Sect. 3, Leg 32: Pouso Alto – Rio de Janeiro: Beach or Bust
21 november 2010
An easy drive to the so deserved finish at the Copacabana. Tears, champagne music all these elements are present as they hero’s that drove 14.500 kilometers reach the beach. A section of the Copacabana is closed especially for the arrival of the rally. There was just one more special stage that had to be driven this morning and it was won by John Goodwin and Chris Skellern in the ever so quick MGB. Since the road is wet and slippery we see 5 crews hit a stone or a tree. The already beaten up cars have some scarves now too.
All that remains now is the prize giving party. On the roof of Rio de Janeiro the atmosphere could not be any better. Brazilian drums and a samba school make the Carrera Copacabana competitors dance and swing in the early hours of the night. The prize for the Spirit of the event goes to the father and son Muller for helping out so many and the against all odds prize is for Ronald and Inez Hof.
A special made Costro watch is presented by Peter Gottert to the overall winners Shaun Arnold and Bennie Roetgerink. A very special victory for Shaun, who’s father is so seriously ill, that he almost had not been here to compete.
See the result page for the overall standings.
Sect. 3, Leg 31: Campinas – Pouso Alto: Anglo Dutch team bring in the victory
We are starting the last real rally day and the winner still has not been decided. Five crews have a chance to win this sector ( Cusco – Rio de Janeiro). This is rather unique on an event of 15.000 kilometers. First there is a regularity over the red gravel roads between the banana tress with lots of possibilities to take the wrong direction. And much to our surprise not less than 7 crews, of which some well placed in the top ten can not handle the pressure. So plenty of penalties for the Gray’s, for the leaders, John Goodwin and Chris Skellern with dramatic results. They drop from first to third. Second placed Shaun Arnold / Bennie Roetgerink make no mistakes and take it easy on the last test of the day, a superb gravel section on private terrain. The do not make any mistakes and bring home the victory of the third sector as well as the overall prize. In the vintage class it is the Finnish crew, Martti and Pirkko Kikka, who keep doing well. They are the overall winners in this class, while Do and Els Meeus take the honors in the 4×4 class.
Sect. 3, Leg 30: Londrina – Campinas: The heat is on
With less than 1500 kilometers to go to the finish and only 4 more regularities to go, there remains a lot to loose and little to win. Quite a few competitors take it easy and want to make sure that they will make it to the finish. This is a big shame because driving the auto route is not very exciting and they miss the local festivities, such as in Maristela, organized by enthusiastic auto clubs. Many TV crews car enthusiasts and classic car owners came to meet and greet the Carrera Copacabana contenders. Fortunately the real rallyist all came here to show the cars to the locals. The top crews, John Goodwin / Chris Skellern, the Grays, Pit and Sylvia Lindner, Shaun Arnold / Bennie Roetgerink and Pim and Margit Brunet, keep a close eye on each other, all eager to maintain or improve positions. The final regularity section of the day proves to be a little more difficult than anything we had so far. So some navigators have been caught out. John Goodwin and Chris Skellern in the MGB are leading the third sector of the rally with a marginal difference to the numbers two, Arnold / Roetgerink and after today the difference is only 27 seconds. Let us see what happens tomorrow. See the results page.
Sect. 3, Leg 29: Foz do Iguacu – Londrina: The tension goes up.
It is hard that we have to leave this beautiful hotel situated on the edge of the world famous waterfalls. The biggest newspapers of Brazil have covered the Carrera Copacabana in full pages. Brazil knows that we are here. Fortunately the two missing crews Ensink and Erich Hoop both in Mercedes managed to catch up so now we are 25 crews again. Seven cars have definitively given up. But the crews have all switched to a rental car and they have their own competition. The first test of the day on the Iquazu kart track produces lots of penalties again. Stopping astride means front wheels over the line and the rear wheels behind the line and the car has to come to a complete stop. Many think the braking hard is enough but like Pim Brunet many have the car still rolling as they cross the line. Also the overall leaders Shaun Arnold and Bennie make a wrong stop, so the test later on the Ayrton Senna circuit will have to tell whether they go up or down the leaderboard. Around the Senna circuit a great number of motorsport fans, press and automobile club people are watching what is going on. They do not understand that the timing is done by satellite reception in the rally cars. There are no marshals to be seen other than those who feed the cars onto the circuit. This time the penalty for being late or early has a factor ten. Since we are getting close to the final of the event now, the organizers are showing that the sting is in the tail.
