It’s 7:30 a.m and the early-morning rays of the sun bathe the Limoges Exhibition park in a soft light. While the town is still asleep the first competitors in the Tour Auto Optic 2000 start the third leg of the rally. It’s official, the caravan has covered more than half the total distance of the itinerary. Today, the destination of all 200 collector cars is Toulouse, but before that they have to tackle not one but three special stages. Review of Thursday 3rd September.
Passion is ageless
The fans are on the side of the road, itinerary and cameras in their hands, and masks on their faces as they await the passage of the Tour Auto Optic 2000. Some have travelled there in their collector cars! Youngsters and adults alike only have eyes for the beautiful historic rally cars. Some school teachers have extended the break on an exceptional basis so that the children can applaud the arrival of the competitors, in particular when they reach the spot chosen for lunch, the magnificent Château d’Aynau.
The day’s great story of the Tour Auto Optic 2000
As always anecdotes abound and in each conversation there’s a great story. Today’s concerns #147 a 1971 Datsun 240 Z entered by Amaury Eloy and Laurent Deltour. In the past the Japanese car belonged to Philippe Rames, Eloy’s childhood friend. Philippe told Amaury that he wanted to find this car that had been stolen in 2009 and enter it for the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo. Unfortunately, the latter never had the opportunity to fulfill this wish. In homage to his friend, Philippe decided to look for the Datsun, which he eventually found in Belgium in a very bad state. A complete restoration was carried out and in 2019 the car was ready to start the historic rally in the competition category (in the past it had taken part in the 1979 Tour de France Automobile). Yet again things didn’t go according to plan and the crew had to retire before the end of the first leg because of a blown cylinder head gasket. This year Eloy was back, but this time in the regularity category. History repeated itself, again in the first leg, when the gearbox broke. But thanks to the talent of the skilled mechanics who worked all night to repair the car the two friends were able to rejoin the route of the Tour Auto Optic 2000. A great adventure and a great story.
The finish in Toulouse under escort
While the town was becoming encumbered the Gendarmerie Nationale escorted the amazing cars in the caravan to the Toulouse exhibition park. A convoy from another era that helped avoid some overheated engines, which had really been put to the test during the third day.