Day 3

3. May 2000, Aix-les-Bains to Santa Margherita Ligure

Official road rallies are only allowed if they keep to a certain maximum average speed (I think somewhere around 60 km/h), so considering that most drivers and cars are able to reach those speeds, how do you rank them or get results?
The answer to that question in rallying is to send the drivers on roads on which you would not normally do 60 km/h for very short sections. This is what happened today, a so-called test section. Today's schedule:

TC 10: Aix-les-Bains OUT
TC 11: Frejus
42 130.95 km
PC: Fennestrelle      
TC 12: Cortemilla
29 189.70 km
TC 13: Todocco 1
46 14.95 km
TC 14: Todocco 2
11 (3 minutes penalty) 22.60 km
TC 15: Sassello
01 41.75 km
TC 16: Passo de Turchino
47 38.50 km
TC 17: Santa Margherita IN
27 62.55 km

Before Todocco, we were chased up the mountains with winding road. This went okay for us with about two, three minutes to spare at the checkpoint. But then we were chased down a narrow winding road in the woods (unfortunately no pictures of that, the drive was too hectic) and had to go up the same street again.Here we received a penalty of three minutes which was really unavoidable as our speed up the mountains is constrained by the small size of our engine (1877 ccm).
To make matters worse (or better) the sections that followed were also hurried: In Passo de Turchino we arrived on the minute, but the final section was okay.
We saw how one of the roadsters (a white Morgan) overheated its engine (lots of steam) on this drive and saw many running late or complaining about the section (the two are related proportionally). We will find out tomorrow how we rank with our three minutes penalty: Obviously it is still a long way back to London and any minute advantage is easily dwarfed by the time penalties incurred through a breakdown-delay. The Rally Office promised to publish interim results on their webpage, so you can look them up there.

Tomorrow there will be another test section (in preparation of the London-Istanbul-Rally participants - they need results). We will take the ferry after that so we probably won't be able to get access to the Internet.

Driving towards the Alps...crossing into Italy

...passing by Sestriere (no need for snow chains in May)

but it soon enough gets mountaineous again

but some are chased by us

Santa Margherita


Right into the Frejus tunnel our engine stops...but after several attempts it starts again. We speculate that it might have been a heat problem: bubbles in the gas, etc.
Anyway we were relieved once we were out of that tunnel.

suddenly the land is flat: river Po

and now the bigger engines start chasing us

lunch at last: after Passo de Turchino, 16:50

And the people of BUSCH Italia Srl give us a warm welcome to their home country.