Sect. 3, Leg 27: Resistencia – Foz do Iguacu: Running to the waterfalls.
The long straight roads are awaiting us today. 600 km and some three bends. Great applause for the Muller crew as they arrive in Foz. They have been helping everybody and his brother to keep cars going, with the result that they are the last car to come to the finish. The regularity section on red mud / gravel with the banana trees on the back ground was one of the highlights of the day. Film and photo crew had there time of the year, but unfortunately some crew who were eager to win have dropped there chances and are now taking the tourist route. This typical Dutch behavior is not much appreciated or understood by the non Dutch competitors. We are missing the Dutch couple Emile and Mariane Ensing. We know that the Mercedes needs attention for the suspension and they re one day behind the rally. They hope to catch up with us on the rest day in Foz de Iquazu. The Mustang from Kies/ Alkemade did not make it and the crew has decided to leave the car in Juy Juy, here they join the Liechtenstein crew Erich Hoop and Alwin Dosch in the Master of Disaster Mercedes who have hired a plain to catch up with the rally. The day is won by, who else, Pit and Sylvia Lindner but the difference with the leading crews is to small to improve on the overall standings. To morrow a rest day in Brasil at the wterfalls of Foz de Iquazu
Sect. 3, Leg 26: Jujuy – Resistencia: The longest day.
The longest day in miles, 860 kilometer but in fact an easy run direction Brazil. Many crews that have limped into Juy Juy start the day with repairing welding and getting ready for the final part of the event. Ton Kies and Joep Alkemade blow the head gasket of the already heavy battered Ford Mustang. They have to spent the day finding a garage, a gasket and then catch up with the rally. Also the ever positive team Theo van der Laan and Hans de Weerd have to stay in Juy Juy. The dynamo of the Mercedes has been playing up for the last week or so and is now definitely giving up. Like the finns, Martti and Pirkko Kika they start shopping for parts. The finns succeed the Mercedes crew does not. ( yet) . The decimated field, only 18 teams are able to drive the full route is lead now by the English crew, John Goodwin and Chris Skellern, closely followed by Shaun Arnold / Bennie Roetgerink. The team that deserves the biggest applause however are father and sun Muller . They have loads of trouble keeping the Mustang going, but the help, the service they provide to others is incredible and the best proof of the camaraderie in the event.
Sect. 3, Leg 25: Uyuni – Jujuy: Internet access again.
It takes us 8 hours driving to get away from the salt lake to the only 280 kilometer further away border of Bolivia and Argentina. So one can imagine this is not at piece of cake. The route turns out to be a nightmare , sand dunes, gravel of the poorest quality and sometimes no road at all and this after the very heavy punishing the cars had yesterday already this means that we loose yet another two cars. Both the Volvo PV 544 ‘s of Martin and Jose Aaldering and the same car from Ronald Versluis / Rob Hammink loose the back axle. The sweeper car has to do overtime, does not make it to the border in time to cross and have to spent the night in a local hotel three hours plus a border crossing away from the rally. The Austrians Feichtlinger / Haberl are way of route and do get stuck in the loose sand. A buss passes by all the passengers come out and lift the Ford Mustang out of the sand. One of the most amusing moments of the rally, if they were not haunted by continuing car trouble throughout the event. Werner Esch finally has a great rally day. Roderick Schlimmer who navigated the first half of the rally for his father was supposed to go home after being replaced by the new navigator Nienke van den Berg. Roderick is pleased to have a seat, Werner is leased with this experienced co driver and they make it in the top ten today in spite of a broken shock absorber.
