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2022 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or
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Grand Prix of the Golden Age
One of the oldest historic race meetings in the world, the Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or was held for the 52nd time this year. As has been the case the last couple of years, it was organised by the Peter Auto organisation and held at the Circuit de Dijon-Prenois. The late start to the year in 2021 meant it was the season opener then but in 2022, it was scheduled right in the middle of a particularly busy part of the year, sandwiched between the Spa Classic and Le Mans Classic. Nevertheless, sizeable fields were assembled for most of the familiar grids. The Endurance Racing Legends and Group C categories were missing as the relatively tight and short Dijon circuit is not best suited to these machines that were designed to race at tracks like Le Mans. As a nod to the event's traditional celebration of Grand Prix racing history, this year a special demonstration was added to the program for the 3.5-litre Formula 1 cars of the late 1980s and first half of the 1990s.
Our photographers once again ventured to the French Bourgogne area to capture the event in its entirety. The result is this class-by-class 170-shot gallery.

Sixties' Endurance
With no fewer than 50 cars taking part in qualifying, the two-hour Sixties' Endurance race had the largest grid of the weekend. While the morning session was still run on a damp track, it was completely dry during qualifying. This made dodging traffic to get a clear lap the biggest issue on Friday afternoon. Doing the best job were father and and son Pierre-Alain and Erwin France in their Cobra Daytona. They beat fellow Equipe Europe drivers Maxime Guenat and Guillaume Mahe in a regular Cobra by over a second.
After the eventful opening stages of the race on Saturday afternoon, the Guenat/Mahe and France Cobras emerged as the clear favourites for the win. Sadly, a mechanical issue thwarted the former's efforts while a great, late charge from Sam Hancock in another Cobra meant that two Frances crossed the line in second. Victory was for Hancock's Cobra, which had been started by owner Saif Assam, who managed to kept it in contention throughout his stint. Victory in the hotly disputed GT2 category was for the Lotus Elan 26R shared by Simon Evans and James Littlejohn.

Greatest's Trophy
One of the more evocative grids on the Peter Auto roster is for the 'Greatest's Trophy.' This series had started out as the Trofeo Nastro Rosso open to Italian cars of the 1950s and early 1960s only but with the change of name has now also seen other interesting sports cars and GT racers of the era eligible. Among those additions are racers like the Listers and Porsche 904s. Among the Italian cars that were entered at Dijon were a very early and rare Alfa Romeo Giulietta SVZ and the Maserati 300S that Stirling Moss had driven to victory in the 1956 N├╝rburgring 1000 km. Featuring at the sharp end of the grid this season have been Vincent Gaye in his Ferrari 275 GTB/C and Christian Bouriez in his Bizzarrini 5300 GT. During qualifying, Gaye was slightly faster but during most of the 40-minute races, the two men were nose to tail. In race one, Bouriez had crossed the line in first but had to settle for second behind Gaye in the results due to a track-limit violation. There were no such issues in race two, where Bouriez won ahead of the Lister of Yvan Mahe and Gaye, who had struggled to fight back from a difficult opening lap.

Classic Endurance Racing
With 38 cars entered, the Classic Endurance Racing 1 (CER2) also had a formidable grid. Even though the track is best suited to nimble, lightweight racers, it was Armand Mille in his V8-engined Lola T70 Mk3B, who grabbed pole. On aggregate, John Emberson and Nigel Greensall in the two-litre Chevron B19 were a close second. Sadly we were robbed of a great fight as the B19 was forced to retire with a minor issue after a single lap. There were no such issues for Mille, who scored a commanding victory. In the closing stages, Gon├žalo Gomes put in a great drive to bring the Lola T212 he shared with James Claridge up to second overall after starting 13th.
The CER2 race had a colourful field of 25 sports cars and GT racers of the 1970s. As had been the case during the last few events, the top contenders were Maxime Guenat in his DFV-engined Lola and Yves Scemama in his similarly engined TOJ. Scemama had been fastest in qualifying and led during the opening laps. He emerged in second after the pit-stops but was unable to fight back after coming together with a back-marker. This meant that Guenat could score his first win of the year in CER2.

Final thoughts
A fitting celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Circuit de Dijon-Prenois, the 2022 Grand Prix de l'Age d'Or attracted over 6,000 spectators. The in-field was also filled with interesting cars from a large variety of enthusiast clubs. These were also given time on track during the lunch breaks, which undoubtedly made for an unforgettable experience. The drivers of the 220 racing cars out on track during the rest of the weekend will have also had a great time. As did your diligent photographers with this 170-shot gallery as the lasting result.


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