SEASON 3 – Jean Behra delights home fans with Gordini’s first win as Fischer toils – 1952 Historic Formula de solitaire season Race #3 of 7 – Rouen-les-Essarts

Posted: October 7, 2014 in Formula de, wargames, wargames chrome

A change of venue in France this time saw the Rouen-les-Essarts circuit welcome the F1 championship for the first time (ed Atlanta board used owing to lack of an existing official formula de board) instead of Rheims. Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari) returned after injury although Alberto Ascari (Ferrari) and Stirling Moss (ERA) were absent. Their places once more occupied by 2 privateer entrants, Thailand’s Prince B Bira, and Brazil’s first Gino Bianco both in Maserati’s. Qualifying was uneventful.

Lap 1 - the field begins to spread out as Farina and Behra pull away

Lap 1 – the field begins to spread out as Farina and Behra pull away

LAP 1 – At the start, Taruffi (Ferrari) collided with Brandon (Cooper privateer) eliminating the pair before crossing the start line, while Ken Wharton’s Frazer-Nash stalled although he managed to pull away quickly afterwards. Collins also retired almost immediately after hitting the leaders but only damaging his own car. Gino Bianco’s (Maserati privateer) race also came to a premature end when his suspension gave way going into the first corner. He was closely followed by Claes’ Gordini whose suspension collapsed driving over debris after clipping the slow moving Frazer-Nash of Wharton. Other 1st lap retirees were Manzon(Gordini) collision with Frere (HWM), Bonetto (Maserati) suspension and Trintignant (Gordini) tyres.  Meanwhile Farina (Ferrari) used the advantage of his superior horsepower to open up a lead at the 3rd corner with only Behra (Gordini) keeping him in sight. Not to be outdone, Championship leader Fischer in his privately entered Ferrari began to close as Farina made a mistake at the last corner.  Behra claimed the bonus point passing Farina before the line and Fischer moving up to 6th gear in the final corner made the race for the lead a 3-way battle at the end of the lap.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – Jean Behra (Gordini), 2nd – Giuseppe Farina (Ferrari), 3rd – Rudi Fischer (Ferrari privateer), 4th – Luigi Villoresi (Ferrari), 5th – Eric Thompson (Connaught)

LAP 2 The leading 3 cars continued to jockey for position until mistakes another mistake from & Farina saw him fall slightly off the pace. Further back Hawthorn (Cooper privateer) made steady progress while B Bira (Maserati privateer) looked impressive until he spun on the last corner forcing him to pit for fresh tyres. Eric Thompson lost control of his Connaught on the last corner as well and suffered a serious back injury as his car somersaulted down the home straight. Although the injury is not life threatening he will play no further part in this season’s championship. Villoresi (Ferrari) in his best race to date held onto 4th without the need to pit at the end of the lap passing a host of British marques fitting new tyres.

Top 5 at end of lap. 1st – 1st – Behra (Gordini), 2nd – Fischer (Ferrari privateer), 3rd – Farina (Ferrari), 4th – Villoresi (Ferrari), 5th Lance Macklin (HWM)

LAP 3 – At the first chicane, Fischer entered too fast and was forced to brake heavily allowing Behra ahead (who had also made a few nervous errors at the start of the lap) to open a handy lead and Farina who had been dropped by the leading 2 to close up and ultimately pass Fischer. In Behra’s mirrors the Ferrari of Farina began to close and the home French fans must have dreaded the worst as Behra became more and more cautious as the lap went on. Fortunately for both, Farina could not maintain his momentum  in the final 2 corners and Behra crossed the line first to rapturous applause, Farina taking second. The last podium place was claimed by a resurgent Luigi Villoresi who passed the lack lustre Fischer. The final points paying place was fought over by the surviving British teams with Lance Macklin’s HWM picking up the points in the end, Hawthorn the bridesmaid again in his privately entered Cooper finishing 6th for the 3rd race in succession.  The drivers championship is now firmly a 3 horse race although with the return of World Champion Ascari expected in the next race, the top three might not have it all their own way.  For Ferrari, they now appear to have a more serious manufacturer challenge in Gordini who has spent so long in Talbots shadow. But for the British teams it was still a case of development and fighting over occasional scraps left by the aforementioned heavy weights.    


1st – Jean Behra (FRA) Gordini – 8 points +1 bonus point for 1st Lap Leader   

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

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

4th –  Rudi Fischer (SWI) Ferrari privateer – 3 points 

5th –  Lance Macklin (GB) HWM – 2 points

Championship placings after 3 races

1st – Fischer (SWI) Ferrari privateer – 20 points (2 wins)

2nd – Farina (IT) Ferrari – 18 points (0 wins)

3rd – Behra (FRA) Gordini – 15 points (1 win)

NEXT – Race #4 – GREAT BRITAIN – Silverstone & the return of Alberto Ascari


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