Sect. 3, Leg 24: La Paz – Uyuni: Salar Uyuni
The toughest day of the event with a finish on the Sallt Lakes of Uyuni. That was the idea. However the road to the start of the Salt lake section turns out to be so bad that we have choosen to drive an alternative route. This route has turned the day into a nightmare for those who do not drive at least 80 kph over these corrugated roads. And if you drive a speed in between you can count on a shock absorber as well as other suspension problems. Emile Ensink had to replace three shocks, Martin Aaldering one and Ton Goedmakers broke the frame of the Jaguar. The salt lake, the biggest in the world is spectacular, but only for the first five teams who arrived at the final control in time. They went sightseeing on the 6 meter thick layer of salt. They had there Christmas pictures taken here and the rest of the rally could only enjoy the spectacular sunset. The Jaguar is beyond repair and has to be saved from Bolivia by our shipping partners. This is the fourth car that retires from the rally. As we have no access to the internet these reports will show up rather late. Tomorrow, when back in the normal world, we hope to make up for this.
Sect. 3, Leg 23: Puno – La Paz: Bolvia here we come
Waking up on the shore of the lake Titicaca is living in a dream ( see the picture pages). On or way to La Paz we cross the lake in wobbling old barches. It takes two cars per trip and both competitors as well as ferryman have the time of there life. The ferryman try to increase the trip price for every new trip, but fortunately Mark Appleton had mentioned the real price in the as ever, faultless roadbook. Another interesting challenge was the border crossing Peru / Bolivia. With the lost day, coming into Peru in still in mind we were expecting the worst. Travel agent Crillon tours made all the border arrangements and the number of passport copies, insurance copies and other copies were handed over to them with the following result. As soon as we were showing up at the border we got a stack of papers handed back and we could continue, faster than our European airports. A Fangio test on smooth gravel and a circuit test on the La Paz car track presented the usual penalties and the amazingly well performing Mercedes team Emile and Marianne Ensink are creeping up on the leaderboard. The message we have received from our 48 hour car, Colin Francis / Nicky Porter is that they are stranded as they were trying to reach the great salt lake of Uyuni. Lets see what this road has in store for us.
Sect. 3, Leg 22: Cusco – Puno: Titicaca lake
Most of the competitors have visited the magnificent Machu Pichu as well s the town square and churches of Cusco (see Wikipedia). After three nights at 3300 meters altitude we will now cross the Andes and we never get any lower than 3200 meters. In fact there is one pass of 4300 and the crews can feel the lack of oxygen. The same applies for the cars of course. During the lunch halt we have two cars missing. The Mercedes from Mick de Haas / Antony Verloop has now given up completely and is towed in by Do and Els Meeus. Mick stops the car and 3 minutes later a bus driver runs into the back side of the car, that is just what they did not need right now. The new navigator from Roland van Pelt, Jean Paul Haagen has literally dropped out of the sky and has the fine task of replacing the talented Stein van Pelt. A little mistake is easily made but 50 kilometers in the wrong direction means that they total 550 kilometer for the day. The rally is now on the third sector this means that we start from scratch again. Emile and Marianne Ensink win the day with only 30 seconds penalty. Just 3 seconds less than the Classification leaders Shaun Arnold / Bennie Roetgerink. We spent the night in Puno at the shores of the world’s highest lake at 3850 meter above sea level.
