London to Cape Town World Cup Rally 2012
The Long Way Down - Against the Clock
Across the Mediterranean
BLUE STAR DIAGORAS, MEDITERRANEAN SEA - JANUARY 6TH, 2012
Up to our knees in Moussaka
The story of the rally today has been one of attrition and a battle of the elements. Over half the rally became stuck in glutinous mud this morning. The rally leaders got through, but in the process, churned the surface and the later numbers made things more difficult – two cars then spun sideways blocking the route.
The French Morgan V8 of Pierre-Henri Mahul was an early-morning retirement, slipping off the road on black ice and snapping the chassis rails. (..rumour is that the Morgan has morphed into a Suzuki Jimny and is on the boat. Ed). A second probable retirement came soon after with the news that Datsun 240Z crew of Alex Thistlethwayte and David Hiscox spun on a hairpin bend also finding an ice patch, but clouting the front end sufficiently hard that it looks like it could be out of the event. They have been trucked to a garage in Athens, and it is hoped to straighten out the metal work and suspension sufficiently to get onto the boat for more repairs in Egypt. (sadly the Datsun missed the boat by a few minutes. Ed)
There were six World Cup timed sections today, and the most competitive, and demanding of rallying days so far, incorporating some classic ground from the Acropolis Rally.
Everyone has their own story to tell. Robert Belcher, in Car 2, the 400bhp V8 BMW, says he didn’t get stuck in the muddy section, just powered through, but later in the day encountered his biggest fear of all – running out of petrol. “The last two stages were treated like an economy run, we were worried we would run dry.” he said on arrival at the port.
The same problem hit the Escort crew of Mike Dawson and son, Ben, as they ran out of fuel on the second to last section, Pissia. “But it’s been a wonderful day, you wouldn’t miss this for anything.”
Andy Actman says… “it has been a great day” which suggests the 4x4s have made lighter work of it than the rest.
Some good performances were seen from Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein, who set fastest times on four of today's World Cup Sections to move up into 8th place.
Quotes from the crews:
Grant Tromans, car 28, Datsun 240Z... “We ran out of gas a mile after the end of last stage”
“Hardest day’s rallying of my life…” says leader Owen Turner “…we got stuck in mud, huge slide nearly collecting an olive tree, dense fog, suffering from lack of grunt… very hard work”
“A good practice day for Kenya…” says Mark Munne in the little Peugeot 205, "now going fine, a really super day”
"Very tricky, almost impossibly dangerous on our tyres… " says Pierre-Yves Maisonneuve, Peugeot 505, "Nobody will forget Greece, ever”
Peugeot 504 driver David Spurling said “We had to cut out a lot after getting stuck… I can’t believe Africa can be any worse”
“Wonderful day, best so far" says Belgian Eric Claeys, car 48 Toyota.
“Wonderful day but we lost some time towing Alastair Caldwell out of the mud..” says Francis Tuthill, “…we only just spotted him as he was off route”
"I've been up my knees in mud" said John Bayliss, after his Volvo went off. “…the rear of the car is a little crumpled”