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Monday, 16th of April, Paris

The Tour Auto 2012 is just around the corner. About 230 cars with their crews came together at the Grand Palais at the Champs-Elysee for the scrutineering of the tour that starts tomorrow.

After several years in the Parc de Tuileries the prelude of the Tour Auto is back in the Grand Palais. Although its is more constricted than in the parc it is less dusty and in case of a rain shower with a proper roof. Another reason might have been that the Place de la Concorde was closed off the day before for a campaign appearance of the French premier Nicolas Sarkozy in front of thousands of people making it necessary to give it a wide berth.

The line-up of cars is a common mixture of Jaguar, Alpines, Lotus, Porsche and Ferrari with many cars seen in previous years. This years feature is the golden jubilee of the Ferrari 250 GTO but even the well known Tour Auto was not able to attract more than 3 cars coming to Paris. As the Tour Auto is one of the more heavy driving adventures it is no surprise that not more GTOs take part as these are also seen rarely on even easier driving events. One brave ladies team entered the GTO in one of the three competition classes rather than in the regularity class, a second might drive just parts of the event and the third was present but withdrawn just prior to the event.

Tomorrow morning at 6:30 am the Tour will leave Paris to start at the Chateau de Vaux le Vocomte for a five days drive south to end at Nice after almost 2000 km with 5 race tracks to be visited this year starting with Dijon followed by Bresse, Charade, Pole Mecanique d'Ales and finally Paul Ricard.
In five groups the entrants can fight for the tenths of a second both in regularity and in competition but not just the fastest car will be able to win but also the more reliable ones as time for service during the stages and in the evening is restricted and a long repair might cause some penalties.

As most of the cars are regular guests at the Tour the might be all well prepared but five days are a long distance and we might see some surprises at the end. With the special stages unknown to the driving crews (as the road book is just given to them the day before) some might have some special moment and not all of the favorites might make it to the finish without damage.

Stay tuned as we will report from the Tour on a day-by-day basis giving you the latest impression of one of the most interesting driving events in the  European calender.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de