona world record fame for Borzacchini. Alfa Romeo entered their successful P2s for Brilli Peri and Varzi. The three Italian cars and a large independent Mercedes-Benz by German Max Count
von Arco-Zinneberg were opposed by a horde of seven Bugattis, all independent entries. The strongest of them was the 1928 winner, the Algerian Lehoux, who had an older 2.3-liter T35B Bugatti. Dreyfus likewise arrived with a
T35B on loan from his friend de Bondelli, the same car he had driven to victory in the Dieppe Grand Prix. Additionally, there were five independent 2-liter T35C Bugattis for Lamy, Etancelin, Liagre, Baroness d'
Elern and de Maleplane.
The six entries in the 1500 cc category included five 4-cylinder Bugattis with and without superchargers from Doré, "Foc", Bychawski , de Bondelli and Eberhardt. They were opposed by the single factory Maserati, a
new tipo 26 for Ernesto Maserati. The seven cycle cars of category one comprised Amilcars for Jaquin, Scaron, Dupont and Cloître plus Salmsons driven by Isaia, Boucly and Giraud-Cabantous. The number of starters was down to 24
cars as four drivers did not appear.
Tunis promised to be a warm place in mid-November. The crowd around the circuit was impressive. Besides visitors from Tunis, Italy and France, it was estimated that more than 2000 cars had come from Algeria,
Morocco and Tripolitania (Libya). On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM 24 cars began to line up for the start according to their race numbers, except the last row, which was in some disorder, as published by Petit Matin.
At 1:30 PM Dr. Lancon, president of the Tunisian Automobile Club, lowered the red flag and the cars chased away with thundering exhausts in a cloud of smoke on the sun-drenched circuit. Varzi, in row four,
sneaked boldly past nine cars ahead, leading the pack of 24 cars in no time. At Villejacques, Brilli Peri was in front, but Borzacchini in the huge Maserati chased behind Lehoux and passed him at the Arcades.
Borzacchini completed the first lap at an average of 102.130 km/h, barely ahead of Varzi, with Brilli Peri ten meters behind, followed by the compact Bugatti cluster of Lehoux, Dreyfus, Lamy and Etancelin.
Charles Faroux was present and commented, "This passage of seven cars, traveling at over 200 km/h, less than 100 meters apart, was something terrifying." Arco's huge Mercedes and the remaining 16 cars had
already fallen behind.
On the 2nd lap Borzacchini was leading Brilli Peri ahead of Dreyfus, Etancelin and Lehoux. Count Arco burst the left rear tire on his large Mercedes. Giraud-Cabantous also had a tire burst on his
Salmson at the Arcades.
On lap three Count Arco burst another tire, this time the right rear. Varzi had disappeared from the battle and headed for the pits, where they carefully checked his spark plugs and fuel system. He
finally retired after 34 minutes. Doré abandoned his 1500 Bugatti with a seized engine after 13 minutes of running.
Borzacchini covered the fourth round at an average of 134 km/h, ahead of Brilli Peri's Alfa Romeo who was closely chased by the horde of Bugattis.
After a third blow-out on lap 4, Count Arco stopped on lap 5, changed his rear wheel, refueled, but then retired because his mechanic had been injured. Three blown tires in the first thirty kilometers must
have been discouraging.
At the beginning of lap six Dupont stopped his Amilcar at the pits with distributor problems and abandoned the race. Then de Maleplane broke a connecting rod before the Arcades and his Bugatti caught fire.
The order of the front group remained unchanged. Borzacchini with his fast 4-liter Maserati in front had a five seconds advantage from his pursuers, so much so that it broke down at this sixth round, supposedly
with a broken gearbox as stated by Giovanni Canestrini or a broken magneto according to Charles Faroux; take your pick. Regardless, it was an irreversible breakdown and caused his retirement. When Borzacchini
stopped the Maserati 300 meters from the grandstand, five fast machines were already out of the running.
As of the seventh round, Brilli Peri took command, followed closely by Dreyfus and the already lapped Giraud-Cabantous, hounded by the remaining Bugatti horde.
After eight laps with Varzi, Doré, Count Arco, de Maleplane, Dupont and Borzacchini so far eliminated, the field was down to 18 cars, leaving Brilli Peri in the red Alfa Romeo as the only one defending the
Italian contingent against the troupe of blue Bugattis. Dreyfus posed a real threat chasing just two seconds behind the leader, while in the 1500 cc category de Bondelli and Maserati were involved in their battle
for seventh place.
