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Saturday, 21st of April, Nimes – Nice

C´est fini !!! The 21st edition of the annual Tour Auto is history. After 5 days, several special stages, visit to 5 different race tracks and more than 2000 km on the road the remaining of the 230 starting crews reached their final destination Nice late Saturday afternoon.

The last day might have been a highlight of this year's Tour basically divided in 4 different categories: special stage, great scenery, Paul Ricard and motorway. The last was necessary to reach Nice in reasonable time as the last stage was more than 400 km again. The special stage was the last of more than a dozen during the days and one reason why people are eager to drive the Tour Auto despite the stressful layout with lot of driving and less sleep for an entire week. The second reason is without doubt the impressive scenery along the small French country roads. This day started early in the morning in Nime, capitol of the departement Gard to lead over the mountains in the Provence to the Cote d´Azur. Highlight of the day were the two mountain roads up to Les Baux-de-Provences, a small village dominated by the ancient castle ruin overlooking the region of steep rocks, and the last loop on the way to Le Castellet over the Route des Cretes connecting Cassis and La Ciotat. The later is a small country road along the high coast overlooking the Cote d´Azur and even the toughest racer slowed down to enjoy this impressive outlook over the Mediterranean Sea.

One of these tough racers was Shaun Lynn and his co-pilot Kevin Kivlochan who won this year's edition in their AC Cobra. After they took the lead earlier this week they did not show any weakness on the last stages being a permanent front runner to achieve the deserved victory in front of one of the fast Lotus Elan and another AC Cobra.

After a bad forecast for all the days they all could be more than happy with the actual weather as the Tour was almost dry on all 5 days except some small showers. Temperatures were a little bit low for the early spring but good to cool down the temperament of some racers both on track and the closed off special stages with few incidents on all days.

The Tour Auto is a unique combination of competition and rally making this a favourite in the classic car calendar. Certainly many of this year's participants will be back next year and a few new ones will discover what it is all about driving 12 hours a day and enjoying the French scenery. Although the route for next year's Tour is not released yet it will be certainly superb again. The cars are loaded and on their way home and we have to say good-bye to France just to have a closer look at the participant cars during the next day.

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