ASCARI TAKES FULL ADVANTAGE OF RARE FANGIO MISTAKE AS FARINA’S CHALLENGE ENDS SPECTACULARLY – 1951 Historic Formula de solitaire season Race #5 of 7 – Nürburgring

Posted: September 26, 2013 in Formula de, wargames, wargames chrome
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Race 5 visited a new circuit, the picturesque Nürburgring Nordschliefe. As only the drivers best 4 results counted in the championship, points earnt from this race onwards would be at a premium for the leaders. Juan Manuel Fangio needed to finish higher than 4th to earn any points and Alberto Ascari better than 5th.  Peter Whitehead returned from injury but Luigi Fagioli was absent. Qualifying was uneventful. On race day, the weather began dry but conditions were changeable.

Lap 1 - AND THEY'RE OFF. Fangio stalls & is passed by Ascari & Sanesi, behind Farina & Claes pass the stalled Villoresi.

Lap 1 – AND THE RABBIT IS LOOSE. Fangio stalls & is passed by Ascari & Sanesi, behind Farina & Claes pass the stalled Villoresi.

LAP 1 – As the flag went down Fangio (Alfa-Romeo) stalled and was immediately passed by Ascari (Ferrari) and Consalvo Sanesi (Alfa Romeo). 3 other drivers stalled Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), Peter Whitehead (Ferrari privateer), and Philippe Etancelin (Talbot-Lago privateer).  Whitehead took 3 rounds to get going and was swamped by faster moving cars all around him one of which driven by Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) he came into contact with resulting in both drivers immediate retirement and almost collecting Reg Parnell’s Ferrari as well. Other 1st lap retirements were Louis Rosier (Talbot privateer) who collected Robert Manzon (Gordini) and Andre Simon’s Gordini who sufferered a collapsed suspension.  Then Jacques Swaters (Talbot privateer) and Philippe Levegh (Talbot privateer) took each other out at the Ford Kurve. Shortly after this, rain began to fall on the circuit but miraculously the 13 remaining cars made it round to complete the first lap by which time the short shower had stopped.

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

Lap 2 - "BE SEEING YA" Johnny Claes' Talbot blasts past Sanesi in the pits with Farina about to enter.  Fangio can just be made out a long way back in the distance.

Lap 2 – “BE SEEING YA” Johnny Claes’ Talbot blasts past Sanesi in the pits with Farina about to enter. Fangio can just be made out a long way back in the distance.

LAP 2 – Farina led out Sanesi who soon passed him by some masterful driving. Ascari had a poor pit exit and was caught by Johnny Claes (Talbot privateer). Claes then went on to catch and pass Farina at Dunlop Kehre.  Fangio perhaps pushing too hard made a number of critical mistakes resulting him in slipping down the order and out of the points.  Gus Mairesse (Talbot privateer) crashed out(suspension failure) at the Castrol-S chicane followed shortly after by Yves Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot privateer) whose suspension gave way crossing track debris at Ford Kurve.  At the end of the lap, the leaders once more pitted for fresh “boots” and a stellar tyre change from Claes’ pit crew allowed him to jump Sanesi and go into the final lap in the lead. Ascari decided not to pit in an attempt to close the gap on the leaders.

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

Lap 3 - DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME - The moment Farina's hope of retaining the championship faded. Braking too late his Alfa-Romeo slams into the back of Sanesi's Alfa taking both out at the last corner. In the distance, Ascari prepares to pass Claes for the victory.

Lap 3 – DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME – The moment Farina’s hope of retaining the championship faded. Braking too late his Alfa-Romeo slams into the back of Sanesi’s Alfa taking both out at the last corner. In the distance, Ascari prepares to pass Claes for the victory.

LAP 3 – Events took a dramatic turn on the final lap.  Claes overshot at Castrol-S just holding the car on the racing line but shredding his tyres with almost a whole lap to complete. It could have been worse for him if Sanesi hadn’t damaged his own cars suspension at the same spot as well as Ascari straining his engine braking far too late to enter the chicane but managing to overtake Sanesi with the same move. 2nd, 3rd and 4th places changed throughout the lap until at the entrance to the final corner (Veedol-S into Coca-Cola Kurve) Claes was still hanging on with Ascari, Sanesi and Farina in hot pursuit. Then Farina made his move, attempting to pass Sanesi he misjudged his overtaking speed and rammed Sanesi’s Alfa with such force as to flip him into the air. Farina’s own Alfa was also hors de combat and he pulled up immediately. Worryingly Sanesi needed medical assistance to extricate him from his striken motor and it appears likely that he will miss the rest of the season.  The drama continued further ahead as Claes once more eeking out every possible ounce of abilty out of a worn out and underpowered car exited the corner just ahead of Ascari. As both drivers put the pedal to the mettle it was Ascari with the Ferrari’s superior speed and handling that took the chequered flag and Claes the ex jazz band  trumpeter had to settle for being bridesmaid once more. Then in a final twist Villoresi and Bonetto appeared to have 3rd and 4th sewn up (being newly promoted owing to Farina’s incident) when Fangio lying in 5th threw caution to the wind and gambled on the famed reliability of his Alfa-Romeo blasting out of Coca-Cola curve at an insane pace to pass ahead of the two and take the final podium and perhaps more critically a single championship point after a dropped score. The minor non points places went to Fischer (Ferrari privateer), Taruffi (Ferrari), Parnell (Ferrari privateer) and Etancelin (Talbot-privateer).

Result

1st – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 6 points (8 minus 2 dropped points)

2nd – Johnny Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago – 6 points

3rd – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 1 point (4 minus 3 dropped points)

4th – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 3 points

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

Lap Leader bonus point – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Alfa-Romeo

So with just 2 races to go, Ascari moves ahead of Fangio by a single point, Sanesi lying in 3rd is out for the rest of the season so the only other driver in contention is Claes in 4th place. Reigning champion Farina lies in a distant 5th, 18 points adrift and unable to catch the leader 

Championship placings after 5 races

1st Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 28 points

2nd Fangio (ARG) Alfa-Romeo – 27 points

3rd Sanesi (IT) Alfa-Romeo – 16 points

4th Claes (BEL) Talbot-Lago privateer – 12 points

NEXT – ITALY – Monza

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