Varzi (Alfa Romeo)Moll (Alfa Romeo)Chiron (Alfa Romeo)


Autodromo di Mellaha - Tripoli (I), 6 May 1934
40 laps x 13.1 km (8.14 mi) = 524.0 km (325.6 mi)


2Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT592.8S-8
4Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
6Piero TaruffiOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV54.92x8
8Tazio NuvolariOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV54.92x8DNA - did not appear
10Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8
12Lelio PellegriniL. PellegriniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
14Carlo GazzabiniProfessor Riccardo GaleazziMaseratiV44.02x8
16Antonio BrivioAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT593.3S-8DNS - did not start
18Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
20Guglielmo CarraroliScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
22Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8
24Lou MooreFrank ScullyMiller4.2S-8
26Earl HoweEarl HoweMaserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
28Guy MollScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
30Peter DePaoloFrank ScullyMiller4-WD5.2V-8
32Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
34Luigi PremoliL. PremoliB.M.P.3.0S-8
36George EystonG. EystonAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
38René DreyfusAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT592.8S-8
40Tim Rose-RichardsT. Rose-RichardsMaserati8C-30003.0S-8DNA - did not appear
42Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati8C-28002.8S-8
44Felice BonettoF. BonettoAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
46Gianni BattagliaG. BattagliaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
48Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
50Goffredo ZehenderOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CM3.0S-8
52Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaserati8CM3.0S-8
54Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8
56Eugenio SienaScuderia SienaMaserati8C-30003.0S-8
58Per Viktor WidengrenP.V. WidengrenAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
60Renato BalestreroScuderia BalestreroAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8

Varzi victorious at Tripoli Grand Prix

by Hans Etzrodt
After Monte Carlo the next major race was the Tripoli Grand Prix over 40 laps on a new 13.1 km high speed course. For the second year in a row the Tripoli event counted as one of the greatest and richest races in the world, despite not being run to the Grand Prix Formula; instead it was held to Formula Libre regulations. From the 26 cars facing the starter, Taruffi in the fast 16-cylinder Maserati took the lead until lap four when Chiron (Alfa Romeo) passed him to take first place. After Taruffi crashed on lap seven, the race immediately lost excitement and the blistering pace diminished. The battle was now between the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos of Chiron, Varzi and Moll. Chiron held the lead until lap 15, after which Varzi was in first place for 16 laps. On lap 32 Chiron regained the lead from Varzi, which changed four times until lap 39 when Varzi finally kept first place. While the front runners had slowed their pace, Moll was able to close up to his teammates. On the last lap Moll attempted to take the lead from Varzi but failed by just one-wheel width with Chiron third. The remaining eight finishers were lapped at least once including the independent Etancelin (Maserati) who was fourth ahead of Biondetti (Maserati), Dreyfus (Bugatti), the Millers of DePaolo and Moore 7th and 8th, followed by the Alfa Romeo Monzas of Eyston, Balestrero and Carraroli.
The 1934 Gran Premio di Tripoli was held on the high-speed Mellaha Circuit in Tripolitania, now Libya (an Italian colony in Africa between the wars). It took place for the 8th time, organized by the L'Automobile Club di Tripoli and the Commissione Sportiva of the RACI (Reale Automobile Club d'Italia). In 1933 the promoters had organized a lottery of gigantic proportions, which was immediately very successful with enormous ticket sales in Italy and the Libyan colony. It provided a large amount of money for the Tripoli AC, enabling them to build a modern highspeed racetrack.
      Adding the money of the 1934 Millions-lottery, the organizers widely advertised the event and were able to improve the event, erecting a gigantic grandstand and pits out of reinforced concrete. They surrounded the entire circuit with a network of small towers and radio stations to enable the race officials on top a 40 meters tall concrete tower to keep abreast of all activity and incidents on the track. For 1934 the course had been widened and the six sharp turns had received a slight banking. The 13.100 km racetrack had to be lapped 40 times, a total of 524 km. Higher speeds and new records were expected.
      After the 1933 lottery scandal, accusations were made that the result had been fixed. Consequently, the rules were changed for the 1934 lottery so that the owners of the drawn tickets could not be in contact with the drivers before the race. The total prize money amounted to 1,200,000 lire. The overall winner received 265,000 lire, second 180,000 and third 95,000. These figures were a great attraction to the drivers and predicted the extreme combativeness with which it would be contested.
The huge prizes and appearance money attracted the best drivers not only from Italy but also from France, Great Britain, Sweden, Algeria and America. Scuderia Ferrari, the racing arm of Alfa Romeo, entered four 2900 cc Alfa Romeo P3s for Carlo Felice Trossi, Achille Varzi, Louis Chiron and Guy Moll and a 2600 P3 for Mario Tadini. Guglielmo Carraroli was to race one of the Scuderia's 2600 Alfa Romeo Monzas. In addition, there were seven independent Alfa Romeo Monzas of Lelio Pellegrini, George Eyston, Felice Bonetto, Gianni Battaglia, Raymond Sommer, Per Victor Widengren and Renato Balestrero.
      Of the seven Maseratis, the fastest was the 4.9-liter 16-cylinder V5. It was the same car in which Amedeo Ruggeri had died in December 1932 at Montlhéry during a 1-Hour record attempt. The wreck was repaired back at the factory in Bologna in 1934 with mechanical improvements including high exhausts, a new front cowling, an improved hydraulic braking system and new Bosch magnetos. Tazio Nuvolari was supposed to drive the 16-cylinder Maserati, potentially the fastest of the 30 competing cars at Tripoli. But as Nuvolari was out of action after his serious accident two weeks earlier at Alessandria, the Maserati works entrusted the bolide to the engineer driver Piero Taruffi. The other works entry was Goffredo Zehender in an 8CM. Independent Maseratis included Clemente Biondetti with an 8C-2800, Eugenio Siena in an 8C-3000, an 8CM for Philippe Etancelin and two 8CMs for Whitney Straight and Hugh Hamilton whose car was on loan from the injured Nuvolari. Carlo Gazzabini was racing the 4-Liter 16-cylinder V4 Maserati entered by professor Riccardo Galeazzi, the same car that won the 1930 Tripoli Grand Prix with Baconin Borzacchini.
      The Bugatti works appeared with three of the new T59 cars, a 3.3-Liter car for Antonio Brivio and two 2.8-Liter cars for René Dreyfus and Jean-Pierre Wimille. The new T59 cars still had a problem in that they unexpectedly jumped out of gear.
      Two Americans, Peter DePaolo and Lou Moore, had been invited by Italo Balbo, the Governor of Libya. The two drivers made arrangements with Frank and Al Scully, wealthy Chicago sportsmen, to drive their Miller cars at Tripoli. DePaolo drove the 308 4WD Miller with a V-8 engine of 5200 cc producing 300 hp at 5500 RPM and reaching a top speed of 260 km/h. This entry represented the first time a 4WD car had competed in a Grand Prix. Moore had a conventional rear-drive Miller on a two-seat Duesenberg frame with a 255 four-cylinder un-supercharged Miller engine of 4182 cc capacity producing 250 hp at 5000 RPM. It had a very high compression ratio, using special alcohol fuel with tetraethyl-lead additive. He had finished third in the 1933 Indianapolis 500 with this car. Both cars were designed for American oval racing with small gear ratio steps and brakes, which, when combined with the cars' heavy weight, were practically useless for Tripoli.
Some of the drivers arrived in Africa by plane or ship one week before the event, so the Mellaha track saw several days of much activity. While the track remained open for general traffic on Wednesday and Thursday, it was closed for practice on Friday morning. The Governor, Italo Balbo, drove as passenger on board DePaolo's Miller, which DePaolo described in his book Wall Smacker: "After having made two laps around the course the governor asked to be let out at the airport. It was located within the race course, where his airplane stood in readiness for him. As he jumped out of my car, he said in Italian: "Now, DePaolo, I will race you upstairs, you stay downstairs in your racing car!" As I drove around the course, he flew just above me in his plane. His plane out-stripped me, he was easily the winner."
      During practice it became evident that the American cars had no real chance. They reached high average speeds but their inefficient brakes suffered. They had to slow down from 240 km/h in the shortest time to 70 or 80 km/h. The best lap time they reached was 4m17s. The British driver Hamilton, who was new to the circuit and also new to driving an 8CM Maserati, improved Varzi's record of last year bringing it down from 4m26.8s to 4m09s at an average speed of 185 km/h. Shortly afterwards Varzi and Chiron lapped in 3m58s, bettering the Americans' time by 19 seconds. DePaolo remembered: "I informed my teammate that in spite of the fact we were greatly outclassed in the way of having proper equipment to compare with the European cars, that we were representing America and we should continue on in the race, giving them our best and take our defeat good-naturedly."
      Chiron, Moll and Zehender who were faster drivers managed to do better times. The Scuderia Ferrari cars were very fast while the Bugattis were a little slower. The Maserati single-seater of Zehender gave the impression as being fast and being magnificently stable. However, some Maseratis encountered piston problems and forced Etancelin, Hamilton and Straight to suspend their practice. The Roman driver Taruffi in the 16-cylinder Maserati completed only two laps at a slow pace and then stopped due to a leaking radiator.
      When approaching the Tagiura curve at over 200 km/h, Zehender left the road. Unable to engage third gear, he had to resort to brakes and the car with the four wheels locked left at the turn which had an embankment of about one meter. After knocking down two roadside posts the car became embedded in the sand of the field below without overturning. Zehender was thrown from the seat and remained miraculously unharmed except for minor bruises on his right leg and abrasions to his hands and face. His Maserati sustained only minor damage and was hastily repaired.
      During Saturday practice Brivio's engine broke a connecting rod on his Bugatti, which could not be repaired in time for the race. After official practice had ended, the Bugatti team manager Meo Costantini instructed Dreyfus to tow Brivio's damaged car across the track towards the exit to Tripoli. His mechanic hitched a rope between the two cars and Dreyfus proceeded across the track. At that moment Varzi's Alfa Romeo was coming around the final turn at top speed less than 100 meters away. He reached the end of the straight in front of the grandstands at over 230 km/h and found the road blocked by the Bugatti. Varzi saved himself by quickly moving to the left side of the track onto the bordering sand where the Alfa hit the bank, left the ground, flew over Dreyfus' head and landed on all four wheels about 10 meters away. No one was hurt. It all ended in a very unpleasant shouting match between Varzi and Dreyfus. When it landed, the Alfa of Varzi broke an axle half-shaft, which was replaced in time for the Grand Prix the next day. His survival and that of Dreyfus from the frightening accident was a miracle.
The entire Italian colony was looking forward to this great event. All hotels and restaurants were overcrowded. The trains hauled huge crowds of spectators from the North African countries and a few cruise ships arrived from Italy and France. Since the morning the public had begun to flow into the stands which were filled to capacity as were all the other prime viewing places. The temperature was mild, with a slight wind, which was favorable to the tires and engines of the racecars and to the spectators as well.
      Sunday at 1:30 PM the Lottery numbers were drawn for each of the various drivers. This was shortly before the drivers and cars arrived at the pits. The drivers lined up in front of the grandstand for a warm-up lap. The two Americans with their Millers in white and blue livery arrived first. DePaolo, who had marked his pit with Italian and American flags, had also painted them crosswise on the hood of his Miller which, as at Monza, carried his son's mascot shoes on the front. DePaolo was smiling and when asked about his race, he answered in his characteristic Sicilian-American slang, shrugging his shoulders: "My car is very fast, but my brakes are sick and my gearbox does not want to work." In fact, the two Americans could not make use of the gearbox and had to race only in direct drive. All the other cars gradually arrived. The appearance of Varzi in his red Alfa was last in the row of Scuderia Ferrari cars and was greeted with loud applause.
      Eventually, shortly before the scheduled start, the drivers left for one lap around the circuit to warm up the engines headed by the two white American cars. On their return the 26 cars lined up in numerical order, five cars per row. Nuvolari, Brivio, Earl Howe and Rose-Richards did not start. A siren announced the arrival of the Governor, Marshal Italo Balbo, who was greeted with enthusiastic applause from all of the spectators. He arrived to the tones of the Marcia Reale and the "Giovinezza".
Pole Position

