Home  Drivers  Cars  Results  For Sale  Links  Contact

spawny whippet motorsport


2004 Tour Auto


The 2003 team (Amnon, Andy and Dermot) will be re-formed in the same car to compete in this event. Other drivers making up the numbers include Stirling Moss (16 times Grand Prix winner) in a MGB and Danny Sullivan (1988 ChampCar Champion) in a Ferrari 365GT, Jean Ragnotti, Jean-Claude Andre and Jean Sage so no worries there...

The Europa needed major surgery to replace the chassis and install a roll cage prior to the 2004 event.


News Update 23/3/04

The Europa has now had the new chassis and rollcage fitted. The rollcage job was done very professionally by Andy Robinson Race Cars of Reading. The car was tested successfully at Mallory Park on 17th March. It has 2 more outings in Amnon's hands prior to the Tour Auto 2004, and still needs the rally computer fitting.


News Update 1/4/04

At a test session at Donington the old Lotus adage (Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious) reared its ugly head. After 4 laps, the car's alternator light came on and the temperature shot up. Amnon pulled into the pits and after investigation, it turned out that all the water from the radiator dumped itself into the engine through a crack in the cylinder head. The car was taken to an engine builders and the cylinder head removed. It seems that the cylinder head face and engine block were in very poor condition and are now scrap metal. A frantic search for a new engine block and head in time for the Tour Auto in a couple of weeks begins...


News Update 15/4/04

The engine block has now been rebuilt, and a new cylinder head sourced and fitted. The car ran again for the first time last night at Morgan Jones, the engine builders in Hammersmith, London. I will collect it today and road test the car to try and identify any potential problems. We now only have 1 day to prepare the car to go to France on Saturday.



The 2004 Tour Auto was fairly disastrous from start to finish. (The problems prior to the rally should have been an indicator!) After driving all night on Saturday, we arrived at Le Mans on the Sunday prior to the event to test the car, but it was pouring with rain and learning was limited. We then headed to Paris for the start of the event. 


Day 1 Paris - Tours



The engine was very smoky on the Lotus, and the gearbox linkage was not too impressive. The only thing we had confidence in was the new Brantz rally computer. We fitted the new wheels with soft Yokohama tyres in Parc Ferme prior to the start, but were unable to test them until the event started. Within 10kms, we found that the new wheels were too big and fouled the arches and wishbones. We then needed to make a stop before the first special stage to change to the old harder compound tyres causing us to arrive late for potential penalty time. At Le Mans, we again arrived late as we had problems with oil pressure that needed investigating, so Amnon only got 1 lap in for qualifying and had to start from the pitlane. Tensions were running high, and the race was red-flagged after 4 laps when 2 leading Lotus Elan 26Rs collided. Despite everything, Amnon managed an impressive 22nd overall from 150 cars, almost all of which were much more powerful. 


Day 2 Tours - Bordeaux

The 2nd day from  was a disaster practically from start to finish. We were late to depart the hotel in the morning and got a 5 min penalty, throwing us 30 places down the field, which did not improve the mood in the car. We switched places for a while, and Amnon struggled with operating the rally computer making the stages quite interesting. Amnon had a good race at Le Vigeant though. At the last special stage, I drove again and Amnon navigated. After a couple of the kilometres, the navigation broke down and I therefore crashed into a ditch over a blind hill crest whilst trying to go straight across crossroads that weren't there. This caused some minor front suspension damage and a broken anti-roll bar. We then limped back to the service stage in Bordeaux and spent the night trying to repair the car. By this point everyone had been putting in 20 hour days for some time and were understandably fed up. 

Day 3 Bordeaux - Carcassonne

The 3rd day it was pouring with rain with deep standing water everywhere, the car was steamed up and aquaplaning uncontrollably, so Amnon retired the car before the race at Nogaro and we put it on the trailer. Unfortunately he also lost his license, passport and wallet, so a day was spent looking then getting replacements. Dermot and I drove the car back on the trailer and dumped it with Morland Jones Lotus specialists for a long list of repair work.


Day 4 Carcassonne - Montpelier


Day 5 Montpelier - St Tropez

Retired. Here endeth my Historic Rally Career in a Lotus.

proudly sponsored by