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Classic sports cars head south towards Nantes

Great spectacle as drivers show skills from the days before 'driver aids' and driverless cars

That thundering noise in the distance may, indeed, be thunder but today it may also be the noisy arrival of the Tour Auto classic car rally which is heading from Saint-Malo to Haute-Goulaine in Pays-de-le-Loire.

From there they head to Limoges tomorrow (starting about 6.30), Toulouse on Friday and finishing in Biarritz on Saturday.

They started heading off early today on the 540km route towards Nantes and first indications from some of the participants was that the special sections – such as at Le Mans and the Bugatti circuit yesterday – were providing a very fast and exciting experience for both spectators and drivers.

Nearly too exciting for this Porsche 356 going off at Chapelle on the Circuit Bugatti at Le Mans – happily, both driver and car made it to the finish at Saint-Malo. But it is a reminder that these cars have no modern driver aids… any mistakes and you are in the gravel (if you are lucky enough to be on a circuit).

A lunch stop has been organised in Port-Louis and first cars will head off from 13.02 towards Rochefort-en-Terre where a special stage has been organised to Pluherlin, estimated to start from 14.40.

First cars to finish should come in to the chateau at Haute-Goulaine from 18.00.

Here are some other participants’ views of the event:

Coldplay’s Guy Berryman in a video of yesterday’s run and giving a participant’s view of being on the road with “hundreds of other cars”.

Video with good sounds

And more noise...

Tour Auto Optic 2000 video of yesterday’s stage

For exact route and timings, check the official page here.

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