The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Bulletin 16 - A tragic day
Monday/Tuesday 29/30 September
Multan to Quetta (624kms) and Quetta to Zahedan (724km)
Information received from sections to Quetta and Zahedan
The news of of the road accident that claimed the life of competitors, father and son, Josef and Rene Feit in their VW Cabrio has, understandably, cast a shadow over the event since yesterday.
Speaking from Quetta, for the organising team, Philip Young commented: "We are all devastated by this awful event, which has deeply affected everyone involved with the Challenge. Although it is the wish of the competitors that the event should continue, their mood will clearly be subdued."
The situation is now as follows. Having talked to many of the competitors, the Classic Rally Association decided that the event should leave Quetta this morning, and make for Iran, as scheduled. The Pakistani authorities agreed to this.
This has been done and the main group of the Challenge has now arrived at their hotels in Zahedan, in eastern Iran, where tomorrow will be a rest day.
With the agreement of the organisers, the German contingent has elected to stay on in Quetta for a further day. With the help of the German Embassy officials in Pakistan, they are making sure that everything possible is being done. They will be making the drive to Zahedan tomorrow.
Accordingly, all competitors in the Challenge will then depart from Zahedan, as originally scheduled, on Thursday morning, 2nd October for the next night halt at Kerman.
In spite of the tragic events of Monday, and because all crews will have made the run from Quetta to Zahedan in their own time, it has now been possible to issue classifications up to an including Quetta. This classification will not alter again until the Challenge reaches Kerman.
Monday was tough day for all the crews, for it was not only hot and dusty, but it was a long trek on hard, bumpy roads in near desert conditions. Even the top crews seem to have had a tough time as the results show.
For the first time since the Challenge entered Tibet, there has been a change of leader, for John Catt's Cortina has slipped to third place, with a loss of 28 minutes, and we also know that the Van der Laan Citroen, formerly in second place, went off the road, damaging its front suspension, and is now in 26th place. Broderick's Anglia, recently third, suffered a broken throttle cable and slipped to seventh.
Although 72 cars are listed as running, there has been wholesale change to the Classification, for only eight cars have lost less than one hour, and only 12 have lost less than four.
There are no changes to the Touring Category, for none of the cars has incurred any extra penalties.
Because the time difference between the Challenge and the UK is now down to only 3h 30min from GMT, results arrive later and later here in the UK and accordingly it may not now be possible to post reports until the following morning.