|Paris, 9 - 14 April, 2001|
The first Tour de France event was run back in 1899, with the second running in
1906, followed by more regular runnings with varying degrees of success up to
1937. After Europe had returned to some degree of normality after World War II, the
Automobile Club de Nice resurrected the event in 1951, under the title "Tour de
France Automobile". The revived event now incorporated circuit stages as part of
the itinerary, which was a great success, attracting an impressive field of foreign
|A Revival's anniversary|
In 1992 a small group of car enthusiasts, joined by the Automobile Club de France,
gave themselves the honourable task of putting the "Tour de France Automobile"
back on the roads of France. However, it had to be a real revival of the historic
event, only open to cars that participated in the original event as run between 1951
and 1973 (with a few exceptions for exceptional cars).
History has proved the recipe to be a great success. Each year some 200 cars
come from all parts of the globe to participate in this 5 day rally across France.
|This 1951 edition of the Tour de France Automobile attracted not only the likes of Aston Martins and Jaguars from|
abroad, but also an example from the then fledgling new sports car manufacturer named "Ferrari". The team of
Pagnibon and Barraquet won the race in their 212 Export Barchetta Touring, s/n 0078E, to register what would be
the first of thirteen Tour de France victories for Ferrari.
During the fifties and early sixties the event went from strength to strength, attracting numerous the legendary
marques and drivers to participate. Due to sponsorship problems, the event disappeared again from 1965 until
1969, when the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile restarted the event now
allowing Sports Prototypes to compete. The early seventies were a great time for it, when the impressive V12
powered sports racing Ferrari 512's and Matra 650ís were running through the open roads of France. The 1973
petrol crises was again a turning point for the worst, eventually leading to the end of the event, as a shadow of its
former self, in 1986.
|As in the original runnings of this historic event, Ferrari models always play a role of|
importance. This year's edition of the "Tour Auto" (as it is now called due to claims made
for the Tour de France title by the bicycle rally), was attended by no less than 45 Ferrari's.
When we consider the 200 entrants, the impressive mixture of cars from a whole range of
marques and of contestants' nationalities, we can conclude this 10th anniversary of the
revival deserves the success it has achieved, and long may it continue.
|A Winner's Consolidation|
After a truly "soaking start" to the 2001 Tour Auto during scrutineering around the
Trocadero fountains in Paris, a wet first day as they headed south towards Le
Mans, the caravan eventually arrived on Saturday afternoon in sunny Cannes.
Stage towns for this yearís Tour Auto were Paris, Le Mans, Bordeaux,
Carcassonne, and Aix en Provence, whilst the circuits of Le Mans, Le Vigeant and
Albi were included in the 5 day rally to Cannes.
For the third time in a row, the overall title in the competition section of the Tour
Auto was won by Dutchman Hans Hugenholtz in a Ford GT 40. The overall
classification in the sports sections was headed by the Martin Sucari and José
Luis Celade in a Ferrari 275 GTB/4, s/n 10525. The Hugenholtz victory could
vaguely be construed as a little bit of a Ferrari victory too, considering the fact the
family has owned a few classic Ferrari's in the past. Also Hans Hugenholtz
competed in the Tour Auto in 1993 and 1994 in the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Competizione conversion, s/n 13463 owned in those days by Nico Koel, and last
but not least Hans Hugenholtz was one of the founders of the Ferrari Club
|1. Ford GT 40, race# 1|
Hans Hugenholtz (NL) / Hartmut Ibing (AUT)
2. Porsche 356 B Coupé, race# 71
Walter Rohrl (D) / Antje Dauphin (D)
3. AC Cobra Daytona, race# 39
Steve Hitchins (F) / Bernard Mattei (F)
|1. Ferrari 275 GTB/4, s/n 10525, race# 225|
Martin H. Sucari (ARG) / José Luis Celada (ARG)
2. AC Cobra 260, race# 178
Paul Rommens (B) / Yan Meyfroidt (B)
3. Mercedes Benz 300 SL, race# 109
Richard Weiland (D) / Walter Pusch (D)