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Alfa Romeo


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Alfa Romeo

Italo Balbo, accompanied by officials, walked between the cars aligned at the start line and entertained himself talking with all the drivers. Then, on the order of Race Director Renzo Castagneto, the mechanics left the track after having started the engines. The cars of Wimille, Dreyfus and Sommer proved difficult to start. The Governor then climbed over the side wall from where the track was dominated by the roar of the engines, which became deafening. The timekeeper counted the seconds and when Balbo lowered the flag at 3:00 PM, the pack roared away amid an earsplitting roar with Taruffi in the lead ahead of Chiron and Varzi. Dreyfus had difficulty starting and was last to leave the grid.
      At the end of the first lap Taruffi led with his 16-cylinder Maserati in 4m07s, followed at a distance of 100 meters by Chiron with another 200 meters to Varzi. The first three cars passed at a speed of not less than 230 km/h. Hamilton, Trossi and Wimille followed very close to each other. Then further behind, Eyston appeared; then, with shorter intervals came Premoli, Etancelin, Moll, Siena, Battaglia, Moore, Gazzabini, Straight, Tadini, DePaolo, Dreyfus, Biondetti, Widengren, Sommer, Balestrero, Carraroli and Pellegrini. Dreyfus who started last had managed to overtake eight cars including Bonetto and Zehender on his first lap. Shortly afterwards, Bonetto arrived slowly at the pits and retired. Zehender experienced so many problems with his car related to the damage in the practice crash that he decided to retire after the first lap.
      At the end of the second lap Taruffi was still in the lead which he completed in 4 minutes flat. Chiron and Varzi followed closely. Trossi was fourth ahead of Hamilton and Etancelin. Sommer and Pellegrini stopped at the pits; where the former retired.
      Taruffi, completed the third lap in 3m58s, still leading Chiron and Varzi. The pace became ever faster. Moll stopped to change the left rear tire and Straight visited his pit with engine problems.
      On the fourth lap Chiron overtook Taruffi with a time of 3m55.4s which stood as the fastest lap in the race at an average speed of 200.339 km/h. Varzi followed closely and the Roman was now sandwiched by the two leading Scuderia Ferrari drivers.
      On the fifth lap Gazzabini retired at the pits. Taruffi was close behind Chiron. Varzi, Wimille and Trossi in their fight for third place crossed the line within 4 seconds of each other. Chiron's average lap time for the first 5 laps was 4m01s and his average speed was 195.681 km/h with the times as follows after 5 laps.
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)20m00.0s
2. Taruffi (Maserati)20m01.6s
3. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)21m11.0s
4. Wimille (Bugatti)21m13.0s
5. Trossi (Alfa Romeo)21m15.4s

After the fifth lap Trossi, who was in fifth position retired at the pits with engine failure. Etancelin then became fifth and passed Wimille into fourth place, followed by Hamilton, Premoli and Tadini. Straight and Pellegrini stopped again at the pits.
      On the sixth lap Chiron still led Taruffi with Varzi third followed after 2m11s by Etancelin who was leading Wimille, Hamilton, Premoli and Tadini who stopped at the pits to change a rear tire.
      On the seventh lap Chiron increased the gap to Taruffi in second place who passed the finish line with Varzi close behind. At the following curve along the Mellaha airfield Taruffi made a triple spin before leaving the track. His Maserati overturned and he was thrown from the car. The Maserati was seriously damaged while Taruffi was promptly rescued. In the Tripoli Hospital he was treated for severe contusions to his legs, left arm and severe shock. Two days later he took the ship back to Italy in the care of his sister.
      After the seventh lap, following Taruffi's retirement the race became less interesting and the pace of the race diminished with Chiron in the lead ahead of Varzi, Etancelin, Hamilton, Wimille, Siena and Dreyfus seventh, while Battaglia retired at the pits. Siena stopped at the pits. Shortly afterwards Etancelin, Hamilton, Wimille and Pellegrini also stopped. Hamilton advanced to third place on lap nine. Moll, who had been delayed with a tire failure on lap three, had advanced to fifth position. At the end of the tenth lap Chiron was first after 40m21.4s, at an average speed of 194.752 km/h. His average lap time for the first 10 laps was 4m02.2s with the times as follows after 10 laps:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)40m21.4s
2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)40m38.8s
3. Hamilton (Maserati)42m11.8s
4. Wimille (Bugatti) 43m41.6s
5. Moll (Alfa Romeo)43m53.4s

After the tenth lap, Chiron was followed by Varzi, Hamilton and Moll. Siena, Straight and Premoli had to stop due to broken pistons. In the rear was a struggle between Tadini and the Americans. Etancelin, Carraroli and Balestrero drove very regularly. Moll had been 12 seconds behind Wimille on lap 10, but he not only passed Wimille sometime during the next five laps, but he pulled out a gap of 13 seconds. After 15 laps Chiron led the race at an average speed of 193.431 km/h with the leading group in the following times:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h00m57.0s
2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)1h01m31.6s
3. Hamilton (Maserati)1h03m18.2s
4. Moll (Alfa Romeo)1h04m17.0s
5. Wimille (Bugatti) 1h04m30.6s

On lap 16 Chiron stopped to change the left front tire losing 1m40s, which enabled Varzi to take the lead. Cars passed by so frequently that even the timekeepers were not able to follow the rhythm of the race, leaving the press short of times and classifications. Hamilton lost his third place and dropped to fifth position when he stopped to refuel on lap 19, which allowed Moll to advance into third place. The Bugattis of Wimille and Dreyfus were in the 4th and 6th position. Dreyfus who had started last, was now sixth. Tadini, in seventh place, also stopped to refuel but did not change tires. Varzi led the race at an average speed of 190.345 km/h with the leading cars in the following times after 20 laps:
1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)1h22m35.2s
2. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h22m39.0s
3. Moll (Alfa Romeo)1h24m44.4s
4. Hamilton (Maserati)1h25m05.0s
5. Wimille (Bugatti) 1h25m25.8s

The refueling stops continued when Dreyfus, Moore and Eyston stopped at midrace. On lap 21 it was the turn of Chiron to refuel. He left after 1m28s. Varzi refueled on the following lap and started again after exactly one minute. Neither he nor Chiron had changed tires. Moll replenished in 1m25s.
      While Varzi, Chiron and Moll proceeded in front, a fierce struggle continued for several laps between Tadini and Etancelin for 4th place. Wimille retired on lap 25 with a broken oil pipe. At the 27th lap Moll suffered another puncture at the right front tire which he changed at his pit in one minute. Meanwhile, Chiron closed up to Varzi on lap 29. On the next lap Hamilton retired at the pits with a magneto problem. Varzi had slowed his pace to save his engine. At the end of 30 laps, Varzi and Chiron crossed the line with only half a second between them. Varzi's average lap time for the last 10 laps was 4m21s and his average speed after 30 laps was 187.068 km/h with the leading group in the following order after 30 laps:
1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)2h06m03.0s
2. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h06m03.4s
3. Moll (Alfa Romeo)2h07m57.0s
4. Tadini (Alfa Romeo)2h12m22.2s1 lap behind
5. Etancelin (Maserati)1h12m42.0s1 lap behind

