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Thursday, 19 April, 2012

The third leg of this years Tour Auto leading from yesterdays finish in Aix-les-Bains to Clermont-Ferrand.

At 6:30 am the first competition class was waved off to lead the field on its way through France. This was a long day with one special stage before the lunch and the visit to Charade in the afternoon. With just one special stage the first part of the leg was a long run with approx. 274 km in changing weather conditions. Whereas the participants (especially in the open cars) had luck during the last days that the route did not touch the areas of rain today there were some rain spots along the road, for example during the first stop of the regularity classes before the special stage.

The route led again in higher regions with some snow on the side of the road and cold temperatures on the low one-digits.
Lunch stop was at the Chateau des Martinanches, a small castle with not much space around for the cars so they had to be parked on the surrounding grassland. After the lunch stop the tour led to the circuit of Charade near the finish in Clermont-Ferrand. This circuit is an old one when no fences were present on the tracks of the era and it kept its old charm. Being in the mountains the layout is very much given be the topography with many ups and downs. After the races the overall lead was still in the hands of Shaun Lynn in its AC Cobra, being a reliable front runner in its race class 4.

At the evening the cars arrived in Clermont-Ferrand to be parked in the park fermé on the ground of Michelin at the nearby stadium.
The regularity class will have a short night as the order will change traditionally in the second half of the Tour with the regularity class running in front of the competition classes on the last two days just as the race numbers indicate. The Start tomorrow will be at 7 am for the second to last stage with 439 kilometre leading from the finish of today to Nimes. No less than 3 road special stages have to be done and a short excursion to the Circuit Pole Mecanique d´Ales giving all the drivers another long day in France.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof