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2021 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or
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Return to racing
After a two month delay, the Peter Auto Racing series finally kicked off the 2021 season with the annual Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or. Traditionally scheduled for the first weekend of June, the event was cancelled altogether in 2020. Fortunately, the global health situation improved just enough for the 2021 edition of the iconic event to take place as scheduled. As always the regular Peter Auto grids were on the schedule, which meant that Group C cars made a return to the undulating Circuit Dijon-Prenois for the first time since 2017. True to the original nature of the event, which started as a celebration of the 50th French Grand Prix back in 1964, there was also a grid for single seater racers. Organised by the British HGPCA, the two 25-minute races were open to machinery from the early 1930s through to the mid-1960s.
A little rusty from the unusually long winter break, we got our eye in during the weekend with this grid-by-grid 200-shot gallery as the result.

Sixties' Endurance
A set fixture at the Peter Auto meeting is the Saturday evening two-hour Sixties' Endurance race. Despite the travel restrictions that were still in effect, the race was actually oversubscribed. The entry was capped at the circuit maximum of 60 cars and there were a further four machines on the reserve list. The popularity of the Sixties' Endurance is for good reason as the races are usually hotly disputed. The race at the 2021 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or was no exception, particularly in the first hour. At the sharp end of the field, there was a very close fight between three Cobras; the pole sitting Daytona bodied example of Guillaume and Yvan Mahé and the roadster bodied machine of Damien Kohler and Christophe van Riet, and a similar car that was started from tenth on the grid by Maxime Guenat. All three swapped the lead and ran nose-to-tail until the mandatory pit-stop. Sadly, several full-course-yellows during the five-minute stops shuffled up the field. Emerging in the lead was the Cobra that had been started by Guenat, now with Guillaume Mahé behind the wheel. This Cobra went on to grab the victory, ahead of the Daytona that Guillaume Mahé had started and a similar Daytona Coupe that was shared by father and son Pierre-Alain and Erwin France. Remarkably all three podium finishers were prepared by French specialists Equipe Europe.

Touring titans
Another particularly hotly disputed race was the one-hour Heritage Touring Cup or HTC. With qualifying held on a very wet track on Saturday morning, the starting positions did not quite reflect the pace the cars were capable of on the dry surface the race was run on, on Sunday afternoon. In a particularly tight qualifying session, the top-four was separated by less than a second. Fastest of all was the BMW 3.0 CSL that was shared by owner Christian Dumolin and the very fast Pierre-Alain Thibault. Making the most of the slippery conditions, Thibault was quicker than the more powerful 24-valve Ford Capris and CSLs. In the race, the 40-horsepower deficit proved too big and rivals from the evening before Maxime Guenat and Christophe van Riet emerged as the top contenders for the race victory, both in 24-valve Capris. Van Riet held the early lead but Guenat was clearly firing on all cylinders and managed to get by in his Capri that boasts a striking psychedelic livery. The close fight clearly took its toll on the Van Riet Capri as a broken differential ended the charge early. Guenat scored what was his third win of the weekend, beating Christian Traber in a CSL and the Mahés in their Capri. The Group A class win was for Armand Mille in his BMW 635 CSI, which finished an impressive seventh overall.

Classic Endurance Racing
The two one-hour Classic Endurance Racing (CER) races are also among the traditional highlights of a Peter Auto weekend. The earliest is CER1 for mid-1960s to early 1970s sports prototypes and GT racers. As always, the field consisted mainly of Chevrons, Lolas and Porsches 911s but there were some spectacular exceptions. Among them was a Ferrari 312 P, which was blisteringly quick but played no role after it refused to fire up before the race. When it ultimately got going, it was the fastest car on track in the hands of Remo Lips. This left the fight for victory a Lola and Chevron affair with the Lola T70 Mk3b driven by Pierre-Alain France. Swiss racer Didier Denat took the GT class win with his Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0.
The CER2 field was smaller but the battle for the lead was fascinating with Maxime Guenat and his Lola T286 taking on brothers Yves and Philippe Scemama in their TOJ and Lola T600 respectively. Yves Scemama had started from pole position but it was Guenat, who eventually grabbed the lead and scored his second of three victories of the weekend.

Final thoughts
A sentiment shared by all present at the 2021 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or was that it was great to be at a racing track once more. Perhaps the best news of all was that a limited number of spectators were also welcome to enjoy the spectacle. It was a particularly good weekend for the French Equipe Europe team, which scored seven outright wins out of a possible eight. Next up is a meeting at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit where even more spectators and competitors are expected. Until then, please sit back and enjoy the 200-shot gallery of this weekend.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com