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Tour Auto 2019 ... Scrutineering in the Grand Palais

Ferrari 308 GTBs

Ferrari 308 GTBs


Paris, 29th of April, 2019

It is that time of the year when the former Tour de France de Automobiles is held in France. Just a few days after the disastrous fire in Notre Dame almost 240 cars made their way to another landmark of the French capitol, the Grand Palais for the 28th edition of the French classic car rally. The majestic building with its steel and glass structured dome once again was the perfect ambience for the cars to be lined up. Once again the field is divided in 5 different groups, two in the regularity and 3 in the competition class making their way through France in the next five days. This year’s destinations are Dijon, Lyon, Vichy, Tours and Deauville in the North. Most of the years the TA is leading to the South either at the Mediterranean Sea or at the Atlantic coast like in Biarritz. This year will be one of the rare editions that will end at the Normandy. Going through the Centre-Val-De-Loire and the Pays-de-la-Loire departements. Ten special stages have to be mastered as well as the four races in Dijon, Magny-Cours, Charade and finally the Le Mans Circuit on the last day.

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Every year the Tour Auto features a special theme and this year the themes are the British cars like the Triumphs, Healeys or Jowett adding up to the fleet of Jaguars usually participating. Looking over the entry list the entries seem to become less exotic in the last years, Porsche 911 and 356 are becoming the most seen cars of the week, the rare prototypes like the 906 and 910 are completely missing and a single 904 is keeping up the glass reinforced plastic fraction from Zuffenhausen.

A single Maserati 200S as a regular entrant might be the most exotic car maybe better suited for the upcoming Mille Miglia than the cruel TA that stresses men (and women) and machinery on the days to come.

Ferrari was again one of the main exhibitors in the Grand Palais beside the sponsor BMW but the Ferrari entrants are getting less and less. A few years ago the Ferrari 275 GTB was nicknamed the “Vauxhall Astra” of the Tour Auto due to its numerous appearance but the number is down to only three examples, just as much as from the Dino Ferrari. In the last years the Dino engine was very popular in the Lancia Stratos being the ideal rally car but even the Stratos is down to a single example.

But the Tour Auto actually never was a show event anyway so the less exotic entry list might be a smaller problem than at other events, the Tour Auto is all about the landscape and the competition in the days to come. So one can expect again a very close racing in the front but also in the smaller categories with the usual suspects starting in the Jaguar E-Types and AC Cobras as favourites for the overall victory. After losing the last years TA on the last day in the GT40 the Duo Cottingham/Smith is back in an AC Cobra that is expected to fight against the other Cobra of Caron and the Jaguar E-Type of Lajournade. Starting only within 5 race numbers the cars will be seen most of the time close together, both on track as well as in between the special stages.

On Saturday evening we will know who mastered this year’s parcours best and which car was prepared the best. As anything can happen especially on the special stages the luck will play a major role as well. 

Tomorrow will see the traditional roll-out from the Grand Palais before the official start is at the Chateau Vaux-Le-Vicomte on the way to Dijon.

In the following days we try to keep you up-to-date on the progress on the way to Deauville on a daily basis.

Report & images … Peter Singhof