The Tour Auto 2012 will be staged April 16th to 22nd along the secondary roads of France. Approximately 230 teams coming from all over the world will compete in the rally, which this year will be dotted with special stages on closed roads and circuits and fabulous landscapes.
The 21st annual Tour Auto will pay tribute to the Ferrari 250 GTO as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. It will be a return to the roots for GTO, a race car that won everything during its career: the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the GT World Championship in 1962-1964 and the Tour Automobile de France.
The retrospective of the Tour de France Automobile is a sharp combination of tourism and motor racing. Since 1992, the rally follows the French scenic secondary roads along a handpicked itinerary which changes every year. The route is dotted with Special Stages, meaning timed sessions–on closed roads or circuits-which determine the final classification. Always starting from Paris, the Tour Auto covers about 2,000km split into five legs.
To participate in the rally, there is a first requirement to meet: to present an eligible car (or sister car) that participated in the Tour de France Automobile between 1951 and 1973. Then, two categories, Competition or Regularity, are proposed for the entry. The car equipment and the documents required, for both the latter and her crew, are different according to the selected section.
For the 2012 Tour Auto Rally, these collector cars will cross France, from North to South, leaving Paris on April 17th and reaching Nice on April 21st. The Tour Auto stop-over town will be successively Beaune, Aix-les-Bains, Clermont-Ferrand and Nîmes, where spectators will have the privilege to visit the Parc Fermé and discover the exceptional cars from close quarters.
Notable entrants in the 2012 Tour Auto include the three Ferrari 250 GTO models, multiple Porsche RSs, RSRs and 910s; several Ferrari 275 GTBs, Ford GT40s and Alfa Romeo TZs; no less than seven Cobras; an Aston Martin DB4 GT; pair of Mercedes-Benz 300SLs; plus many other interesting cars. The Tour Auto entry list is a veritable who’s who of cars and many will be running at full chat on the Tour.
Among those entered in the competition category is Ludovic Caron, winner of the 2011 Tour Auto at the wheel of a 1963 AC Cobra. Caron will have to fend off the attacks of David Ferrer and Pierre-Alain France in an identical model. Hugo Payen and Jean-Marc Merlin will also be among the front-runners in their E-Type Jaguar as will Jean-Claude Basso in his BMW 3.0 CSL.
In the Index of Performance classification, the battle for victory will rage between experienced drivers. Pierre Cathiard and his wife Christine (former rally co-driver) in their Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato and Albrecht Haas in his Mk1 Jaguar will be out to win the trophy that went to Yves Junne in his Porsche 356 last year.
All told, the 2012 Tour Auto has attracted some 20 different nationalities from places as far away as the United States, Japan and Argentina. For more information, visit www.tourauto.com.
[Source: Tour Auto]