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Tazio 8: the first close finish at Le Mans of course had Nuvolari involved

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Tazio Nuvolari only participated once in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Of course, he won. The 1933 race was characterized by a nail-biting finish. You can read the story in Tazio 8, out now.

In our issue dedicated to the Le Mans 24 Hours Centenary, of course we had to have our patron saint involved. Not just because, but also because the 1933 edition of the race witnessed the closest finish in the history of the race. Only the 1969 finish was closer, and the 1966 finish of the Ford GT40s, but that was a staged finish.

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Alfa rivalry

The 1933 race would also go down as a battle of teammates. On the one hand, you had French legend Raymond Sommer, who had asked Tazio Nuvolari to share an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 with him. On the other hand, there was Luigi Chinetti. Chinetti and Sommer had shared an Alfa 8C 2300 to win Le Mans in 1932. But for 1933, Chinetti shared an Alfa with ‘Philippe Varent’, the Russian nobleman Philippe de Gunzburg’s ‘nom de plume’.

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Chewing gum

The cars were not identical. Sommer had taken his Alfa to Figoni for bodywork adaptations. He also had a bigger fuel tank fitted. The race quickly turned into a battle between the Alfas, with the lap record broken on multiple occasions. Sommer and Nuvolari were the star crew, but they saw their lead dwindle when the Alfa played up. At one point, they had to use chewing gum to plug a leaking fuel tank.

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Their problems meant Chinetti was able to catch up. A fascinating duel ensued that lasted right up to the final lap. The race could have gone either way. You can read the full story in Tazio 8, now available for purchase.

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