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1895 Paris-Bourdeaux-Paris Race

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The Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Race of 11-13th of June 1895 was one of the first races and followed the 1894 Paris-Rouen Race.

The distance was 732 miles (1,178 km) and there was a mass start. The race was a triumph for Emile Levassor who won it in 48 hours and 47 minutes, finishing nearly six hours before the runner-up.

The race started at nine o'clock on the 11th June 1895 from the Arc de Triomph in Paris. Sixteen petrol, seven steam cars (and Jeantaud entered the only electric vehicle) left Paris and eight petrol and one steam car completed the course.

Levassor, who drove one of his cars, a 1,205 cc Panhard-Levassor, started carefully, observing his opponents; he overtook the then leading Marquis de Dion who stopped to refuel water to his steam car. Levassor led the race since then, stopping regularly to check his car's components. He came to Bordeaux several hours before any driver was expected to come which resulted in the fact that he had to drive back to Paris as well (the driver who was his change was still asleep in a hotel, and no-one knew which one). Levassor accepted the situation calmly, waking the organisers up to prove his coming and his time, had some sandwiches and champagne, took a brief walk and set off for Paris at 2:30 am. When Baron René de Knyff met him en route, he was so surprised by Levassor's time that he nearly crashed.

Levassor, after spending two days and nights behind the wheel, came triumphantly to Paris with a time of 48 hours and 47 minutes for the 740 miles, reaching an average speed of 24.5 km/h. He said after the race: "Some 50 km before Paris I had a rather luxurious snack in a restaurant which helped me. But I feel a little tired."

His car weighed 11.87 cwts and the engine was a 3.5 hp Phenix built by himself. The tyres were solid rubber and required no repairs on the journey.

The second car home was a Peugeot which was awarded the first prize as it carried four passengers and Levassor could only carry two.

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