Tour Auto Optic 2000: Leg 2

After getting into the swing of things on Tuesday, the next day the adventurers in the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo set off as dawn was breaking in the direction of the Charade circuit. The previous day’s excitement was still palpable and the desire to move up the time sheets grew steadily stronger as the seconds passed. Were the cars ready to do battle after being fine-tuned by the expert hands of the service crews? Resumé of the second leg.

The Tour Auto Optic 2ooo has its fair share of anecdotes that make this event such a unique occasion year in year out. François Allain (#50 1973 Citroën GS) was still getting over his little scare the previous evening when he arrived in the Clermont-Ferrand parc fermé with a mechanical glitch in the ignition unit. But the presenter was well equipped with a fairly large stock of spare parts! Thanks to the help of a local garage he was able to line up for the start of the second day in Clermont-Ferrand and make it to the Charade circuit. Unpredictability is one of the key features of the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo!

Circuit de Charade

Charade is a legendary circuit on which the great names in motor sport like Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill shone at the wheel of Formula 1 cars. This 3.975 kilometre track runs round the Parc Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne making it the only mountain circuit in Europe since its creation in 1958. The drivers in grid four in the competition category went at it hammer and tongs in this magnificent setting. Among them was Ludovic Caron (#204 1965 Shelby Cobra 289), who had to start at the very back of the grid following a collision the previous day on the Magny-Cour circuit. He carved his way up through the field to the front-runners pretty quickly and finished the race in fourth place just in front of Jean-Pierre Lajournade (#205 – 3.8-litre E-Type Jaguar). It was a thrilling performance!

Two specials on closed roads

The participants in the Tour Auto Optic 2ooo love the circuits, but the special stages on closed roads also have to be taken into account. Their location and layout are given to them at the very last moment so it’s a real test for the drivers who become immersed in the world of rallying. This afternoon they had to compete in not one but two stages on closed roads. It was one of the most difficult challenges for the cars entered in the regularity section as they had to respect an average speed set by a reference time achieved by the road-closing drivers. Their aim was to get as close as possible to this average. Morel-Lenfant in their #42 – Chevrolet Corvette C3 seemed to have got this down to a fine art. They left the Charade circuit in the late morning in 12th place overall. In the first stage they pulled back six places in the general classification and finished the day leading the regularity section. Hats off gentlemen!

The competitors cheered on their arrival in Limoges

After 380 km the day came to an end in the Exhibition park in Limoges. The drivers were surprised to be greeted by a large crowd who cheered on the cars as they passed by. This stirring welcome obviously delighted all the competitors.