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Dijon-Mulhouse, 8th of April, 2014

The second day started early in the morning with the competition classes leaving the parc fermé in Dijon for the 402 kilometres to Mulhouse with two special stages and the second race of the week at Anneau de Rhin.

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After a short stint on the motorway the first special stage was held just after the first hour so the competitors had to be awake from the first minute to keep up their chances in the classification. After the close results of the first day with 10 cars within a minute every second on the twisty special stages counted and none of the favourites did show any weakness. For some reason the start of this stage was delayed as the tour was running well behind the time schedule for the rest of the day. Also very unlikely for the normal tour the cars were driving far apart, sometimes several minutes no car was coming by and some of the spectators along the road lost overview which cars already came by and which ones were still missing.

As mentioned yesterday the landscape did change over the day and after a few more rape fields in the morning the scenery became more rustic before entering the vineyard near Mulhouse in the afternoon. After a second special stage in Remiremont in the late morning the tour led towards the lunch break at Chateau de Hollandsbourg. The first cars of the competition category were expected there at about 1:15 pm and the last regularities at about 4:15 pm but with all the delays of the morning some of the later cars did pass the lunch place as it was already 6 pm.
Unfortunately they missed the splendid overview from the top of the castle that was the location of the buffet lunch. With limited parking space the competitors were driven hilltop by shuttle buses to enjoy the foresight into the region on a sunny day. After the way down the hill the final stop was at the race track of Anneau du Rhin. Unlike Dijon the day before this is a rather small circuit without the usual security fences giving this race a more historic character although the competition was not less serious as on this early stage of the Tour Auto no one could administrate his position as things change quit fast, technical problems or overnight repairs leading to penalties could change the leader board every day.

In the overall classification the first ten places are all held by Cobra or E-Type drivers, the leading team Caron/Villaucourt could extend their lead from 29 seconds the day before to almost one minute followed by the first of the very fast Jaguar E-types of Lajournade/Bouchet.

In the regularity class the result is even closer with the first three teams within 3 seconds.

Tomorrow will be the third leg from Mulhouse to Aix les Bains, with 475 km this will also be the longest stage of this year’s Tour Auto. Again two special stages will be driven, this time one before and one after the lunch break. Finally the competition part of the day will be concluded again with a race on the circuit, this time in Bresse but as this will be earlier the regularity class might be see some sun on the track as well. After another 2:30 hours’ drive the last cars will arrive at about 10 pm at the parc fermé making this their shortest night rest as on Friday the regularity classes have to start first.

Report & images … Peter Singhof