Classic Rally ‘Tour Auto’ leaves on a six day drive through eastern France, Paris to Marseilles. Bentley lets its 520bhp V8S loose in Slovenia and Croatia. Meanwhile, a UK band cancels its European tour after motorway crash near Belgrade. More intriguing twists and turns in Russia’s presidential limousine project. Dakar drug truck suspects released. Luxembourg’s inconvenient A31/A3 customs buildings are now gone. EU ‘Urban Transport Projects’ fail. Royal Navy attempts to crash the Gibraltar frontier.
GRAND DEPARTS: TOUR AUTO
2,500km on the best roads of eastern France.
Classic car or motorsport sport fan – or not – Europe’s major rallies are always worth a look.
Years of experience, local knowledge and, as often as not, recreated routes of classic events mean the best roads (and the best lunch stops, restaurants and hotels).
Having said all that, the route for this year’s Tour Auto – starting from Paris today – is, as every year, completely new.
Nearly 240 cars – see the entry list – all of which would or could have raced in the Tour de France Automobile from 1951-1973 left from the Grand Palais at the crack of dawn this morning on a route around eastern France ending in Marseilles on Saturday.
The overnight stops are Dijon, Mulhouse, Aix les Bains, Valence and Marseilles.
Day three – 475km from Mulhouse to Aix-les-Bains – includes D437 through Entre-Rioche Gorge, a 30km long canyon, a picnic lunch in Pontarlier – passed through the window in a wicker basket – and ending finally, after a race around the Bresse Circuit, on the banks of Lake Bourget.
BALKANS BENTLEY: OTOCEC TO ZADAR
roundup: SERBIA. Scottish jazz collective Hidden Orchestra have called off a European tour after a ‘serious’ crash on the A1 motorway near Belgrade, en route from Budapest to Istanbul. Two band members and a sound engineer were all injured but are expected to recover. PUTIN’S LIMO. Staff at Marussia Motors – jointly developing the Cortege presidential limo Project with the NAMI research institute – have defected en masse to an unnamed ‘govt-run technical institute’ as the car maker is revealed to have ditched its car making operations, and F1 team shareholding. Cortege is developing a platform off which a range of vehicles can be spun, from a state limo to SUVs, road cars and vans. DAKAR. Two members of the Epsilon racing team, held in custody after their Dakar truck was found to contain 1.4t of cocaine on its arrival in France in February, have been released. LUXEMBOURG. The old Zoufftgen customs buildings on the A31/A3 French border have already been demolished but on-and-off disruption is still expected until the end of May. EU. Two thirds of urban transport projects – metros, tramas and buses – co-financed by the EU to the tune of €10.7bn from 2000-13 are underutilised says a European Court of Auditors report today. GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH: average delays today, two hours. The excitement was all caused by a Royal Navy car attempting to cross back into Gibraltar with military plates!