London to Cape Town World Cup Rally 2012
The Long Way Down - Against the Clock
AWASA, ETHIOPIA - JANUARY 14TH, 2012
A tough day to Awasa
It’s been a long tough day from Bahir Dar to Awasa beginning with 200kms of difficult gravel that started off particularly rough.
Early starters drove it in the dark. Daybreak at Mota Road, the first of two World Cup Sections saw battle commence - the Subaru Impreza of Steve Blunt and Bob Duck set the best time, nearly a minute quicker than the Belgian Porsche of Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jaques Castelein.
Several crews finished with broken exhausts but the saddest casualty of the day was the Guliker/Hart BMW535i who hit a large rock that split the sump. Running 4th this created a vacancy at the top. Pim ‘t Hart returned to Bahir Dar where the split aluminium sump has been welded but will have to wait until tomorrow to return to Mota village where Renger remains with the car.
We have ended the 750km day at perhaps the most comfortable hotel of the entire event - owned by an Olympic runner who won medals for running barefoot, the management know all about recovering from human endurance. It is just a shame the wi-fi is not working, we have a similar problem in the next few nights so reports may reach you by semaphore or pigeon-post.
Top five in today's first World Cup Section are Blunt, Impreza 1:36; Cauwenberge, Porsche 2:28; Actman, Hilux 2:37; Tomlin, Defender 2:40; Tromans, 240Z 2:43
Five cars completed the second World Cup Section within the allowed time and without penalty with Alastair Caldwell next up losing just 3 seconds.
The top of the leaderboard changes with the Cauwenberge/Castelein Porsche moving up to 4th behind Owen Turner’s MGZR with the Blunt/Duck, Impreza second and Actman and Elcomb holding first in their Hilux.
Those watching the Yellowbrick tracking page will notice that Owain Lloyd and Peter Scott are making good progress catching the event after fitting a replacement engine in Gedaref. At 10pm tonight they are north of Addis Ababa about 320kms from Awasa. Eric Claeys and Ben Deleye still have some distance to drive before reaching Awasa… they were delayed after filling their Toyota with petrol instead of diesel. They are travelling quite close to the Peugeot 504 of Jean-Pierre and Mireille Demierre.
Unfortunately the parts needed to fix Ben and Mike Dawson's Escort missed the overnight plane from London. They are now left with an almost impossible task to repair their car and catch the rally.