The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997

September 6 - October 18, 1997

Bulletin 05 - Cold at Koko No

Friday 11 September     Lanzhou to Koko Nor     475 kms

First along the narrowing Yellow River valley with substantial mountains to the north and south, and into Qinghai province and its capital Xining the last town of any size before Lhasa. Leaving Xining follow a gorge and climb through increasingly spectacular scenery onto the edge of the Tibetan plateau, descending to the fertile shores of the Koko Nor, China's largest lake

After a much-needed rest day yesterday, competitors are spending their first night under canvas beside the largest lake in China. Rally chief, Philip Young, reports that the lake is a vast surreal expanse of water at the foot of the long haul up onto the Tibetan Plateau. The only local residents are nomads, apparently.

The section to Koko Nor, has seen the most competitive day of the rally so far, with persistent rain and a cold wind making conditions very difficult for the crews in open cars. Many have now lost time and just 54 are still unpenalised.

However, all competitors are safe and well but the Marmon (No 11), the Stutz (No 6) and the Jaguar Mk V11 (No 64) have retired and are making their way back to Peking by various means. The 1919 Marmon was taking a beating from the rough roads and a drive shaft failed. Despite the best efforts of the crew the attempts to make repairs were unsuccessful.

Notwithstanding continuing engine problems, the 1907 La France, now running on three instead of four cylinders is looking set to make it to Koko Nor. In the hostile weather, the German crew of this ancient monster is learning first hand what the rally must have been like for the winner of the original 1907 event, Count Scipio Borghese.

One of the biggest surprises of the day has been the identity of the recipient of one of the largest penalties so far, which has gone to one of the most competitive crews: Paul Minassian in the Peugeot 404 meticulously prepared by his co-driver Paul Grogan of the Northern Healey Centre. It seems they left their Time Card behind at a control.

Not alone among cars with suspension problems was the Volvo (No 62) of Francesca Sternberg and Jennifer Gillies. A broken damper hindered their progress and lost them 17 minutes against the ideal schedule.

Engines will be even more stressed tomorrow as the rally heads into even more rarefied air, towards Golmud, climbing beyond the 3,200m of Koko Nor.

Results information

The current results show 54 cars unpenalised in 1st place with a nominal 'penalty' of 6days 0hr 0min, representing one day's penalty for each day of the event elapsed so far.

There are also 8 cars running in the Touring Category.

NumberDriver (Car)Total Penalty
8K Jessen (Bentley)6d 0hr 2m
68Melissa Ong (Porsche)6d 0hr 2m
91H Bellm (Camaro)6d 0hr 3m
45Jennie Dorrey (Morris Minor)6d 0hr 4m
17W Binnie 4.5 Bentley6d 0hr 5m
69D Orteu (Volvo)6d 0hr 5m
54W Esch (Mercedes 300B)6d 0hr 11m
99R Taylor (Willys Jeep)6d 0hr 14m
62Francesca Sternberg (Volvo)6d 0hr 17m
73K Kopel (Triumph TR6)6d 0hr 17m
4G Acher (Aston Martin)6d 0hr 22m
16J Prior (Railton)6d 0hr 23m
19F Criminina6d 0hr 29m
12C Dunkley6d 0hr 32m
10B Ashby (Delage D8)6d 0hr 33m
27D Arrigo (Allard)6d 0hr 46m
29R Hellers (Sunbeam Talbot)6d 0hr 51m
14Baron von Schoonten (Railton)6d 0hr 51m
65C Schneider (Packard)6d 1hr 10m
9Prince Idris Shah (Ford Model B)6d 1hr 10m
39D Brister (Rover 110)6d 2hr 2m
76P Minassian (Peugeot)6d 6hr 53m
61P Noble (Bentley)6d 8hr 0m
2H Layher (La France)6d 9hr 7m
15D Saunders (Packard)6d 9hr 10m
44R Sackelariou (Wolseley)7d 0hr 8m
The following are officially retired:
16 (Day 1)F Noz (Ford Model A)Engine
33 (Day 1)J Netto (Ford Model B)Engine
1 (Day 2)Lord Montagu (Vauxhall Prince Henry)Overheating
64 (Day 6)D Ratcliffe (Jaguar Mk V11)Distributor
11 (Day 6)C Kleptz (Marmon)Transmission
6 (Day 6)D Cohen (Stutz) 


+44 (0) 1235 831221