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Classic sports cars hit road for 2,500km

Five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell, Coldplay bassist and four-times Dakar winner are taking part

Nearly 250 classic sports cars from the 1950s to 1970s hit the road this morning as the Tour Auto headed out from the Grand Palais in the centre of Paris bound for Saint-Malo.

Started in 1899, the tour is the oldest car race in the world still in operation and brings competitors from round the world to discover the back roads of France and compete in sporting events on closed roads and circuits on the way.

Aiming to reach Biarritz after the five-day event, participants this year include five-times Le Mans winner Derek Bell (in a 1974 Porsche 911) Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman (1971 Ferrari Dino) and Michelin chef Michel Rostang (1969 Lancia Fulvia 1600 HF).

Finnish rally driver Ari Vatanen – former world champion, four times Dakar winner and an MEP – will also be there driving a BMW M4, one of the sponsor’s cars.

It is the tour's first visit to Brittany and the route takes them first to the Chateau de Neuville at Gambais in Yvelines and then on the open road to Saint-Malo to arrive at Quai Saint Vincent between 16.50 and 21.30. Find details of the route each day on the tour’s Facebook page

It is the first of five days on the road for the cars which head to Nantes tomorrow, Limoges on Thursday, Toulouse on Friday and finishing in Biarritz on Saturday.

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On the way they will take in events on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit, then Haute-Goulaine, Val de Vienne, Limoges, Albi, Toulouse and from there to the Pau-Arnos circuit.

More than 100,000 spectators are expected to watch the cars pass on their 2,500km route to Biarritz and at the events on the way. 

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