Segrave (Talbot)Moriceau (Talbot)Williams (Bugatti)


Circuit de Miramas - Marseille (F), 28 March 1926.
50 laps x 5.050 km (3.138 mi) = 252.5 km (156.9 mi)


1Edgar MarkiewiczE. MarkiewiczSalmson1.1S-4
2Pierre BacP. BacSalmson1.1S-4
5André MorelSNA AmilcarAmilcarCO1.1S-6
6Charles MartinSNA AmilcarAmilcarCO1.1S-6
7René CozetteSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-6
8Fernand MichelSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-6
9Henny de JoncyH. de JoncyBNC 527 Scap1.1S-4
10F. ThélussonF. ThélussonBNC tank527 Scap1.1S-4
11Jacques BrosselinJ. BrosselinBNC tank527 Scap1.1S-4
12Henri MatthieuHenri MatthieuOctoRuby1.1S-4DNA - did not appear
15Pierre de CailleuxP. de CailleuxNemo1.1S-4

16Raymond SavonRaymond SavonBugattiT371.5S-4DNA - did not appear
17Marcel MagnierMarcel MagnierBugattiT221.5S-4
18Armand GirodA. GirodBugattiT371.5S-4DNA - did not appear
19Henry SegraveAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-4
20Edmond BourlierAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-4
21Jules MoriceauAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-4
22MuraourMuraourJean GrasCIME1.5S-4
23de Brémondde BrémondMathis1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
24Robert SavonR. SavonBugattiT371.5S-4

25François EysermannF. EysermannBugattiT35A2.0S-8
26Marcel VidalMarcel VidalBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
27Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT35A2.0S-8
28"Williams"W. WilliamsBugattiT352.0S-8
29Louis ChironHoffmannBugattiT35A2.0S-8
30René LamyRené LamyBugattiT302.0S-8DNS - did not start
31E. ProalE. ProalBugattiT35A2.0S-8DNA - did not appear

32Maurice RostM. RostGeorges-Irat3.0S-6
33Antoine MassiasA. MassiasAlfa RomeoRL SS3.0S-6
34Charles MontierC. MontierMontierFord2.9S-4
35Hector DavidH. DavidTurcat Méry2.4S-4
36Louis RigalL. RigalChenard WalckerUU2.6S-4DNA - did not appear

37M. GiraudM. GiraudVoisin3.5S-6DNA - did not appear
38Gaétan DucreuxG. DucreuxPanhard Levassor3.5S-6DNS - practice crash
39Felix CastellanF. CastellanPanhard Levassor3.5S-6DNS - fatal practice crash
40Maurice BécquetM. BécquetBéquet Spéciale - Hispano Suiza11.8V-8DNA - did not appear

42JourdanJourdanBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not appear
43Ignazio ZubiagaI. ZubiagaAustinSeven0.7S-4DNA - did not appear

Segrave wins the Provence Grand Prix and Hartford Cup for Talbot

by Hans Etzrodt
The 1926 Grand Prix de Provence attracted an entry of 43 cars which were divided into 5 categories, each with its own elimination race over 10 laps around the Miramas circuit. The first five in each heat were due to advance to the final over 50 laps, however only16 cars actually took part. The race was frantic and at times very eventful. The battle was between the 1500 works Talbots of Segrave, Bourlier and Moriceau and a group of independent 2000 Bugattis driven by Lehoux, Williams, Chiron and Foresti in Eysermann's car. In the 1100 category the works Amilcars of Morel and Martin battled the independent Salmsons of Jourdan and Bac. Segrave won ahead of Moriceau, Williams, Chiron, Foresti and Rost (3000 Georges-Irat). The stragglers Morel, Lehoux, Massias and Jourdan were flagged off when the track was invaded by the crowd. The remaining six cars retired. The official timekeepers made serious mistakes, which were reviewed by Charles Faroux at the end of this report in the 'In retrospect' section.
The AC de Marseille used the Miramas circuit as its venue. Situated north-west of the large seaport of Marseille, it was located just a few kilometers north of the town of Miramas. The race track had been built at great expense for the 1924 Provence Grand Prix. The flat 5.050 km oval track easily allowed speeds of up to 200 km/h, the wide corners were slightly banked but the rough concrete surface was hard on tires. The 1926 Grand Prix de Provence was the second running of the event. It comprised six races, consisting of five qualifying heats and a Final for the Hartford Cup. Racing began at 9:30 AM with the qualifying race for the over 3-liters category. At 10:15 the 3-liter category started, followed at 11 am by the 2-liter category, at 11:45 by the 1.5-liter category and at 12:30 PM by the 1.1-liter category. The heat races went over 10 laps of the 5.050 km circuit, totaling 50.500 km. The first 5 finishers of each heat qualified for the Final at 2:30 PM which brought together the fastest of each category for 50 laps or 252.500 km.
      The prize money awarded in each category of the elimination runs was 3,000 francs for first, 2,000 for second, 1,500 for third, 1,000 for fourth and 500 for fifth. In addition the following prizes would be awarded to the winners of the Final: first place received 10,000 francs and the Hartford Trophy, second 4,000 francs, third 3,000, fourth 2,000 and fifth 1,000 while the Coupe du Casino d'Aix-en Provence was a team prize.
      The trophy offered by the Hartford Company (the well-known manufacturer of friction shock absorbers) became the permanent property of the manufacturer which won it twice (whether consecutively or not). The trophy was entrusted during the year to the manufacturer which had last won it and had to be returned to the Society of the Autodrome in the first days of the following year. In the event that this trophy was won by an amateur, it was the builder of the car which would be the holder. The trophy was first won by the Talbot Company.
The AC de Marseille received a splendid list of 43 entries, shown at the beginning of this report. Race numbers were not published in any of our primary sources, but we utilized the ones shown in Paul Sheldon's black books Volume 2. However, a few of those numbers (from #25 to #30) were changed by us because photographs showed different numbers than those on Sheldon's list. The cars affected were:
        #25 François Eysermann (2000 Bugatti) was changed from #26 (Sheldon).
        #26 Marcel Vidal (2000 Bugatti), was changed by us from #25 (Sheldon) - was a DNA.
        #27 Marcel Lehoux (2000 Bugatti) was changed from #28 (Sheldon).
        #28 Williams (2000 Bugatti) was changed from #29 (Sheldon).
        #29 Chiron (2000 Bugatti) was changed from #30 (Sheldon).
        #30 René Lamy (2000 Bugatti) was changed by us from #27 (Sheldon) a DNA, changed to DNS.
              This #30 car was seen in a photograph of the Final starting grid, a mysterious car.
The following race numbers were proven to be correct, matching those in photographs, #1, #2, #3 and #4 Salmsons; #5 and #6 Amilcars; #10 and #11, BNCs; #19 and #20 Talbots; #25, #27 and #28 Bugattis; # 32 Georges-Irat; #41 Delfosse.
      Amongst the doubtful entries with possibly wrong race numbers or incorrect names were the following, none of which appeared for the race.
        #18 (1500 Bugatti), driven by Armand Girod.
        #35 (3000 Turcat Méry) was driven by Hector David or Alfred Ducreux, Dureux.
        #43 Zubiaga (Austin) was listed only by L'Auto in the race previews.
On Thursday, March 25, Alfred Ducreux and Gaétan Ducreux were practicing together in their Panhards, when they almost collided at the entrance of the loop. During heavy braking, the car of Gaétan Ducreux swerved, spun and struck the embankment on the slope. Gaétan Ducreux, and his mechanic, the young Felix Castellan of the Panhard-Levassor works, were thrown from the car. Ducreux escaped with heavy bruises, but the driverless car continued its trajectory, hit Castellan, lying on the track. Castellan was transported to hospital with a caved in chest, where he soon died. The sad accident happened by mistake and caused great dismay for the organizer and others. Felix Castellan from Marseille was to drive the second Panhard Levassor but the cars did not start.
The Races:
29 drivers started in the morning's elimination races. Another 14 did not appear but were listed by the Paris L'Auto. The exception was the #42 Bugatti (a DNA) from Paul Sheldon's listing, which appeared to be a duplicate entry for the #3 Salmson.