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||28m35.0s|
|7.||de Bondelli (Bugatti)||31m58.0s|
|8.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||31m59.0s|
|12.||Giraud-Cabantous (Salmson)||no time|
|17.||Boucly (Salmson)||no time|
|18.||Cloître (Amilcar)||no time|
The first 12 laps ended with Brilli Peri leading with a 134.300 km/h average. Meanwhile Etancelin spun at the Arcades and Lehoux took his second place. Dreyfus followed six seconds behind after a quick stop
to have an ignition cable tightened. Cloître dropped out on the 12th round. On lap 13, "Foc" had a mechanical failure with his Bugatti, stopped on a bridge and retired there. Isaia in his Salmson also retired.
Brilli's 15th lap had the remarkable average of 135.700 km/h.
On the sixteenth round, Brilli Peri was still leading, driving with remarkable regularity and covered the 16 rounds in 56m49s at 135.560 km/h average. Dreyfus was less fortunate and had lost ground,
fighting with Etancelin and Lehoux for second place. After several stops, Lamy had fallen seriously behind. Maserati and de Bondelli were still fighting for the lead in the 1500 cc category. The classification
after 16 laps was as follows:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||56m49.0s|
|6.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h04m05.0s|
|7.||de Bondelli (Bugatti)||1h04m05.4s|
|12.||d'Elern (Bugatti)||no time|
|13.||Eberhardt (Bugatti)||no time|
|14.||Bychawski (Bugatti)||no time|
|15.||Boucly (Salmson)||no time|
On lap 17, Etancelin took second place, followed by Lehoux and Liagre. Dreyfus, always pursued by back luck, had dropped to fifth position after stopping once more at the pits to work with plugs and ignition
After 20 laps, midrace, Brilli Peri was still in the lead after 1h10m57s at an average of 135,700 km/h, Dreyfus in second place was the fastest of the Bugattis between lap 2 and 20. Despite two pit stops, he
had actually increased the gap to Etancelin. In the 1500 cc class, de Bondelli had finally lost his shadow, Maserati, who was now 19 seconds behind. After 20 laps the order was:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h10m57.0s|
|5.||Liagre (Bugatti)||no time|
|6.||de Bondelli (Bugatti)||1h19m36.0s|
|7.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h19m55.0s|
|10.||Lamy (Bugatti)||no time|
|11.||Baronne d'Elern (Bugatti)||no time|
|12.||Eberhardt (Bugatti)||no time|
|13.||Bychawski (Bugatti)||no time|
|14.||Giraud-Cabantous (Salmson)||no time|
|15.||Boucly (Salmson)||no time|
When Dreyfus headed for the pits to change plugs, Lehoux, who earlier had passed Etancelin, inherited second place behind Brilli Peri on lap 22, where he remained until the end. He was continuously struggling
to keep up with the leader, exciting as the race approached the end. Despite Dreyfus stop to change plugs, he always pushed back and caught up to stay third. Etancelin had lost third gear, which diminished his
pace and he therefore was no longer able to fight with Dreyfus or Lehoux.
On lap 20 de Bondelli in the 1500 Bugatti was 19 seconds ahead of Maserati, but on lap 22, he was not merely behind Maserati, but virtually seven whole minutes behind. The reason for De Bondelli's slow-down was
a clutch problem when he had to stop at his pit to have it adjusted. Etancelin and Liagre had a battle for fourth place on lap 24 when the order was:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h28m05.0s|
|6.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h34m08.0s|
|10.||de Bondelli (Bugatti)||1h41m01.0s|
|11.||Baronne d'Elern (Bugatti)||1h41m25.0s|
|15.||Eberhardt (Bugatti)||no time|
On lap 25, equal to 200.580 km, Brilli's lead was 2m16s over the Algerian Lehoux who allegedly had to make a short stop to refuel. By this time Brilli Peri maintained a moderate pace despite the attack by
last year's winner Lehoux. After Brilli Peri, the Algerian was the best man in the race, also for his knowledge of the route. Giraud-Cabantous had difficulties with his fuel supply and was falling behind.
Baroness d'Elern drove a consistent race. On lap 26 Liagre retired his Bugatti at Villejacques with a broken connecting rod. He had held fourth place on lap 17, before stopping for two minutes to change plugs.