Sect. 2, Leg 19: Chivay – Cusco: Over the top
Day 20 – 21 Cusco rest day. Today the grand old capital of Peru can be visited by the crews and marshals of the Carrera Copacabana, so no reports today and tomorrow. The overnight night halt in a scenic El Refugio hotel hidden between the gorges of Chivay at 3600 mtrs altitude was not easy . One could feel the lack of oxygen, so we have to walk and move at a very slow pace. Than the day starts with a regularity section which climbs up to 4910 meters. The highest point of the rally. It is here that Pit Lindner in the underpowered Mercedes looses a lot of time and drops down to the seventh place. Michael Feichtlinger and Michael Haberl, the Austrians win the day, they gain some places but the damage done on the Hotel wall in Salta keeps them away from a high ranking. The drive through the ever changing scenery is mind boggling again. We are now in the Peru that one has in mind. The whole day we drive at 4000 meter or higher. So the message to the competitors sent by doctor Boy Visser is very clear, drink liters a day to keep the height sickness away. Lama’s, the ladys with the funny bowl hats, men wearing the knitted Peruvian caps and what is very remarkable, is the small size of these mountain people. We all look like giants.. Trucks and busses without lights, maybe without brakes and sending an immense amount of black smoke into the extremely clean blue air. In Cusco we say goodbye to a few crews and we welcome the new ones. Ronald Versluis / Rob Hammink will now drive the PV 544 previously driven by Franco Lombardi and Claudia Malgrati. Stein van Pelt changes with Jean Paul Haagen and Roderick Schlimmer hands over to Nienke van de Berg. Father Jan Schlimmer is looking very worried as he has lost 2 of the ventilator fan blades from the beautiful restored Jaguar. The Aalderings suffer more brake problems and both the Toyota from Do Meeus as well as rally director Bart Rietbergen’s Audi come to a stand still because of serious fuel blockage. They all arrive late and have to fight there way through the heavy traffic in the dark. In Cusco competitors will have time to visit one of the highlights of the event, Machu Pichu. We say goodbye to Colin Francis and Nicky Porter, the crew of the 48 hour car. We will see them again in Brazil.
Sect. 2, Leg 18: Arequipa – Chivay: Condors in the sky
Arequipa is a the third largest town of Peru. It has this typical Spanish colonial town centre, which was visited in the morning by about half the field. The other half used the day for the main reason why we are here and that is to drive to the Colca Canyon and see these extreme big birds, that you only find in the Andes. The Condors. These birds do not fly, they soar on the thermal winds coming out of the deep, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, gorge that we can look into. Although it is not condor season, they are busy mating this time of the year, we have seen enough of them to make it worthwhile the trip. They came as close as 15 meters from where we were standing and it is than that you realize the size of the 3,5 meter wide birds. When they stand up they measure 1,20 meters. Needless to say that they do not feed on small mices, but go for the bigger sized game. On our way to Chivay we have passed the 4910 meters sign and we will go over the same pass again tomorrow. Again no competition today so the standings remain the same. The big surprise of the day is that we see Bert Kersten and Leo van der Wouw when we arrive in the hotel. Not with the American La France, but a brand new Volkswagen Amaroc. They drove for 3 days continuously to catch up with us. Great stuff.
Sect. 2, Leg 17: Arica – Arequipa: Border trouble
The first thing we have to do today is crossing the Chile / Peru border. It turns out to be a full days job. One custom person is reserved for the job and he cannot type. Well he can with one finger and it takes him 15 minutes to handle one car. If Peru wants to have visitors from abroad this is the perfect way to chase them away. One of the competitors, Erich Hoop from Liechtenstein with the Master of Desaster stickers on his car, turns out to be solver of disaster this time. He and Gertrude Mulder take the lead in the pandemonium that is called immigration. With a delay of over 6 hours the last crews finally make it into Peru, but it is obvious that the circuit test that we were supposed to run have to be cancelled. This is a great shame because the people from the Tacna automobilclub had a fine goody bag ready for all participants. During the lunch halt we encounter the great interest of the Peruvian population in our event. Hundreds of children, fathers with pimped “classics “ and mothers in their best clothing are greeting the rally cars.