The two Scuderia Ferrari leaders raced close together without stressing their cars, thus enabling Moll to catch up. On lap 32, Chiron passed into the lead with Varzi remaining almost on his tail. But on the following lap Varzi resumed the lead a hundred meters ahead of his teammate.
      On lap 35 Varzi was still first after 2h27m00.4s at 186.605 km/h average speed, Chiron in 2h27m26s and Moll 2h28m25.4s. Chiron had slowed down and was now 26 seconds behind Varzi. Moll, on the other hand, was 'flying' - faster than the leading car. On lap 30 he was 1m54s behind the leader, 5 laps later he had closed the gap to 1m25s. The threat of Moll emerged almost suddenly. Three laps from the end he was only 300 meters behind the two leaders. Chiron was again first on lap 38 and Varzi led the next lap.
      On lap 39 Moll, trying to catch Varzi in the lead, made a lap in 3m55.6s at an average speed of 200.070 km/h. When passing the grandstand Varzi was first, followed after only 100 meters by Moll, while Chiron had fallen far behind due to dropping oil pressure.
      On the last lap, the wait for the final outcome was exciting. The crowd was leaning towards the finishing straight. Two cars, very close to the other, were seen in the distance. Looking towards the setting sun made it hard to identify the cars. They were the two red Alfas of Varzi with a white cap and Moll with a blue one. Favored by the slightly superior speed of his car, Moll in the wide curve that led towards the stands, attacked his adversary trying to move inside. But Varzi, tightened his line in the curve and squeezed his rival against the inside edge. Refusing to relinquish his inside line, Moll moved to the sandy edge alongside Varzi's car, but he had to give way. The finish line was very close and Moll's Alfa seemed to gain slightly. It was the Italian who crossed the finish line first but only by one wheel.
      Chiron finished third, 22 seconds behind. Immediately afterwards the first three drivers, to whom the new millionaires owed their fortune, were accompanied to the stand of honor where the Governor of Tripolitania, Itala Balbo, warmly complimented them to the delirious applause of an enthusiastic crowd.
      Each of the first three wanted to win the race because of the great amount of money involved. Varzi was naturally happy but Moll was bitter. He accused Varzi of trying to run him off the road when he was attempting to pass at the last corner.



1.18Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8402h48m53.8s
2.28Guy MollScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8402h48m54.0s+ 0.2s
3.32Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8402h49m16.0s+ 22.2s
4.52Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaserati8CM3.0S-8402h55m39.0s+ 6m45.2s
5.42Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati8C-28002.8S-8403h00m14.2s+ 11m20.4s
6.38René DreyfusAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT592.8S-8403h02m12.2s+ 13m18.4s
7.30Peter DePaoloFrank ScullyMiller4-WD5.2V-8403h02m15.4s+ 13m21.6s
8.24Lou MooreFrank ScullyMiller4.2S-8403h06m24.8s+ 17m31.0s
9.36George EystonG. EystonAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8403h14m21.6s+ 25m27.8s
10.60Renato BalestreroScuderia BalestreroAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8393h11m36.0s
11.20Guglielmo CarraroliScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8383h11m15.2s
DNF22Mario TadiniScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-836
DNF10Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-829magneto
DNF2Jean-Pierre WimilleAutomobiles E. BugattiBugattiT592.8S-824oil pipe
DNF58Per Viktor WidengrenP.V. WidengrenAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-821
DNF12Lelio PellegriniL. PellegriniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-813
DNF34Luigi PremoliL. PremoliB.M.P.3.0S-813piston
DNF54Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-810piston
DNF56Eugenio SienaScuderia SienaMaserati8C-30003.0S-89piston
DNF46Gianni BattagliaG. BattagliaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-87
DNF6Piero TaruffiOfficine A. MaseratiMaseratiV54.92x86crash
DNF4Carlo Felice TrossiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-85
DNF14Carlo GazzabiniProfessor Riccardo GaleazziMaseratiV44.02x84
DNF48Raymond SommerR. SommerAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-83
DNF44Felice BonettoF. BonettoAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-82
DNF50Goffredo ZehenderOfficine A. MaseratiMaserati8CM3.0S-81mechanical
Fastest lap: Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo) on lap 4 in 3m55.4s = 200.3 km/h (124.5 mph)
Winner's average speed: 186.1 km/h (115.7 mph)
Weather: Sunshine, warm and windy.
In retrospect:
The starting grid published in La Gazzetta dello Sport and also in Valerio Moretti's Tripoli book, both show a wrong grid with only four cars per row, probably a grid supplied by the promoter in a press release. Yet, a photograph of the starting grid contributed by Otto Grabe showed five cars per row. We used that as the basis for the grid in this report.

The intermediate times differed sometimes between our sources. We hope to have shown the correct ones.

The Lottery millionaire winners: 6,756,477.20 Lire for first place was won by Raniero Ricci from Padua; 3,002,878.85 Lire for second place was won by Guido Introini from Novara and 1,501,439.40 Lire for third place was won by Elia Fumagalli from Novara.

Taruffi in his book "Works Driver" wrote about his crash, ...as soon as I touched the pedal the wheels locked - and remained locked even when I took my foot off. I still have a clear picture in my mind of the front wheels motionless and clouds of smoke pouring from the tyres as they melted in the tremendous heat created by the friction with the road. I thought the car would never stop; it was like driving on a patch of oil - a horrible feeling... ...When the wheels came unlocked, I regained control of the steering, and I did think of slowing the car into the sand dunes beside the road... ...I decided to keep straight on, hoping the sandy soil would stop me, and that there was nothing solid in the way. I aimed the car between two posts, put my trust in God, and took off up the banking... ...Suddenly the car reared up on its tail and my body was thrown out by inertia. I remember putting my left arm up to protect my head; I hit the ground, and saw, before feeling it physically, that the car was coming on top of me. Petrol was pouring from the inverted fuel tank, and I thought that any moment it would catch fire. I tried to use my arms, and only then did I realize that the left one would not work, and was broken... ...Strong hands picked me up and took me on a stretcher to the Red Cross tent, from where I was taken to hospital in a jolting ambulance."
      When the car left the track, it took off on a dune, shattering a beer advertising billboard between the two posts. Sometime later the Brewing Company sent Taruffi a bill for the damage.

Primary sources researched for this article:
AZ-Motorwelt, Brno
La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa, Torino
Le Venezie Sportive, Venezia
L'Auto, Paris
Motor Sport, London
RACI settimanale, Roma
Special thanks to:
Giuseppe Prisco
Otto Grabe
Tony Kaye

Star 12 May 1934: A race meeting was held at Donington Park.
5 lap races were won by G. W. Everitt (MG 0.7 litre), R. F. Turner (Austin), E. K. Rayson (Riley) - two races, C. Tapper (Bugatti), T. S. Tresilian (Bugatti 2 litre).
A 25 miles Handicap race was won by A. H. Eccles (Bugatti 1.5 litre)

Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)


Eläintarharata - Helsinki (FIN), 13 May 1934
50 laps x 2.000 km (1.243 mi) = 100.00 km (62.1 mi)


1Asser WalleniusA. WalleniusFordSpecial3.6V-8
2Ippolito BerroneI. BerroneMaserati4CM2.0S-4
2Einar AlmE. AlmFordSpecialDNS - car declared dangerous
4Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
5Knut Gustaf SundstedtK-G. SundstedtBugattiT35B2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
6Paul PietschP. PietschAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
7Bruno NyströmB. NyströmChevroletSpecial
8Nestori SuurkuukkaN. SuurkuukkaFordSpecial
9Karl EbbK. EbbMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6
10S.P.J. KeinänenS.P.J. KeinänenChryslerSpecial5.1S-6
11Gerolamo FerrariG. FerrariMaserati26M1.5S-8DNA - car not available
12Aleksi PatamaA. PatamaFordSpecial3.6V-8

