It is practice day for the Modena Grand Prix, September 2, 1961. Sitting on the pit counter at the Modena Aerautodromo are (l. to r.) Dan Gurney. Jim Clark, Innes Ireland and Phil Hill. The Modena Grand Prix was a non-Championship affair, held the weekend before the Italian Grand Prix. For an informal day, it had an unusual qualifying system. Because the course was so short, just under 1.5 miles, the field would be limited to 14 cars, although twice that number showed up. In addition, and just to rub in where the race was located, the three fastest Italian drivers were guaranteed to qualify. Ferrari, in spite of Modena being their test track, did not bother to enter, claiming the event was to close to the far more important upcoming race at Monza.
So among the our pit wall drivers World Champion-to-be Phil Hill had no car to drive and was a spectator. Dan Gurney had a works Porsche 718 while Jim Clark and Innes Ireland were the Team Lotus entries in 21s, but Ireland was bumped off the grid due to the “three fastest Italians” rule. Fastest of all without question was Stirling Moss in the Walker Lotus 18 fitted with slipperier 21 bodywork setting a pole time of 58.6 seconds. He shared the front row of the grid with the Porsches of Gurney and Jo Bonnier.
The race was over by the 11th lap when Moss passed Gurney and led for the remainder of the 100 laps. Gurney was later passed by his teammate Bonnier who finished second with Gurney third. Bonnier had had shifting woes early in the race, falling down the order to 12th place. His problem then seemed to cure itself and the Swede went right through the field finishing only seven seconds behind Moss.
Photo by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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