Sect. 2, Leg 16: San Pedro de Atacama – Arica: The Aalderings are in trouble
The drive through the Atacama desert was a lot of absolutely nothing. No animals, no trees no life to be seen. Until we came to the driest spot on earth, according to the Guiness book of records, were there was water, coming out of the ground some trees and yes animals. Close to this place we found a meteorite crater, you sure do not want to stand there in case one comes visiting from the sky. On every corner of the street on the 715 kilometer long route a policeman was there to make sure that the rally cars would not be troubled by locals. Fortunately there were only 5 corners on today’s route. We passed the official half way sign, 7200 kilometers so there is no turning back now. In Holland we say it takes thieves to catch thieves. Rally organizer Bart Rietbergen found the exit gate of the Valley of the Luna closed. A hammer, long piece of pipe some hard bouncing and the gate was open. Unfortunately rally cars were already pointed in a different direction, so they missed this unique bit of nature. Not only did Arnold and Patricia van Dobben make it back into the rally after doing a four days route in only 2 days, they also served a rescue vehicle for the Aaldering Volvo. The Volvo lost all engine oil and had te be towed to the end control. We hope they can make it again tomorrow. After our very luxurious stay in the Kunza hotel in the middle of the desert, we have now landed on the Pacific Ocean shore in Arica.
Sect. 2, Leg 14: Salta – San Pedro de Atacama: Border trouble for leaders
Watch this film Day 14 Salta – San Pedro de Atacama Today we have to conquer the mighty Andes Mountains, 400 kilometer wide massive 5000 meters high. It is wilderness, lots of what have been salt lakes in the past. You are wondering how it is possible to have so much salt water at 4000 meter height. One cannot count the number of volcano’s, the ever changing colors of the deserts (also at 4000 meters) and the mountain tops surrounding us. We feel small, very small. Meanwhile we are running the Carrera Copacabana. A regularity section over a pass at 3500 meters makes the powerfull cars hard to move. Pit Lindner looses some 20 seconds and he feels as if he is loosing his chances to win the event here. Also the crews can feel the lack of oxygen in the air. The sky is hard blue ( we have not seen a cloud for over a week now) the colors are very vivid and we make hundreds of pictures. Ruud Muller looses the stop of his oil sump. Oil the oil disappears from the engine and he is stuck. After being towed to a local workshop the skilled Argentinean mechanic makes him a new stop, OUT OF WOOD. It works and father and sun can continue. At the border into Chile panic for the Lindners. Pit seems to have lost his passport. Thanks to the Dutch Consul Jeannette van den Berg, in Chile, who happens to be present at the border the border police are very helpful and let Pit into the country. Fortunately tomorrow Is a rest day and Pit can go and see the already alerted German Embassy in Santiago. No reports tomorrow whilst we a enjoying the extreme luxury of the Kunza hotel in the middle of the Atacama desert.
Sect. 2, Leg 13: Cafayate – Salta: Volvo misery
Day 13 Cafayatte – Salta The new crew that joined us in Mendoza Franco Lombardi and Claudia Malgrati said it all, what we have seen today from a scenery point of view is second to none, undiscribable, a dream for the eyes and that after yesterday were we heard the same kind of comment. The misery for the Volvo team Hof / Hof does not come to an end. Today the lost the left front wheel and hit a rock. Fortunately also this time they could be helped out and continue to Salta. On the circuit of Salta there is another lap consistency test. Three laps in exact the same time, but this yime one of the laps is shrter than the other two. In spite of that Pit and Sylvia Lindner manage a zero and so does Emile and Marianne Ensink both team in Mercedes. Jon Goodwins MGB lost all brake fluid on the first regularity section of the day and continued without any brakes and cleaned the section. Richard Words and Nicola Shakleton in the 4×4 Toyota are winning this class again today and now have a firm lead. Question however is if they can bring the hire car into Peru. We will soon find out. Team Kersten van der Wouw also in a hire car, are facing the same problem and have decided to buy a car to avoid this. Tomorrow we are heading for Chile and we will do our first Andes crossing.
