Pozzi, Charles (F)

b 27/5/1909 (Paris) - d 28/2/2001

1946 - 4th in Dijon GP, 5th Nantes GP (Delahaye for both)
1947 - 7th Italian GP, 5th ACF of France GP, 3rd Albi GP, 3rd in Coupe de
       Salon, 3rd Turin GP (Talbot for Turin, Delahaye for others)
1948 - 7th Swiss GP, 3rd Pau GP (Talbot
1949 - won Commingues GP (Delahaye)
1950 - 6th French GP (own entrant - Lago-Talbot). Shared driver with Rosier.
       2nd Rouen GP (Delahaye)
1951 - 3rd in Moroccan GP at Agadir, 2nd in Circuit de vitesse de Nice (Aston
1952 - Won Casablanca 12hrs (Talbot)
1953 - 3rd in Circuit de vitesse d'Agadir (Lancia). Won 2 litre category in 
       12 hrs of Hyeres, and 2nd in 2 litre category in Reims 12 hrs (both in
1954 - Won 2 litre category in 12 hrs of Hyeres & Won 2 litre category of
       Reims 12hrs (Ferrari). 1st in Course de cote de Planfoy (Talbot).

Many thanks to Thierry (Tartarin@fgsfair.com.tr) for much of the above
information, and for the following anecdotes

N.B. Thierry's grandfather, Marcel Turari, was the mechanic of Charles Pozzi, and they got up to tricks together. The following are written and reproduced by kind permission of Thierry.

Post-war scare

During the war, all the expensive cars of that time had gone to the countryside, being hidden on farms and other warehouses. After the war, there wass a great demand for luxury cars and Pozzi, then a salesman, used to go with my grandfather to retrieve these vehicles and sell them in Paris. Petrol was scarce, and coupons were still in use, so they always had to go by train and manage to bring back two cars, one pulling the other to save on petrol. These trips were all over France, and there were no motorways at the time, and were very tiring, and the story goes that one evening they slept by the side of the road, each in one car. In the middle of the night a lorry driving past them shook the car so much that Pozzi woke up in a panic and thought that he was driving, and so pressed on the brakes like a maniac. The lorry also woke my grandfather, who saw the lights of the car in front, and also pressed the brakes, thinking that he was driving as well! They laughed about it for a long time afterwards when they realised what had happened.

How the racing career started

Charles Pozzi has been the exclusive Ferrari importer for France for the past 30 years (1998). Pozzi has become a household name in Paris, and also in France for anything to do with Ferrari.

His "career" started pretty much like a movie script and out of a coincidence. He did his first race when he was 37 years old in 1946. He was in Nice to look for cars to buy, and he came across an advertisement for a Delahaye 135MS Torpedo two seater. He contacted the seller on the Thursday, and found out that the car was supposed to run in the GP de Nice at the weekend. The vendor told him that he could buy the car one the race was over. During the first series of practice, someone died in a car accident, and the driver of the car being sold decided not to continue as he was too scared (he was an amateur driver). My grandfather who was with Pozzi told him "why don't you enter the race since you always tell me you want to race so much!"

The idea ran in his head like a firework in a tiny box. Overwhelmed by this crazy idea, they decide to think about it and contact the Chef du Course, Mr Faroux, to see if it was possible. Faroux told him "You want to run do you? Have you run before?..... well, ok, you can participate at the last practice on Saturday, and then we will see."

During the night they did the car up by changing the brakes and tuning it to the best they knew (my grandfather was a real wizard at mechanics), but they realised that the tyres were very used indeed, and the race was supposed to be 500 km! They spent part of the night at the Dunlop office trying to get two tyres in time for the practice.

Anyway, the practice went well, and Pozzi managed the 10th and 11th fastest times, against 26 cars, so it was not that bad. He himself was very surprised, as Villoresi, Ascari, Cortes and Sommer were there with factory cars. Faroux decided to allow him to take part. As the start arrived Pozzi was so scared that he did not want to run after all, and my grandfather and someone else physically put him in the car and ordered him to get on with it.

As he went on the grid and looked around him, he found Nuvolari next to him! In the end he finished 7th, even after having a puncture right after refueling. Luigi Villoresi won the race in a Maserati.

This was the beginning of a very humble career for Pozzi, and all for the fun of it.

In 1947, he was in pole position for the Turin GP in Italy next to a Maserati driven by Villoresi and Ascari (at that time cars were equipped with only two kinds of engine, either 1500 supercharged or 4.5 litres). It is during this GP that he discovered Ferrari cars, when they were racing their first 12 cylinder engine. The car had already won a couple of races, and Pozzi remembered this event vividly as all the Ferrari's were bright red.

Pozzi also raced five times in the Le Mans 24hrs. In the 1949 Le Mans 24 hrs he was driving a Delahaye 4.5 litres and he had a cylinder-head problem, and tehy could only stop to refuel for anything every 25 laps. Before that they just were not allowed to stop. No oil, no water. He needed some water though as the car was overheating badly, and he decided to stop. He found some people having a picnic near the Tertre and asked them for water, but they did not have any. He then asked them what help they did have, and they replied milk! Pozzi said that it would do, and he poured it into the radiator. Of course, he forgot that milk boils at around 90 degrees Celsius, and by the time he got to the grandstand there was cream coming out of the expansion pipe!

The following year more or less the same thing happened, and this time he found a farmer to give him some water, as well as managing not to break the seal they used to prevent the driver from putting in more water. By bad fortune, the seal eventually got lost, and one of the marshal's noticed it. Mr Faroux (the same one) was called over to investigate, and he asked Pozzi "have you put in water illegally?"

Pozzi replied "from Pozzi to Faroux I have put in water, but from competitor to the race director I have not!" To this Faroux replied "I am sorry, but I cannot do anything for you," and he was disqualified. When the disqualification was announced on the loud speakers the crowd shouted "Faroux to the psychiatric hospital!", and they had to put the music much louder to override the noise of the crowd.