“Il est cinq heures, Paris s’éveille” and the 200 collector cars in the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo caravan are getting ready to leave the magnificent Parisian showcase, the Grand Palais. After being on display for a day the cars in this incredible historic rally are ready to set off for the start of an event that so many have been eagerly looking forward to. A review of the first day!
Official start on the iconic Linas-Montlhéry circuit
After leaving Paris all the cars went to the historic Linas-Montlhéry circuit for the official start of the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo with a run on its iconic oval. The first car to pass under the arch was a rare 1955 Dolomites Pichon Parat (#151 – Baldy-Grabowski) entered in the competition category. The first special stage set the tone. All eyes were focused on the crew of #201, Raphaël Favaro-Lucien-Charles Nicolet, also in the competition category. After their victory in 2019 in a Lotus Elan, Raphaël and Lucien took up the challenge of changing cars and arrived in a 1962 3.8 litre E-Type Jaguar. Will they retain their title? Answer at the finish on 5th September. In the meantime, they seem to have chosen the right weapon as the Jaguar won the first special stage of the day.
Direction the Magny-Cours circuit
After Linas-Montlhéry, the next test for the competitors and their cars was the Magny-Cours circuit. Some ran into mechanical problems like the 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint #181 driven by Luis Delso-Carlos De Miguel, which suffered mechanical failure. But its crew didn’t give up and quickly went to a garage to have the car repaired to rejoin the race on the morrow. This is also part of the magic of the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo! In the regularity section, the Porsches monopolised the top places in the VHC classification, in particular one of the make’s prototypes – the theme of the 29th staging of the event – the #99 Porsche 550 in the hands of Frédéric Stroesser-Gabriel Marachian came home fifth. Victory in the H-I classification at Magny-Cours went to the #79 BMW 2002 TII piloted by Stéphane Peculier-Stéphanie Viellard.
Finish in front of the publoc in Clermont-Ferrand
Car enthusiasts all wearing masks lined the road side as the cars approached the Clermont-Ferrand parc fermé, the town where the first leg finished. They were all waiting to see the passage of the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo caravan. Like the Tour de France cyclist that also covers the most beautiful roads of France, the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo acts like a magnet for its fans.