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It Happened Today – May 14th

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On 14th May 1961, the XIV Naples Grand Prix was held at the 2.490 kilometre long Posillipo circuit. The total race distance was 149.4 kilometres. Only one Ferrari was entered, by the FISA, the Italian Motor Sport Federation, a 156 F1 for the youngster, Giancarlo Baghetti. The reason for the sparse entry was simple as this race was taking place on the same weekend as the Monaco Grand Prix, which meant the works teams were absent, leaving room for the privateers.

In Qualifying, Baghetti, who had already won at Syracuse, suffered a set back as he was beaten by Gerry Ashmore in The Three Musketeers Lotus and Roy Salvadori in the Yeoman Credit Cooper. At the start, Salvadori went into the lead. Baghetti was slow away and was also passed by Lorenzo Bandini in the Scuderia Centro Sud Cooper. The young Italian’s talent – he would go on to make a winning maiden appearance in the World Championship at the French GP in July – and the speed of the 156 F1, saw the Milanese driver go into the lead and begin to pull away. Only Salvadori managed to match Baghetti’s pace, but his pursuit ended on lap 26 when he had to pit with a puncture. At that point, the Italian was heading for victory, which came with a huge lead, a lap in fact over Ashmore and Bandini.

Source: Scuderia Ferrari