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Ferraris at the Tour Auto Optic 2000 - Part 2 of 2

Reported by Arnaud Meunier

After being displayed to the public under the canopy of the Grand Palais in Paris on Monday April 23rd, 245 crews set out to discover the more beautiful roads and landscapes of France. This year’s course traced over 2,000 kilometers, with five stage cities, timed tests on four circuits and ten special tests on closed roads. Weaving through Burgundy-Franche-Comté, then to the South, then increasing altitude to reach the Savoyard village of Megève, the final descent moved toward Provence to Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. And lastly, the participants finished along the Riviera in the town of Nice.

(A compete Tour Auto report, with a chart of all Ferrari entrants, including model, drivers, results and the all-important chassis numbers, will be in the June 1 issue of Cavallino #225. Subscribe today!)

This 27th edition of the Tour Auto is a beautiful opportunity to showcase rare and exceptional automobiles. Such as these Ferraris: 1960 250 GT Berlinetta Scaglietti “SWB”, winner of the 1960 Tour de France driven by Willy Mairesse and Georges Berger, entered by the British Adrian Beecroft. Or the 250 MM Berlinetta Pinin Farina of the Argentinian Martin H. Sucari, which won the Giro di Sicilia in its class in 1955. And let’s not forget the 250 GT Lusso and Boano, the 275 GTB, 365 GTB/4 and 308 GTB Gr.4 Michelotto; the Siata 208 S, Osca 1600 GT Zagato and the spectacular Shelby Cobra, Ford GT40, Jaguar E-type and Porsche RSR.

The first stage connected Paris to Besançon. At dawn the competitors drove from the French capital to Château de Courances where the official start was given. The first special test of Sinotte (on closed roads) was on the menu for the morning. Long and fast, it allowed the British crew Andrew Smith/James Cottingham, winner last year, to gain the best time in their Ford GT40 in the VHC category. It will be the same in the following test on the Circuit Dijon-Prenois. Day two, the competitors left Besançon and started the second stage towards Megève. The three timed tests of the day (two on closed roads and one on the Circuit de Bresse) were again gained by Ford of Smith/Cottingham. After lunch at the Circuit de Bresse, the competitors set off into the heart of Mont Blanc mountain area. Let us note that in the first special stage of the day on road from Oyonnax to Haut Bugey, the 308 GTB Gr4 Michelotto of French Florent Jean/Philippe Talabard made the best time in the category for Period H/I cars. In the Regularity category, Eric Hamoniau and Didier Lehembre gained the Circuit de Bresse with their 250 GT Lusso.

On the third day connecting Megève to Avignon, two special stages on closed roads were scheduled for the morning; however, the second ended up cancelled following an incident. In the afternoon, the competitors raced the sinuous and selective Circuit de Lédenon, led, once again by the English duet and their Ford GT40. In the Regularity category, the Argentinian crew, Tomas Hinrichsen and Solange Mayo, in their Maserati 200 SI (winner last year), started the morning by taking their second victory since the departure. The duet Hamoniau/Lehembre in the 250 GT Lusso finished in second place in both stages.

The penultimate day between Avignon and Aix-en-Provence consisted of two special tests on closed roads intersected by the Circuit Paul Ricard. The lunch was held within the sumptuous framework of the Couvent Royal of Saint Maximin, in the middle of Provence. The English pair Chris Ward/Andy Elcomb in their Jaguar E-type 3.8L broke the hegemony of the Ford GT40 by gaining the first special of the day. But Smith/Cottingham took the win again in the two following tests.

The 308 GTB Gr4 Michelotto (s/n 08380) of French Jean/Talabard carried out the best time of the category for Period H/I cars for the Grand Caunet stage. In this same special, Argentinian Maximo Jose Baccanelli/Maria Paula Salimei in the 275 GTB obtained the second place in the Regularity category behind the French Jean Rigondet/Olivier Souillard in the CG 1200S.

The final stage included three special tests on closed roads between Aix-en-Provence and Nice. After lunch at the Château de Taulane, the group rolled into the Place Masséna in Nice. The crew of the 250 MM Martin H. Sucari/Francisco Sucari gained their second special stage of the day from Les Ferres to La Roque en Durance in the Regularity category.

The winners, Swiss crew Raphaël Favaro/Yves Badan in a Lotus Elan 26R, who were in second position since the day before, benefited from gear box problems that plagued the GT40 of Smith/Cottingham in the penultimate special stage of the rally, forcing them to give up after having previously gained ten victories in timed tests!

Only one Ferrari was committed to category VHC, the 275 GTB of Laurent and Marion Desplaces, which ran well throughout the week, and they classified 6th.

The other winners of 2018 edition are:

  • French Patrick Hautot/Sylvain Cantrel in a Ford GT40 in the group G

  • American Cooper Mac Neil/Gunnar Jeannette in a Porsche 911 RSR 3.0L in Group H/I

  • The group which saw seven 308 GTB: the duet father and son, Jacques and François-Xavier Entremont, 308 GTB Gr.4 Michelotto ex. CH. Pozzi team, was classified in a very beautiful 4th final place, followed in 5th position by Arnaud Gauduel/Nicolas Missilier, 308 GTB Gr.4 modified by Carlo Facetti in 1977 to be raced on circuits in Italy with Luciano Dal Ben.

The victory in Regularity category was allocated to the crew Jean Rigondet/Olivier Souillard in a CG 1200 S, which dominated from first day of the rally to the last. The first Ferrari classified 6th, the 275 GTB of Argentinian Alejandro Oxenford/Jose Luis Celada.

Images from Arnaud Meunier.

#France #RaceCars

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