French GP 1952

French GP, 1952

The World Championship paid its first visit to the magnificent Les Essarts circuit near Rouen for the third round of the 1952 Championship. The previous weekend Jean Behra's Gordini had beaten the Ferraris in the Grand Prix de la Marne at Reims and expectations were high. Ferrari had made progress with some modified engine and lined up three factory cars for Alberto Ascari, Giuseppe Farina and Piero Taruffi. Gordini ran cars for Behra, Robert Manzon (who had an injured arm) and Prince Bira while HWM turned up with cars for Lance Macklin, Peter Collins and Yves Giraud-Cabantous. The new factory Maseratis did not appear but Escuderia Bandeirantes ran one of the cars for Philippe Etancelin.

Ascari was easily quickest in practice with teammates Farina and Taruffi sharing the front row. Behra and Manzon shared the second row with Maurice Trintignant on the third row with an older Simca-Gordini. Then came Bira and Collins. The race was, as expected, a Ferrari affair with Ascari leading Farina from flag to flag. After a brief show by the Gordinis, Taruffi moved to third. Manzon struggled to finish fourth a lap behind while Behra crashed and had to pit for repairs. This left Trintignant to finish fifth, four laps down but still two laps ahead of Collins.

Alberto Ascari Ferrari 500 77 3h00m00.000s  
10 Giuseppe Farina Ferrari 500 76  
12 Piero Taruffi Ferrari 500 75  
Robert Manzon Gordini T16 74  
44 Maurice Trintignant Simca Gordini-Gordini T15 72  
22 Peter Collins HWM-Alta (52) 70  
Jean Behra Gordini T16 70  
28 Philippe Etancelin Maserati A6GCM 70  18 
20 Lance Macklin HWM-Alta (52) 70  14 
10 24 Yves Giraud-Cabantous HWM-Alta (52) 68  10 
11= 34 Rudolf Fischer Ferrari 212   17 
11= 34 Peter Hirt Ferrari 212 66   
12 38 Gianfranco Comotti Ferrari 166 63  16 
Prince Bira Gordini T16 56 Mechanical 
42 Mike Hawthorn Cooper-Bristol T20 51 Ignition 15 
r= 16 Emmanuel de Graffenried Maserati Plat © 4CLT   12 
r= 16 Harry Schell Maserati Plat © 4CLT 34 Brakes  
r= 26 Peter Whitehead Alta F2 26 Clutch 13 
14 Louis Rosier Ferrari 500 17 Engine 
32 Johnny Claes Simca Gordini-Gordini T15 15 Engine 20 
18 Harry Schell Maserati Plat © 4CLT/48 Gearbox 11 
40 Piero Carini Ferrari 166 Engine 19