Sunday 10th May 1931
René Dreyfus was the only foreigner in the 22nd Targo Florio where just 13 cars arrived at the start. The Alfa Romeo factory entered five drivers, the Maserati works just three and only one potent Bugatti was present, Varzi’s personal car. Four independents with Alfa Romeos, a Bugatti and a Salmson filled the remaining places. On a dry road, Varzi immediately established a strong lead, which he sustained for three laps while the five Alfa team cars relentlessly hounded him. The Maseratis of Fagioli and Biondetti ended in the ditch early on, whereas Dreyfus’ racecar was retired after ¾ race in hopeless position. Rain had started on lap two and after three laps torrential downpours turned some of the mountain roads into mud pools, resulting in the downfall of the grand prix racers like Varzi. Most cars of the Alfa Romeo team had front fenders fitted before the race to keep the splashing mud away from drivers, faces and goggles. It ended as a great success for Alfa Romeo who for the first time this year were victorious at one of the major races. Nuvolari and Borzacchini finished in the first two places, followed by the disenchanted Varzi in third place, car and driver almost unrecognizably covered in mud.