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Dorino Serafini was a successful motorcycle racer during the 1930s and he ended the decade as 1939 European Champion thanks to three Grand Prix victories. He switched to four wheels after World War II – initially racing in sports cars before trying single-seaters.
He started 1947 in a Cisitalia D46 but was driving Scuderia Milan’s Maserati 4CL by the time he raced at St Gaudens. He set the race’s fastest lap and was running with the leaders when the steering suddenly came away in his hands while at speed. Serafini crashed into a tree and suffered multiple broken bones and severe burns.
Although he returned to racing by the end of 1948, Serafini never fully recovered his pre-crash promise. He drove a works Formula 2 Maserati A6GCS at Florence that year and two starts in the category during 1949 with a private OSCA included a fourth place finish in his heat at Garda.
Works Ferrari driver
He joined Ferrari for a season in lesser Formula 1 races, F2 and sports cars in 1950 and finished second in the Mille Miglia. Serafini also made a one-off Grand Prix start replacing the injured Luigi Villoresi in the Italian GP at Monza. His normally aspirated Ferrari 375 ran in third position before Serafini gave it to team leader Alberto Ascari who had retired. They eventually finished second after Ascari passed Fagioli’s Alfa Romeo on the 51st lap.
Serafini finished second behind Ascari in the final race of the season – Barcelona’s non-championship Penya Rhin GP. He remained with Ferrari for 1951 and was second at Syracuse and San Remo before crashing into a ravine during the Mille Miglia – breaking his arm and leg once more. He did race again but his moment in the international spotlight was over.