THE GRAND PRIX OF DIEPPE.
CHIRON WINS ON A BUGATTI.
EARL HOWE SECOND IN THE 2-LITRE
THE fourth Grand Prix de Dieppe, or more properly the "Grand Prix du Matin" on the Circuit de Dieppe was run on July 24th and resulted in a victory for Chiron on a Bugatti, this
marque also securing the next three places. The 2-litre class was won by Czaikowski on a Bugatti, Lord Howe being second.
The Circuit de Dieppe is a triangular course about 5 miles in length, sharp corners occurring at Val Gosset at the end of the long straight from the stands, St. Aubin, and Le Fourche which is overlooked by the stands. The pits and stands are placed at the beginning of the Straight.
Looking from one's seat in the stands, the view is very reminiscent of the Isle of Thanet, with its unfenced cornfields. The road up from the "Esses" is marked by a row of trees, and cars can be seen half a mile away approaching the more than right angle bend by which the cars return to the pits and the Stand Straight. We cannot recollect having seen a more suitable place for a grandstand.
The car race was preceded by a motorcycle race which finished about 11 a.m. and at half past the first car, a Bugatti driven by Gaupillat, arrives at the pits. The racing season of 1932 has been marked so far by a serious lack of interest, Alfa Romeos being supreme on all sides. Today we should see something really interesting, a great field of independently entered Bugattis opposed by Zehender, last year's winner, and Wimille, the victor of Lorraine, on 2.3 litre Alfa-Romeos. Sommer, who won at Le Mans, is unfortunately a non-starter. Still, the other two ought to be able to look after themselves.
By this time more cars reached positions in front of their pits. One of the noticeable features was the fewness of tools and equipments one saw there. In a short race like this, the leading men are usually so close that it is useless to continue after
any lengthy stop. A feature of Bouriat's and Williams' Bugattis which should appeal to Brian Lewis and other non-stop motorists was a vacuum flask and a length of rubber tubing, through which the driver could refresh himself from time to time. One of the last arrivals was the tall lithe champion, Chiron, whose spotted red scarf was an instant means of recognition in the crowd of Bugattisti. Williams, who of course is English, is of middle height and broad. Two women are driving, Mlle. Helle-Nice in a 2-litre Bugatti and Madame Mareuse in a 1½-litre car of the same marque, the latter dressed completely in red, with a leather face-mask.
The course was opened by Felix Nazzaro, who had won the first race on a Lancia in 1906.
At last the cars were moved to their starting positions, arranged in columns of fours so to speak, in front of the grand stand. Chiron and Williams were somewhere in the middle, while Lord Howe was in the rear rank. Engines were revved up for the last time, the drivers were arranged in groups and photographed and eventually all was ready. The start, nominally at 1.30, was actually given about quarter of an hour late.
The starter raises his flag, the cars roar and clouds of white smoke are belched out. The flag drops and an avalanche of cars roar down in the narrow space between the pits and the grand stand. Bales of straw along the road offer some protection to daring photographers.
In the lead is Gaupillat, with Chiron close behind and Williams in third place, and the tremendous bunch keeps close together almost to Val Gosset. Gaupillat is still leading at the end of the first lap, but he is soon displaced by Chiron.
The massed start. Gaupillat (Bugatti) leads, followed by Chiron (No. 19)
Light rain began to fall and the Val Gosset corner became tricky, heavy braking producing front wheel skids on many of the cars. Chiron overshot the mark and had to take to the slip road, reversing back again to the course, while Madame Mareuse had difficulty in changing down and came to a standstill in an awkward position.
Chiron, before his bother at Val Gosset, had been leading the field, and in the third, lap broke the record for the course with a time of 3 minutes 46 seconds or approximately 80 m.p.h. He then dropped back to third place, Williams taking his place, hard pressed by Wimille on the Alfa. They continued for a lap a few lengths apart when Wimille lost ground through going off the road at Val Gosset. He got going again, but two laps later
his carburettor caught fire at the same corner, and he was forced to leap from his car, luckily without serious injury.
Now that Wimille was eliminated, Williams had little to fear from the other Alfa Romeo driven by Zehender, who was ninth at this stage, his challenger being who
was not hampered by team orders and was also driving to win.
