Tour Auto 2022 Day 1 ... Paris to La Baule


La Baule, 26th of April, 2022

C´est parti! The 2022 edition of the Tour Auto is on its way from Paris to Andorra. At 6 am the first cars left Paris from the Parc d´Exposition to Rambouillet where the official start of the TA is this year. Due to the unforeseeable traffic in the capitol the start of the time keeping is never in Paris itself but in one of the chateaux in the outskirts of the métropole. But as there is still a long day ahead the first cars always have to leave very early and they see the sunset usually on their way. A lot of people were waiting at the chateau to have a closer look at the cars when all of them are still in the race. As usual the convoy is divided in 5 groups, 3 competition classes and 2 regularities with different target times. The first competition class with the Jaguars and Healeys are the first on the route followed by the Cobras and E-Types in the second group and the Group 4 Daytonas, De Tomaso, BMW M1 and Porsche RSR to end the competition. After the competition the lower numbers of the regularity (red numbers compared to the black competition numbers) are sent on their way.

The first part to Le Mans was mainly motorway so the first real driving was also the first race of the week on the circuit de Bugatti. It was no surprise that the Ligier of Mr. John of B again was fastest on the circuit. The very low Ligier is always fast on the smooth surface of a permanent track but runs into problems on the special stages. Today was no exception as it lost 45 seconds on the special stage winning duo of Ford Escorts driven by Breittmayer and Jones.

After the races in Le Mans the next part let to the lunch stop. In previous years the lunch was often served at the race tracks as this saves time and is convenient as the team mostly have to wait for their start anyway. But a lot of the charm of the Tour Auto are the stops at the various French Chateau and as today´s route was following the Loire there are plenty to choose from.

After the lunch the roads got more interesting as smaller country roads were taken and the scenery became more pleasant including parts alongside the river.

As mentioned before the afternoon saw the first of the 14 special stages to be driven in the next days. After the competitive driving the convoy headed west towards the Atlantic to arrive late in the evening at La Baule. The last cars arrived well after 10:30 pm and keeping in mind that the crews are still going to dinner after that and the service crews have to look after the cars this will be the first of a few short nights.

Tomorrow the Tour will start at 6:30 am and will arrive again late in the evening in Limoges. The second leg will include the race at Val de Vienne and two more special stages.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof