Day 5

5. May 2000, Igoumenítsa to Thessaloníki

Our additional three-minutes (overall 6 minutes) yesterday gave us rank 20 overall (out of 70) and 2nd out of our class Historic Saloon Around the World (8 cars). An all-female Rover Team from Australia/New Zealand managed to get no penalties yesterday and therefore overtook us in our class. But in the general category we still went up the ranks which means we are keeping a good average.

After leaving the ferry at 12.30, we first drove for 150 kms into the mountains to regroup and start in order at Metsova. Time for a quick lunch. Metsova led up to a special test in Panaghia: A combination of mountain climbs and gravel/dirt road. Having decided to do no damage to our car we drove in a controlled fast manner. Six minutes penalty.
The following section we first got some petrol and looked under the car. But this showed us how one should never underestimate ANY section: We arrived in Viahava on the minute.
The following test section was the worst so far (hopefully it will remain the worst): A bad, small road, sometimes gravel but mostly dirt, often washed out with nice waves in the road, in the middle of the night.
But we managed to survive and arrive 8 minutes 58 seconds after the time given (this section was timed in seconds for the Istanbul rally participants to decide a possible tie). Which is a respectable time considering that the Rally organizer had originally assigned 38 minutes and then changed it to 30 minutes. After the test, a highway drive to Thessaloníki, arriving shortly before eleven in the evening.

The two tests today were too much for many cars. I heard that some only arrived at four in the morning. The tests were also teaching some interesting lessons: The only team who managed to drive the first test with zero penalty, took 47 minutes penalty for the second test. I haven't asked but I presume that they were trying to get zero penalty on the second test, too, and the result must have been damage of some sort. A Japanese team with a 1965 Datsun managed to get one minute penalty on the first and zero penalty on the second - very impressive.
But the tests are also a question of luck, some of the fast teams ended up with slow drivers in front of them who wouldn't let them by even though they are required to do so by regulations.

TC 24: Metsova
05 148.90 km
TC 25: Panaghia 1
35 25.95 km
TC 26: Panaghia 2
56 (6 minutes delay) 20.20 km
TC 27: Viahava
04 51.65 km
TC 28: Servia
04 103.30 km
TC 29: Ag. Theodori
34 (8 minutes delay) 30.70 km
TC 30: Thessaloniki IN
42 120.10 km

The official results can be looked up on this website

Again the whole route was mainly hills, going up and down all the time. One interesting observation is the change in mentality of the people watching the event. In Greece, cars passing make light signals or use the horn spontaneously. There were lots of sheep dogs on the road chasing our cars. We are now looking forward to a rest day in Thessaloníki.

Only one vehicle can pass on this bridge

The regroup in Metsova

The test section Panaghia

Panaghia: we enter a forest

Inspecting the damage after Panaghia: Our guard installed underneath got a few scratches but all else seems fine.

The rocks of Meteora

lots of sheep on the route, but even more dogs running after our car, barking

The last stop before Ag. Theodori

Arriving late in Thessaloníki


Driving up the Greek mountains for the regroup, a lot of overtaking is done.

Lamb chops and fried potatoes in Metsova, our first hot lunch in a week.

On the Panaghia test, this British/Irish team in their Chevrolet showed that they are real sportsmen and let us overtake.

Panaghia: shortly after this bit, it is going downhill again.

and the monasteries in Meteora

passing a Greek village

Ag. Theodori: the worst bit yet

Ag. Theodori: So where's the road?