Clermont-Ferrand, 22nd of April, 2015
The second leg of this year’s Tour Auto led today from
yesterday’s finish at Vichy to Clermont-Ferrand. Although just
separated by about 70 km the organizers had a 347 km tour on
the program with two special stages in the mountains and the
final race of the day at Charade.
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Early at 7 am, before the sun was up again the first of the three
competition classes led the field towards the first special stage in
the morning at Augerolles-Les Mines. The hilly road through the
forest with a lot of bends was perfect for the lighter Alfa GTA
against the heavy Cobras and Alexander Furiani and Max Werner
set the second best time on this stage just beaten by the Jaguar
E-Type of Jean Pierre Lajournade and Christophe Bouchet who
were 10 second quicker than the rest of the field. Ludovic Curon
and Shaun Lynn on the other side lost about ¼ minute during this
first test of the day showing that the special stages are very
different from the races on the permanent track. Just after the first
special stage the tour directly set of towards the second test of
the day at Montprison, again a narrow hillside road through the
forest but longer with a total time of about 8 minutes to less than
5 on the first one. Obviously the road was a little bit tricky as
reportedly several car went off the road and so the whole tour was
delayed and the field was spread out after this section. Again the
Alfa of Furiani was perfect for these conditions and after a second
place in the first special he could even set the best time of the
overall competition just beaten by the newer and much stronger
De Tomaso Pantera and Porsche 911 RSR in class H.
After two hard special stages the drivers and their navigators had
a nice lunch break at the Chateau de Parentignat on the way to
Charade. Although this takes a little bit more time than the lunch
breaks directly at the circuits the visit to the small chateaus is
always one of the highlights of the tour. The cars were lined-up in
front of the main building giving the visitors a lot of good photo
The final challenge was the race track of Charade, an old hillside
track with a lot of ups and downs and a vintage atmosphere
thanks to the lack of safety fences on most part of the track.
Certainly this track favoured again the powerful Cobras and since
the GTAs have to drive in the same group they have to keep their
time-loss due to the power-handicap within a limit.
The race at Charade was won by the Ford GT40 of Richard Meins
and Timothy Huxley due to technical problems of pole sitter
At the end of the day the lead changed with the Jaguar of
Ljournade taking over from Curon with a lead of 14 seconds,
Curon is just one of three Cobras on the places followed by Lynn.
In class H for the later sports cars and prototypes as ran
originally after the GT-years of the Tour de France the podium is
taken by Porsche, De Tomaso and the Ligier.
Tomorrow will be the longest day of the week with an early start
at 6:30. Over 463 km from Clermont-Ferrand to Toulouse the day
will again feature two special stages in the morning and the race
meeting at the Albi track in the afternoon. Looking around in the
parc fermée this evening showed that some mechanics had
plenty to do to service and repair the cars so the classification
could change from day to day, presumable the Tour remains
undecided to the last race at Pau on Saturday.
Report & images … Peter Singhof