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1924 Grand Prix of Provence


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#1 Pablo Vignone

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 02:31

I need the results of this race, arguably the first won by an argentinian driver in Europe, 25 years before Fangio. Does anyone help me? Thanks in advance.

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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 06:11

There was no race that would fit your title.

On July 13, 1924 the Coupe de L'Autodrome was held on the Miramas-Istres Autodrome not far from Marseille in the Provence region of France.
This 160 km event was won by Martin de Alzaga in his Sunbeam, ahead of Arthur Duray, Albert Guyot and Mamlouk.

The Moto-Club de Marseille held another meeting three months later on October 19 for cycle cars, voiturettes and a handicap for race cars. Berthe won the cyclecar event, Dino the Voiturettes and Bacciocci the handicap.

#3 alessandro silva

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 08:24

I think that Pablo refers to the 13/7/1924 event held at Miramas and named Coupe de l'Autodrôme.
The winner usually reported as M. de Alzaga should be the Argentinean Martin "Macoco" de Alzaga Unzuè, who raced in North and South America as well as in Europe.

The Miramas race was run under Formule Libre with five starters:
de Alzaga (Sunbeam 4.5L.) Arthur Duray (D'Aoust) Albert Guyot (Rolland Pilain-Duesenberg) Aimé Vissiaux (Chiribiri) and Mamlouk (Bugatti). de Alzaga won at the average speed of 147.5 kph.

#4 Pablo Vignone

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 00:36

Thank you Hans, Alessandro

That was the race I was looking for.

The Alzaga Unzue co-driver was Alberto Rodríguez Larreta, whose son was Alberto Rodríguez Larreta Jr., who drove a Lotus in the 1960 Argentina Grand Prix. They were relatives. Rodolfo Alzaga Unzué, nephew of the former, won the 1959 Turismo Carretera series against Juan Galvez, brother of Oscar Galvez; his mother was Bettina Rodríguez Larreta, sister of Alberto.

In 1970, in an article published by the long now defunct "Automundo" magazine, Alzaga and Larreta did mention a certain Prince Kirivici, an egyptian driver. Who was he? I see Mamlouk as one of the drivers, was he too an egyptian? Could they be the same person?

#5 robert dick

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 08:54

Originally posted by alessandro silva
de Alzaga (Sunbeam 4.5L.)

De Alzaga's Sunbeam :
Was it a 4.5-liter four - ex-1914 GP de l'ACF,
a 4.9-liter six - ex-Indianapolis - 300-inch formula,
or a 4.9-liter six engine mounted into the frame of the 1921 3-liter eight Grand Prix car - as used in the 1922 Coppa Florio?

#6 alessandro silva

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 15:20

As a matter of fact Mamlouk sounds like a very appropriate pseudonym for an Egyptian gentleman.


Robert, 1914 I believe from the picture. The keenest TNFrs might recognize Raul Riganti in the mechanic seat:

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#7 Mark A

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 19:24

There is a picture of the race in the great book by Maurice Louche, 'Les Grand Prix de Provence et du Marseille'. Copyrighted so won't post it.

The meeting on the 13th July 1924 was the 1st ever meeting at Miramas, it shows the grandstands (Now demolished unfortunately) still under construction. Apparantly they had 15,000 spectators at that 1st event. The Coupe de L'Autodrome race started at 15:00.

Just to add to the facts already stated, the race was 160km long and the winning time was 1hr5min40sec. de Alzaga set a new course record of 150km/h, not quite up to the 184km/h (worth 500FF) or 200km/h (worth 2,500FF) offered by a local magazine, Les Sports de Provence.



BTW if you use Google Earth the Miramas Facility has more recent pictures showing what BMW have done to it. The original oval is still there (as are the 2 chicanes but they aren't used). The original timing tower is also still there and is now used as the control tower for the facility. The original grandstands have been demolished (in 1999) although you can still see the location on the western side of the oval. (the building which now stands at the southern end of where they were is the F1 workshops and has a reconstruction of some of the grandstand seats.
43 34'19.05" N 4 57'38.35" E is the timing tower location.

#8 Pablo Vignone

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 01:00

Thank you, Mark

Alessandro, I found today an interview with Alzaga Unzué, dated 1972, and he said that the car was a mix from a chassis used by Chassagne with a 3 liters engine, and a 4.5 liters engine used by Malcolm Campbell to set a 24 hour-distance record.

In the interview there are, also, the photo of Alzaga Unzué and Rigant, but the caption says it's a Ballot, here in Palermo forest in Buenos Aires. Could that be?

#9 robert dick

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 09:57

Originally posted by Pablo Vignone
In the interview there are, also, the photo of Alzaga Unzué and Rigant, but the caption says it's a Ballot, here in Palermo forest in Buenos Aires. Could that be?

The car with de Alzaga and Riganti is a 3-liter Ballot, ex-1921 GP de l'ACF.
In which races did de Alzaga drive the Ballot?

I found a photo of de Alzaga/Sunbeam/Miramas in Anthony Heal's book "Sunbeam Racing Cars" : It is an ex-1922 Coppa Florio car, meaning the frame of a 3-liter eight as used in the 1921 Grand Prix de l'ACF, in combination with a 4.9-liter six (81.5/157 mm). In principle, the 4.9-liter was an extension of the 3.3-liter 1914 TT engine; the six was built in view of the 1916 Indianapolis 500 and, originally, was mounted in a 1914 Grand Prix frame.

#10 alessandro silva

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 12:05

Robert, I did not recognize the Ballot and I found no Alzaga's results with it.

Pablo, the Marseille race has been reported in the newspaper La Nacion of 15-7-1924, which I suppose you might find in a local library. This information is from Parga "Mas de 100 años etc" page 210.

#11 Pablo Vignone

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 12:52

Alzaga Unzué, from the mentioned interview (an approximated translation):

"In 1923 I brought back to Buenos Aires a 3 liter Ballot the works gave to me. Was very nice and very fast. But it was impossible to drive that car here, so I sent it back and came with a 2 liter model, much more adaptable to the argentinian roads of then. That car was gave to me by the works also and was the same Jules Goux drove at the Targa Florio. It gave 165/170 km/h (...) I left the Chiribiri and the Ballot at a workshop and came back to Europe. Three years later I returned but they weren't there anymore. Where are they?" (he asked that in 1972).

So, I understand he never drove that car in Europe.