Sect. 2, Leg 12: Villa Union – Cafayate: Rolling Mustangs
Just after we leave the hotel and all believe the scenery can never get better, we drive through immense red rock formations with meters high cactuses everywhere, again to beautiful to be true, but have a look at the picture pages. A tough uphill regularity section is separating the man from the boys and of course a few crew cannot keep up, on this narrow gravel mountain road. The day seems to be rather trouble free, but this is not true. The new arrived Autod”Epoca team from Italy, Franco Lombardi and Claudia Malgrati get a stone smashing a brake pipe of the Volvo. Fortunately help is quick on its way and the car can continue. Today the bad luck is there for the Mustangs. Ruud Muller has a clutch playing up, Wim Peters has a brake problem and Ton Kies / Joep Alkemade slip of the road roll down to land on their feet again. The biggest damage is the dented ego. During the lunch in Belen we are greeted by the local gaucho club, all dressed in their best costumes they invite the crews to have their pictures taken and Gertude Mulder is even trying a ride on one of the horses. Best result for today is Pit and Sylvia Lindner performance rewarded with only 6 seconds penalty. Ronald Hof is second with 8 seconds just in front of Pim and Margit Brunet who score 9 seconds. We have heard that the stranded Jeep of Arnold and Patricia van Dobben has been repaired and will catch up with the rally in San Pedro de Atacama. Another stranded team following the rally in a hire car, Bert Kersten and Leo van der Wouw are having their third puncture today. The rally cars, most of them on Vredestein Comtrac tyres don’t seem to have this problem.
Sect. 2, Leg 11: Mendoza – Villa Union: The most beautiful scenery in the world.
In the mountains near San Juan a beautiful circuit is hidden in the side of the Andes mountains. Competitors have to do handle a lap consistency test here and now we are in the second sector the penalties are multiplied by 3. More trouble for Bert Kersten and his wonderful American La France. The car is in Mendoza but Federal Express had a week to deliver the spare parts in Mendoza and in spite of all sorts of promises there were no parts in Mendoza. So for him also the rally is over now. The afternoon regularity section is driven in the most stunning scenery man can imagine, impossible to describe in words, impossible to capture by camera, you just had to be there. The most funny part of the day is a Police check, there are many in Argentina, that stops all cars, than the 2 police man stand in front of the car, take loads of pictures, thank the drivers, who are all wished a pleasant journey in their country. For the Hof crew in the Volvo there does not seem to come an end to their misery, a string of small problems, make sure that they never have clean hands.
Sect. 1, Leg 10: San Rafael – Mendoza: Final day of sector 1
The Hotel owner is mixing us up with the Dakar rally, because this hotel is also booked for them and he thought that we were coming to practice. We did practice but on the local Circuit of San Raphael. The last test of the Sector 1, the rally is divided in three sectors of 10 days each and after each sector points are given for the overall standings ( like Formule 1) than we start from scratch again. The circuit test was a mix of the long circuits as well as the kart track on the infield and on top of that various pylons had to be taken in the correct way. 13 of the 33 cars d a correct test, all others gained penalties for a wrong test or overshooting the stop astride line. One of them was 4th placed Mick de Haas / Antony Verloop and they lost one place in the overall standings. Anne and Chineke Ringsma lost the driveshaft halfway they day and the car is now beyond repair. They are the first official withdrawal of the event. The afternoon was spent at the wine yards of Salentein. A tour through the cellers, the museum and an excellent lunch were also the winners of Sector one were celebrated. First in the Vintage categorie is the Finnish crew Martti and Pirkko in the Jaguar MK 10, first in the 4×4 category are Do and Els Meeus and first in the Trial Cllass Willem and Ellen Vermeulen in the Jaguar.