Bjørnstad wins in Finland

by Leif Snellman
Norwegian Bjørnstad with his Alfa Romeo Monza totally dominated the event, lapping all but German Pietsch in another Alfa Romeo Monza. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz) led the first two laps but then fell back to fourth behind the Alfa Romeos and Keinänen's Chrysler. Keinänen had to retire with a broken rear axle giving third position back to Ebb. Italian Berrone (Maserati) was an early retirement as was the other Finnish drivers except Wallenius, who finished a distant fourth and last.
The Finnish Grand Prix for cars and motor cycles, the organisation shared between Suomen Automobiili Klubi (SAK) and Helsingin Moottorikerho (HMK), was run for the third time in downtown Helsinki. The cars as well as the motorcycles had to do 50 laps for a distance of 100 km.
      Prizes offered were 25,000 Fmk, 12,500 Fmk, 7,500 Fmk and 2,500 Fmk for the top four finishers.
Of the foreign entries most attention drew Ippolito Berrone with a 2 liter Maserati 4CM and Gerolamo Ferrari with a 1.5 liter Maserati. They travelled all the way from Parma via Innsbruck, Berlin, Sassnitz, Stockholm and Turku. In Innsbruck an axle on their lorry broke. They managed to get the lorry moved to Berlin only to realize that it was impossible to fix the problem in time to reach the ship to Sweden. They had to leave the 1.5 liter Maserati in Berlin and continue the trip with a smaller truck and just one race car.
      Favourites were German driver Paul Pietsch and Norwegian Eugen Bjørnstad, each entering an Alfa Romeo Monza. Pietsch arrived 7 May on "D/S Nordland" with his wife Ilse and mechanic Martin Raucher. Bjørnstad's car had been rebuilt into a single seater. Pietsch's car was painted white and Bjørnstad's red with white-blue lines to indicate the Norwegian flag.
      The Swede Knut Gustaf Sundstedt did not turn up with his Bugatti as the car failed to arrive from Paris in time. The rest of the entry list consisted of Finns with a rather mixed collection of cars. Ebb had his old Mercedes-Benz SSK and Keinänen his Chrysler. Patama had a Ford, nicely rebuilt to a race car, and Alm his oddly looking "tail-Ford" while Wallenius' Ford looked to have been in almost normal spec.
At 7 a.m. on Thursday morning Berrone went out for a few laps to make himself familiar with the track. He noticed that the brakes on his Maserati needed to be adjusted and his mechanic Bortolini decided to make a lap to check the problem. On the uphill from the "Death curve" Bortolini met a car driving in opposite direction. It was Giuseppe Ferrari and translator Boccalari arriving to the track. Bortolini braked hard, lost control and went off to the right into a tree, breaking his right leg and bending the Maserati.
      Official practice took place on Friday morning at 4 a.m. - 6 a.m. the motorcycles using the first hour and then the cars going out two and two with 15 minutes time for each pair. First off were Wallenius and Alm. Even if Alm only did a 1m25s lap the movements of Alm's tail-Ford in the corners looked so frightening that the organizers later declared the car dangerous and unfit to take part in the race. Next pair was Pietsch and Bjørnstad, the German putting in some 1m14s -1m15s laps, the Norwegian getting down to 1m16s. In the third pair Ebb made the fastest lap of the day, 1m13s, while Keinänen did a 1m15s before he stopped after four laps with a stuck gearbox and had to be towed away. Finally Suurkuukka, Patama and Nyström were allowed out to practice. Berrone, whose car was under repair, was of course not practicing.
      At the end of practice the drivers did a 350 m start test on the straight to decide the grid positions. All but Ebb and Bjørnstad did two runs but only Alm, managed to improve his time. Times for the drivers were: Ebb 14.7s, Bjørnstad 14.9s, Pietsch 15.1s/15.4s, Patama 16.2s/16.2s, Wallenius 17.0s/17.2s, Suurkuukka 17.0s/19.0s, Alm 17.5s/17.3s and Nyström 19.0s/19.0s. The positions for the three drivers who had not practiced were decided by ballot.
The race morning came with rain and 8 degrees (46 F) temperatures, but the weather improved and at noon the sun appeared for the first time. The traditional train with the wagons rebuilt as a grandstand departed from the railway station at 1.45 p.m. to stop on the embankment next to the main straight. When the event started at 2 p.m. with the motor cycle races the weather was still a bit cold and cloudy but could be considered decent. Due to the weather only 34814 paying spectators had turned up.
      The motor cycle race lasted 65 minutes. After the class winners of the motor cycle race had made their lap of honour the race cars were pushed to the grid to be lined up two and two.
Pole Position

Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo






No time





No time

* 5 Sundstedt (Bugatti) DNA

The starter was ready with his flag when a fuel leak from the carburettor in Nyström's Chevrolet put the car on fire. A powder extinguisher took care of the fire before the car got destroyed but the start was delayed as the car had to be pushed off the grid to Nyström's great indignation.
      Finally the flag was dropped and the field of eight cars went away. Bjørnstad was fastest away but he was passed in the first curve by Ebb. Halfway through the lap in the wooden section, where work had just begun to build the new Olympic Stadium, Suurkuukka's Ford got into a slide. The driver overreacted and lost control. The car slid the other way into the wood where it ended up between two trees and remained there for the rest of the event.
      At the end of the lap Ebb led followed closely by Bjørnstad and Pietsch, whose Alfa Romeos obviously were faster than the Mercedes. A bit behind them followed Keinänen and then a group consisting of Patama, Berrone and Wallenius.
      The situation at the front remained the same after the second lap while Berrone had moved up to fifth and left Patama and Wallenius far behind.
      At the main straight on the third lap Bjørnstad went up aside Ebb and passed him as they braked for the curve. On the next lap Pietsch repeated Bjørnstad's manoeuvre moving up to second position. Ebb was in obvious trouble as Keinänen closed the gap to just 2 seconds during the fifth lap. The race order looked like this:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)6m06s (98.4 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)6m10s
3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)6m15s
4. Keinänen (Chrysler)6m17s
5. Berrone (Maserati)6m31s
6. Wallenius (Ford)6m35s
7. Patama (Ford)6m51s

Bjørnstad was pulling away from Pietsch, the wheels of the Norwegian's Monza keeping nicely on to the road while Pietsch's car was sliding in the curves, possibly due to a too high tyre pressure. On the seventh lap Berrone retired to the pit with a broken fuel line on his Maserati. Keinänen was trying to find the way past Ebb with Wallenius almost half a lap behind the duo but in front of Patama, who already had been lapped by Bjørnstad. A reporter wrote that he "was not confident" about Patama's driving style. The situation after10 laps:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)11m59s (100.1 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)12m09s
3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)12m30s
4. Keinänen (Chrysler)12m32s
5. Wallenius (Ford)13m00s
6. Patama (Ford)13m27s

On the twelfth lap Bjørnstad lapped Wallenius as well. The leader was opening up the gap to Pietsch by 3 ½ seconds per lap. On the 14th lap Keinänen tried a manoeuvre to pass Ebb but failed. This was the race order after 15 laps:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)17m45s (100.4 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)18m13s
3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)18m44s
4. Keinänen (Chrysler)18m55s
5. Wallenius (Ford)19m26s
6. Patama (Ford)19m47s

On the 17th lap Keinänen finally found the way past Ebb for third position. On the 19th lap the latter had to see himself being put a lap down by Bjørnstad. After 20 laps Bjørnstad led Pietsch by 35 seconds while Keinänen was about the same distance behind the German in third position. Ebb was unable to keep Keinänen's pace. The race situation after 20 laps looked like this:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)23m42s (101.3 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)24m16.8s
3. Keinänen (Chrysler)24m51s
4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)24m59s
5. Wallenius (Ford)25m51s
6. Patama (Ford)26m18s

On the 23th lap Bjørnstad put Keinänen a lap down as well. Patama went off the track and made a zigzag manoeuvre between the trees before getting back to the road. But the steering had been damaged and Patama had to retire the Ford. Halfway through the race Bjørnstad was leading by 47.7 s. Five cars remained running of which Wallenius had already been lapped twice. The race order at 25 laps:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)29m30s (101.7 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)30m18s
3. Keinänen (Chrysler)30m58s
4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)31m04s
5. Wallenius (Ford)32m11s

With the cars far from each other and with Ebb unable to keep contact with Keinänen and with half of the race still to go much of the interest of the race had unfortunately been lost already to the pity of the spectators. The situation after 30 laps:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)35m11s (102.3 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)36m16s
3. Keinänen (Chrysler)36m58s
4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)37m12s
5. Wallenius (Ford)38m50s

Bjørnstad had almost reached Pietsch when he decided against trying to put the German a lap down and slowed down instead making lap times of about 1m12s to be sure to take the flag. The race order after 35 laps looked like this:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)41m11s (102.0 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)42m14s
3. Keinänen (Chrysler)43m04s
4. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)43m18s
5. Wallenius (Ford)47m20s

On the 36th lap going through the north curve Keinänen lost his right rear wheel and the Chrysler came to a halt in a rain of sparks. A mechanic with a spare wheel rushed to the place of the accident but an examination of the car showed that the rear axle was broken. Ebb was now up to third and Wallenius fourth but the latter lost two minutes, probably due to a pit stop. The race situation at 40 laps:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)47m14s (101.6 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)48m13s
3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)49m27s
4. Wallenius (Ford)54m38s

With only four cars remaining in the race all were sure to get a prize if they just were able to take the flag. Bjørnstad was doing about the same pace as Pietsch staying some 12 seconds behind him. Ebb was about 2 seconds a lap slower while Wallenius was taking it very easy and made a long stop to fill the radiator. The order after 45 laps was:
1. Bjørnstad (Alfa Romeo)   53m15s (101.4 km/h)
2. Pietsch (Alfa Romeo)   54m11s
3. Ebb (Mercedes-Benz)   55m36s
4. Wallenius (Ford)1h03m31s

Bjørnstad took the flag for a dominant victory. The Norwegian was overjoyed having taken revenge for his 1933 failure. Pietsch finished second and Ebb had to make one more lap before he was flagged off as third. With Wallenius making lap after lap as only remaining competitor still running, spectators started to invade the circuit and the organizers decided to flag Wallenius off a lap too early. But that created a problem as the rules demanded the driver to make the full distance for a classification and a prize. It was solved by giving Wallenius a consolation prize of equal value to the fourth prize.
      With the wreath of victory on the radiator Bjørnstad made a lap of honour to the cheers of the spectators.
      The price ceremony was held in the evening at restaurant Alppila on the other side of the railroad embankment where Bjørnstad received the car race prize from Prof. Arhur af Forselles, chairman of SAK.



