London to Cape Town World Cup Rally 2012
The Long Way Down - Against the Clock
Clanwilliam, South Africa
CLANWILLIAM, SOUTH AFRICA- JANUARY 28TH, 2012
Down to the Wire
We have a new leader, as the rally heads towards the Cape Town clock-tower and a likely photo-finish.
The two Andys - Andy Actman and Andy Elcombe - have headed the leaderboard from the top of Africa, but today slipped to second. Steve Blunt and Bob Duck in the non-turbo Subaru Impreza snatched the lead with a determined effort, overhauling the first-placed Toyota to lead by just seconds. After nearly a month, the fight to win the London to Cape Town World Cup Rally could not have produced a tighter finish. First to congratulate Steve and Bob was Andy Actman, waiting at the end of the Olifants River time-trial.
There was drama aplenty throughout the field today. The crew of car 42, the 504 of Jean-Louis Juchault and Thibault de Wazieres, limped to the end of the final test with a shredded rear tyre; Jane Edgington's Maestro is mis-firing onto three cylinders, she suspects either poor fuel or even a burnt exhaust-valve; and Car 36, the 505 of Pierre-Yves Maisonneuve and Henri Minard, saw the driver sprinting in the hot sun to the time-keepers at the end (drinking a litre of water on arrival) to flag down another car to ask for a petrol can. He had run out! Car 7, Mike and Ben Dawson, gave him a jerry-can to carry back to the stricken Peugeot.
Dusty and hot at 41°C, the twisty, narrow track to the finish of today's competition put a premium on handling, and the agile Subaru sliced into Actman's lead to emerge a few seconds ahead.
Tomorrow, the Cederbergs are all uphill, the final challenge on Day 29 looks like favouring those with a bit of grunt. The run into Cape Town will finally decide things.