Heat 1:
The elimination race for the over 3000 cc category was due to start at 9:30 AM. Massias (Alfa Romeo), as the only starter, qualified for the final without having to drive the course. The question remains why the 3000 Alfa Romeo was allowed to start in the higher category over 3-liter? Its engine could have been re-bored to just over 3000 cc but that is not known. It is also possible that the organizer selected the Alfa Romeo to start in heat 1, in order to keep that heat alive since three of the entries had not appeared and one driver died in a practice crash.

Results - over 3-liter category qualification


1.33Antoine MassiasA. MassiasAlfa RomeoRL SS3.0S-6
Heat 2:
The elimination race for the 3000 cc category started at 10:15 AM. There were four entries in this boring half an hour race where Rost took the lead and led from beginning to end. After David retired the Turcat Méry, only the first two cars qualified for the final.

Results - 3-liter category qualification


1.32Maurice RostM. RostGeorges Irat3.0S-61026m12.4s
2.34Charles MontierC. MontierMontierFord2.9S-41029m33.2s+ 3m20.8s
DNF35Hector DavidH. DavidTurcat Méry2.4S-4
Fastest lap : N/A.
Average speed of the winner: 115.6 km/h (71.8 mph) (Note 1)
Heat 3:
The elimination race for the 2000 cc category started at 11:00 AM with four similar looking Bugattis. On the second lap Lehoux took the lead and the finishing order did not change after that lap. All four cars qualified for the final. The number 30 car was in the race as seen in a photograph on the starting grid for the Final start. The circumstances connected with this car are unknown. Despite this we show it as non-starter.

Results - 2-liter category qualification


1.27Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT35A2.0S-81023m24.6s
2.29Louis ChironHoffmannBugattiT35A2.0S-81023m46.0s+ 21.4s
3.25François EysermannF. EysermannBugattiT35A2.0S-81024m36.4s+ 1m11.8s
4.28"Williams"W. WilliamsBugattiT352.0S-81025m03.2s+ 1m38.6s
DNS30René LamyR. LamyBugattiT302.0S-8did not start
Fastest lap: N/A.
Average speed of the winner: 129.4 km/h (80.4 mph).
Heat 4:
The elimination race for the 1500 cc category started at 11:45 AM. From the seven entries in this boring race only four drivers advanced. The three Talbots were saving their cars for the final. Bourlier drove the fastest lap at 122.030 km/h. Muraour failed to complete the full distance in time and was flagged off while Savon and Magnier retired.

Results - 1.5-liter category qualification


1.20Edmond BourlierAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-81025m25.6s
2.19Henry SegraveAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-81025m25.8s+ 0.2s
3.21Jules MoriceauAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-81025m33.8s+ 8.2s
4.41TrouvéTrouvéDelfosse1.51027m07.4s+ 1m41.8s
DNC22MuraourMuraourJean GrasCIME1.5S-4flagged off
DNF24Robert SavonR. SavonBugattiT371.5S-4
DNF17Marcel MagnierM. MagnierBugattiT221.5S-4
Fastest lap: Edmond Boulier (Talbot) in 2m29s = 122.0 km/h 75.8 mph).
Average speed of the winner: 119.2 km/h (74.0 mph.
Heat 5:
The elimination race for the 1100 cc category started at 12:30 PM. From the 14 car field the two latest works Amilcars and three Salmsons finished in the first five places and advanced to the Final. Morel was leading and was not worried about the Salmsons which were kept well behind Martin's Amilcar. Four other cars finished the heat but did not qualify and five more retired.

Results - 1.1-liter category qualification


1.5André MorelSNA AmilcarAmilcarCO1.1S-61024m33.6s
2.6Charles MartinSNA AmilcarAmilcarCO1.1S-61026m07.4s+ 1m33.8s
3.2Pierre BacP. BacSalmson1.1S-41026m19.6s+ 1m46.0s
4.3JourdanJourdanSalmson1.1S-41026m56.6s+ 2m23.0s
5.4DufourDufourSalmson1.1S-41027m07.2s+ 2m33.6s
DNQ13PourtalPourtalOctoRuby1.1S-41029m16.2s+ 4m42-6s
DNQ8Fernand MichelSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-61032m03.4s+ 7m29.8s
DNQ15Pierre de CailleuxP. de CailleuxNemo1.1S-41032m46.4s+ 8m12.8s
DNQ10F. ThélussonF. ThélussonBNC tank527 Scap1.1S-41034m41.2s+ 10m07.6s
DNF1Edgar MarkiewiczE. MarkiewiczSalmson1.1S-4
DNF7René CozetteSNA AmilcarAmilcarC61.1S-6
DNF9Henny de JoncyH. de JoncyBNC527 Scap1.1S-4
DNF11Jacques BrosselinJ. BrosselinBNC tank527 Scap1.1S-4
Fastest lap: N/A.
Average speed of the winner: 123.4 km/h (76.7 mph).
The Final
was scheduled at 2:30 PM over 50 laps or 250.500 km, with the following 16 drivers who had qualified:
        Over 3-Liter - Massias (Alfa Romeo);
        3-Liter - Rost (Georges Irat), Montier (Montier);
        2-Liter - Lehoux (Bugatti), Chiron (Bugatti), Foresti (Bugatti), Williams (Bugatti);
        1.5-Liter - Bourlier (Talbot), Segrave (Talbot), Moriceau (Talbot), Trouvé (Delfosse);
        1.1-Liter - Morel (Amilcar), Martin (Amilcar), Bac (Salmson), Jourdan (Salmson), Dufour (Salmson).
There was one change of drivers when Giulio Foresti replaced Eysermann (Bugatti) in the 2-liter class.
        The sun, which finally decided to shine, invited the undecided to come to Miramas and the spectators were now even more numerous than the morning. The cars were placed on the grid in the order of their average speed finished in the heat races. The intention of this arrangement was to give no cause for complaints regarding injustice.
Grid not available

The start was given by François Repusseau, the major contributor of the Hartford Trophy, and Morel stormed away in the lead but at the end of the first lap it was Bourlier in front with a time of 2m16s. He was followed by Segrave, Williams, Morel, Lehoux, Foresti, Chiron, Moriceau, Martin, Bac, Rost, Jourdan and Trouvé, in this order. At the end of the first lap, near the exit of the loop, the Salmson of Dufour overturned, but he was not injured. He stopped at the pits where he retired with a transmission problem, which supposedly was the cause of the incident but other sources reported a broken magneto drive.
      On the second lap Segrave took the lead ahead of Bourlier, Lehoux, Morel and Chiron, having made the fastest lap in 3m13s at 135.340 km/h. Rost advanced two places ahead of Bac and Jourdan. On the third lap Chiron passed Morel for fourth place with Morel now fifth followed closely by Moriceau. On lap five Williams had to stop at the pits and resumed immediately but had dropped to tenth place. The race continued and it was interesting to see Williams making up places every lap. Moriceau who earlier had passed Morel, passed Chiron on lap seven for fourth place.
      On the 10th lap, Segrave was still in the lead, followed by Bourlier, who was threatened by Lehoux 40 meters behind. Moriceau, Chiron and Williams followed next. The first three were separated by only three seconds. The struggle was exciting to watch. There were still 15 cars on the track, after 50.5 km Segrave led the field in the following order after ten laps:
1.Segrave (Talbot)23m13s
2.Bourlier (Talbot)23m14s
3.Lehoux (Bugatti)23m16s
4.Moriceau (Talbot)23m26s
5.Chiron (Bugatti)23m39s
6.Williams (Bugatti)24m45s
7.Foresti (Bugatti)25m05s
8.Martin (Amilcar)25m19s
9.Morel (Amilcar)25m29s
10.Bac (Salmson)26m04s
11.Rost (Georges Irat)26m04s
12.Trouvé (Delfosse)27m37s
13.Montier (Montier)29m10s
14.Massias (Alfa Romeo) 2 laps behind
15.Jourdan (Salmson)

