21/04/2011 Tour Auto Optic 2ooo, 11-16 April 2011: Review
Truly beautiful weather characterised the 20th running of the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo earlier this month, along with the usual delights of outstanding scenery, great racing moments and huge public interest.
As we reported some weeks ago, this year’s theme was ‘Zagato’, and an exceptional gathering of 15 cars bearing the famous Z appeared at the Parc Fermé in the Jardins des Tuileries, among the 240 collectors’ cars and almost 500 competitors from 20 nations entered in the tour. The grandson of the famous designer, Andréa Zagato, arrived in person to greet the 15 cars signed by the Italian carrozzeria.
After a check day in the Tuileries, the competitors drove to Montlhéry race track for the official start of the rally at daybreak on Tuesday 12 April. Five days of competitive driving across France then followed, with stopovers at Poitiers, Objat, Bordeaux and Pau, before the finish in Biarritz on Saturday 16 April, where the crews were able to relax on the sunny seafront to celebrate the end of another successful Tour Auto – and start planning for the 2012 event.
In the Competition category, the winner was Ludovic Caron (his third Tour victory, no less) in his black AC Cobra, ahead of last year’s winner, Jean-Pierre Lajournade in his Lotus Elan. Another AC Cobra, belonging to David Ferrer, completed the podium. British crew John Ruston and Jeremy Haylock scooped the Regularity category win with their 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster, while Yves Junne won the Index of Performance behind the wheel of another Porsche 356. Meanwhile, Paul Knapfield’s ex-Le Mans Ligier JS2 took the scratch victory – “visibly as at home on the French roads as in the Hunaudières straight line”, as the organisers put it.