SEASON 3 – British teams learn harsh realities of top level racing as Fischer makes it 2 from 2 – 1952 Historic Formula de solitaire season Race #2 of 7 – Spa-Francorchamps

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Formula de, wargames, wargames chrome

Spa that evocative name associated with a circuit deemed by many to be one of the best of all time hosted the second race of the 1952 season. 2 of the pre-season favourites Fangio and Villoresi were absent for Ferrari thanks to injuries received in the previous race at Bremgarten. Their places filled by 2 privateer entrants, Thailand’s Prince B Bira, and Brazil’s first Gino Bianco both in Maserati’s.

Qualifying was uneventful apart from, the worsening weather conditions.

LAP 1 - Fischer (Ferrari privateer #23) powers away with Farina (Ferrari #2) in hot.  Meanwhile the start line sees the end of the race for 6 drivers

LAP 1 – Fischer (Ferrari privateer #23) powers away with Farina (Ferrari #2) in hot pursuit. Meanwhile the start line sees the end of the race for 6 drivers

LAP 1 – Driving rain greeted the drivers as they took their positions on the grid.  As the lights went out, no less than 4 drivers stalled. All British drivers and teams, Peter Collins and Lance Macklin (for his second consecutive race) in the HWM’s, and Eric Thompson and Dennis Poore in their Connaughts. Points scorers from the last race neither Collins or Poore managed to restart their engines.  Before passing the start/finish line 2 separate collisions forced the retirement of 4 more drivers.  First Alan Brown (Cooper privateer) shunted Eric Brandons also privately entered Cooper followed by home favourite and last seasons 2nd place finisher at this race Johnny Claes’ Gordini clipping debutant privateer Gino Bianco’s Maserati.  The field had been reduced from 20 to 14 runners before the first corner.  Stirling Moss’s ERA was making steady progress keeping up with the leading pack when his engine inexplicably expired at speed at Radillon.  His car on fire he managed to bring it to a halt but was immediately rushed to hospital for treatment for burns to his legs. At the front, the Italian marques began to open up a lead. Rudi Fischer (privateer) and Giuseppe Farina both in Ferrari’s trading places with each other and Felice Bonetto in the only officially team entered Maserati just behind.  Bonetto tried to overtake Fischer at the Fagnes chicane but misjudged his move and crashed out. Pierro Taruffi in the second works Ferrari having qualified poorly was beginning to make his way through the field when he hit Poore’s HWM taking both cars out. Bira (Maserati privateer) and Maurice Trintignant (Gordini) were the other first lap retirees both with bodywork damage. Fischer elected not to pit in order to extend his lead and claim the 1st lap leader bonus point.  All the other drivers pitted for running repairs with Behra the pick of the bunch with a fast pit stop coming out in 2nd.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer), 2nd – Jean Behra (Gordini), 3rd – Giuseppe Farina (Ferrari), 4th – Ken Wharton (Frazer-Nash), 5th – Mike Hawthorn (Cooper privateer)

LAP 2 Fischer opened up a commanding lead as he moved effortlessly out of Radillon as the rest of the field, having pitted fell further behind as they only managed to exit La Source in 3rd gear at best. By the end of the lap despite pitting Fischer had built up an almost unassailable lead. Meanwhile Macklin (HWM) who had recovered from his starting grid stall was forced to drive over the debris at Fagnes left by Bonetto’s crash . The HWM’s fragile suspension gave way and he had to coast off the track and retire.   

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Fischer (Ferrari privateer), 2nd – Behra (Gordini), Farina (Ferrari), 4th – Wharton (Frazer-Nash), 5th – Hawthorn (Cooper privateer)

LAP 3 Fischer continued to extend his lead, free from any pressure while Behra & Farina were engaged in a duel for the minor podium spots. Behra threw caution to the wind at Radillon and went for 6th gear attempting to close the gap on Fischer. As he approached the last “Bus Stop” chicane Fischer was just in his sights. Pushing too hard he lost control and spun exiting the chicane allowing Fischer to take the chequered flag for his second successive win.  As Behra restarted his car, Farina sped past to steal 2nd place leaving Behra to rue a gamble that failed. Much further back the British teams were left to squabble over the final points paying places. 

RESULT

1st – Rudi Fischer (SWI) Ferrari privateer – 8 points +1 bonus point for 1st Lap Leader   

2nd – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Ferrari – 6 points 

3rd – Jean Behra (FRA) Gordini – 4 points 

4th –  Ken Wharton (GB) Frazer-Nash – 3 points 

5th –  Robert Manzon (FRA) Gordini – 2 points

Championship placings after 2 races

1st Fischer (SWI) Ferrari privateer – 17 points (2 wins)

2nd Farina (IT) Ferrari – 12 points (0 wins)

3rd Behra (FRA) Gordini – 6 points (0 wins)

NEXT – Race #3 – FRANCE – Rouen Les Essarts

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