On lap 11, Lehoux fell from third to sixth place. The three Talbots were now in front ahead of Chiron and Williams. On lap 12 Morel had to stop for new tires and Foresti stopped on the following lap. Williams recovered superbly. He made up time in every turn. After 101 km, the field was further reduced when Montier retired. Jourdan's Salmson, Massias and Trouvé had fallen so far behind that they were no longer shown with a time. Chiron had been 13 seconds behind Moriceau, but had now reduced the gap to only 3 seconds. The field was down to 14 cars in the following order after 20 laps:
1.Segrave (Talbot)46m42s
2.Bourlier (Talbot)46m43s
3.Moriceau (Talbot)46m54s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)46m57s
5.Williams (Bugatti)47m38s
6.Lehoux (Bugatti)50m27s
7.Foresti (Bugatti)51m30s
8.Rost (Georges Irat)52m06s
9.Bac (Salmson)52m50s
10.Morel (Amilcar)52m56s
11.Martin (Amilcar)1h05m22s
12.Trouvé (Delfosse)
13.Massias (Alfa Romeo)
14.Jourdan (Salmson)

The positions remained unchanged for a few laps. On lap 25 Lehoux stopped at the pits. Williams had constantly pushed forward, passing Chiron and catching up with the leading Talbots on the 26th lap. He moved ahead of Moriceau, who had dropped to fifth place. It was a fierce fight between Bugatti and Talbot since the first six consisted of three Talbots and three Bugattis. After 151.5 km the field had shrunk to 11 cars after Bac (Salmson), Trouvé (Delfosse) and Martin (Amilcar) retired. The field was in the following order after 30 laps, but due to the timekeepers mistakes the intermediate times might not be accurate, but they are official:
1.Segrave (Talbot)1h10m13s
2.Bourlier (Talbot)1h10m13s
3.Williams (Bugatti)1h10m14s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)1h10m32s
5.Moriceau (Talbot)1h12m59s
6.Foresti (Bugatti)1h14m32s
7.Lehoux (Bugatti)1h15m10s
8.Morel (Amilcar)1h16m12s
9.Rost (Georges Irat)1h18m02s
10.Massias (Alfa Romeo)
11.Jourdan (Salmson)

The fight was always very close amongst the first three as evidenced by the time differences. On lap 32 Bourlier stopped briefly at the pits for service and left shortly afterwards, allowing Williams to advance to second place. Rost had moved from ninth to seventh place. Lehoux who had been sixth ten laps before found himself near the end of the field. During the 10 laps leading up to lap 40, Williams had dropped 54 seconds behind Segrave, if we believe the official times. That is a time loss of 5.4 seconds per lap and surprisingly this was not mentioned in any of the many reports. After 202 km the field was in the following order after 40 laps, but due to the timekeepers mistakes, reported by Charles Faroux, the times might not be accurate:
1.Segrave (Talbot)1h32m33s
2.Williams (Bugatti)1h32m55s
3.Bourlier (Talbot)1h34m07s
4.Chiron (Bugatti)1h35m17s
5.Moriceau (Talbot)1h35m31s
6.Foresti (Bugatti)1h40m06s
7.Rost (Georges Irat)1h43m57s
8.Morel (Amilcar)1h44m07s
9.Lehoux (Bugatti)1h45m30s
10.Massias (Alfa Romeo)
11.Jourdan (Salmson)

Williams left Bourlier behind and attacked Segrave. It became exciting. On the forty-third lap, it was learned with surprise that Williams' Bugatti was 12 seconds behind the lead driver. Segrave nearly lost the race because of a mistake by the lap counters announcement. Because of false lap information, he believed he had a full lap advantage but in reality it was just 8 seconds. At first, it was believed that the timekeepers had made a mistake, but Williams had indeed executed a lap so formidable that three laps before the end he was only 8 seconds behind his rival. Segrave who was warned of the danger, increased his advantage on lap 47 when Williams burst a tire and was forced to change the wheel in the pits, losing his second place, an incident which went unnoticed by the most spectators. The race was run, both Talbots, like the year before, would win. During the last ten laps Bourlier lost his third place when he retired the Talbot with an accelerator problem. At the end of the 50th lap Mr. Zafiropulo moved to the edge of the track, waving the yellow flag, signaling Segrave to stop. He crossed the finish line in 1h55m3.6s at an average speed of 131.650 km/h, winning for the second time the Grand Prix de Provence and, definitely, the Hartford Trophy. But the Hartford Trophy was awarded to the Talbot Company and the Coupe du Casino d'Aix-en Provence (a team prize) went to the Bugatti Company.
      There was some hesitation among the arrival at the finish line. The officials, lacking in foresight, let themselves be surprised by the always enthusiastic crowd overflowing on to the circuit. Inexperienced and insufficient officials were unable to clear the track of spectators who had invaded it, hindering the drivers, controlling the race and creating the risk of serious accidents. It was necessary for the officials to stop the race after the arrival of the sixth finisher. The marshals flagged down Morel in the Amilcar when he completed 47 laps in 2h06m57s which the timekeepers confirmed after the race. The same happened to Lehoux in his Bugatti who also completed 47 laps with the same time. They also clarified that when Jourdan and Massias were stopped, they had covered 42 laps in 2h08m20s. In the end 10 cars finished. But the results showed only six finishers completing the full distance while four drivers which were flagged down, did not cover the distance in regulation time.
      We cannot trust the timekeeping data for the Final race upon which this report is based, either the number of laps, the lap times or the absolute times. Some are probably correct and some are undoubtedly incorrect, but there is no way of knowing which is which. As a result, some of our written report, which is based in part on the timekeepers' data, is correct and other parts may be incorrect, but we can't sort the facts from the fiction.