Sect. 1, Leg 9: Zapala – San Rafael: The Goedmakers story
Today we have experienced our first real sandstorm. A very strong wind was blowing us over the Andes passes and as we closed in to San Raphael the temperature rose very fast, the wind came from left to right and blew soft sand over the road which made the road almost invisible. Yet another day with enough drama. Volvo Team Shaun Arnolds/Benny Roetgerink broke their shock absorbers when they drove into a water hole in the first regularity of the day but lucky they were when next to the time control a local garage assisted in fixing the problem whilst we had a lunch stop. They forgot however to fill up with fuel in the filling station also situated next to the lunch halt. When they run out of fuel they were saved by Ronald Hof with a spare fuel canister. Free the clutch on downhill parts and just make it in the time control with 30 seconds to spare. Their result for the day is a 14 seconds penalty, first place together with Pit and Sylvia Lindner and Willem and Ellen Vermeulen. The Goedmakers in the MK II have another interesting story to tell. After fixing their breaks in the morning their radiator was hit by a stone in the afternoon, so they were towed to the next TC by the film crew for 200 km . At the TC Rally doctor Boy Visser helped them out by organizing a tow truck and guess what, on the way to the hotel the tow truck gets a leaking radiator as well but managed to repair it so they succeeded to be in the hotel in San Raphael just in time for the final dinner of the day. Anne and Chieneke Ringsma really have a problem now with their Volvo Amazone. A big stone on the regularity section hit the bottom of their car and damaged the back axel and after a few miles the car failed to proceed, which means a really big damage is done to the car. It is being brought down on a truck at this moment. Tomorrow we will hear what their plans are for the rest of the rally. After a long testing day we go to bed early in order to be fit for tomorrows test at the San Raphael circuit and then the wine tasting at the Salentein Estate.
Sect. 1, Leg 8: Bariloche – Zapala: Who has lost this front wheel
Day 8 Bariloche Zapala 510 km The Volvo of Anne Ringsma has been serviced during the rest day, so everything in order one would say. True if he had not forgotten to tighten the wheel nuts. Needless to say that a wheel came loose and off this did enough damage to be on a tow truck for the rest of the day. As we are getting closer to the finish of the first sector ( 10 days) one can feel the tension of the top crews. Nigel and Christine Gray followed some competitors of the Vintage route and he still had another time control and 34 kilometer of Fangio section ahead of him. By the time they found out there mistake the Fangio section had a length of 70 kilometer for them now. They dropped ten minutes and lost second third and fourth place. Harm Altena made the same mistake and lost some minutes as well. Martin Aaldering lost the triangle nuts holding the front suspension and had to limp home. Or Luxembourger friend Wernes Esch has been extremely helpful during the rest day to help everybody to get going again, so extra sad for him that one of his own fuel switches failed. He in his turn was now helped out by the service crew of Jan Altena. The final test of the day, a hill climb was won by the Austrian team – Michael Feichtinger / Michael Haberl in the Ford Mustang.
Sect. 1, Leg 6: Esquel – Bariloche: Leaders are closing up.
Day 6 Esquel – Bariloche 400 km Todays route has been choosen to be the best so far and that is what the competitors said yesterday as well. Great gravel roads, a tricky circuit test in Esquel and a breathtaking scenery were the ingredients for today. A great performance on the test by Nigel and Christine Gray clocking the second fastest time with only one second difference Roland van Pelt / Peter van Egmond in the Datsun who came first. Roland was however pretty soon after this in a different mood. On the first Fangio section of the event his radiator gave up, lost all the cooling fluent and he had to be saved by rally director Bart Rietbergen. The section was extremely dusty, in fact Harm Altena did not see the Austrian Mustang of Haberl and Feichtinger who had stopped at the control and kissed them. Fortunately both cars could continue. Another mishap was the flat tire of the hire car of Bert and Leo ( the same car who had filled up with Diesel instead of petrol yesterday) and then Bert found out the spare tire was of another type. Also Bert was saved by the Audi of Bart Rietbergen who brought his tire to a local garage to have it repaired. Emile and Marianne Ensink are having the time of their life. The scenery, the rally, they declare everything wholly, they feel to be in the seventh heaven. The van Dobben’s have found the right rhythm now and make it to various time controls in the correct time. One crew was looking for a marriage councilor this afternoon. Chieneke Ringsma gave the wrong average speed to husband Anne . So they came in a few minutes late whilst Anne thought he had done so well. Also the Mercedes from Mick de Haas and Antony Verloop is playing up. It refused to start in the morning, than they lost some gears so time for a rest day. Fortunately Werner Esch gave them valuable advise on how to get the car going again and it worked. The dinner at the end of the day turned out to be a sort of a prize giving party. We have only done 5 days driving but it can b said that the atmosphere between competitors is of the the highest camaraderie level one can think of. Will this continue ? Tomorrow is a rest day in the most prestigious hotel of Argentina, the Ljao Ljao in Bariloche, place frequently visited by our Royal family.
