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Tuesday 17th of April, Paris - Beaune

After yesterday´s scrutineering the Tour Auto started officially this morning at the Chateau in Vaux le Vicomte. Early in the morning (6:30 am) the cars left the Grand Palais on a neutralized stage to Vaux le Vicomte to have their start in the chateau as Parisian traffic is to unpredictable to include this in a timed stage.

The sun was still hiding behind the clouds when hundreds of spectators waved the first cars off to take the first miles of this years Tour Auto. After a connection stage over the freeway soon the first special stage was on the program giving the teams a good start in the daily competition.

The route led than through the Bourgogne with the typical yellow rape fields to the lunch stop at the  Chateau de Thenissey to take a refreshment before the first track adventure at Dijon.

The races looked very similar to last years races with the Alfa Romeo GTAs leading the first competition class, the Cobras and GT40s the second and the Ligier the third. Unfortunately the second race was flagged off red after an offroad excursion of one of the drivers but the other two races stayed without any incidents.

With practice and race of three competition classes and the two regularity classes running behind them the track excursion became a long chapter of the day with the last cars leaving Dijon after 7:30 pm for another hour of driving. The last cars arrived well after 9:00 pm making this a long day to start with. Most of the competitors are repeaters and know what to expect but for those doing the Tour Auto for the first time it became clear today that the next days will be very long and exhausting.

The second stage tomorrow will start at 7:00 am leading the tour from Beaune to the circuit de Bresse for the daily race and after two more special stages the cars will arrive between 6:30 pm and 10 pm in Aix les Bains. The first cars to start are the competition classes again with the regularity to follow but later that week the two groups will change the starting order to get the regularity in front of the field.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof