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From the very first Tour Auto revival in 1992, a feature of the event was an exhibition of the cars in central Paris before the ‘official’ start, the first year in the Trocadero overlooking the Tour Eifel.  This has become more of a feature than ever, moving indoors to the Grand Palais and expanding into a full-scale exhibition to include offerings from the sponsors and other vendors, car manufacturers and more.  And when that wasn’t available due to building works, the show moved to its replacement, the Grand Palais Éphémère, back near the Eifel Tower.  Last year and this, the exhibition has been held in the avant-garde setting of the Jean Nouvel-designed Hall 6 of the Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles and extended to two days to give the paying public a chance to see the cars and other displays. 

Day 5 Gerard Besson/Bruno Mainguet explore the French countryside in their Alpine A310 V6 Gr.IV

On Tuesday 23 April starting at a traffic-busting 6am, whilst it was still dark in Paris, the Tour Auto cavalcade of 243 cars, 30 of which were powered by Aramco synthetic fuel, left the capital and headed south-west for the UTAC Linas-Montlhéry Autodrome, opened in 1924.  It was the official starting point, and was also where the first special stage took place, won in the VHC category by Sébastien Berchon and Sébastien Bordier in a 1963 Jaguar E-Type 3.8.  It was then on to the first race of the 2024 Tour, on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit, where the Ferrari 512 M of Mr John of B took first place before a run on the Bessé sur Braye stage not far away.   Part of the Cœur de France round of the French rally championship, it was a new stage for the Tour.  

The spectacular 512 Ferrari of Mr John of B attracted crowds wherever it went. Sadly it retired while in the Group G lead

It was the beginning of a five-day, 2000km odyssey that saw its usual share of elation and heartbreak, as first one leader, then another took over the reins in the various categories.  From Paris, to Tours, to Limoges to Caracssonne, to Pau and finally to Biarritz on the Atlantic coast, competitors fought over the special stages and circuits of France, with Emmanuel Brigand and Yann Albert in the Jaguar Type-E taking final honours with a total time of 2h 06m 30s.  Urs Beck and Christina Schaffner took their Porsche 911 2.3L ST to victory in Period G and Jérémy Mennechet and Laurent Loubet topped the H/I Category in the sublime 1983 Ferrari 308 Gr. IV Michelotto.

It was podium celebrations for Emmanuel Brigand and Yann Albert in the E-type jaguar, who took final VHC honours with a total time of 2h 06m 30s.

In Regularity first and second places remained the same for the whole event with the Jay/Bruet MGA victorious followed by the E-type of D’Incau/Pagano.  Only the third position changed on Day 4 when Martin and Francisco Sucari grabbed it with their Porsche 911S.

he lovely Izidi Porsche 906 took one overall stage win and finished second in the Period G category Photo N Bremaud

Read the full report in the June 2024 issue of Historic Motor Racing News…

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