Classic Car Catalogue
IV Grand Prix de Tunise
|Tunis Grand Prix
|3 April 1932
|Carthage Street Circuit
|Started: 20 ?
Motor SportMay 1932THE GRAND PRIX OF TUNIS
VARZI'S DECISIVE WIN AT 90 M.P.H. ON A BUGATTI
1st. Achille Varzi (2,300 c.c. Bugatti), 3 hours, 14 mins., 18 secs. Speed 90.3 m.p.h.
2nd. Marcel Lehoux (4,900 c.c. Bugatti), 3 hrs. 17m. 14s.
3rd. P. Etancelin (2,300 c.c. All aRomeo), 3 hrs. 18m., 25s.
4th. Sieva (2,300 c.c. Alfa-Romeo), 3 hrs., 19m., 58s.
5th. Count Czaikowski (2,300 c.c. Bugatti), 3 hrs., 21m. 18s.
6th. Louis Chiron (2,300 Bugatti), 3hrs. 24m. 42s.
7th Rene Dreyfus (2,800 c c. Maserati) 3hrs. 27m. 49s.
8th. J. de Maleplane (2,200 Maserati), 3hrs. 32m, 57s.
1500 c.c. CLASS.
1st. Joly (1500 c.c. Maserati), 3hrs. 34m, 32s. Speed, 81.4 m.p.h.
2nd. Pierre Veyron (1,500 c.c. Maserati), 3hrs. 37m. 15s.
3rd. Castelbarco (1,500 c.c. Bugatti), 3hrs. 38in. 56s.
4th. Jose Scaron (1,100 c.c. Amilcar), 3hrs. 45m. 10s.
5th. Mme. Itier (1,500 c.c. Bugatti), 35 laps completed.
6th. Mme. Mareuse (1,500 c.c. Bugatti), 34 laps completed.
Race held over 37 laps of the circuit of Carthage April 3rd. Distance 470.418 kilometres.
ALTHOUGH this year's race over the Carthage circuit was only the fourth of the series, it has already become one of the classics of motor racing, and the 1932 race fulfilled all expectations. It was wonderfully organised and this, in conjunction with the excellence of the circuit gave the enthusiastic Tunisian spectators a fine showing of what a race should be. The main exceptions to the regular progress of the race were Fagioli and Chiron. The former held second place for a long time but had to retire with supercharger trouble, while Chiron was beset with petty troubles which kept him out of the picture.
On the other hand Varzi, last year's winner, was at the top of his form, and led from start to finish in his own incomparable manner. Lehoux, who was second, put up a brave show, as he was by no means fit, and he did well to finish. Etancelin was driving his last year's Alfa, which was definitely not as fast as
his rivals, but by driving a well planned race, managed to get home in the first three.
In the 1,500 c.c. class Joly showed that the unfortunate death of Alfieri Maserati has not affected this marques desire to carry on his name with success, while Scaron's famous Amilcar once more showed that he is almost unbeatable in his own class, and more than a match for many 1,500's.
A remarkable feature of the race was the eclipse of the 4,900 c.c. Bugattis by the 2,300 c.c. model. These were apparently not so well prepared, and though their maximum speed should have been high enough, they are not so easy to handle, and most important of all, not nearly so well braked.
On such a circuit as this, perfect braking is vital, and without it a fast car is out of the picture.
There is little doubt that the 2,300 c.c. double-camshaft Bugatti will stand as a landmark in the history of racing car development, and its road-holding, ease of handling, performance, and reliability are eloquent testimony to the experience of the Molsheim manufacturer.
Brilliant weather favoured the start, and the 20 cars roared away in a bunch at the fall of the flag. Almost at once Varzi drew ahead and established a slight lead, with Lehoux right on his heels. On the second lap Lehoux actually got in front for a brief space, but could not hold it and dropped back.
At the end of the five opening laps the two 2,300 c.c. Bugattis held the lead closely chased by the Alfas, with the 4,900
c.c. Bugatti following again. Shortly after, Chiron began to suffer from ignition trouble, and gradually lost all hope of victory, while Etancelin pulled up a few places.
After 10 laps the order was: Varzi (Bugatti), Fagioli (2,800 c.c. Maserati), Dreyfus (2,800 c.c. Maserati), Lehoux (4,900 c.c. Bugatti), then Etancelin, Siena, Wimille, Czaikowski; while Joly led the
Then things began to happen, the hot weather probably contributing slightly to some of the engine troubles.
Fagioli, who had held his pace well and looked a safe second, had to retire with supercharger trouble. Wimille who was running sixth on his 4,900 c.c. Bugatti, found trouble developing in the oiling system, and finding the pressure dropping badly, also retired. Von Morgen, on a similar car had trouble with his brakes
seizing, and withdrew. It was certainly a bad day for the big Bugattis.
Alone of the "4,900's" Lehoux pluckily held on, and at the end of twenty laps was second, less than 3 minutes behind Varzi, the order being Varzi, Lehoux, Etancelin, Siena, Czaikowski, Dreyfus, Chiron.
In the 1½ litre category, Joly held his lead, with Veyron and Castelbarco second and third on Maserati and Bugatti.
Galay (1,500 c.c. Bugatti) had to retire with incurable overheating, while Everhardt, on a similar car completely wore out his brakes, and pulled out of the race after over thirty laps.
At this distance Varzi had a lead of 3½ minutes over Lehoux, followed by Etancelin, Siena, and Czaikowski.
In the small class Castelbarco had got in front of Veyron, but Joly still held his lead of the class. Scaron's amazing Amilcar was fourth.
From then to the finish little happened to change the running. Lehoux had managed to refuel his car in the record time of 25 seconds, and was wildly cheered as he got away from the pits.
To see how the various drivers were held up by troubles, the times taken at the pits and the reasons are given below :
Varzi, one stop for refilling in 50 seconds.
Chiron, three stops with plug trouble, totalling 9 mins, 55 secs.
Dreyfus, four stops for plugs and refuelling, 10 mins., 40 secs.
Czaikowski, one stop for plugs, 1 min, 12 secs.
Lehoux, refuelling 25 sees.!
Scaron, refuelling 40 secs.
Mme. Mareuse, two stops for plugs, 4 mins. 55 secs.
Castelbarco, refilling and plugs, two stops totalling 1 min, 50 secs.
Von Morgen, stop for plugs, 3 mins. 40 secs.
Fagioli, plugs, 2 mins. 35 secs.
Joly, one fill-up, 1 min. 45 secs.
Siena and Ozannat (Bugatti 1,500 c.c.), 1 min. 13secs. and 2 mins. respectively for refuelling.
A glance at these times shows that no unnecessary time was lost at the pits in most cases.
In the final stages, Chiron, his car at last running satisfactorily after much trouble, broke the lap record with a circuit in 5 mins. 3 secs., an average of 94 m.p.h. So ended a fine race, well organised and free from mishaps, with a well deserved victory for Achille Varzi.