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Grand-Couronne, Normandy

Set in attractive woodland south of the city, Rouen-les-Essarts was one of Europe’s finest circuits. Organising club the AC de Normand opened the circuit in 1950, and modernised it just two years later with new pits, grandstand and wider track. The sharp descent to the cobbled Nouveau Monde hairpin was breath-taking, and the return uphill leg required a strong engine. But the course was also very dangerous. Jo Schlesser was killed during the 1968 French GP, Jean-Luc Salomon and Denis Dayan both died after separate crashes during a Formula 3 race in 1970 and Gerry Birrell perished during the 1973 F2 race. The circuit eventually closed in 1993.