1.4Eugen BjørnstadE. BjørnstadAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-850    59m23.1s
2.6Paul PietschP. PietschAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8501h00m10.1s    + 47.0s
3.9Karl EbbK. EbbMercedes-BenzSSK7.1S-6501h01m47.2s+ 2m24.1s
DNC1Asser WalleniusA. WalleniusFordSpecial3.6V-8491h09m25.0s
DNF10S.P.J. KeinänenS.P.J. KeinänenChryslerSpecial5.1S-635rear axle
DNF12Aleksi PatamaA. PatamaFordSpecial3.6V-821steering
DNF2Ippolito BerroneI. BerroneMaserati4CM2.0S-46fuel line
DNF8Nestori SuurkuukkaN. SuurkuukkaFordSpecial0crash
DNS7Bruno NyströmB. NyströmChevroletSpecial0fire on the grid
Fastest lap: N/A
Winner's medium speed: 101.0 km/h (62.8 mph)
Weather: overcast/sunny

Primary sources researched for this article:
Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki
Hufvudstadsbladet, Helsingfors
Suomen Urheilulehti, Helsinki
Svenska Pressen, Helsingfors
Uusi Suomi, Helsinki



Piccolo Circuito delle Madonie - Sicily (I), 20 May 1934
6 laps x 72 km (44.7 mi) = 432 km (268.4 mi)


2Ferdinando BarbieriScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
4Giovanni AlloattiG. AlloattiBugattiT512.3S-8
6Pietro GhersiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8
8Guglielmo CarraroliScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
10Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-8
12Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
14Gianni BattagliaG. BattagliaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
16Lelio PellegriniL. PellegriniAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8DNA - did not appear
18Luigi PagesL. PagesAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
20Io BaldoIo BaldoBugattiT512.3S-8DNA - did not appear
22Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa Romeo6C 1750GS1.5S-6
24Antonio d'AgataA. d'AgataMaserati26M2.5S-8
26Luigi BeccariaScuderia BeccariaAlfa Romeo6C 17501.7S-6DNA - did not appear
28"Fiorello"G. CorteseAlfa Romeo6C 17501.7S-6
30Attilio BattilanaGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8

Alfa Romeos all the way

by Leif Snellman
The Targa Florio was a shadow of its former glory. A single Bugatti and a single Maserati challenged ten Alfa Romeos. Rain made the course even more dangerous than usual. Alloatti in a Bugatti went over a bridge parapet on the second lap and received wounds that eventually proved fatal .
      Ghersi in the works Ferrari led for the first two laps but then went off and lost 20 minutes for repairs. His team mate Varzi took over the lead and dominated the rest of the race in the rain to take the flag followed by six other Alfa drivers.
As it was the 25th Targa Florio there should have been a reason for celebration. But Cavalliere Vincenzo Florio was now absent from the Auto Club di Sicilia organizing committee and everyone had to admit it, that the Targa Florio was a shadow of its former glory. Alfa Romeo cars with Italian drivers had won the four latest Targas and foreign teams and drivers saw no reason to spend resources on an event that the Italians knew by hart. So the Targa had turned into a local Italian event and a rather minor Italian event at that, especially as the 1934 race clashed both with the Frontieres Grand Prix in Belgium and the Morocco Grand Prix. As in 1932 and 1933 the race was run on Piccolo Circuito delle Madonie but the race length was down to 6 laps from 8 in 1932 and 7 in 1933.
      There was a total prize fund of 150.000 lire, the winner receiving the gold medal of the King of Italy plus 35.000 lire. The second and third positioned competitors received bronze replicas of the "Targa" shield and 20.000 lire and 12.000 lire each respectively.
Scuderia Ferrari could hardly neglect to defend their series of Targa successes so they divided their forces, sending three P3 monopostos to Casablanca and two P3s plus two Monzas to Sicily. Achille Varzi was to race a 2.9 litre P3 and Pietro Ghersi a 2.6 litre ditto while Nando Barbieri and Guglielmo Carraroli were selected to handle the Monzas. There were five other Monzas in the entry list entered by Gruppo Genovese (for Attilio Battilana), Gianni Battaglia, Renato Balestrero, Luigi Pages and Lelio Pellegrini.
      Giuseppe Cortese (not to be confused with Franco Cortese) racing under the alias "Fiorello"entered an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 as did Constantino Magistri and Luigi Beccaria.
      The only non Alfa Romeos in the race were Antonia d'Agata in a 2.5 litre Maserati 26M and Io Baldo (sp) and Cavaliere Giovanni Alloatti in Bugattis. Alloatti had bought the ex-works car T51 #51153, possibly via Varzi, and had it registered in April 1934.
      Of the entries Pellegrini, Io Baldo and Beccaria did not turn up for the race.
Targa Florio has been called the hardest circuit race in the world and to add to that, that weekend the weather at Sicily was miserable.
      The rain showed no sign of ending. Late in the night before the race the decision was taken by Scuderia Ferrari to use fenders and rain tyres during the race and the mechanics went to work to change the cars. The other competitors probably followed the idea as well.
      The "fenders" on the Alfa Romeo monopostos were simply big horizontal plates fitted at the frame each side of the engine to protect the driver from what the front wheels threw up and it looks like the Scuderia Ferrari Monzas were fitted with them too while some of the other cars used more traditional looking fenders.
      The "rain tyres" used were prepared by what the Italians called the "Ancorizzato" process of making cross-cuts in the thread to get a better grip.
      The drivers were to be released at two minute intervals. "Normal" racing, car against car, was of course impossible on a narrow course like Targa Florio. Shown here are race numbers according to Paul Sheldon's book. For some reason the starting order drawn by Auto Club di Sicilia doesn't follow that race numbers order.
      It kept on raining but still the Sicilian Targa Florio fans turned up at the start at Cerda as well as all over the course. Joining them at the main grandstand was Arturo Marescalchi, Undersecretary of agriculture and foresty, Giovanni Battista Marziali, prefect of Palermo and Pietro Parisio, commissioner of R.A.C.I.

Cars started at intervals
2BarbieriAlfa Romeo10:30
6GhersiAlfa Romeo10:34
10VarziAlfa Romeo 10:36
22MagistriAlfa Romeo10:40
30BattilanaAlfa Romeo10:42
28"Fiorello"Alfa Romeo10:44
12BalestreroAlfa Romeo 10:46
18PagesAlfa Romeo 10:48
14BattagliaAlfa Romeo10:50
8CarraroliAlfa Romeo10:52

At 10:30 Undersecretary Marescalchi , denying an offered umbrella, went out to the track with the flag in hand and sent away Barbieri in his Alfa Romeo. Barbieri was followed two minutes later by Alloatti. Then it was Ghersi's turn after a further two minutes and so on. Pages had flooded the carburetor on his Monza and came away 1m45s late.
      Hardly had Carraroli's Ferrari Monza disappeared from Cerda as last vehicle away before the first race report came in. Barbieri had passed Caltavuturo. There were two intermediate timing stations, one at Caltavuturo, 600 m above the sea and 30 km from the start and one at Collesano, 448m above sea and 48 km from the start. A heavy shower fell over Cerda while the results from the stations continued to drop in. Ghersi had been fastest at Caltavuturo with Alloatti, Varzi, Barbieri and Magistri within a minute behind him. At Collesano Ghersi was leading Varzi by 43 seconds.
      At 11:30 a fire cracker went off to get the spectators' attention. The first competitor was approaching Cerda. Through the rain Barbieri's Monza appeared to the cheers from to crowd. Just a minute later two more fire crackers announced two more cars arriving. It was Ghersi in the P3, who had gained almost 3 minutes on Barbieri , followed by Alloatti in the T51 Bugatti, who had been passed by Ghersi and now tried his best to keep up the pace of the Alfa.
      Two and a half minutes later Varzi turned up. Then the spectators had to wait 7 minutes for Magistri , who had done a great job in his little Alfa 1750, not only having caught d'Agata's Maserati but having left it 4 minutes behind. And then car after car followed. The race order after the first lap was:
1. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)58m40s (73.6 km/h)
2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)59m18s
3. Alloatti (Bugatti)1h00m53s
4. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)1h01m28.6s
5. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)1h02m32s
6. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)1h03m40.2s
7. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)1h05m23.8s
8. Pages (Alfa Romeo)1h07m06s
9. d'Agata (Maserati)1h08m52s
10. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)1h09m20.4s
11. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)1h10m55.2s
12. Battilana (Alfa Romeo)

When Carraroli had passed there was a half an hour interval for the spectators, who however could follow the race from the intermediate reports.
      On the second lap at the Cardellino bridge, 23 km after the start, Alloatti overdid it and crashed into the bridge stone parapet. The Bugatti fell some ten meters down into the valley. An ambulance took Alloatti to the San Saverio hospital in Palermo where the doctors found that his back was broken in two places and that he also had a fractured skull.
      Barbieri still held the lead on the track after two laps. Ghersi was just 36 seconds behind with Varzi arriving to Cerda as third, 2m24s later. The order after 2 laps was:
1. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)1h59m02.8s (72.6 km/h)
2. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)1h59m27s
3. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)2h02m27.4s?
4. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)
5. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)
6. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)
7. Pages (Alfa Romeo)
8. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)
9. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)
10. d'Agata (Maserati)
11. Battilana (Alfa Romeo)

D'Agata retired his Maserati with ignition trouble. That left only ten Alfa Romeos in the competition.
      The rain finally stopped at Cerda and the weather there turned much better. The spectators eagerly waited for the drivers to appear again. The report from Collesano showed that Ghersi and Varzi were close together in time. Then a Scuderia Ferrari monoposto appeared but it was not Ghersi but Varzi who turned up. Two and a half minutes later Barbieri appeared in his Monza. Both made their planned pit stops for fuel and new rear wheels and were soon away again. Then after ten minutes wait Magistri sensationally turned up in the 1750 and only then, behind him, Ghersi. At a curve near Campofelice Ghersi had crashed and damaged the right front fender on the Alfa and a bolt had become loose on the steering. Repairs and a plug change took 7m10s. That meant that Ghersi had lost over 20 minutes in total and Magistri now was 2nd!
1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)3h00m38s (71.7 km/h)
2. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)3h07m27.6s
3. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)3h09m08.4s
4. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)3h16m21.2s
5. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)
6. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)
7. Pages (Alfa Romeo)
8. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)3h22m05s
9. Battilana (Alfa Romeo)
10. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)

