On Thursday 7 October, the participants of the Zoute Rally were expected on the seafront to examine their cars. A prologue in the hinterland then designated their starting position for Friday morning.
At 8am on Friday, the competitors lined up on the promenade for the start of the rally, some more nervous than others. One rally participant and one baladeur (without regularity) took turns to set off on a splendid walk through the Belgian polders towards the historic heart of Bruges.
In Bruges, the participants were welcomed by a proud mayor and under massive interest. The beautiful cars were displayed on the main square while the participants enjoyed a delicious buffet.
In the afternoon, the journey continued towards Knokke through many beautiful lanes. One participant with a beautiful Bentley was unfortunately caught on the side by a motorcyclist who approached at high speed without giving way. The car and the motorbike could not continue but fortunately no one was injured.
On Saturday 9 October, the start of the second part of the rally took place. The first 20 competitors were very close to each other in the ranking... a matter of a few seconds. There were therefore many potential winners, which kept the suspense alive until the end. The cars headed to the Netherlands where several tests were to be carried out.
In the course of the afternoon, the participants arrived in Knokke along the dike, which had become crowded. The sunshine certainly helped. On arrival, the participants were offered a glass of champagne while the presenter gave a brief explanation of the passing cars.
The winners of the 2021 edition are the Verstraete/Verstraete team.
Second place went to the Gijbels/Gijbels team.
3rd: the team Beeuwsaert/Beeuwsaert
On Saturday, a GT track was also run by some 60 modern sports cars. Starting from Deinze, the cars arrived in Ostend under the watchful eye of Mayor Bart Tommelein.
On Sunday, the cars participating in the Concours d'Elegance could be admired at the Royal Zoute Golf Club.
Best of show pre-war was a Lancia Lambda Casaro.
Best of show post-war was awarded to a Lamborghini Countach LP400.
At 2 pm sharp, Bonhams opened the Zoute Sale in the large Prado pavilion on the beach. The auction raised a total of €12,000,000. A very rare 1994 Bugatti EB 110 SS changed hands for €2,242,500 including premium, and a Ferrari F40 for €1,840,000.
The 1954 Cadillac in which King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola were married in 1960 also sold at auction for €86,250 including premium. Fortunately, the car remains in good hands in Belgium.
The Prado Zoute pavilion also featured 18 beautiful cars such as the Ferrari 296 GTB, the McLaren Artura as well as the F1 RB16 that Max Verstappen drove last year and the Alpine A521 of Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
For this year's event, there were generally only smiling faces. However, some were not too happy about the rather high entry fee. It was also a pity that the GT and Concours cars did not make it to the podium on the dam on Sunday.
Make a note in your diary for the 13th edition of the Zoute Grand Prix from 5 to 9 October 2022.
© Text and pictures: Dirk Ivens