Guy Moll

Guy Moll

28/5/1910 - 15/8/1934

Guillaume Laurent Moll was a international racing driver for only two years, and works driver for less than one season. Born into a wealthy Jewish family with a French father and Spanish mother in Rivet (Mettah) near Blida, south of Algiers. He was a French citizen even though he was often refered to as "Algerian". Algeria was a French colony ubntil 1962.

Moll appeared briefly on the grand prix stage before he was tragically killed. One can only speculate on how well he might have done over a full career. Enzo Ferrari called him a meteor and said "He had the stuff of one of the greatest flying aces that ever existed. Among the drivers who arrived at my stable, Moll was not the first foreigner, but he was without doubt the first sensational driver. He was, in my opinion, the only driver, together with Moss, able to be placed alongside Nuvolari."

Made racing debut in a race in Algiers, in a Lorraine-Dietrich. Entered in Oran and Casablanca Grand Prix by Marcel Lehoux (Bugatti T35C), retired mechanical trouble in both. Then at the Marseille Grand Prix on the 25 September 1932 at Miramas circuit. Racing against the best drivers of the time, Sommer, Nuvolari, Chiron, Dreyfus, Fagioli and Varzi, Moll, driving a turbocharged Bugatti 2300, started from the back of the grid and finished 3rd behind Raymond Sommer and Nuvolari.

In 1933 he drove an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. At the first Pau G.P. on a wet day in February he came second behind the wols Bugatti of Marcel Lehoux in a works Bugatti. In July he was leading the Marne G.P. before he was disqualified. In August he came third in the Nice G.P. behind Nuvolari and Dreyfus, and was again third at the Miramas G.P.

In September Moll was second in the tragic Italian G.P. at Monza. Near the end of the race Moll had called the marshal’s attention to the slippery stretch of track where a few minutes later Campari, Borzacchini and Czaykowski crashed loosing their lives. Sadly no one listened to him.

For 1934 he was signed by Enzo Ferrari. He won the first grand prix of 1934 at Monaco in an Alfa Romeo. On the last lap he overtook Monegasque Louis Chiron who might not have been paying attention due to acknowleging his home fans. Moll then came second in the second race, the Tripoli Grand Prix, and in the third race, at Avus, he won again. At the German G.P at Nurburgring, Stuck won and Moll retired. At the Coppa Ciano at Livorno, Varzi won and Moll was second after a close duel. Moll had led the race but punctured a tyre near the pits. He stopped the car, changed the tyre and just over a lap later was behind Varzi battleing for the lead again. Ferrari decided to signal them to maintain the position and not risk crashing. While putting out the signal, Moll’s car spun in front of the pits, as the car girated, Moll waved to Ferrari to let him know understood!

The at the Coppa Acerbo held on the 16 mile Pescara circuit on August 15 the German teams appeared in force with three of the eight-cylinder supercharged W25’s putting 350hp in the hands of Caracciola, Fagioli and champion motorcycle rider Ernst Jacob Henne and two 16-cylinder 295hp Auto Union Type A’s in the hands of Hans Stuck and Wilhelm Sebastian up against the 255hp Alfas. Their performance decisively showed where the rest of the season was headed, particularly the Mercedes team which were both fast and quick.

The race started on a wet track exploited by Caracciola who set a blistering pace. Stuck, Varzi and Fagioli (Auto Union, Alfa P3 and Mercedes respectively) battled for second until Caracciola was caught by a rain shower and crashed. Fagioli now led but had to pit for tires and Moll took the lead.

A fuel stop dropped Moll to third behind Varzi (who had taken over Pietro Ghersi’s Alfa P3) and Fagioli who took second when Varzi pitted for new tires. Running hard with only two laps of the 20-lap contest remaining, Moll came up to lap Henne in the Mercedes W25 on the Montesilvano straight. The Alfa twitched, some say blown off its course by the sirocco wind off the Adriatic Sea, spun off course, bounced through a ditch, hit a bridge and finally came to a halt nearly a quarter mile away by the wall of a barn. Guy Moll at only twenty-four and the rising star of Scuderia Ferrari, died shortly after. After the crash accusations were made, trying to put the blame of the crash on Ernst Jacob Henne, whose driving was described as wild and suspect. This was unfair and after the disappointing 1934 GP season Henne turned to sportscars races, he retired from racing in 1938. After the war he started a Mercedes garage in Munich and died on Gran Canaria in 2005, 101 y.o.

Moll's brilliant career was cut short, but not before accomplishing a feat – winning his first grand prix with a factory team – that few others have achieved. In Guy Moll’s case it came at the age of only 23, in an era when experienced drivers enjoyed a distinct advantage. Guy Moll’s 1934 Monaco Grand Prix victory was an accomplishment that remained unmatched for well over a half-century – winning his  first grand prix at the age of 23 years, 314 days.

  • 1932 - Made racing debut in a race in Algiers, in a Lorraine-Dietrich. Entered in Oran and Casablanca Grand Prix by Marcel Lehoux (Bugatti T35C), retired mechanical trouble in both. 3rd in Marseilles GP (Lehoux Bugatti T51).
  • 1933 - 2nd Pau Grand Prix (Lehoux Bugatti T51). 3rd Nimes GP (Alfa Romeo Monza). DSQ Marnes GP. 2nd Monza GP.
  • 1934 - Won Monaco GP (Ferrari entered Alfa Romeo Tipo-B P3). 2nd Tripoli GP. Won Avusrennen. 3rd in French GP, taking over Trossi's car. 2nd Coppa Ciano. Killed on the Coppa Acerbo.

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