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Zoute Grand Prix attracted exclusive vintage cars to the Belgian Coast

Text: Philippe Vercamer • Photos: Eventattitude / F.Blaise-J.Mahiels-R.de Borman and D'M & S

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From 4 to 7 October, the Zoute held the Zoute Grand Prix in the Belgian seaside resort of Knokke® Place. More than 100.000 lovers of classic cars, exclusive cars and gems from prestigious car brands enjoyed a stylish and sporty spectacle of world class.

Count Leopold Lippens, chairman of the Zoute Automobile Club and also mayor of Knokke, looks back with pleasure on a successful four-day event: “After barely three editions, the Zoute Grand Prix has grown into a very successful event of great allure. It is therefore an important sign for our municipality. "

Organizer Zoute Events had provided a varied program. During four days, visitors could enjoy the same number of events: from an exhibition of premium top brands and an old-timer rally to an elegance competition at the Royal Zoute Golf Club and - new - a parade for GTs younger than 10 years.

The newest premium models
The starting shot was given on Thursday with the Zoute Top Marques® exhibition. Spread over 15 venues on the Zeedijk and Kustlaan, the public was able to meet the latest premium models from prestigious car brands, including several premieres for Belgium: Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Fisker, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes, Porsche and Rolls-Royce. Fans of fashion also came into their own, because the Kustlaan is known for its exclusive fashion stores.
In the meantime, participants in the Zoute Rally® with their classic cars

expected on the Albertplein (Zeedijk) for scruteneering. Officials of the BFOV (Belgian Federation for Old Vehicles) subjected the vintage cars to a thorough technical inspection. The public could follow the inspection from the Zeedijk. Peeter Henning, CEO of the BFOV: “Authenticity prevails, although we understand that some cars - especially pre-war ones - are adjusted to be able to handle such competitions. That is why we use different categories: from completely original to restored to rebuilt ”.

150 classic cars 'on the road'
Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October the drivers were allowed to prove themselves. 110 of the classic cars registered just over 150, all cars built between 1920 and 1965, participated in the regularity criterion. During this timed rally, with agility and speed tests along the way, the cars had to cover 250 kilometers per day, mainly on public roads. The trail stretched from Knokke-Heist over the polders to some picturesque places in the West and East Flanders hinterland. In addition, there was the balade, a non-timed 'car walk with roadbook' that followed a shorter route of 150 kilometers in the same region.

The winners:
Salt Rally Overall classification: Quatennens-Van Hooydonk - Porsche 356 SC (1964)
Salt Rally Post-War classification: Quatennens-Van Hooydonk - Porsche 356 SC (1964)
Salt Rally Pre-War rankings: Schrauwen-Mertens - BMW 328 Roadster (1937) Balade: Hezemans-Hezemans - Alfa Romeo 6C 'Villa d'Este' (1949)
Ladies Cup: Matroye De Joly-Van Hamme - Porsche 356 B Convertible (1960)

Looking for the most elegant old-timer
On Sunday the Royal Zoute Golf Club's Fairway 1 acted as the beautiful backdrop for the Zoute Concours D'élégance. From a selection of rare pre-war and post-war cars, an international jury of experts, supervised by Philip Kantor from Bonhams, had to choose the most elegant old-timer. To qualify for this renowned competition, the cars had to be at least 25 years old and in top condition.

The winners
Best in Show 2012 (Rolex): Patrick Lapin - Derby Bentley 4 1 / 4 Continental Tourer by Vanden Plas
Special unique bodywork (Bank Degroof): BMW Turbo (1972)
Most interesting sportscar (Ruinart Trophy): Louwman Museum - Maserati 300S
Best preserved car (FIVA Trophy): Johann van Puyvelde - Ferrari 166Special prize by the jury (BFOV Trophy): Philippe Vercruysse - 1900 Gobron-Brillé

Philippe Van de Ryse of the Zoute Automobile Club is a satisfied man: “In 2010, the first edition attracted around 6000 visitors. The following year 80.000 to 100.000. This year we once again welcomed more than 100.000 car enthusiasts. "His colleague David Bourgoo looks ahead:" For the coming years we are aiming for five top events on one weekend. In this way we also want to organize an auction for classic cars in the foreseeable future. ”

The next edition will take place from Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 October 2013.

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