VIVE LA FRANCE! Tour Auto 2010


At the danger of being committed of high treason, of being quartered and stoned, tortured boiled and eaten. At the danger of no-one in this Country ever speaking to me again. At the danger of never being allowed back on Nordschleife (terrible thought), I have to say it: nothing really NOTHING compares to the Tour Auto!

Even the press does it in style

It is an unbelievable event and I don´t really know where to start. (Or to stop..)
Because we were racing non stop for 5 days most pictures are of the first day in Paris

Sunday night arrival at the Place de la Concorde
Masses of these 250s lets you forget just how rare they are!
L équipe francaise
And its german counterpart
This is what they were looking at… what a wondrous mess, will it make it to the end?
Some Details, for you to guess:
The numbers of visitors at the jardins at night was astonishing, car loving nation!
Pick nick on an SM: unbelievable!!!! Are they real, the french?????
Paris at Dawn Tuesday morning: we leave in Convoy with the Gendarmes stoping the traffic everywhere for us. Even on the highway!

We spend thirteen hours in the car every day, Marc drove the special stages and tracks on the first and the last day, I did the remaining three days completely, tracks and mountain races.

906 following us on the road: I love this car!
GTO in front of, and we in the middle…WOW!
First Stop at Fontainebleau.
SM and Ligier, side by side:
what a sight!
Another french ride..

Magny-Cours: the first track.

I still don´t really know what this tiny french Beauty was…
Beautiful Alfa TZ waiting for the start

Watch this: Ferrari trying to overtake the Kobold team during the finish:

Touché and the Ferrari goes off spinning:

Kobold goes on racing!

Damage on Ferrari:

Damage on Porsche..Don´t draw your own conclusions. Please. The Ferrari is too beautiful.

We always had to drive on full throttle on the transfer stages, as not to be late on the stamping points. The one time we had an orangina (on the road, standing up) we were promptly late. We were generously given 35 minutes (hoho) for lunch (usually in amazing chateaus and delicious food) no time to rest (eat or sleep at lunchtime, was the crucial question), call the family or take pictures of the breathtaking scenery. We drove across most dramatically stunning mountain roads, across valleys and mountains of such different Character that it felt like crossing a continent.

We looked stupid in our Race-wear ( Big Baby Stramplers), especially when we had contact with the outside world, buying biscuits in petrol stations or having breakfasts in Hotels with normal looking people. We had worrying moments with our cars, before during and after.
Ans yes: we ALL had big fights with our Co-pilots over the road book and even bigger ones over driving styles.

Arrival at Megéve: some busy and to many worrying moments
Even for some 911 Drivers, who usually have calm nights.
Whilst Jag Divers always have plenty to worry about, especially as these two had been on forth position the day before. They were not the only ones however:
A lot of hoods up the air:
and they got it right!
These gentlemen came without technical support all the way from England, fixing a wheel which came off during a race with the lid of a jam jar!!!!
And are now on their way to Rome. In a hot front engined Cobra: Heroes in my Books!
This is what you need when you drive an Italian car.. or several.

We all, men and women, fell in love with the Motorbike Equipe of the parisian Gendarmes, Dancers on the road at thrilling speed, leading our way out of Paris on Curvy roads and into traffic blocked cities so our engines would not overheat, making us feel truly privileged!

I experienced amazing driving skills by others, bordering on the impossible (How do you squeeze a Citroen Maserati through a 1.50m bridge at 130 km/h ? I really have no idea, it can´t have been an optical illusion because I tried following him: but I had to break!)

In Line waiting for our turn on a special stage: exhaustion shows…
Same situation, different setting
This team decided to take it the other way during a stage, lucky when you have a small car to just fit through this and the rocks on the side… I like the repair job and their driving on!!!!
The flow of energy when you follow Iconic Cars and highly skill full driving is truly intoxicating. Motion transports the shape of any car and you can see this best driving behind, in front of or besides another car. The shared movement creates an eternal moment of fluidity.

This happens to any sports car, but some of them dance more beautifully than others. Just like people: some flow, some hop and some waltz.

Just in case you wondered : we came ninth despite my early (housewife) breaking at the mountain races, which if anything tells you a lot about Marc´s amazing driving skills.
Oh yes: one thing I learned: when you finally manage to overtake someone at a track, after a hard fought battle, don´t raise your hands in triumph: the guy will overtake you again, straight away!
It was not possible for me to take pictures which depict the amazingness of the week, if you search in the Internet, there are some good films.

And this was the persective for the last special stage, it rained and there was oil on the road.

Marc was the fastest in this race, but I promise for the result I also credit to myself: My Nerves , my sweat, my howls, prayers and groans remained unkindly unnoticed and there was really not way I could jump out!!!

This report will not do. It´s a mess. I´m sorry. My mind is still out there. Help.

15 Comments

  1. Arneyb says:

    fantastic pictures ! fantastic story !
    I think thats what happens when You get the “flow”. The flow in fast driving or racing, together with other gearheads and their special vehicles.
    Once again, something never to forget !

  2. batistuda says:

    Wow a really amazing story. Even for non racers and who have never experienced the “flow” it makes your blood boil while reading it. I am very impressed by your driving! Rain and Oil?!?! I would have walked!
    Really amazing pictures! You should make a book! And yes your report DOES it!!!

  3. Yes, truly unforgettable!
    Thank you both for your kind comments!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Phantastisch! Herrliche Fotos, die Faszination springt richtig über! Der Kommentar hat großen Charme, bin sehr begeistert.

  5. heidi says:

    Loved this – superbly descriptive and the images are fantastic! thank you – I want to come next time!

  6. coolio says:

    awsome fantastic the pictures are realy cool i really like the paris at dawn picture its just

  7. mealsandwheels says:

    Anonymous: Vielen viele Dank
    Heidi: You you should come, you would love it!
    coolio: Paris at dawn was really an experience! I like your name!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Großartig, Gaby!

    Woher nimmst Du die Energie? Und jetzt gleich Scuderia hinterher, Spa, Le Mans….

    Love you!

    Robert

  9. mealsandwheels says:

    Mein lieber Robert!
    Du weißt doch ganz genau, daß Autofahren ein unergründlicher Quell der Energie ist!
    DAnke!!!

  10. benster says:

    Grand Sport!

    Ben

  11. Truly excellent photography; my compliments.

  12. mealsandwheels says:

    Thank you Ben and thank you Paul!!!!

  13. Christina says:

    Je länger ich deinen Blog lese, desto mehr stehe ich auf Autos! Ernsthaft. ;-)

  14. Das ist ja super, Christina! welche Freude.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Dear Ms Von Oppenheim, we got some shots of you on the road, (even behind the wheel in stead of Kobold). contact me at pieter (at) melissenfl.com (at)=@
    Best regards

    Pieter
    PS. In exchange I would be interested in the chassis number of the 911…..

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