Although earlier competitive events had been staged - more specifically between car and bicycle - it is generally accepted that the world's first motor race was held between Paris and Rouen on July 23, 1894, having been organised by a long-gone French publication and known as Competition for Horseless Carriages that were not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey.
The event was a cross between trial and race, with over 100 competitors entering.
The winner - after a 'bent' de Dion was excluded! - was Peugeot, a brand very much in evidence on today's roads. Peugeot's victory set a precedent: motorsport could develop the breed, and marketing kudos could be derived therefrom.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken