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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 last day.

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 Stervinou.

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