The First Grand Prix – History of the 1906 French GP Page Two
The roads that made up the course were closed at 5 a.m. the morning of June 25, 1906 with the race scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. Fernand Gabriel in a Lorraine-Dietrich was supposed to start first. But his engine stalled and he wasn’t able to re-start before it was time for Vincenzo Lancia in a FIAT to get going. The last of the 32—De la Touloubre in a Clément-Bayard—left at 6:49:30 a.m.
At the end of the first lap, Lancia’s FIAT led with a time of 53 minutes, 42 seconds. At the end of the second lap, Paul Baras’ in a Brasier was in front. But by the end of the third lap, Ferenc Szisz in a Renault took over the lead, which he never relinquished. Baras in the Brasier set the fastest lap with a time of 52 minutes, 25.4 seconds. Many of the cars achieved almost 100 mph. After six laps and 372 miles, racing stopped and re-started the following day for the concluding six laps.
Ferenc Szisz held onto the lead after the second day, finishing 32 minutes ahead of Felics Nazzaro’s FIAT with Albert Clément coming third in an additional three minutes in his Clément-Bayard. Two of the three Mercedes finished, but, much to the disappointment of Germany, some four hours behind the winning Renault.