Notwithstanding last summer it was announced with the big drum that the Zoute Grand Prix would not take place this year, but would be moved to next year, there was eventually an edition without an audience. Fortunately I heard from some insiders that there were plans to continue the rally as a private rally.
By: Dirk Ivens
On Wednesday 7 October, a small press conference was held in the beautiful setting of Cwart in Knokke, the ideal place to organize events and parties. It was then expressly requested not to report about the rally before it had ended. They wanted to avoid at all times that the event would mobilize a large crowd. During that conference we also got to see a preview of the cars that would be auctioned at the Bonhams auction on Sunday. Large gilded sculptures by the artist Jan Fabre could also be admired on the domain.
The usual scruteneering of the participating cars took place on Thursday 8 October. A small rally was also held within a radius of 10 km from Knokke in order to determine the starting order for the next day.
Towards the afternoon stop
Finally, on Friday, October 9, some 175 vintage cars started, 108 of which took part in the regularity. Although the weather forecasts did not announce much good, the rally on this first day took place under a beautiful late summer sun. The cars drove towards Diksmuide and De Panne where the afternoon stop took place in Plopsaland. There, the participants first had to take a small test in the closed parking lot before they could queue up for the midday lunch. From there it went back to Knokke, where a test also had to be done on the closed domain of the Hippique in the Nieuwstraat.
Finish and the coronavirus
On Saturday the cars first drove via Ursel towards De Haan. After an extensive afternoon stop at the beautiful laurel nursery Lauretum in Jabbeke, the trip continued via Blankenberge and Damme towards Knokke. The arrival in Knokke was in no way comparable to the reception that the participants received in other years. The Coronavirus seriously hindered this year.
This year, the following teams finished in the top 3: 1st team Verstraete-Verstraete in a Jaguar XK120 OTS, 2nd team Martens-Pick in an Austin Healey A30 and 3rd place Maes-Vanoverschelde in a Porsche 356C.
The question now is of course whether an event like the Zoute Grand Prix can cope with such a drastic and ruthless virus. In other years, the event also included a Concours d'Elegance on the Zoute golf, a GT tour and the Zoute Car Gallery where the latest models of prestigious car brands were displayed in the shopping streets and on the Zeedijk. Should the organizers change course and reinvent the event?
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