Battilana had damaged the steering at the downhill section after Callesano and had to retire his Monza.
      From the halfway point the lap times were going up for every car and continued getting worse and worse as there race proceeded. While Varzi was in command of the race and had no reason to push anymore, it is possible that while the rain had stopped at Cerda it had intensified in the mountains making the conditions worse.
      Varzi passed the main stand for the fourth time as first driver followed five minutes later by Barbieri, while Magistri was still pushing in second position overall.
1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)4h03m25s (71.0 km/h)
2. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)4h11m13.1s
3. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)4h14m49s
4. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)
5. Pages (Alfa Romeo)
6. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)
7. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)
8. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)
9. Carraroli (Alfa Romeo)

On the fifth lap Carraroli retired with a broken differential. Order after 5 laps:
1. Varzi (Alfa Romeo)5h08m56s (69.9 km/h)
2. Barbieri (Alfa Romeo)5h21m17s
3. Magistri (Alfa Romeo)5h25m02.4s
4. Balestrero (Alfa Romeo)
5. Pages (Alfa Romeo)
6. "Fiorello" (Alfa Romeo)
7. Ghersi (Alfa Romeo)
8. Battaglia (Alfa Romeo)

Varzi took the flag 6 hours and 20 minutes after the race was started. Then there was a seven minutes wait for Barbieri, who had taken over second position from Magistri. The latter had had engine problems and had been unable to keep up the pace but arrived 23 minutes later to finish third both on track and on overall. Three and a half minutes behind Magistri Ghersi took the flag but he knew he has lost too much time. Behind him Balestrero and Pages had 12 and 14 minutes time to beat him and Balestrero did that easy arriving only 8 minutes behind Ghersi, while there was a tight fight with Pages who robbed Ghersi from the 5th position by just 3 seconds.
      "Fiorello" finished 7th and last while Battaglia seems to have retired on the last lap.
      And then the rain started to come down again as the teams packed up and started towards Palermo.
      The winner's medium speed was, because of the conditions, of course low. Still it was faster than in the 1931 race, run in similar conditions but on the even more demanding Grande Circuito delle Madione.



1.10Achille VarziScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.9S-866h14m26.8s
2.2Ferdinando BarbieriScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-866h27m14.2s+ 12m47.4s
3.22Costantino MagistriC. MagistriAlfa Romeo6C 1750GS1.5S-666h40m02.6s+ 25m35.8s
4.12Renato BalestreroR. BalestreroAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-866h45m43.0s+ 31m16.2s
5.18Luigi PagesL. PagesAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-866h49m28.8s+ 35m02.0s
6.6Pietro GhersiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-866h49m32.0s+ 35m05.2s
7.28"Fiorello"G. CorteseAlfa Romeo6C 17501.7S-666h54m01.2s+ 39m34.4s
DNF14Gianni BattagliaG. BattagliaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-85
DNF8Guglielmo CarraroliScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-84differential
DNF30Attilio BattilanaGruppo Genovese San GiorgioAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-83steering
DNF24Antonio d'AgataA. d'AgataMaserati26M2.5S-82ignition
DNF4Giovanni AlloattiG. AlloattiBugattiT512.3S-81fatal crash
Fastest lap: Pietro Ghersi (Alfa Romeo) on lap 1 in 58m40.0s = 73.6 km/h (45.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 69.2 km/h (43.0 mph)
Weather: heavy rains.
In retrospect:
Alloatti fought on at the hospital for almost three weeks before he finally succumbed to his injuries. He was buried at the Cimitero Generale in Turin. His Bugatti was repaired (most probably by the factory) and sold to the Léoz-Abad brothers from Spain.

Primary sources researched for this article:
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Le Figaro, Paris
Il Littoriale, Roma
La Stampa, Torino
Motor Sport, London
The Motor, London
Special thanks to:
Michael Müller



Chimay (B), 20 May 1934
15 laps x 10.87 km (6.75 mi) = 163.1 km (101.3 mi)
1100cc: 8 laps x 10.87 km (6.75 mi) = 87.0 km (54.0 mi)


Cars up to 1100 cc engine capacity:
Joseph DeshormesJ. DeshormesAmilcarCGS1.1S-4
Paul BaudartP. BaudartAmilcarCGS1.1S-4
Emile CuvelierE. CuvelierRallyABC1.1S-4
Marcel RouleauM. RouleauAmilcarC61.1S-6
MessmakerMessmakerAvior1.1S-4DNA - did not appear
Cars up to 1500 cc engine capacity:
7Bruno SojkaB. SojkaBugattiT51A1.5S-8
Claude "Barowski"C. BossuBugattiT51A1.5S-8
Arthur LegatA. LegatBugattiT37A1.5S-4
Hans SimonsH. SimonsBugattiT37A1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
Cars over 1500 cc engine capacity:
14Willy LonguevilleB. LonguevilleBugattiT35B2.3S-8
Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8DNA - did not appear
Jean-Marie de TexidorJ.M. de TexidorAlfa RomeoDNA - did not appear
Emile HoupE. HoupBugattiDNA - did not appear
MeertMeertAlfa RomeoDNA - did not appear

Longueville literally in his own class

by Leif Snellman
The race had a weak entry list. In the major class Longueville (Bugatti) was the single competitor and he naturally was the overall victor. In the 8 laps 1100cc race Rouleau (Amilcar) was the only competitive entry dominating the class. The only serious racing happened in the 1500cc class between the Bugattis of Sojka, Porter and Legat, Sojka winning from Porter with Legat having to retire.
Created by Jules Buisseret the Frontières Grand Prix in Belgium was organized from 1926 onwards. In 1934 it was as usual raced on the roads over the fields west of the city of Chimay. The race was run in three classes, starting together, with the 1100cc class being flagged after 8 laps while the 1500cc and the class over 1500cc raced for 15 laps. The race clashed in the race calendar with Targa Florio and the Casablanca Grand Prix but that is hardly the main reason the entry list suffered. The fact was however that the 1934 Chimay race was one of weakest in the history of the event.
In the class over 1500cc in the end only local driver Willy Longueville turned up with his Bugatti T35B while the organizers had hoped that at least Houp from Alsace would take part as well. Whitney Straight who had entered his Maserati decided to race at Casablanca instead.
      There were four Bugatti entries in the 1500cc class. Belgian Arthur Legat naturally turned up as always racing the same T37A as he had entered since 1930. He was competing against Czech Bruno Sojka and French drivers Porter and Claude Bossu, the latter racing under the name "Barowski".
      In the 1100cc class Marcel Rouleau entered a 6-cylinder Amilcar C6. To get any kind of race for the spectators Jules Buisseret appealed to the local drivers to bring out their old cars from the barn. Emile Cuvelier entered a Rally. Joseph Deshormes from Saint-Renvy and Paul Baudart from Salles, both villages next to the race course, entered each an old 4-cylinder Amilcar CGS. A driver named Lambert finally entered a 0.86 litre modified Citroën.
The motor cycle races with a decent number of competitors turned out to be the most exciting part of the event. When it finally was time for the car race Longueville was lined up alone in the front row of the grid, followed by the four Bugattis lined up two and two, then the four 1100cc cars and then the Citroën.
Grid not available
(se text)

As the flag dropped Longueville naturally took the lead followed by Sojka, Legat and Porter. Longueville soon pulled away from the rest. Of course he only had to finish the 15 laps to win. Porter passed Legat for second in the voiturette class. The order after the first lap was like this:
1.Longueville (Bugatti)5m19.2s (122.6 km/h)
2.Sojka (Bugatti)5m56.6s (109.7 km/h)
3.Porter (Bugatti) 5m58.0s
4.Legat (Bugatti) 5m58.2s
5."Barowski" (Bugatti)
6.Rouleau (Amilcar)
7.Deshormes (Amilcar)
8.Bandart (Amilcar)
9.Cuvelier (Rally)
10.Lambert (Citroën)

Lambert with the Citroën only lasted one lap before he had to call it a day. On the third lap Legat was back up to third overall after having passed Porter and he closed in on Sojka. The battle between Sojka and Legat continued until the 6th lap when Legat had to retire due to valve trouble. But Porter immediately took over the battle and passed Sojka for the voiturette class lead on the same lap.
      After eight laps the 1100cc cars were flagged off, Rouleau winning by a huge margin, while the others had to struggle even to get their old cars to finish the race, losing by over 14 minutes.
      The race between Porter and Sojka went on during the second part of the race and Sojka finally got the upper hand taking the flag 10 second in front of Porter to win the voiturette class. Overall race winner Longueville had taken the flag 1m24s earlier. He had cruised during most of the race doing 5m30s laps in average. His first lap from a standing start had actually been his fastest.



