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Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 26 (2021), Issue 2

Veyron (Bugatti) wins a curious Albi race

From Motorsport, 1935



THE 1935 Grand Prix d'Albigeois can claim to be unique in two respects. First of all it was the only event on the French calendar confined to 2,500 c.c. cars, and secondly, it was organised on the peculiar system of running two separate races for the same cars, and deciding the finishing positions by adding the times together. Each race consisted of 20 laps of 8 km. 900, 178 km. 200 in all.

The Circuit des Planques is a very fast one, with long straights, while most of the corners on the winding "leg" can be taken at somewhere around 90 m.p.h. There were several British competitors among the 21 entries. In practice the fastest times were made by Lord Howe (Delage) in 3 mins. 55 secs., and by Barbieri (Maserati) in 3 mins. 57 secs. Heavy rain fell throughout the afternoon of the race-day, but this did not deter a huge crowd from lining the course.

There were four non-starters in the first race. De Saugé (Bugatti), Jouve (Miller), Hetkuleyns (Q-type M.G.) and Ruesch (Maserati), who broke his gearbox in practice. Seventeen cars got away in a fine massed start, Barbieri streaking ahead in his neat little single-seater Maserati. Behind him roared three Bugattis, driven by Veyron, Durand and Leoz, with Lord Howe's Delage in their midst. At the end of the first lap Barbieri had a clean lead from Veyron and Lord Howe, having covered his standing lap in 3 mins. 52 secs. Barbieri improved this by 4 secs. on the second lap, and Lord Howe pulled into the pits for a change of plugs. At the same time Lauze (Lombard) retired.
At half distance Barbieri was still leading, and the Maserati was now 7 secs. ahead of Veyron's Bugatti. Leoz (Bugatti) was third, and Durand (Bugatti) fourth. Leurquin had withdrawn his 6-cyl. Amilcar, shortly to be followed by Piveteau (Rally). Two exciting incidents occurred when the American, Sam Collier, skidded completely round on his M.G. Magnette at Montplaisir, and Dudley Froy (M.G. Q-type) charged into the straw barricades at the same corner. Veyron continued to chase Barbieri, and both of them got round in 3 mins. 46 secs. A few laps before the end Barbieri brought the record down to 3 mins. 45 secs., and he came home a fine winner by more than a minute.

1. Barbieri (Maserati), lh. 16m. 30.8s., 131.543 k.p.h.
2. Veyron (Bugatti), 1h. 17m. 34.2s.
3. Leoz (Bugatti).
4. Durand (Bugatti).
5. Lord Howe (Delage).

Everyone was relieved when the rain stopped before the second race was due to begin. Thirteen cars lined up. Once again Barbieri shot into the lead, and he covered his standing lap three seconds faster than in the first race. But this time Veyron was only a second behind, and the Bugatti driver took the lead on the second lap amid great excitement. The initial spurt had had dire results on Barbieri's engine, and he was passed by Lord Howe (Delage) on the third lap. On the 5th circuit he pulled up at his pit and retired. By this time Veyron and Howe had outstripped the field and had the race to themselves. Durand was lying third, Leoz fourth and Miss Ellison fifth. Then Leoz crashed into the straw bales at St. Juery, and Miss Ellison had deprived him of his fourth place when he got going once more.
This order continued until the 18th lap. Veyron was way ahead all by himself, and second place was being keenly fought out by Lord Howe and Durand. Miss Ellison had been holding her position well, driving in her customary deliberate manner and never making a mistake. Only two laps from the finish, however, fate overtook her in the form of a burst fuel pipe, and she was forced to come into the pits. Her stop allowed Maillard-Brune (M.G. Magnette) to finish fourth.

1. Veyron (Bugatti), lh. 17m. 55.8s., 137.215 k.p.h.
2. Lord Howe (Delage).
3. Durand (Bugatti).
4. Maillard-Brune (M.G.).

Addition of the times in the two races resulted in a victory for Veyron (Bugatti). It was a great pity that Barbieri overstressed his engine, for he would have contested Veyron's lead keenly. The villagers at Saint-Juery were tremendously pleased that Veyron won, and showered him with flowers every time he passed them in the closing stages of the race.

1. Veyron (Bugatti). lh. 17m. 55.8s., 137.215 k.p.h. (Even in 1935 there's faulty cut-and-paste. Can't be the same as after the 2nd race!)
2. Lord Howe (Delage).
3. Durand (Bugatti).
4. Maillard-Brune (M.G.).

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