La Baule Grand Prix
1931

La Baule Grand Prix
13 September 1931
Started: 18

France

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Entries and results:
No.   Driver: Car: Engine:   Entrant: Position: Class: Pos.: Time:
    de Maleplane Maserati 2,500 c.c.     dnf      
    Williams Bugatti 2,300 c.c.     1st     1h. 2m. 49s.
    Lehoux Bugatti 2,300 c.c.     3rd     1h. 6m. 8s.
    Gaupillat Bugatti 2,300 c.c.     2nd     1h. 4m. 30s.
    Helle-Nice Bugatti 2,000 c.c.     8th     1h. 23m. 36s.
    Eminente Bugatti 2,000 c.c.     nc      
    Tedaldi Bugatti 2,000 c.c.     nc      
    Sim Deul Bugatti 2,000 c.c.     nc      
    Minaugoy Bugatti 2,000 c.c.     6th     1h. 17m. 45s.
    Lehrsfeld Bugatti 2,000 c.c.     5th     1h. 16m. 51s.
    Nebout Bugatti 1,500 c.c.     7th     1h. 21m. 32s.
    Franck Bugatti 1,500 c.c.     nc      
    Ansselin Bugatti 1,500 c.c.     nc      
    de Marry Bugatti 1,500 c.c.     nc      
    de Chanaz Alfa-Romeo 1,750 c.c.     nc      
    Scaron Amilcar 1,100 c.c.     4th     1h. 12m. 7s.
    Rongeyron Derby 1,500 c.c.     nc      
    Antonio Maserati 1,500 c.c.     dnf      
Motor SportOctober 1931
The Grand Prix de la Baule
Victory for Williams (Bugatti) in Race on the Sands.

ANY race which is organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, famous in prewar days for its Grands Prix de la France and latterly for the le Mans 24-hour Race, can be counted on to be successful, and the Grand Prix de la Baule, which was run on Sunday, 13th September, proved to be no exception to the rule. The race was run on the sands of la Baule, near St. Nazaire in Brittany, and the course comprised two parallel straights of about 3 kilometres each joined together at each end by two fairly sharp bends. The sand is very fine and extremely hard, but it is intersected at frequent intervals by channels made by the water of the retreating tide and heaped in other places into sharp ridges. As a result the cars are subjected to a series of terrific shocks, sufficient quite often to hurl all four wheels into the air at once while the engines have to work very frequently in an atmosphere impregnated with water and sand.
The total distance of the race over this difficult course was 150 kilometres, and eighteen competitors came to the starting line. In the absence of Etancelin, whose 2,300 c.c. Alfa-Romeo was unable to start owing to his accident at Monza, the fastest cars in the race seemed likely to be de Maleplane's 2,500 c.c. Maserati and the 2,300 c.c. Bugattis driven by Williams, Lehoux and Gaupillat. In addition there were half a dozen 2-litre Bugattis driven by Mademoiselle Helle-Nice, Eminente, Tedaldi, Sim Deul, Minaugoy and Lehrsfeld, four 1,500 c.c. cars of the same make driven by Nebout, Franck, Ansselin and de Marry, a 1,750 c.c. Alfa-Romeo driven by de Chanaz, a 1,500 c.c. Maserati drvien by Antonio, a Derby of the same size handled by Rongeyron and an 1,100 c.c. Amilcar with Scaron at the wheel.
Although the weather had been threatening on the Saturday the morning of Sunday was beautifully fine and the sun was shining as the competitors were despatched by M. de Lapeyrouse, the mayor of la Baule. Williams on the Bugatti immediately shot to the front and at the end of the first round he was leading by a considerable distance from Gaupillat, who was followed by Erninente (Bugatti), Lehoux (Bugatti), de Maleplane (Maserati) and Tedaldi (Bugatti). Williams gradually increased his lead as the race wore on, but Lehoux, who had started as joint favourite with him, did not seem to be able to get the same speed out of his car and appeared to be particularly troubled by the spray which was thrown up by the racers. The only challenge to the Bugattis however, seemed likely to come from de Maleplane's Maserati, but this car was put out of the running fairly early on with a broken piston, while the smaller car of the same make driven by Antonio also had to retire as a result of a defect in the petrol pressure feed system.
The 2,300 c.c. Bugattis thus had matters all their own way and there seemed to be nothing to choose in the matter of speed between Williams' and Gaupillat's cars. The former however, was definitely the faster on the corners, and before the end of the race he had lapped all the other competitors with the exception of Gaupillat. On the last lap Mademoiselle Helle Nice, who was running sixth at the time, stopped to change a sparking plug and lost two places by this manoeuvre, whereas it seemed that seven cylinders should have been plenty to finish on. The final order of those who finished within the time limit was as follows :—
1. Williams (Bugatti), 1h. 2m. 49s. (Average 89.5 m.p.h.)
2. Gaupillat (Bugatti), 1h. 4m. 30s.
3. Lehoux (Bugatti), 1h. 6m. 8s.
4. Scaron (Amilcar), 1h. 12m. 7s.
5. Lehrsfeld (Bugatti), 1h. 16m. 51s.
6. Minaugoy (Bugatti), 1h. 17m. 45s.
7. Nebout (Bugatti), 1h. 21m. 32s.
8. Mlle. Helle Nice (Bugatti), 1h. 23m. 36s.