The Unofficial Swedish Grand Prix at the Rabelov Circuit, Kristianstad
The first Swedish Grand Prix
was run in 1973 at the Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp. However, the title was also officially given to three sports car races run at the Rabelov circuit at Kristianstad in the late 1950s. There were also Swedish Winter Grands Prix and Swedish Summer Grands Prix immediately before and after World War 2. No fewer than 75,000 people attended the first official Swedish Grand Prix
at the demanding 4.04-mile Rabelov circuit at Kristianstad in August 1955. The race, unfortunately, was a dull procession with Fangio leading Moss, both in Mercedes 300SLRs, for all but the first lap-with only four cars finishing.
In 1956 the circuit was widened and resurfaced in honour of being granted World Sports Car Championship status. A better entry was therefore attracted, including full works Maserati and Ferrari teams and the Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-types of Ecurie Ecosse. The race developed into a bitter Ferrari vs. Maserati struggle, and a game of 'musical chairs' among the drivers. Peter Collins took the initial lead in his 3.5-litre Ferrari 290MM chased by Stirling Moss
(Maserati 300S) and Mike Hawthorn
(3.5-litre Ferrari 860 Monza). Moss took the lead at the time of the first routine pit-stops and co-driver Jean Behra remained ahead after his stop. Amid confusion, Behra dropped back with failing brakes, while Olivier Gendebien in Collins' Ferrari suffered an oil leak which caused two of his team-mates to spin off on to the grass-Collins in a car started by Wolfgang von Trips
and PhiI Hill in a car started by Maurice Trintignant-leaving yet another Ferrari, the Eugenio Castellotti/Juan Manuel Fangio
machine, well in front.
Maserati put Moss in a car previously driven by Luigi Villoresi and Harry Schell, but that, too, developed braking problems and with the original Moss/Behra car catching fire during a muddled refuelling stop the Maserati challenge finally disappeared. Then Castellotti's leading car blew-up, allowing the Trintignant/Hill Ferrari 290MM to emerge the winner from the similar model of von Trips/Collins with the Ferrari 860 Monza of Mike Hawthorn
/Alfonso de Portago/Duncan Hamilton third. Ferrari had clinched the World Sports Car Championship of 1956.
Last of the sports car Swedish Grand Prix
series was in 1957. This year it was a six-hour rather than a 1000-km race and once again it qualified for the World Sports Car Championship. Again, it was Maserati v Ferrari, dominated by the 4~-litre Maserati 450S of Stirling Moss
/Jean Behra which romped home ahead of the 4.1- litre Ferrari 335 Sport of Phil Hill/Peter Collins. Moss also shared the third-place Maserati 300S with Jo Bonnier
, Giorgio Scarlatti and Harry Schell. There was a gap of 16 years before the next official Swedish Grand Prix
in 1973, but meanwhile the 1.864-mile Karlskoga circuit hosted a series of Cannon Races.
Top entries were received and Stirling Moss
won four years' running- 1958 - 1961. Jim Clark
(Lotus 25-Climax) won in 1963, the last of three consecutive years the race was run for Formula One cars.