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Friday, 20th of April, 2012

Today´s leg led from Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne to Nimes in the departement Gard. Early in the morning the weather forecast of the last days looked finally to become true as heavy clouds made one to expect a rainy day but this years Tour Auto seems to be very blessed as these clouds rarely bursted along the way so the stage was almost dry again. Just a few rain drops fell during the day but being almost more sleet than rain indicates the temperatures especially on the hill stages. In the afternoon one became aware that the journey leads southward as temperatures became a little bit more comfortable.

This year's Tour Auto has a lot of mileage in the hills and the small twisted roads sometimes stretch both drivers and cars to the limit as one can see by the taped fenders on several cars. The service time in the parc ferme is extensively used by some mechanics to get the cars back on the road for the next day and one could see a lot of suspension and brake work being done by them. As mentioned before the hill stages with their start uphill are also demanding to the clutches and the feel of the drivers feet on the pedals.

With three timed special stages and a special trial at the circuit Pole Mechanique d´Ales the day was more fluent then the days with the track races without the long stops. The lunch was served hilltop on the road rather than the usual chateau visit so this meant no detour either and the finish was reached by the last cars before 9 am today. Nevertheless the week becomes debilitating with an average length of more than 400 km and the last day will be no exception. Unlike two years ago when the Tour Auto finished at the Cote d´Azur as well the last stage will be a full leg with more than 400 km again plus the visit to the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castelet. This track is completely different from the track in Bresse or Charade being a modern race track with the latest safety specification that is also used by race series like the FIA GT. Tomorrow evening the Tour will come to an end at Nice.

The competition class overall is still led by Shaun Lynn in his AC Cobra and we will see whether he could get this result to the finish.

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