After 28 laps, the order was as follows:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||1h39m15.0s|
|6.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||1h52m38.0s|
|9.||de Bondelli (Bugatti)||1h57m14.0s|
|10.||Baronne d'Elern (Bugatti)||1h58m15.0s|
The 30th round saw the continuation of the ongoing duel between Brilli Peri and Lehoux, who was 1m10s behind. On the following lap Lehoux lowered the gap to 1m7s, then 1m5s, to 48s after two further laps,
then 36s, 34s, 30s, 28s, 26s to finally 22 seconds at the finish. Maserati broke his accelerator pedal and lost his lead in the 1500 cc class during the repair. After36 laps, the order was as follows:
|1.||Brilli Peri (Alfa Romeo)||2h09m16s|
|4.||Etancelin (Bugatti)||no time|
|7.||de Bondelli (Bugatti)||2h29m00s|
|9.||E. Maserati (Maserati)||2h29m52s|
|10.||Baronne d'Elern (Bugatti)||2h34m05s|
|13.||Boucly (Salmson)||no time|
Brilli Peri had led from the 7th lap onwards, did not stop during his drive to victory and finished just 22 seconds ahead of Lehoux, in the fastest Bugatti. The French Resident General attended the race and
congratulated the winner, assisted by the Italian Consul, Comm. Bombieri, presenting the gold medal. The elderly and glorious Alfa Romeo P2 had again shown its superiority, although both Alfas Varzi's and
Brilli's, drove with too high ratios for this circuit. They were unable to carry out the change since they did not bring lower ratios to Tunis, as reported by Giovanni Canestrini. This explained why the
Bugattis were able to get so close. On the other hand Brilli Peri led very well not unduly forcing the car with the use of third and second gear. Charles Faroux reported that Dreyfus stopped his Bugatti three
times to fix a loose spark plug wire, Etancelin had no third gear, while Lehoux's made a very fast refueling stop and Lamy had to change spark plugs. Petit Matin also reported that Lamy headed three times for
the pits, one minute for gasoline, one minute to arrange a plug wire and another minute to change plugs, while de Bondelli pulled in for one minute to adjust the clutch, Jaquin stopped one minute to take on
gasoline and water and Giraud-Cabantous visited his pit for a minute to take on gasoline.
There was a good battle between the faster 1500 cc category drivers of Doré, "Foc", de Bondelli in Bugattis and Ernesto Maserati in a new red type 26. After Doré and "Foc" retired, Maserati built up a good advantage
to de Bondelli, holding fifth place overall. But on the 34th lap Ernesto had to stop along the way when his car's accelerator pedal broke, which cost him dearly, losing an over four-minute lead which Maserati had
on de Bondelli. He was unable to catch de Bondelli at the end, who won the 1500 category for Bugatti by just 10 seconds. Eberhard finished eleventh ahead of Bychawski, who slowed with a slipping clutch on his
Bugatti and did not qualify with only 39 laps.
The seven 1100 cc cycle cars, Salmsons of Isaia, Boucly and Giraud-Cabantous against Amilcars of Jacquin, Scaron, Dupont and Cloître had their own little battle over 40 laps. Dupont, Isaia and Cloître disappeared
early on, while Scaron and Jaquin in their 6-cylinder Amilcars had a race-long battle and finished in that order ahead of Boucly and Giraud-Cabantous.
|1.||16||Gastone Brilli Peri||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8||40||2h23m29s|
|2.||6||Marcel Lehoux||M. Lehoux||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||2h23m51s||+ 22s|
|3.||22||René Dreyfus||R. Dreyfus||Bugatti||T35B||2.3||S-8||40||2h28m09s||+ 4m40s|
|4.||10||Philippe Etancelin||P. Etancelin||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||40||2h31m23s||+ 7m54s|
|5.||32||Albert de Bondelli||A. de Bondelli||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||40||2h37m27s||+ 13m58s|
|6.||24||Ernesto Maserati||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||26||1.5||S-8||40||2h37m37s||+ 14m08s|
|7.||2||René Lamy||R. Lamy||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||40||2h46m12s||+ 22m43s|
|8.||48||José Scaron||J. Scaron||Amilcar||MCO||1.1||S-6||40||2h47m32s||+ 24m03s|
|10.||14||Baroness d'Elern||Baroness d'Elern||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||40||2h51m18s||+ 27m49s|
|11.||36||Rudolf Eberhardt||R. Eberhardt||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||40||2h51m27s||+ 27m58s|
|12.||44||Roger Boucly||R. Boucly||Salmson||1.1||S-4||40||2h51m33s||+ 28m04s|
|13||46||Yves Giraud-Cabantous||Y. Giraud-Cabantous||Salmson||1.1||S-4||40||2h57m12s||+ 33m43s|
|DNF||12||Francis Liagre||F. Liagre||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8||25||connecting rod|
|DNF||42||Henri Isaia||H. Isaia||Salmson||1.1||S-4||12|| || |
|DNF||28||"Foc"||P. Matussière||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4||12||mechanical|| |
|DNF||56||Guy Cloître||G. Cloître||Amilcar||C6||1.1||S-6||11|| || |
|DNF||4||Baconin Borzacchini||Officine Alfieri Maserati||Maserati||V4||4.0||2x8|| 6||gearbox or magneto|
|DNF||50||Emile Dupont||E. Dupont||Amilcar||1.1|| 5||distributor|| |
|DNF||18||Jean de Maleplane||J. de Maleplane||Bugatti||T35C||2.0||S-8|| 5||engine fire|
|DNF||8||Max Arco-Zinneberg||M. Count v. Arco-Zinneberg||Mercedes-Benz||SSK||7.1||S-6|| 4||tires & injured mechanic|
|DNF||26||Michel Doré||M. Doré||Bugatti||T37A||1.5||S-4|| 2||seized engine|
|DNF||20||Achille Varzi||SA Ital. Ing. Nicola Romeo||Alfa Romeo||P2||2.0||S-8|| 2||fuel feed & ignition|
Fastest lap: René Dreyfus (Bugatti) in 3m30.2s = 137.4 km/h (85.4 mph) equaled later by Brilli Peri and by Lehoux.|
Winner's medium speed: 134.2 km/h (83.4 mph).
Winner's medium speed 1500 cc class (de Bondelli): 122.3 km/h (76.0 mph).
Winner's medium speed 1100 cc class (Scaron): 114.9 km/h (71.4 mph).
Weather: warm, sunshine, dry.
The question remained whether there were 22 or 24 cars at the start? Charles Faroux reported in 'La Vie Automobile' about 22 drivers at the start, yet mentions entries of 24 drivers, (over 1500 cc = 11 starters, 1500 cc = 5
starters, 1100 cc = 8 starters, totaling 24 cars.) L'Auto Italiana mentions 22 cars, (over 1500 cc = 11 cars, 1500 cc = 5 cars, 1100 cc = 8 cars, but adds up to 24 cars total.) 'La Stampa' also counted 22 competitors,
(over 1500 cc = 10 starters, 1500 cc = 5 starters, 1100 cc = 8 starters, totaling up to 23 cars.) Giovanni Canestrini stated in 'La Gazetta dello Sport' "From 25 parties, 13 finished the race". The Tunis newspaper
'Petit Matin' reported that from 28 registered entries only 24 appeared at the start and also showed a 24 car starting grid. The destiny of the 24 cars was described in their report. To make a long story short, we
concluded that most likely 24 cars started in the race.
What about the times at the finish? While seven of our major sources agreed on the times at the finish for the 13 finishers, only 'Petit Matin' differed in every case. The differences were often just 5 seconds more but
in some cases also less seconds or the times were many minutes apart. We concluded that the published times of the Tunis newspaper were flawed and therefore are not shown here, except for the 14th car at the finish.
'Petit Matin' conceded that lack of information provided by the scoreboard display and by the loudspeakers did not allow an exact and appropriately complete listing of all competitors who completed the race. The public
was not given information about the fastest lap. Obviously the FL was established either by Borzacchini, who could have acquired it at the beginning of the race, or by Lehoux who drove very fast near the end of the race
and clearly gave the impression of having realized the fastest lap of the day. It is hard to understand why 'Petit Matin' discounted Brilli Peri with the FL.
Giovanni Canestrini observed that the organization on the circuit was good. But the Automobile Club of Tunis was faced with unexpected difficulties and the timekeeping was poor as ever, so much so that the official data
on the fastest lap times was not known. Probably the local A. C. did not think that their race could achieve much success.
Charles Faroux reported in La Vie Automobile the fastest time of 3m30.2s for Dreyfus, equaled later by Brilli Peri and by Lehoux.
L'Auto Italiana quoted the same time for Brilli Peri, also for Dreyfus and Lehoux. Regardless, it seems unlikely that three drivers would record precisely the same time.
The Tunis touring car Grand Prix was held Saturday, November 16 in conjunction with the great Tunis Automobile Show. From the start of the race, Baroness d'Elern in a 2-liter Bugatti took the lead, followed by Bellincioni
with a 1750 Alfa Romeo, was delayed by a minor accident. There was danger of skidding as a result of heavy rainfall. On the second lap Tache (1500 Bugatti) crashed and was slightly hurt. Baroness d'Elern had to stop at
the pits to tighten a loosened wheel fender. The Baroness, despite having bumped into a stockade, was able to finish the race and won with her 2-liter Bugatti the 320.920 km race over 40 laps in 2h57m14s at a
speed of 108.660 km/h. The Italian Bellincioni in a 1750 Alfa finished second in 3h02m44s at 105.400 km/h. Third was Boucly (1100 cc Salmson) in 3h12m43s, Vincenti (2000 cc Bugatti) finished fourth in 3h21m29s,
followed by Rallo (1500 cc Bugatti) in 3h44m21s, while Boucly (1100 cc Salmson) won the 1100 cc class. Boucly and Bellincioni were the only contestants who completed the race without stopping.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
AC de Tunisie Reglement, Tunis
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
A-Z Motorwelt, Brno
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
La Gazetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
La Vie Automobile, Paris
Petit Matin, Tunis
Tutti in Automobile, Roma
Special thanks to:
Mercedes-Benz Archiv, Stuttgart