Today marked the official start of the 2020 edition of the Tour Auto, with all the entrants having already arrived on Sunday in the streets of Paris to be presented today inside the Beaux-Arts setting of the historic Grand Palais. The iconic monument built in 1897 for the Universal Exhibition in 1900, ten years before the famous Eiffel Tower, formed the perfect setting to celebrate the history of the Tour de France Automobile that dates back all the way to 1899.
Before leaving the city tomorrow to head off in the direction of Clermont-Ferrand via French country roads with stops at Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry and Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours along the way, Parisians were invited to admire the 210 cars before for the first stage while they went through technical and administrative scrutineering. Despite the pandemic, Patrick Peter, CEO of Peter Auto, applauded the work done by his team to field an exceptional number of cars racing in the event: “The percentage of foreign entries, usually 50-percent, dropped to 10-percent, but we are fortunate to have a long waiting list. We will have around 210 cars at the start, compared to the usual 230.”
Ari Vatanen, former rally legend and driver of the opening car this year, showed his optimism before the start of the Tour Auto: “For me it’s the best week of the year,” the Finn said. “This event demonstrates our resilience in front of the virus. We must remain optimistic and have hope.”
Photos by Erwan Seite.