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Tour Auto 2018

Thursday 3rd May 2018

In an incredibly unfortunate turn of events, having spent the whole week following the Tour Auto and the James Cottingham/Andrew Smith piloted GT40 of Scuderia Bear down through France, the car succumbed to a mechanical failure of the GT40's Achilles heel, stripping second gear of its teeth on the thirteenth of fourteen special stages. Returning this year with the hope of making it two victories in a row they took 9 special stage and track victories out of 11 completed (one stage was unfortunately cancelled) and had a considerable seven minute lead in the pre-66 category and a two minute lead overall prior to retiring.

Starting the week with the cars on display in the Grand Palais in Paris, then leaving at first light on Tuesday heading down through France, the tour made overnight stops in Besançon, Megève, Avignon, Aix- en–Provence before finishing in Nice. Over the course of the week, there were 4 circuits, 10 closed road specials and over two thousand kilometres covered through an incredible variety of scenery. The event itself is fascinating and refreshingly well loved, passing through the tiniest, quaint villages with the streets always lined with locals sitting and watching the cars go by over the 4 or 5 hours of different grids.

Early starts make use of the cool temperatures, clear roads and morning light, the calm countryside disrupted by the catalogue of different road and race engines hurriedly making their way to the next time check. With the stop at each circuit, the competition grid affords an 8 lap race after an 8 lap practice. The regularity entrants do without a race and must set a lap time and then come closest to it on consecutive laps. With full grids and a variety of cars in each, the tracks are well worth the time for the spectator too.

We have compiled an album of images below of a number of cars that competed in the rally expressing the diverse scenery covered. We spent the week filming different aspects of the event too, with a short film to be available soon.

Words by Luke Gilbertson