Results - Final


1.19Henry SegraveAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-4501h55m03.6s
2.21Jules MoriceauAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-4501h57m47.0s+ 2m43.4s
3.28"Williams"W. WilliamsBugattiT352.0S-8501h58m04.0s+ 3m00.4s
4.29Louis ChironHoffmannBugattiT35A2.0S-8501h58m47.0s+ 3m43.4s
5.25Giulio ForestiEysermannBugattiT352.0S-8502h05m21.0s+ 10m17.4s
6.32Maurice RostM. RostGeorges Irat3.0S-6502h09m41.0s+ 14m37.4s
DNC5André MorelSNA AmilcarAmilcarCO1.1S-6472h06m57s, flagged
DNC27Marcel LehouxM. LehouxBugattiT35A2.0S-8472h06m57s, flagged
DNC33Antoine MassiasA. MassiasAlfa RomeoRL SS3.0S-6422h08m20s, flagged
DNC3JourdanJourdanSalmson1.1S-4422h08m20s, flagged
DNF20Edmond BourlierAutomobiles TalbotTalbots/c1.5S-440+broken accelerator
DNF6Charles MartinSNA AmilcarAmilcarCO1.1S-620+fuel supply problem
DNF2Pierre BacP. BacSalmson1.1S-420+
DNF34Charles MontierC. MontierMontierFord2.9S-410+
DNF4DufourDufourSalmson1.1S-4 1transmission
Fastest lap: Henry Segrave (Talbot) in 2m13s (2m14.3s?) = 135.34 km/h (84.1 mph).
Average speed of the winner: 131.7 km/h (81.8 mph).
Weather: cloudy but no rain.
In retrospect:
About the timekeepers - Charles Faroux wrote on 30th of March in the Paris L'Auto about timing issues: "We must return today to the Grand Prix de Provence and the curious incidents that the Hartford Cup has given rise to. Already, you know the changes of the final ranking. The official timekeepers first announced: Segrave first, Williams second, Moriceau third. An hour later, after various complaints, we received the real ranking: Segrave first, Moriceau second, Williams third. The mistakes of our official timekeepers are repeated in every race. We inevitably walk into a sporting scandal and one day there will be a trial where the responsibility of the A.C.F. will be seriously jeopardized.
      "We look forward to the years when we respectfully gain the AFC leaders' attention, but they do not want to hear from us. On several occasions, we have pointed out that the most remarkable timekeeping course in the entire world, in which German, English or American students flocked, was the course of the eminent M. Andrade, professed at the Paris Sorbonne. Admit that it is curious to see that my chronometer is bad in France. Let's hope that the A.C.F. wishes to hear from us one day. But you also know the spirit of the A.C.F., who never wants to listen to a council or take an opinion, and who gradually are ignorant to general mockery.
      "We will say what happened yesterday, how displeasing it is to speak of oneself. When the start of the final is given to the sixteen cars, three official timekeepers operate surrounded by many aids, and they have several displays, I can believe that everything will go perfectly. I have this mania to do, too, of the timing, and after the first five laps, I climb discreetly to these gentlemen, comparing their times with mine. Everything is fine. I'm getting ready to go to take braking and acceleration times.
      "At this moment, I meet Coatalen, who tells me: "Do not go to the pits. We know that you are there and that there will be no mistake; do not leave control." Above all, we're joking around. I have the pleasure to greet Mrs. Coatalen and after a few minutes, I go back to the timekeepers. It was already too late. Lehoux appeared first, while Segrave and Bourlier had never been passed. It is necessary to search, which is not without difficulty, because the passages succeed one another quickly.
      "After a lot of twists and turns, I'm going to tell you what appears to have happened: on one side, official truth, the Talbot in the lead with two laps ahead of the first Bugatti and the true truth Segrave first, followed by Williams at two or three hundred meters, in the Bugatti. The Talbot, not feeling alarmed, was driving about and, for a little while, was beaten up by the inaccuracy of official information. Who was the culprit? I do not have the power to make the decision or the blame, but I have also my duty to fulfill. The organization is bad, and it was Mr. Carpe who was responsible. Again, I say it as I think, the system used was bad. Mr. Audistère, for example, worked very well. But the method of Mr. Carpe is to be rejected. It is certainly the method that is bad, since these gentlemen were three and had many helpers.
      "I was alone, with two watches, giving a report and it was finally my time and my ranking that was good. One man is worth another. My method is better. Well, that's understood, the A.C. F. does not want my services. I ask them therefore to take a student of the course of Andrade (the Sorbonne professor) to direct their Grand Prix.
      "If, in a great race where considerable and respectable interests are at stake, there is certainty about time and classification, it is the end of everything. We have the principle that the fault of the subordinate always originates from a serious fault of the boss: it is not, all in all, Mr. Carpe who is the greatest offender, it is those who let him operate without control. Don't you think it's unusual to know that in Sicily, where it's an amateur, the Tasca Marquis, who operates alone and with what skill, or in San Sebastian, where they are officials, everything is still going wonderfully, while in France, Strasbourg, Le Mans, Lyon, Miramas or elsewhere, it is always mistakes on top of errors.
      "For sure, we have some excellent timekeepers; as if by chance, they are the ones who operate the least often. For 20 years we have made a record of all the errors which are the responsibility of the French official timekeepers; I assure you that it is frightening, and we are wondering here, as in many other questions, where common sense has finally triumphed: until when the A.C.F. will thus compromise its authority?" - C. Faroux

Henry Segrave had his book The Lure of Speed published in 1928. Attached some quotes of interest:
"...Meanwhile the three Talbot-Darracq cars had been entered again for the Grand Prix de Provence, or Hartford Cup race, at the Miramas track, so immediately after Southport I left for Marseilles.
      "Upon arrival at the works at Suresnes I took a touring car and, in company with Mr. Bertarione, the engineer of the French Talbot Company, I drove down to Marseilles.
      "The other drivers besides myself were to be Bourlier, a promising young Frenchman, and Moriceau, my oldest mechanic of 1921. Both were given cars in the race, which was not of first importance, in order to see how they shaped as drivers. The cars were as entered the previous year, with the exception that they were fitted with superchargers, as these were allowed under the new regulations.
      "...These eliminating trials are really rather a farce, because the best cars may often be put out of the final, and a good race spoilt, by such things as punctures. The slightest thing going wrong with the car over such a small distance as this will suffice to put it out of the running.
      "In the race my car did not function particularly well at the start for some unknown reason, and I was lying third or fourth after about six laps when she decided to wake up, and, after spurting for a few laps, I took the lead, which I managed to keep to the end of the race.
      "Towards the finish I began to be rather worried by the signals I was receiving from the pits. Every time I passed them, I was signaled to go slower and slower. With still ten miles to go, I was coming out of the hairpin corner in the far side of the track -taking things very easily- when I heard the roar of a car's exhaust just behind me. Looking round I saw that it was one of the supercharged Bugattis which, though it was running second, I had been leading by about six or seven minutes. Things looked pretty serious, and I stepped on everything and "turned all the taps on."
      "As I passed the pits I made frantic signals to them to indicate the position, but, of course, had no time to see whether they understood. When I passed them a lap later, I was amused to see the entire pit crew, engineers, the "Patron," mechanics and tyre- fitters, all out on the track, waving every conceivable object they could lay their hand on to make me go all out. I needed no encouragement and was going as hard as I knew how, and crossed the finishing-line on the next lap, the winner, to find that the Bugatti had burst or gone over the edge or something, thus letting our third driver, Moriceau, into second place.
      "When I got to the pits I found that the official timekeepers had made a mistake in the number of laps done as they sometimes do, and instead of my having seven minutes or so lead towards the end of the race as the pits thought, in reality I had something like seven seconds.
      "I think the Miramas track is the coldest spot in Europe. There is always a mistral about this time of the year, and the country is so flat that the wind blows always at the same speed and seems to drill through you after a few days. I was always glad to be 'en route' for Paris. The crowd, too, invariably, got worked up to a feverish pitch of excitement, which is not pleasant from a driving point of view, as they are by no means well controlled and run all over the track among the cars as they are actually racing."

Footnote (by Leif Snellman):
Average speeds given by contemporary magazines, obviously being the official numbers, were all incorrectly calculated (assuming we got the times correct):
For the 3 litre category 115.796 km/h was given. That's the correct number for 26m10s. That might indicate that the timekeepers just looked up the closest time to the actual 26m12.6s they could find in a table. To then publish that number without corrections with three decimals is madness. But if we insist on using three decimals the correct speed for 26m12.6s should be 115.619 km/h.
For the 2 litre category 129.500 km/h was given (should be 129.432 km/h)
For the 1.5 litre category 119.700 km/h was given (should be 129.166 km/h)
For the 1.1 litre category 123.600 km/h was given (should be 123.371 km/h)
For the final 133.160 km/h was given (should be 131.670 km/h)

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobilia, Paris
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
La Presse, Paris
La Vie Automobile, Paris
L'Auto, Paris
L'Echo de Paris, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
Le Petit Marseillais, Marseille
Omnia, Paris
Special thanks to:
Jean-Maurice Gigleux
Michael Müller
Otto Grabe
Vladislav Shaikhnurov

Constantini (Bugatti)Minoia (Bugatti)Goux (Bugatti)


Medio Circuito Madonie - Palermo (I), 25 April 1926.
1500 cc & over 1500cc: 5 laps x 108 km (67.1 mi) = 540 km (335.6 mi)
1100 cc: 3 laps x 108 km (67.1 mi) = 324 km (201.3 mi)


Category II, 1500 cc
1Edgar MorawitzE. MorawitzBugattiBrescia1.5S-4
2CocciaCocciaBugatti1.5S-4DNA - did not arrive
3Pietro MuceraP. MuceraCeiranoN1501.5S-4
4Silvio de VitisB. de VitisBugattiT221.5S-4
5Alfieri MaseratiOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati261.5S-8
6Antonio CaliriA. CaliriBugattiT371.5S-4
7Nicolò MarainiN. MarainiBugattiBrescia1.5S-4
8Pasquale CroceP. CroceBugattiT371.5S-4
Category III, 2000 cc
9Supremo MontanariS. MontanariBugattiT35A2.0S-8
10Mario LeporiM. LeporiBugattiT352.0S-8
11Lorenzo MesseriL. MesseriBugattiT302.0S-8
12Albert DivoAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-12
13Giulio MasettiCount G. MasettiDelage2LCV2.0V-12
14René ThomasAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-12
15André DubonnetA. DubonnetBugattiT352.0S-8
16Domenico AntonelliD. AntonelliBugattiT352.0S-8DNA - did not arrive
17Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-12
Category IV, over 2000 cc
18Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-8
19Emilio MaterassiE. MaterassiItala Special5.8S-4
20Diego de SterlichD. de SterlichDiatto25 S3.0S-4
21Ferdinando MinoiaAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-8
22Louis WagnerAutomobiles PeugeotPeugeot174 S3.9S-4
23Saverio CandrilliS. CandrilliSteyrVI4.9S-6
24André BoillotAutomobiles PeugeotPeugeot174 S3.9S-4
25Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroOM6652.2S-6
26Giuseppe VittoriaG. VittoriaDiatto253.0S-4
27Meo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-8
28Amedeo SillittiA. SillittiAlfa RomeoRL TF3.6S-6
Category I, 1100 cc
29Gino GeriG. GeriSalmsonGP1.1S-4
30Ignazio ZubiagaI. ZubiagaAustinSeven0.7S-4
31Salvatore CasanoS. CasanoAmilcar1.1S-4
32Ezio RalloE. RalloSalmson1.1S-4
33Baconin BorzacchiniB. BorzacchiniSalmsonGP1.1S-4
34Claudio SandonninoC. SandonninoCitroën1.1S-4
35Francesco StarrabbaF. StarrabbaAmilcar1.1S-4
36Salvatore ComellaS. ComellaSalmson1.1S-4

