CHAMPAGNE MOMENT FOR FANGIO AT A WET ATTRITIONAL RHEIMS – 1951 Historic Formula de solitaire season Race #3 of 7 – Rheims

Posted: July 24, 2013 in Formula de, sport, wargames, wargames chrome
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Rheims, (ed – masquerading as the Monterrey board for lack of suitable alternative) the champagne region of France, and host for the 2nd year running to the French Grand Prix.  Following the Spa injuries to Chiron & Taruffi, Frenchman Gus Mairesse & Belgian Jacques Swaters are given berths entering as privateers in Talbot-Lago‘s.  The Qualifying is uneventful and dry but come race day the heavens open setting the scene more reminiscent of Spa.

IMG_1867LAP 1 – This time Claes (Talbot) got the jump on the leaders and led into the first corner, Villoresi (Ferrari) & Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) in hot pursuit.  Further back Pierre Levegh stalled for the 2nd consecutive time but fortunately got away next round. Etancelin, de Graffenreid and Giraud-Cabantous also had poor getaways.  This led to a very congested first corner (ed – a 2 stopper in formula de speak) and inevitably there was a coming together. Andre Simon and Levegh took each other off followed shortly after by Rudi Fischer and Mairesse.  The damage didn’t stop there as debris was littered in piles all over the corner accounting for Sanesi, Etancelin, Manzon, Trintignant and Swaters. 9 drivers out all in the first corner of the lap!  Claes then made one mistake too many and spun allowing Fangio and the drivers that had avoided the pile up to catch and pass.
Just before the pile up Claes, Villoresi and Fangio lead the others away blissfully unaware of the carnage about to follow

Just before the pile up Claes, Villoresi and Fangio lead the others away blissfully unaware of the carnage about to follow

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Parnell (Ferrari) 5th – Claes  (Talbot)

LAP 2 – Fangio pulled further ahead foregoing a pit-stop for tyre change. Farina was obliged to follow suit but most of the other drivers came in for a precautionary stop for fuel and tyres.  Again the 1st corner did for more drivers, this time Claes & Parnell who were in 4th and 5th respectively and further back Villoresi & Cabantous. Just 7 cars completed the 2nd lap making this the most attritional race of the season so far.

Top 5 positions at end of lap. 1st – Fangio (Alfa-Romeo), 2nd – Farina (Alfa-Romeo), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Bonetto (Alfa-Romeo),  5th – Rosier (Talbot)

LAP 3 – The final lap became for the most part a processional one with the top 3 well ahead but with no chance of catching each other.  Fagioli & de Graffenreid were the final 1st corner victims, de Graffenreids crash being nasty enough to rule him out of the next two races. The order remained the same for the top three taking the chequered flag with just Bonetto and Rosier exchanging places continually up to the final corner where Rosier just pipped Bonetto to 4th.  With only 5 finishers this race has become the one with the least finishers in Formula de history albeit just one and a half seasons old, beating last seasons previous worst…………..also Rheims where in changeable conditions 6 managed to finish that time.


1st – Juan Manuel Fangio ARG (Alfa-Romeo) – 8 points +1 1st Lap Leader

2nd – Giuseppe Farina IT (Alfa-Romeo) – 6 points

3rd – Alberto Ascari (Ferrari) – 4 points

4th – Louis Rosier FRA (Talbot) – 3 points

5th – Felice Bonetto IT (Alfa Romeo) – 2 points

Fangio moves into the lead in the championship with 18 points, Ascari 2nd with 16 and Sanesi not scoring drops to 3rd with 12 points. Last years champion Farina after a slow start moves up to 4th with 8 points.

NEXT – GREAT BRITAIN – Silverstone


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