1.Willy LonguevilleB. LonguevilleBugattiT35B2.3LS-8151h22m58s
2.Bruno SojkaB. SojkaBugattiT51A1.5LS-8151h24m24s+ 1m26s
3.PorterPorterBugattiT37A1.5LS-4151h24m34s+ 1m36s
4.Claude "Barowski"C. BossuBugattiT51A1.5LS-8   
DNFArthur LegatA. LegatBugattiT37A1.5LS-45valve 
Fastest lap: Willy Longueville (Bugatti) on lap 1 in 5m19.2s = 122.6 km/h (76.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 117.9 km/h (72.8 mph)
Winner's medium speed (1500cc): 115.9 km/h (72.0 mph) Weather:

Results 1100cc


1.Marcel RouleauM. RouleauAmilcarC61.1S-68   50m05s 
2.Joseph DeshormesJ. DeshormesAmilcarCGS1.1S-481h04m10s+ 14m05s
3.Emile CuvelierE. CuvelierRallyABC1.1S-481h04m46s+ 14m41s
4.Paul BaudartP. BaudartAmilcarCGS1.1S-4?  
Fastest lap: ?
Winner's medium speed: 104.2 km/h (64.7 mph)

Main source for this article:
André Biaumet: "Le Grand Prix des Frontières"



Anfa - Casablanca (F), 20 May 1934
60 laps x 6.37 km (3.96 mi) = 382.2 km (237.5 mi)


4Marcel LehouxScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8
6Luigi SoffiettiScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
8Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati26M2.8S-8
10Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8
12Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8
14Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8
16Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaserati8CM3.0S-8
18Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-8
20Raymond SommerR. SommerMaserati8CM3.0S-8
22Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
24Giovanni MinozziScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-8
26Robert BrunetR. BrunetBugattiT512.3S-8
28Secondo CorsiS. CorsiMaserati26M2.8S-8
30Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8

Ferrari Alfas against independent Maseratis

by Leif Snellman
The Casablanca Grand Prix was run in hot conditions. Scuderia Ferrari driver Chiron dominated the race leading from start to finish with his Alfa Romeo. Behind him his team mate Lehoux had a long duel with independent driver Etancelin in a Maserati, the latter finishing second after that Lehoux had had several tyre failures. Third Scuderia Ferrari driver Comotti also had a tyre failure that gave fourth position to Straight in a Maserati.
The Grand Prix du Maroc organized by the l'AC Marocain was run for the third time at Anfa in west part of the city of Casablanca. Once again the circuit configuration was new. It included parts of both the 1931 and 1932 circuits but the pits, paddock to the right of the course and grandstand area to the left of the course were new. The roads had been widened to 11 meters throughout the course.
      Prizes were 50.000, 25.000, 12.000, 6.000 and 5.000 francs for the first five finishers and an extra 2.000 francs was promised for the fastest lap.
The race clashed with both the Targa Florio and the Frontières Grand Prix in Belgium. Scuderia Ferrari drivers Varzi and Ghersi were thus busy in Sicily. But Scuderia Ferrari sent three older Tipo Bs with 2.6 litre engines to Morocco to be raced by Louis Chiron, Marcel Lehoux and Gianfranco Comotti.
      Scuderia Siena had two Alfa Romeo Monzas for Luigi Soffietti and Giovanni Minozzi while Mlle. Hellé-Nice and Juan Zanelli entered their own Monzas.
      Robert Brunet raced a Bugatti T51 while the rest of the entries consisted of Maseratis. Whitney Straight and Hugh Hamilton raced 8CMs (#3011 / #3016) entered by Whitney Straight, Philippe Etancelin raced his own light blue 8CM (#3010) while Raymond Sommer raced the ex-Zehender 8CM car (#3006) in its first appearance after having been rebuilt by S.E.F.A.C. into an offset-seater. Clemente Biondetti raced Gruppo Genovese San Giorgio's Maserati 26M. Secondo Corsi raced a Maserati 26M as an independent as did a person named Menco. He was listed by L'Auto as Italian while Echo de Alger, spelling his name as Mingault, claimed he was a late entry local i.e. a Moroccan driver.
      Per-Victor Widengren had entered his Monza, newly rebuilt to a 2.6 litre monoposto, for the race, but after engine failure at Tripolis the entry was scratched. L'Auto listed also the Maserati 8CM entries of Benoît Falchetto, Joaquin Palacio and Count de Villapadierna as scratched.
Practice took place Thursday May 17th to Saturday May 19th each morning, from 6:00 to 7:30. But some of the drivers arrived to Casablanca much earlier. Straight and Hamilton arrived from Tripoli on Saturday 12th. The passenger liner "Djenne" (Note 1) arrived from Marseille with Biondetti and Hellé-Nice on Monday 14th and Etancelin arrived on Wednesday 16th.

During Thursday practice Etancelin was fastest followed by Brunet. Straight and Hamilton were still waiting for their cars and Sommer's car was not yet ready. The times were:
Etancelin (Maserati)2m59s
Brunet (Bugatti)3m20s
Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)3m21s
Menco (Maserati)3m27s
Biondetti (Maserati)3m30s

      The same day passenger liner "Azrou" (Note 2) arrived with the Scuderia Ferrari and Scuderia Siena cars and equipment and with drivers Comotti, Minozzi, Soffietti and Zanelli, while Chiron arrived by air.

The Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeos of Chiron and Lehoux were fastest during Friday practice, Chiron doing 20, Lehoux 18 and Comotti 14 laps. The times were:
Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2m55s
Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)2m56s
Hamilton (Maserati)2m57s
Etancelin (Maserati)3m02s
Comotti (Alfa Romeo)3m02s
Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)3m06s
Straight (Maserati)3m06s
Biondetti (Maserati)3m10s
Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)3m14s
Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)3m18s
Brunet (Bugatti)3m32s
Corsi (Maserati)3m32s
Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)3m36s
Menco (Maserati)3m40s

Chiron and Lehoux remained fastest during Saturday practice, each doing 2m49s laps. The full results of the three combined practices can be seen on the grid. (Source is L'Auto which due to a mistake forgot to list Straight's and Hamilton's times.)
Some twenty thousand people gathered in bright sunshine along the 6.4 km long Anfa circuit. It was hot but a breezy gusting wind was blowing. Among the dignitaries present were the Sultan of Morocco with his son and the civil controller Georges Orthlieb.
      The circuit was opened by the famous French aviator Dieudonné Costes, who, together with his wife circled the course in a luxury car. The cars were lined up in 3-2-3 formation and at 2:30 p.m. the legendary race reporter Charles Faroux, who worked as race director, dropped the flag.
Pole Position



Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo






Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo




Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo









Chiron immediately took the lead of the race. At the end of the first lap Chiron was leading Lehoux by 50 meters. A little behind them came Etancelin, who was followed by Straight. Hamilton, Comotti, Zanelli, Sommer, Brunet and Minozzi.
      On the second lap Menco went off the road at the Marabout corner. The Maserati was damaged but the driver survived unhurt from the incident. At the end of the lap Brunet made a fast pit stop.
      On the third lap Lehoux as well had to make a fast pit stop to adjust the brakes but on the next lap he had advanced back to fourth position behind Chiron, Etancelin and Hamilton.
      On the fifth lap Lehoux caught Hamilton and tried to find a way by. At the end of the lap the gap was just one second between them. Race leader Chiron had opened up the gap to Etancelin to 19 seconds. The race order after five laps looked like this:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)14m38s(130.6 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)14m57s
3. Hamilton (Maserati)15m01s
4. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)15m02s
5. Straight (Maserati)15m20s
6. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)15m11s?
7. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
8. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
9. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
10. Biondetti (Maserati)
11. Sommer (Maserati)
12. Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)
13. Corsi (Maserati)
14. Brunet (Bugatti)

On the sixth lap Lehoux passed Hamilton for third position. Etancelin was Lehoux's next target and the Scuderia Ferrari driver passed him on the ninth lap for second place. Hamilton had tyre trouble and had made a pit stop that pushed him back to eighth position. Scuderia Ferrari driver Comotti had managed to pass Straight to take over fourth position. Meanwhile Hellé-Nice had engine problems and had to make a pit stop.
      After 10 laps Chiron was leading Lehoux by 33 seconds. Chiron had made the best lap of the race so far with a time of 2m51s (134.1 km/h). The situation was as follows:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)29m03s(131.6 km/h)
2. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)29m36s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)29m39s
4. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)29m51s
5. Straight (Maserati)29m52s
6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)31m17s
7. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)31m23s
8. Hamilton (Maserati)31m42s
9. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)31m54s
10. Biondetti (Maserati)32m20s
11. Sommer (Maserati)
12. Corsi (Maserati)
13. Brunet (Bugatti)
14. Hellé-Nice (Alfa Romeo)

Hellé-Nice had to retire after some 10 laps due to a damaged rear axle on her Monza. After 15 laps Chiron held a 20 seconds lead over his team mate Lehoux, who was closely followed by Etancelin. The race order looked like this:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)43m44s(131.1 km/h)
2. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)44m04s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)44m05s
4. Straight (Maserati)44m30s
5. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)44m36s
6. Hamilton (Maserati)
7. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
8. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)

Sommer in 11th position made a 40 seconds pit stop but he was soon back in the pit to retire his Maserati due to either a clutch trouble or brake failure.
      The fight for second position continued and on the 18th lap Etancelin passed Lehoux and opened up a 200 meter gap to him. In doing so Etancelin equalled Chiron's fastest lap of 2m51s. The order after 20 laps was:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)58m04s(131.6 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)58m25s
3. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)58m33s
4. Straight (Maserati)59m08s
5. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)59m22s
6. Hamilton (Maserati)1h01m18s
7. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)1h01m44s
8. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
9. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
10. Biondetti (Maserati)
11. Brunet (Bugatti)
12. Corsi (Maserati)

Chiron made the 22nd lap in 2m49s (135.7 km/h) and Lehoux soon afterwards equalled that lap time. The battle between Lehoux and Etancelin continued. On the 24th lap Lehoux managed to take back second place from his rival. The situation after 25 laps:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h12m21s(132.1 km/h)
2. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)1h13m00s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)1h13m03s
4. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)
5. Straight (Maserati)
6. Hamilton (Maserati)
7. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
8. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
9. Biondetti (Maserati)
10. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
11. Brunet (Bugatti)
12. Corsi (Maserati)