Costantini the Targa and Coppa winner, Borzacchini wins the 1100 class

by Hans Etzrodt
The Targa and Coppa ran simultaneously in 1926, both over five laps (540 km), yet at the Coppa only factory teams could participate while the Targa was also open to independent drivers. At the 17th Targa Florio 34 race cars started of which 12 were Bugattis of various types, including three of the latest 2300 works Bugattis. The Delage works team brought three 12-cylinder cars and another one was independently entered by the Italian count Giulio Masetti. Maserati entered the first of his own new cars and the Peugeot works entered two cars. The works Bugattis of Costantini Minoia and Goux dominated the race while the new Maserati led the 1500 category. Borzacchini's Salmson won the 1100cc category which comprised four Salmsons, two Amilcars, one Austin and a Citroën. After the first lap, four drivers were out of the running including the leading contender, the great Italian Giulio Masetti, who died in a crash with his Delage. His three teammates withdrew in mourning. The Battle was between Costantini, Minoia and Goux in works Bugattis and Materassi who defended the Italian colors with his Itala Special. They finished in that order ahead of Dubonnet (Bugatti), Wagner (Peugeot), Balestrero (OM), and the 1500 category winner Alfieri Maserati with his brand new design in eighth place. He was followed by the 1500 Bugattis of Croce and Caliri, Montanari's 2000 Bugatti and Candrilli (Steyr) who was last.
The Targa and Coppa Florio were named after their founder, Count Vincenzo Florio. The 1926 race was one of the classic events of the year, although it was staged to free formula regulations. As in the year before, the entries were split into four classes. Category I was for cars up to 1100 cc, which had to do only three laps or 324 km, while category II from 1101 cc to 1500 cc, category III from1501 cc to 2000 cc and category IV over 2000cc had to complete five laps of the 108 km circuit equal to 540 km. The maximum time allowed was 10 hours for cars over 1100 cc and 8 hours for the cycle cars.
      At the beginning of the year, the Peugeot Company which had won the Coppa outright in 1925, put up the Coppa Florio as a perpetual trophy under the condition that the race had to be staged alternately in Sicily and France. For 1926 Sicily was decided as the venue. The Coppa Florio was awarded to the competitor who spent the shortest time completing the five laps of the Circuito delle Madonie (540 km). Only competitors registered by a factory or works team could compete. The Florio Cup was retained for a year at the winning factory after the deposit of L. 30,000.
      The Reale Automobile Club d'Italia and the Automobile Club di Sicilia offered prize money totaling 280,000 lire. The overall winner received 150,000 lire, the 1926 variant of the Targa Florio trophy, a gold medal donated by the King and the large gold medal of the A.C. di Sicilia; the driver in second place received 50,000 lire and a small gold medal and the third placed driver received 20,000 lire and a silver medal. The leading independent driver received 30,000 lire and a gold medal; second place 20,000 lire and a small gold medal and third place 10,000 lire and a silver medal. Besides the monetary awards there were also a variety of trophies.
      Five laps around the Medium Madonie Circuit totaled 540 km. Having been in use since 1919, it included approximately 1400 corners per lap through the mountainous Madonie region of Sicily, making the Targa Florio a race of over 7000 corners. The narrow circuit with its steep gradients was a true measure of both driver and machine. The start and finish took place near 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 to Caltavuturo at 640 meters. From this village the tight, twisting roads wound along the Madonie Mountains and turned back past a depot to refuel and change tires in the town of Polizzi, 917 meters above sea level. Tortuous hairpin bends followed next, snaking downhill through the mountain village of Collesano at 500 meters and then on to Campofelice, just 50 meters above sea level. From there it was downhill to the seven km fast coastal straight where it was possible to use top gear and pass other cars. Finally the circuit turned inland going back to the finish near the Cerda train station.
The Bugatti works team arrived with their new Targa Florio model the T35T, the 8-cylinder 2300 Bugatti. The drivers were last year's winner Costantini, plus Goux and Minoia, both of whom had great experience of the circuit. The independent and wealthy Dubonnet drove an 8-cylinder 2000 Bugatti T35, as did the Italian Montanari, the Swiss Lepori, and the Italian Messeri. There were five 1500 Bugattis in private hands including the older 4-cylinder type Brescia from 1921 of Czechoslovakian Morawitz.
      After long considerations at the Delage factory, it was decided to enter their 1925 race cars at the demanding Targa Florio because their new car for the 1500 cc formula was not yet ready. The Delage works entered their latest 12-cylinder 2-liter supercharged grand prix cars for their works drivers Divo, Thomas and Benoist. Another of these cars was raced independently and had been purchased by the famous Florentine Count Giulio Masetti, the 'Lion of the Targa Florio'. He was twice a winner of the Targa in 1921 and 1922 and had finished fourth in 1923 and second in 1924. But soon it would be learned that the Delages did not have the road-holding ability of the Bugattis. Peugeot was another French team who brought their older 3.9-liter 4-cylinder race cars for the experienced French drivers Boillot and Wagner. Amongst the group of large cars, the strongest independent contender was Materassi in his Itala Special with 5.8-Liter 4-cylinder Hispano engine. Balestrero's OM was works-assisted but self-entered. He was the OM Agent in Lucca, so racing cars were given to him under this arrangement. He entered in class 4, over 2000 cc, thereby avoiding having to race against a fleet of 2-litre s/c racing cars. This meant that his engine was either slightly re-bored (2001cc at Le Mans 1925) or had false papers. There were two 3-Liter Diattos entered by de Sterlich and Vittoria. A 3.6-Liter Alfa Romeo RLTF was entered by Silitti and a 4.9-Liter Steyr by Candrilli.
      Besides the six 1500 Bugattis, Alfieri Maserati, the owner of the new Maserati works, entered a new 1500 car with supercharged 8-cylinder engine to be driven by himself. The last car in this category was the 1500 Ceirano driven by Mucera. The 1100 cc cars of category I comprised eight entries, the GP Salmsons of Geri and Borzacchini and two others driven by Rallo and Comella. There were also two Amilcars of Casano and Starrabba, Sandonnino's Citroën and the Austin Seven of Zubiaga. A complete list of entries is at the beginning of this report.
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 places were overcrowded. The morning was cloudy, cool and windy with occasional sunshine. The race was well organized, and the spectators were informed of the latest developments through loudspeakers.
      The individual start for the 34 cars began at 7:00 AM in order of their race numbers. The eight cars of the 1500 cc category, started first, followed by the twenty cars over 1500 cc at intervals of three minutes because of the dust from the dirt roads. Finally, the eight cars of the 1100 cc category started at intervals of only one minute. The starting times had been determined beforehand according to the race numbers. If a car did not appear at the start the next car was held to the predetermined time of departure.
7:001MorawitzBugatti1500 cc
7:032CocciaBugatti--"--DNA - did not appear
7:094De VitisBugatti--"--
7:125A. MaseratiMaserati--"--
7:249MontanariBugatti2000 cc
7:4416AntonelliBugatti--"--DNA - did not appear
7:5118GouxBugattiover 2000 cc
7:5720De SterlichDiatto--"--
8:2128SillittiAlfa Romeo--"--
8:2229GeriSalmsonup to 1100 cc
First lap:
The main battle was amongst the Bugattis. The previous year's winner Costantini drove in 1h27m01s at 74.408 km/h average speed, which placed him 42 seconds ahead of his teammate Minoia. Materassi held third place with his Itala Special but he followed 2½ minutes after the fastest Bugatti, with Wagner's Peugeot two seconds behind. Divo and Goux were over 3 minutes behind the leader and Maserati in eighth place was leading the 1500 category ahead of Croce and Caliri in Bugattis, Mucera (Ceirano) and De Vitis (Bugatti). Borzacchini in his Salmson held first place in the 1100 category, four minutes ahead of Zubiaga in the Austin Seven. Maraini's 1500 Bugatti went off the road at a bend near Caltavuturo and overturned. While his mechanic was uninjured, Maraini suffered a fracture of the upper arm and was transported to the Prestano clinic. Messeri's 2000 Bugatti did not finish the first lap. The favorite and two times winner Masetti crashed on his first lap when his car overturned at kilometer 27, at a turn before Caltavuturo, killing the famous driver. Shortly afterwards the death of the Tuscan race driver was announced. Poor Mrs. Masetti, who attended the race in the grandstand, turned pale and fainted. Some friends of her husband were around her and with loving care she was transported out of the grandstand. This sad episode heightened the sense of regret among the public. Additional information about the accident is at the end of this report in the 'In retrospect' section. Boillot's car hit a dog, which damaged the Peugeot's sump and ended his race. Comella's Salmson also did not finish the first lap and the field was down to 29 cars in the following order:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)1h27m01s
2.Minoia (Bugatti)1h27m43s
3.Materassi (Itala Spl.)1h29m33s
4.Wagner (Peugeot)1h29m35s
5.Dubonnet (Bugatti)1h29m44s
6.Divo (Delage)1h30m18s
7.Goux (Bugatti)1h30m37s
8.Maserati (Maserati)1h30m59s
9.Lepori (Bugatti)1h32m13s
10.De Sterlich (Diatto)1h33m00s
11.Balestrero (OM)1h36m19s
12.Benoist (Delage)1h38m13s
13.Morawitz (Bugatti)1h38m15s
14.Vittoria (Diatto)1h38m29s
15.Candrilli (Steyr)1h38m39s
16.Croce (Bugatti)1h39m52s
17.Montanari (Bugatti)1h41m04s
18.Caliri (Bugatti)1h41m56s
19.Mucera (Ceirano)1h44m56s
20.De Vitis (Bugatti)1h48m38s
21.Silitti (Alfa Romeo)1h54m38s
22.Thomas (Delage)1h57m11s
1100 cc class
1.Borzacchini (Salmson)1h42m36s
2.Zubiaga (Austin)1h46m34s
3.Geri (Salmson)1h50m26s
4.Rallo (Salmson)1h51m12s
5.Starabba (Amilcar)1h53m02s
6.Sandonnino (Citroën)1h58m15s
7.Casano (Amilcar)2h35m21s

Second lap:
After the second lap Costantini's race speed had fallen to 73.900 km/h ahead of Minoia, while Dubonnet had advanced from fifth to third place. After Goux moved from seventh to secure fourth place the four strongest Bugattis were in front. Divo's Delage was fifth while Materassi had dropped to sixth place after a pit stop. Thomas (Delage) stopped with a defect after passing through Polizzi. He lost a lot of time and eventually after six and a quarter 1/4 hours reached the finish, having completed only two laps. Vittoria (Diatto) and Casano (Amilcar) retired and did not reach the finish line. Morawitz stopped at the pits. The field was down to 27 cars in the following order:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)2h55m21s
2.Minoia (Bugatti)2h56m25s
3.Dubonnet (Bugatti)2h58m21s
4.Goux (Bugatti)3h01m20s
5.Divo (Delage)3h02m49s
6.Materassi (Itala Spl.)3h03m13s
7.Wagner (Peugeot)3h03m56s
8.Maserati (Maserati)3h04m42s
9.Lepori (Bugatti)3h12m15s
10.De Sterlich (Diatto)3h12m52s
11.Benoist (Delage)3h13m50s
12.Morawitz (Bugatti)3h14m55s
13.Balestrero (OM)3h16m11s
14.Candrilli (Steyr)3h18m40s
15.Caliri (Bugatti)3h24m21s
16.Croce (Bugatti)3h25m08s
17.Montanari (Bugatti)3h25m31s
18.De Vitis (Bugatti)3h26m32s
19.Mucera (Ceirano)3h42m49s
20.Silitti (Alfa Romeo)3h44m17s
21.Thomas (Delage)6h14m35s
1100 cc class
1.Borzacchini (Salmson)3h29m33s
2.Rallo (Salmson)3h42m29s
3.Zubiaga (Austin)3h42m52s
4.Geri (Salmson)3h45m19s
5.Sandonnino (Citroën)4h01m47s
6.Starabba (Amilcar)4h03m35s

