Biarritz, 25th of April, 2015
C´est fini! The 24th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 is in the
history books. After five days across France on more than 1900
kilometers the Tour finally arrived today at the final destination on
the Atlantic coast near the Spanish border. 233 team started
earlier this week to enjoy another edition of the classic variation of
the former Tour de France bringing back the spirit of the original
event as a conjunction of special stages and races on closed-off
circuits all over the Grande Nation.
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Today saw the last race on Pau-Arnos and a final special stage to
finalize the list of results. Although most of the podium finishers in
the different categories were already well defined those had still to
get over the last day to get their deserved awards.
After some rain last night the circuit Pau-Arnos was damp in the
morning for the regularity classes but as the sun came out it dried
up in time for the final battle for the victory in the competition
classes. With a lot of onlookers at the fences the Tour Auto
proofed to be an attraction for the region although many of the
locals in the small villages had no idea what was going on, but
most visitors were very well prepared with entry lists to enjoy a
race meeting on Saturday morning.
Although the final leg from Pau to Biarritz was already on the
program in 2011 the route was quite different from the last edition.
After setting off from the track and the final special stage the
journey unfortunately did not pass the mountains as in 2011 so
the ocean was just visible on the direct approach to Biarritz but
obviously the appetite for mountain passes was already fed
yesterday. Once again this shortest leg did not see a lunch break
but provided picnic boxes to the entrants and their service crews
so the order of the cars seen on the road was very difficult to
follow for the spectators on the side of the road, but finally at the
Cité d´Ocean, the parc fermée in Biarritz the cars were lined up
for the chequered flag under the official arc.
The order of the competition category was already cemented in
the last days and today the Jaguar E-type team of Jean Pierre
Lajournade and Christophe Bouchet could celebrate their second
victory after 2010 defeating both AC Cobras of Ludovic
Caron/Charles de Villaucourt and last year’s winner Shaun
Lynn/Kevin Kivlochan with 31 seconds respectively 1:42 minutes.
In the category H Christophe Van Riet/ Kristoffer Cartenian on
Porsche 3.0 RS won over the DeTomaso Pantera Gr.4 of Didier &
Jerome Sirgue and the very fast Ligier of Mr. John of B/Sibel.
Less clear was the result in the category G as the Ford GT40 of
Philippe Vandomme & Frédéric Vivier just got the upper hand on
the BMW 2800 CS of Arnaud Gaudel & Alexandre Delaye on the
The index on performance was again won by Frederic Puren and
Caroline Bertrand on Porsche 356 Pre-A.
Apart from the race classes the Tour Auto also features the
regularity class with the fight against the stopwatch rather than
competitors. The crew are able to choose between three different
averages they have to achieve on the special stages and the race
tracks and a duo of Renault Alpine A110 did best. Starting with
successive numbers the two cars could be seen together most of
the week and finally it was the team Jean Francois & François
Nicoules came out on top of Georges Henri Meylan and Julien
But not all of the entrant were competitive as some did the Tour
more for the fun of it and they were all some sort of winners
making it over the distance. Some had wounded cars but they
still enjoyed a glass of champagne on the finish line, others had
less luck as the empty spots at the parc fermée during the last
day became more numerous. Most likely they will be all back in
2016 for the 25th edition of the Tour Auto and most of them
cannot wait to hear which regions of France the organizers of
Peter Auto will choose for the jubilee edition.
This was (obviously) our last daily report on this year’s Tour Auto
but in the next days we will summarize the entered cars in this
events with a separate gallery.
Report & images … Peter Singhof