Williams knocked a second off the record lap speed, Chiron replied with a two second improvement, and Williams regained the honour with a time of 3 mins. 41 secs., the fastest lap of the day, all in drizzling rain.
After about an hour the order was :
1. Williams, 2.3 Bugatti, 15 laps, 58 mins., 34 secs.
2. Chiron, 2.3 Bugatti, 15 laps, 59 mins. 7 secs.
3. Gaupillat, 2.3 Bugatti, 14 laps, 59 mins. 13 secs.
4. Czaikowski, 1½ litre Bugatti, 14 laps.
5. Lord Howe, Delage, 14 laps.
6. Bouriat, Bugatti, 13 laps.
7. Zehender, Alfa Romeo, 13 laps.
Fourny (Bugatti) followed by Lord Howe (Delage) taking the right angles corner at Val Gosset.
The 2-litre class are keeping up well with the larger cars, Lord Howe being quite as fast as Williams on the fast downhill stretch between Val Gosset and St. Aubin. A very deceptive part of the course this, with its fast corners partly obscured by the chalk cliffs overhanging the road. One of the bravest men is the flag marshal who stands on the edge of one of the fast bends, liable to be wiped out in a second if any of the cars got out of control. Luckily the surface was almost skidproof, and he was able to continue his services unscathed.
The rain is falling really heavily. Mlle. Helle-Nice hands over her car to the second driver, who is a man. The 2.8 litre
Maserati, driven by de Maleplane, is in at the pits for some time, but continues. The 1½-litre Maserati, driven by Antonio, is going steadily. Scaron (Amilcar) has given up after some fine driving. The propellor shaft of his car has gone, while Fourny (Bugatti) has been eliminated by clutch trouble.
The cars roar by in the rain, Gaupillat, whose car is fitted with a specially large blower being the most noisy. Compared
to it Lord'Howe's Delage sounds positively detuned but it goes very quickly all the same. Incidentally something seems to have happened to this car. It is a long time behind schedule and has been passed by the Bugatti driven by Bouriat.
Williams is still in the lead, but is
pressed hard by Chiron. He is within 26 seconds of the Englishman, but his driving is a little too lurid to be safe. Sliding down the narrow lane leading to
St. Aubin, his wheels lock and he charges up the bank. It seems as though he must turn over, but this is somehow averted and he continues, apparently unmoved.
Two hours will soon be up, and the pit staffs are preparing to refuel their cars. Gaupillat, who always seems to be first signs to his pit. Soon after him comes Bouriat without a bonnet. Something exciting must have happened to him! His arrival drowns the loudspeaker announcement about Zehender, one could only hear Val Gosset. The Alfas are having a bad time to-day for Felix's Alfa Romeo is reported abandoned at Val Gosset and now Zehender comes in slowly and stops at his pit, looking ruefully at his front axle. The reason for retirement is given as gearbox trouble.
Gaupillat fills up with tawnyred fuel, and seizes an oilskin. His motor refuses to start and a mechanic fills the float chamber with a squirt. He goes off, missfiring.
Chiron overshoots La Fourche but regains the course
without a stop. Lord Howe points up—all well or a pit signal. Several cars are at the pits and three flags appear over the Dunlop counter. Possibly Williams has to change his tyres. It proves to be a refilling signal and he is in and away in 56 seconds. Chiron comes in next lap and replenishes his tank with fuel forced in by air pressure.
Order after about 2 hours :
1. Williams, Bugatti, 30 laps, 1h. 56m. 39s.
2. Chiron, Bugatti, 30 laps, 1h. 57m. 22s.
3. Bouriat, Bugatti, 28 laps, 2h. 05m. 32s.
4. Czaikowski, Bugatti, 28. laps.
5. Lords Howe, Delage, 28. laps.
6. Gaupillat, Bugatti, 28 laps.
Now that the leaders have
finished refuelling, the progress.
of the race can be considered. Chiron is steadily gaining on Williams and a terrific battle will ensue. Bouriat is none the worse for the loss of his bonnet. Czaikowski is apparently not going to refuel, as there are no cans in his pit, while Lord Howe is just preparing to come in. The order will probably show little change unless the leaders crack up.
Lord Howe comes in to refuel and has a drink. His car won't start, but is pushed off. The crowd cheer him lustily. Bouriat arrives soon afterwards, clears his screen and fills by pressure.