Third lap:
At the end of lap three, Costantini had raised his average speed to 74.014 km/h and was over seven minutes ahead of Minoia. Dubonnet had lost time at his pit stop and dropped from third to seventh place. Materassi had pushed forward, passing Divo and Goux into third place but he was now over 11 minutes behind the leader. Goux was fourth followed by Wagner, Divo and Dubonnet in seventh place. The 1100 category completed their race after three laps, 324 km, with Borzacchini the winner in 5h14m40.4s, at an average speed of 61.780 km/h. He was more than 19 minutes ahead of Rallo in second place followed by Zubiaga, Geri, Starabba and Sandonnino. The field was down to 26 cars, in the following order after the third lap:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)4h22m39s
2.Minoia (Bugatti)4h29m48s
3.Materassi (Itala Spl.)4h34m11s
4.Goux (Bugatti)4h35m01s
5.Wagner (Peugeot)4h36m24s
6.Dubonnet (Bugatti)4h38m37s
7.De Sterlich (Diatto)4h52m30s
8.Lepori (Bugatti)4h54m19s
9.Morawitz (Bugatti)4h55m57s
10.Benoist (Delage)4h57m23s
11.Balestrero (OM)4h58m41s
12.Maserati (Maserati)4h59m20s
13.Candrilli (Steyr)5h02m04s
14.Croce (Bugatti)5h11m23s
15.Caliri (Bugatti)5h12m03s
16.Montanari (Bugatti)5h16m34s
17.De Vitis (Bugatti)5h35m54s
18.Silitti (Alfa Romeo)5h41m00s
19.Mucera (Ceirano)5h44m30s
1100 cc class
1.Borzacchini (Salmson)5h14m40s
2.Rallo (Salmson)5h33m56s
3.Zubiaga (Austin)5h37m20s
4.Geri (Salmson)5h47m42s
5.Starabba (Amilcar)6h04m29s
6.Sandonnino (Citroën)6h30m25s

Fourth lap:
De Vitis (Bugatti) crashed on lap four and Silitti (Alfa Romeo) also retired. Divo and Benoist from the Delage team retired at the pits in mourning about their teammate's death while Thomas (Delage) had stopped on the circuit and after several hours delay finally reached the finish. The 1100 category had completed their race after three laps, so going into the fourth lap, the field was down to 16 cars. Costantini remained in first position after 5h54m45s at an average speed of 73.065 km/h, which had slowed due to his pit stop. He was over four minutes ahead of Minoia, over 10½ minutes ahead of Goux and over 13 minutes ahead of Materassi. Morawitz retired, supposedly crashing after he had passed through Polizzi, so only 15 cars completed the fourth lap in the following order:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)5h54m45s
2.Minoia (Bugatti)5h58m57s
3.Goux (Bugatti)6h05m21s
4.Materassi (Itala Spl.)6h08m01s
5.Dubonnet (Bugatti)6h13m02s
6.Wagner (Peugeot)6h17m43s
7.Lepori (Bugatti)6h34m21s
8.Balestrero (OM)6h38m28s
9.Maserati (Maserati)6h43m14s
10.De Sterlich (Diatto)6h47m54s
11.Candrilli (Steyr)6h52m43s
12.Montanari (Bugatti)6h58m14s
13.Croce (Bugatti)7h01m52s
14.Caliri (Bugatti)7h05m21s
15.Mucera (Ceirano)7h47m00s

Fifth lap:
Lepori and De Sterlich had retired at the end of lap four. Mucera also ended the race after four laps or retired while driving on lap five. After five laps Costantini won in new record time of 7h20m45s at an average speed of 73.511 km/h and he also drove the fastest lap of the race on this last lap in 1h26m at 75.34 km/h average speed. Alfieri Maserati won the 1500 category in 8h37m11s at 62.6 km/h average speed in the first race of his first car. Despite the fact that he had to slow down with carburation problems, he finished over eight minutes ahead of the second placed Bugatti of Croce. Only 12 drivers were able to complete this lap, but all of them were able to finish within the 10 hours maximum time limit.

Targa Florio Results


1.27Meo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-857h20m45.0s
2.21Ferdinando MinoiaAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-857h30m49.0s+ 10m04.0s
3.18Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-857h35m56.4s+ 15m11.4s
4.19Emilio MaterassiE. MaterassiItala Spl5.8S-457h44m26.6s+ 23m41.6s
5.15André DubonnetA. DubonnetBugattiT352.0S-857h44m58.0s+ 24m13.0s
6.22Louis WagnerAutomobiles PeugeotPeugeot174 S3.9S-457h52m25.2s+ 31m40.2s
7.25Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroOM6652.1S-658h20m35.0s+ 59m50.0s
8.5Alfieri MaseratiOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati261.5S-858h37m11.0s+ 1h16m26.0s
9.8Pasquale CroceP. CroceBugattiT371.5S-458h45m21.8s+ 1h24m36.8s
10.6Antonio CaliriA. CaliriBugattiT371.5S-458h50m46.6s+ 1h30m01.6s
11.9Supremo MontanariS. MontanariBugattiT35A2.0S-858h59m21.4s+ 1h38m36.4s
12.23Saverio CandrilliS. CandrilliSteyrVI4.9S-659h35m55.0s+ 2h15m10.0s
DNF20Diego de SterlichD. de SterlichDiatto25 S3.0S-44
DNF1Edgar MorawitzE. MorawitzBugattiBrescia1.5S-44crash 
DNF3Pietro MuceraP. MuceraCeiranoN1501.5S-44  
DNF12Albert DivoAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-124withdrawn 
DNF10Mario LeporiM. LeporiBugattiT352.0S-84  
DNF17Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-123withdrawn 
DNF4Silvio de VitisB. de VitisBugattiT221.5S-43crash 
DNF28Amedeo SillittiA. SillittiAlfa RomeoRL TF3.6S-63
DNF14René ThomasAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-122withdrawn 
DNF26Giuseppe VittoriaG. VittoriaDiatto253.0S-41
DNF24André BoillotAutomobiles PeugeotPeugeot174 S3.9S-40engine sump damage
DNF11Lorenzo MesseriL. MesseriBugattiT302.0S-80  
DNF13Giulio MasettiCount G. MasettiDelage2LCV2.0V-120DNF - fatal crash 
DNF7Nicolò MarainiN. MarainiBugattiBrescia1.5S-40crash 
Fastest lap: M, Costantini (Bugatti) on lap 5 in 1h26m at 75.3 km/h (46.8 mph).
Winner's average speed over 2000 cc, Costantini: 73.5 km/h (45.7 mph).
Winner's average speed 2000 cc, Dubonnet: 69.7 km/h (43.3 mph).
Winner's average speed 1500 cc, Maserati: 62.6 km/h (38.9 mph).
Weather: cloudy and cool and windy, morning sunshine.

Results of 1100 cc class


1.33Baconin BorzacchiniB. BorzacchiniSalmsonGP1.1S-435h14m40.4s 
2.32Ezio RalloE. RalloSalmson1.1S-435h33m56.8s+ 19m16.4s
3.30Ignazio ZubiagaI. ZubiagaAustin 70.7S-435h37m20.0s+ 22m39.6s
4.29Gino GeriG. GeriSalmsonGP1.1S-435h47m42.4s+ 33m02.0s
5.35Francesco StarrabbaF. StarrabbaAmilcar1.1S-436h04m29.8s+ 49m49.4s
6.34Claudio SandonninoC. SandonninoCitroën1.1S-436h30m25.0s+ 1h15m44.6s
DNF31Salvatore CasanoS. CasanoAmilcar1.1S-41DNF 
DNF36Salvatore ComellaS. ComellaSalmson1.1S-40DNF 
Winner's average speed: 5h14m40.4s at 61.8 km/h (38.4 mph).

Coppa Florio Results


1.27Meo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-857h20m45.0s
2.21Ferdinando MinoiaAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-857h30m49.0s+ 10m04.0s
3.18Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT35T2.3S-857h35m56.4s+ 15m11.4s
4.22Louis WagnerAutomobiles PeugeotPeugeot174 S3.9S-457h52m25.2s+ 31m40.2s
8.5Alfieri MaseratiOfficine Alfieri MaseratiMaserati261.5S-858h37m11.0s+ 1h16m26.0s
DNF12Albert DivoAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-124withdrawn 
DNF17Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-123withdrawn 
DNF14René ThomasAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-122withdrawn 
DNF24André BoillotAutomobiles PeugeotPeugeot174 S3.9S-40engine sump damage
Fastest lap: M, Costantini (Bugatti) on lap 5 in 1h26m at 75.3 km/h (46.8 mph).
Winner's average speed over 2000 cc, Costantini: 73.5 km/h (45.7 mph).
Winner's average speed 1500 cc, Maserati: 62.6 km/h (38.9 mph).
In retrospect:
We encountered numerous differences in the individual lap times and final classification times. We believe that we have selected the correct ones for this report.

Count Giulio Masetti was born December 22, 1894 in Florence, Italy. After winning the Targa Florio in 1921 with Fiat and 1922 with Mercedes, he was called 'The Lion of Madonie'. Giulio Masetti died on April 25, 1926 when he crashed with a 2000 cc 12-cylinder Delage grand prix car on the first lap of the Targa Florio. The cause of the accident remained unknown but a theory tried to explain what happened in an S-bend at Solafani at km 27, the dangerous double turn before Caltavuturo. When Masetti left the first part of this bend at high speed, he pushed the accelerator. As a result at the entrance to the second bend of the S, the car received a sudden jolt and the brakes were unable to slow. The Delage charged up the steep stone-faced banking, at the edge of the road, then rolled over and slipped back to the road upside down. Masetti was buried underneath his car and his injuries were so severe, that he died shortly afterwards. This at least is the explanation of the crash given by Costantini, Morawitz, Croce and Boillot.

W.F. Bradley: Targa Florio (1955) [Count Vincenzo Florio had befriended the famous influential journalist William Fletcher Bradley in Paris and at the Targa Florio race he turned over his personal car, Number 00, and his driver Mario to his friend to drive around the circuit during the race.] "...then [we] started on the final climb which would lead us to Polizzi. Swinging left to enter a short, level straightaway, a car was seen upside down on the road. It was No. 13 (not an unlucky number in Italy) with which Masetti had set out alone only an hour earlier. No signs of a struggle. It was just as if some malicious giant had taken the car and placed it face downwards on the road, without even scratching the paint. Everything seemed to be intact-everything, indeed, with the exception of a broken drop arm. On the top of the banking a solitary carabinieri guarded the body of the gallant sportsman. Had the main Steering arm snapped? It is possible. But it is more likely that owing to the time lag in the action of the brakes-a defect of which the other drivers complained-the Delage had charged up the steep stone-faced banking then rolled over and slipped back to the road in an inverted position. Lying unguarded by the side of the road, the overturned car cast a gloom over the drivers. Thomas came in and with mood said, "Fini." Benoist followed; then Divo, who had been fastest of the works teams, came to the pits and shut off his engine."

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung (Wien) May 1926: the accident happened at kilometer 27, near Polizzi, in a bend. A Carabinieri was the only witness of the accident. He later said that he had seen the Delage of Count Masetti suddenly spin around after the first part of the S-turn, next he drove against two marker stones and spun around once more; then the car turned over, burying the poor Masetti underneath. The Carabiniere tried to pull Masetti from underneath the car; he did not appear to be seriously injured and was still alive. When Benoist, who had started 12 minutes after Masetti, reached the scene of the crash, Masetti was out of the car. Benoist hurried to the next first aid place to get help. Soon afterwards Masetti died apparently as a result of interior injuries."
      A rumor had it that he had fallen on his face. With him disappeared not only one of the best Italian Gentleman Drivers but also an outstanding international driver.

Giovanni Canestrini: 'La favolosa Targa Florio' (1966): "...But the news were soon aggravated by other facts of the accident, that Masetti was dead, crushed under his Delage, overturned in a ditch at the side of the road. The accident had been witnessed by a carabiniere, who serviced this area. Later, the carabinire reported that he had seen Masetti's car spinning in the air and rolling for four or five meters until it stopped, overturned, with the driver underneath. The carabiniere tried to extract the poor Masetti, still alive, from his position. He succeeded. When the Delage of Benoist arrived, he stopped and decided to load the injured man in his car. Masetti made an effort to get up again, but he collapsed. Benoist and the carabiniere understood that it was the end. Thus the winner of two Targa Florios fell and with it one of the best representatives of our motor sport.
      "The loss of Masetti would have affected the entire Delage team, whose cars had shown insufficient stability (it should not be excluded that Masetti has gone out of the way for this car's handling deficiencies.) On the other hand, the drivers of the Bugatti proved to be completely at ease, the experience of the previous year's race having taught them many things."

Daniel Cabart, Claude Rouxel, David Burgess-Wise: 'DELAGE': 2005: "...It is from the Bulletin Officiel du Motor-Club de France that this account of his dramatic accident is taken: "The Italian Champion was the victim of his own daring and foolhardiness. Having control of a very fast car and knowing the circuit like the back of his hand, it's believed that he missed a turn, because the drama was only observed by a lone peasant on this desolate hillside in Sicily. His car pulled two boundary markers out of the edge of the road and rolled over-('four times,' the sole eyewitness told the English translator at the accident spot in 1983)- and ended upside down on top of its driver. Benoist, who was following him, stopped without worrying about the time that he might lose, lifted up his team mate, put him in his car and drove away. But the Italian champion died en route."
      "His car carried the number 13, as had Torchy's car at San Sebastian. This coincidence created an irrational superstition among drivers about drawing this racing number, which explains why it was not issued afterwards."

La Stampa, 26. April 1926: "As we have said, the mortal disaster occurred almost at the beginning of the race. Masetti started at 7.36 precisely and launched on the road of the circuit with a strong pace, that gait of the great champion and trusting of himself and of fate. And instead the deadly ambush was waiting for him when he began his brilliant action. The death of Count Giulio Masetti devastates the contest of the Targa Florio.
      Benoist who arrived soon after, with an act of chivalry and brotherhood that can never be praised enough, at the sight of the overturned Delage, he stopped at the edge of the road, descended and rushed towards the fallen. With the help of a carabiniere present, Benoist managed to remove the heavy car and recovered the unlucky driver. Masetti was unconscious: his face was bloodied: from his lips came a feeble complaint.
      With great, loving care they now laid him down in Benoist's Delage renouncing the mirage of speed and glory which he had stretched until a few minutes earlier, at moderate but urgent speed he carried the poor count to the place of Caltavuturo, a place not so far from the accident site. But the hope of salvation was as bad as the painful load reached its destination. In front of the doctors there was a cadaver, Masetti, the good and great Masetti was no more!

Primary sources researched for this article:
ACI - rivista, Torino
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
Euro Motor, Wien
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
L'Auto, Paris
L'Auto Italiana, Milano
MOTOR, Berlin
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Omnia, Paris
Rapiditas, Palermo
Special thanks to:
Alessandro Silva
Ms. Paola Masetta
Markus Neugebauer


© 2023 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 09.11.2023