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Grand Prix Tripoli 1925-1940 by Valerio Moretti
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Part 5

So I am fourth. I have caught up 1 min. 24 sec. in under five laps! Very good, there is still hope, a chance again. But now extract all there is from the car. I am now so fast that the little Alfas seem to be standing still as I overtake. I must be doing about 170 mph.

On the twenty-fifth lap there is another signal from the pits. I am in second place, 1 min. 32 sec. behind Varzi. I have again made up 1 min. 4 sec. in the last five laps.\

Should I drive faster still? No, keep calm and think carefully. The tires must be saved. I must not strain them as much as in the beginning. If I have to stop again with tire trouble I probably will not have enough time to make it up. Forty laps is the race distance.

After the twenty-seventh lap I stop at the pits again and change all four wheels for the last time. I want to make this set last till the end. Neubauer himself puts a cold towel on my head. "Good, very good, Rudi," he says.

"Whose car burned?"


The tire change is very quick this time. I am away in less than a minute. No one has passed in the meantime. The distance between Varzi and me has increased to 1.45. With new tires I increase the speed again. I increase it so much that Neubauer begins to wave me down from the pits.

On the thirtieth lap Varzi's lead has shrunk to 42 seconds. Keep distance, don't go so fast. This time the tires must last. I see a red car approach in my mirror: It is Nuvolari.

A snap decision. I will let him pass. He cannot endanger me with his Alfa. Anyway, he and Varzi have been embittered rivals in many past contests and they will battle once more, which will exhaust Varzi's reserves.

Nuvolari rushes past in the bend and now begins the anticipated wild chase in front. For two laps they roar along, either side by side or one after the other. Time again the little wiry Mantuan tries to overtake Varzi, only to drop back again.