Day 79

17. July 2000, Clermont Ferrand to Laon

One more day of driving through French countryside. The rally is coming towards an end now. In Laon we are staying outside the city in a hotel on a lake. It is clear that this last stay before the end has been chosen for strategic reasons as it lies directly on the motorway leading to Calais. In the morning we sort out some last problems with the car as we do not want to break down on our last day to London or on our way back to Germany. This takes less than an hour and does not affect our time today much as there is plenty of time assigned. Back in the hotel, people are already in celebration mood as there is not much left now. Everyone is busy exchanging addresses, taking pictures, cleaning the car and trying to come to terms with that, tomorrow, everything will be finished. Some are visited by friends or relatives today. Do from Belgium/Netherlands even brings a whole bus of family to Laon: They will accompany him on the final trip to London. Most people are happy that all the stresses and strains will be over soon but some are already looking forward to their next rally...

TC 290: Clermont Ferrand OUT
TC 291: Laon IN
30 522.60 km

Overall 2 hour 03 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

We make a short pit-stop at a garage on the route.

More importantly he has oil for us as we are finding that our special "hot climate"-oil for Morocco starts to "freeze" in France even bringing the motor to a stop at one point. Additionally he happens to have one tire left in our size - so now we have a spare tire again.


In Laon, everyone is taking last snapshots and cleaning the car for the grand finale tomorrow.

Michel from Busch France is visiting us in Laon.

The rally participants are celebrating and applauding the help they received from the team of support mechanics which followed us all around the world. They have performed real miracles and were always helpful - Team Busch, fortunately, never had to find out: In 80 days they never needed their help, other then borrowing some screws and nuts. Nevertheless it was always good to know that they were driving behind us in case of breakdown.


The owner of the garage happens to be a classic car fanatic and never throws things away... among many other things he has actual spare parts for the Mercedes-Benz Ponton.

French countryside, typical farmland

At the end of the day, we are driving the same motorway that we drove on our way to London eighty days ago.

Brian and Brian, a father and son team from Ireland.

Frenchman Yves is inviting all rally participants to a big bottle of champagne.

I guess our car is safe from sabotage tonight: Guards are protecting the parking space.