Chiron is creeping up on Williams, only 25 seconds in it. Soon it is down to 11 or about 300 yards. The two cars approach La Fourche and as they pass the stands the crowd rises as one man to see the champion battle for it down the poplar-bordered road. Next time the leadership will change.
In an amazingly short time the blue cars show up across the cornfield. Williams is still in the lead, Lord Howe is close behind him and Chiron is just behind. A hundred yards from La Fourche Chiron makes an immense effort, passes Howe and almost draws level with Williams, but is unable to overtake him before the corner. As if this was not enough, Bouriat arrives at great speed just behind Howe, who is in a most unenviable position. Superb driving by all concerned prevents a collision, and Bouriat overtakes the
A charming section of the Dieppe circut reminiscent of a Sussex byway.
Lord Howe's coolness was such as to cause a perfectly strange Frenchman, complete with beard, to address us on the subject with a wealth of gesticulation for the next five minutes.
As we were recovering from the excitement at La Fourche, reports of a similar kind were coming in from all parts of the course. Chiron has passed Williams at Val Gosset, but Williams is ahead again at St. Aubin. Chiron appears 100 yards ahead at Le Fourche, while Williams goes off the road, followed by Bouriat. At St. Aubin they are wheel to wheel, Chiron is in front at the Esses. Bouriat passes Williams at La Fourche. The fifteenth lap shows Chiron leading by only 11 secs., but Williams does not appear. No reports are forthcoming and everyone looks grave. At last after two laps of suspense Williams appears again, mud plastered
on the near side of his machine. He takes the corner very gingerly and wrestles furiously with his steering wheel. We learn later that he got into the ditch between Val Gosset and St. Aubin.
This brought to an end the thrilling duel between Chiron and Williams. The latter still had an eight minute lead over Bouriat, and could afford to go fairly steadily, while Chiron's position was unassailable. The only excitement was another Chiron-Williams-Howe party at La Fourche, but this time the issue was not complicated by the addition of a
fourth car. Czaikowski, who has been fourth in general classification since half-time, continues to lead his class, with Lord Howe who is giving away 500 c.c. second. Chiron passes, the time is 5.45 and the end of the race approaches, Bouriat is the first to be flagged, followed by Chiron and Lord Howe. Pretty girls seize the bouquets which are used instead of wreaths, Czaikowski comes in and is kissed by his wife, Williams appears shortly afterwards. So ends a magnificent day's sport, which has given pleasure to many thousands of spectators scattered round the course.
The Dieppe Grand Prix is altogether an admirably run affair, which yet somehow manages to preserve the friendly atmosphere which prevails at Shelsley for instance, and we were surprised that more English people did not take this opportunity of seeing a continental road race at their door, so to speak. At any rate they will have a chance of seeing some of the principal drivers in England, for as was announced in last month's issue of MOTOR SPORT, Lord Howe has been successful in getting Czaikowski, and probably Chiron and Zehender, to
drive in the 500 Mile Race at Brooklands.
Distance in 4 hours :
1. No. 19, Chiron, Bugatti, 2,300 c.c. 313.0 miles. Speed, 78.43 m.p.h.
2. No. 22, Williams, Bugatti 2,300 c.c. 301.3 miles. 75.16 m.p.h.
3. No. 21, Bouriat, Bugatti 2,300 c.c. 293.8 miles. 73.45 m.p.h.
4. No. 4, Czaikowski, Bugatti 2,000 c.c. 291.2 miles 72.83 m.p.h.
5. No. 1, Lord Howe, Delage 1,500 c.c. 286.9 miles. 70.18 m.p.h.
6. No. 7, Bussienne, Bugatti, 2,000 c.c. 259.7 miles. 64.92 m.p.h.
7. No. 9, Antonio, Maserati 1,500 c.c.
8. No. 6, Delorme, Bugatti 2,000 c.c.
9. No. 11, Ivernel, Bugatti 2,000 c.c.
10. No. 2, Mlle. Helle-Nice, Bugatti 2,000 c.c.
UP TO 2,000 c.c.
1. Czaikowski. Speeds etc., as above.
2. Lord Howe.
7. Mlle. Helle-Nice.
Record lap by Williams in 3 min. 41 82.99 m.p.h.