Hamilton had a puncture and stopped for a new tyre and fuel, dropping to eighth position.
      Chiron was leading by a good margin and the main interest of the race was the duel between Lehoux and Etancelin, the two drivers remaining within a few seconds from each other. Behind them there was a fight between Comotti and Straight for fourth position. Straight then made a stop for new wheels and new glasses, losing a minute.
      Corsi's race ended after 29 laps with a burst oil pipe and a spin at the 45° corner after the main straight. The order at half-distance looked like this:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h26m42s(132.2 km/h)
2. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)1h27m25s
3. Etancelin (Maserati)1h27m27s
4. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h28m53s
5. Straight (Maserati)1h29m54s
6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)1h32m00s
7. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
8. Hamilton (Maserati)
9. Biondetti (Maserati)
10. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)

On the 32nd lap a rear tyre burst on Lehoux' Alfa Romeo. The pit stop was fast but he lost his second position to Etancelin. The race order after 35 laps was:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h40m59s(132.5 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)1h42m06s
3. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)1h44m32s
4. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h44m35s
5. Straight (Maserati)1h46m03s
6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
7. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
8. Hamilton (Maserati)
9. Biondetti (Maserati)
10. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
11. Brunet (Bugatti)

Hamilton's Maserati had a leaking tank and was losing fuel and the driver was forced to call it a day for safety reasons. The pit stops for refuelling and wheel changes followed each other. On the 37th lap, Etancelin refueled and changed tyres without losing his second position. Chiron was now leading by a full lap. The race order after 40 laps:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1h55m32s(132.3 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)1h59m02s
3. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)1h59m27s
4. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)
5. Straight (Maserati)
6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
7. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
8. Biondetti (Maserati)
9. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
10. Brunet (Bugatti)

Chiron made a 1m12s routine pit stop for fuel and two new rear tyres returning to the race behind Etancelin who thus unlapped himself. Immediately afterwards the unfortunate Lehoux had another tyre failure dropping back to fourth behind Comotti. (Note 3)
      Lehoux pushed hard after his stop and on the 42nd lap, he managed to retake 3rd place from Comotti, who then made his routine pit stop, dropping to fifth behind Straight.
      After 45 laps Chiron was leading by 2m14s over Etancelin, who had a charging Lehoux 18 seconds behind him. The race order looked like this:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h11m50s(130.5 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)2h14m04s
3. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)2h14m32s
4. Straight (Maserati)
5. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)
6. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
7. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
8. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
9. Biondetti (Maserati)

Unbelievable it seems that Lehoux had yet another tyre failure, dropping to fifth position behind Straight and Comotti. The situation after 50 laps:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h26m03s(130.8 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)2h29m11s
3. Straight (Maserati)2h29m42s
4. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)
5. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)
6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
7. Soffietti (Alfa Romeo)
8. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
9. Biondetti (Maserati)
10. Brunet (Bugatti)

Now it was Comotti's turn to suffer from a burst tyre and the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers swapped positions once again, Lehoux taking over fourth position. After 55 laps Chiron had lapped Etancelin who had had brake trouble during the second part of the race and now was only 20 seconds in front of Straight. The race order after 55 laps looked like this:
1. Chiron (Alfa Romeo)2h40m48s(130.7 km/h)
2. Etancelin (Maserati)2h44m15s
3. Straight (Maserati)2h44m35s
4. Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)
5. Comotti (Alfa Romeo)
6. Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)
7. Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)
8. Biondetti (Maserati)
9. Brunet (Bugatti)

The hot conditions must have put great strain on the tyres because now Straight suffered a puncture as well and fell back to fourth behind Lehoux. With six laps to go Soffietti retired his Alfa Romeo Monza.
      Chiron took the flag to be congratulated by the Sultan and to receive the traditional wreath of flowers. Etancelin finished second a lap behind (see below) with Lehoux third. According to Echo de Alger Lehoux suffered yet another tyre failure on the last lap but could bring the car to the flag.



1.30Louis ChironScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8602h55m42.4s
2.16Philippe EtancelinP. EtancelinMaserati8CM3.0S-8592h56m23s
3.4Marcel LehouxScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-8592h58m07s
4.12Whitney StraightWhitney Straight Ltd./Maserati8CM3.0S-858
5.10Gianfranco ComottiScuderia FerrariAlfa RomeoTipo B/P32.6S-858
6.24Giovanni MinozziScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.3S-857
7.14Juan ZanelliJ. ZanelliAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-8?
8.8Clemente BiondettiGruppo Genovese San GiorgioMaserati26M2.8S-8?
9.26Robert BrunetR. BrunetBugattiT512.3S-8?
DNF6Luigi SoffiettiScuderia SienaAlfa RomeoMonza2.6S-854
DNF18Hugh HamiltonWhitney Straight Ltd.Maserati8CM3.0S-842fuel tank
DNF28Secondo CorsiS. CorsiMaserati26M2.8S-829oil pipe
DNF20Raymond SommerR. SommerMaserati8CM3.0S-815?clutch
DNF22Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Mlle "Hellé-Nice"Alfa RomeoMonza2.3S-810+rear axle
Fastest lap: Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo) on lap 22 in 2m49.2s = 135.5 km/h (84.2 mph)
Winner's medium speed: 130.5 km/h (81.1 mph)
Pole position lap speed: 135.7 km/h (84.3 mph)
Weather: hot and sunny, a bit windy.
Pit stops summary:
Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo)1 stop1m12s
Philippe Etancelin (Maserati)1 stop
Marcel Lehoux (Alfa Romeo)4 stops5m22s
Whitney Straight (Maserati)4 stops1m54s
Gianfranco Comotti (Alfa Romeo)3 stops4m40s
Giovanni Minozzi (Alfa Romeo)1 stop2m30s
Juan Zanelli (Alfa Romeo)1 stop2m22s
Clemente Biondetti (Maserati)2 stops5m34s
Hugh Hamilton (Maserati)4 stops6m42s
Raymond Sommer (Maserati)1 stop    40s

In retrospect:
A results confusion: While all contemporary newspapers agreed on Chiron's winning time they differed widely regarding Etancelin's and Lehoux's results. Thus Echo de Paris, Le Figaro, Le Matin and El Mundo Deportivo give 2h56m23s for Etancelin and 2h58m07s for Lehoux.
      L'Auto and Motor Sport give 2h56m32.6s for Etancelin and Automobil-Revue and Il Littoriale the same time rounded off. For Lehoux L'Auto gives 2h56m23.8s, Il Littoriale the same time rounded off and Motor Sport 2h57m23s.
      All the newspapers agree that both Chiron and Etancelin did 60 laps while Lehoux did 59. Luckily L'Auto published intermediate times as well as the speed for the leader for every 5th lap so Chiron's intermediate times can easily be controlled. While Etancelin's times cannot be controlled the same way the given times correspond well to the race events and the time intervals after the pit stop are consistent 15m02s, 15m11s and 15m00s for laps 45-50-55. We can therefore assume that L'Auto's intermediate times are correct. However, looking at Etancelin's time from lap 55 to the flag it is, depending on source, 12m17s or even less. That is a totally impossible time as he would have gone 20 seconds a lap faster than Chiron's lap record. So it is clear Etancelin did just four laps in that time interval or 59 laps in total before being flagged.
      But using 59 laps for Etancelin and the L'Auto etc. variant of the results that creates a new dilemma as it puts Lehoux in front of Etancelin in the results (Lehoux 2h56m23s vs. Etancelin 2h56m32s), unless one can prove Lehoux did only 58 laps and there is nothing to indicate that. I have therefore used the Echo de Paris etc. results here i. e. Lehoux 2h58m07s to put him behind Etancelin, even if the other time was given by the pure sports magazines.

1. Compagnie de Navigation Paquet "Djenne" 1931, 8799 BRT, was scuttled by Germans at Marseille 1944, returned to service after the war and was scrapped in 1966.

2. Compagnie de Navigation Paquet "Azrou" 1939, 2997 BRT, was sunk by the British submarine HMS Unison in 1942.

3. Note that the table above is not showing the situation for a specific time but rather list the cars as they pass the line after 40 laps. Thus, the former event, Chiron's stop, cannot be seen from the table as he already had done 40 laps, the table still showing a 3m30s gap between Chiron and Etancelin. On the other hand Lehoux's stop is included in the table (dropping to 4th) even if it happened later, as he was a lap behind so the event happened before HE passed 40 laps.

Primary sources researched for this article:
L'AUTO, Paris
Echo de Alger, Alger
Echo de Paris, Paris
Le Figaro, Paris
Le Matin, Paris
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
Il Littoriale, Roma
The Motor, London
Motor Sport, London

Star 20 May 1934: The B.A.R.C. Whitsun Meeting was held at Brooklands.
The handicap races were won by D. A. Aldington (Frazer Nash 1.5 litre), Mrs K. Petre (Bugatti 2.0 litre), A. J. Cormack (Alta 1.1 litre), W. E. Harker (Harker Special 1.5 litre), R. T. Horton (M.G. 1.1 litre), Earl Howe (Bugatti 2.3 litre), J. W. Lucas (Riley 1.1 litre), L. Eccles (Bugatti 2.3 litre), N. Embiricos (Bugatti 2.3 litre) and W. G. Everitt (M.G. 0.7 litre).
Star 21 - 22 May 1934: Philippe Maillard-Bruné (M.G.) wins the Bol d'Or doing 1,814.12 km.


© 2023 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt, Felix Muelas - Last updated: 09.02.2023