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Anna Maria Peduzzi: Driving Enigma Who Just Disappeared?
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Anna Maria Peduzzi: Driving Enigma Who Just Disappeared?

One of the most accomplished female Italian drivers of her period, Anna Maria Peduzzi was born in Northern Olgiate, Italy, in 1912. She was often hailed as ‘La Marrocchina’, or ‘The Moroccan’, due to the fact that she had a warm complexion and dark hair.

In 1932, she married Gianfranco 'Franco' Alessandro Maria Comotti, who was also a racer, and the couple occasionally participated in races as teammates. However, Franco was recognized largely as a test driver rather than a competitive one, while Anna Maria was the more accomplished one in competitive racing. Despite being such a successful driver, Anna Maria’s name doesn’t appear so often in history books, and seems to have disappeared. Those who had witnessed her races describe her as an enigma who should definitely be remembered.

Early Career

Anna Maria started her career by competing mostly in local races and Hillclimbs. In 1932, while driving an Alfa Romeo 6C, she set the record for the 3rd fastest time in Class F at the Graisbergrennen Hillclimb. It was here that she earned her nickname ‘La Marrocchina’.  Her first race that earned her recognition was the 1934 Mille Miglia. During this race, Franco and Anna Maria won the 1500cc Class as teammates, attaining the 13th position overall. This great debut was her sole pre-war stab at the classic race, where she drove for Scuderia Ferrari.

Post-War Period

All motor-sport activities in Europe faced a major setback during the 1940s due to the Second World War and, as a result, all drivers were forced to go on a hiatus. Franco is widely known to be a firm anti-fascist and his commitment to the cause nearly got him executed, which was a terrifying experience for Anna Maria. After the war, however, things slowly returned to normal. Anna Maria competed all over Italy in 1952, driving a 750cc Stanguellini. She secured the 5th place in heat and 7th in the Final at Montauban, as well as attaining 2nd place in the heat and 3rd in the final at Coppa Ascoli.

However, her best performance of that year was undoubtedly at the Salvatore Casella, where she finished 2nd in the 750cc event. After this achievement, she did not perform so well at the Pescara 12-hour road race. However, at Trofeo Sardo, she succeeded in winning while finishing in 4th place at the Bari Grand Prix.

She last participated in a competition in 1961 at the Coppa Alscari, in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta with Alma Cacciandra, before she just disappeared, leaving a number of fans bewildered. She had proved herself to be nothing short of an enigma, so the fact that was never given the recognition she deserved was hard to comprehend by her many fans.

Anna Maria raced a variety of future Grand Prix winners throughout the length of her career, and showed herself to be true to her game. Although it was on rare occasions that she raced outside of Italy, it was evident that she was a highly competent racecar driver, and an enigma who just disappeared.

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  1. Power and Race Crew
    Power and Race Crew
    Fascinating stuff! Thanks for the post!
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