Sect. 1, Leg 5: Puerto Madryn – Esquel: Diesel in a petrol car
Day 5 Puerto Madryn – Esquel 700 Km. The scenery is finally changing dramatically. We leave the flat pampas and exchange them for grat vieuws gorges in red yellow black and lots of other great colors and we continue to be blessed with blue skys and temperatures in the id twenties. We start the day with a test in Trelew Autodromo. It looks simple but the penalties show again how difficult it is to complete 3 laps, an in and out lap and a lap were you set your basic time, that needs to be repeated 3 more times. Bert Kersten and Leo van der Wouw which are following the rally now as marshals in a modern Chevrolet, have lend the car to the photographer of the event Wico Mulder for our excursion day to the Whales and PSenquins. Wico decided to be polite and hand the car back to Leo and Bert filled with Diesel instead of gasoline. So they stranded again and had to be towed by the girls Marshal team of Jolijn Rietbergen and sister Gertude Mulder. Richard Worts did not manage to repair the diff of his Jaguar, has found all the bits and pieces he needs but will be working overtime and will try to catch up in the next few days. A great shame because before their disaster the were on a solid second place.
Sect. 1, Leg 4: Puerto Madryn – Puerto Madryn: Restday
Day 4 Puerto Madryn restday For most competitors the days program is filled with whale watching feeding the penguins. In the front of the hotel a number of cars are being prepared in order to be able to continue. We take a rest day and continue our story tomorrow.
Sect. 1, Leg 3: Bahia Blanca – Puerto Madryn: Leaders change positions.
Day 3 – Bahia Blanca – Puerto Madryn. Patagonia here we are. As we leave Bahia Blanca the rally is entering the vast pampas of a deserted empty, traffic free Patagonia. We pas the various agricultural checks, to see if we have any fruits on board. The long empty roads make us move very fast. At lunch time we already covered 450 kilometer leaving 300 to go. And that is were the trouble starts. First is the Jeep Wrangler of Arnold and Patricia van Dobben with drive shaft problems, than Mick de Haas his Mercedes does not change to tank number two and is stranded without fuel, the Volvo of Anne Ringsma is getting hot, loosing cooling water and Martin Aaldering brakes a break line. Fortunately they all get going again, except the Jaguar MK 2 of Richard Worts. The differential has lost all the oil and they have to be towed to Puerto Madryn. Fortunately there is a rest day tomorrow so that they can find a garage to help them out.They are now on the look out for a new back axle. Do and Els Meeus are everywhere were is trouble. Keeping an eye on the mechanics and helping out himself as well. True camaraderie. Rally leaders Arnold Shaun and Bennie Roetgerink, make a calculation mistake in the long regularity that does cost them dear minutes. New Leaders now are Willem and Ellen Vermeulen with just a few seconds difference with Nigel and Christine Gray. See the results page
Sect. 1, Leg 2: Balcarce – Bahia Blanca: More Fangio action from the Lindners
Day 2 Balcarce – Bahia Blanca. The Lindners did it again. Only 11 seconds penalty on day one has put them on the top of the leaderboard. Although the difference with car number two is only one second it has set the tune. Other competitors must have feared this, because Silvia Lindner was locked in the ladies toilet just before she had to start after the lunch break. She was set free only 30 seconds before her due out time. Hilarity and laughter of course. The American La France, made it to Balcarce with a malfunctioning valve. So they also have to be in the garage during the night, whilst the competitors enjoyed an exquisite dinner in the hart of the Balcarce Juan Manual Fangio museum. Great atmosphere, a lot of dancing not aware of any heavy rallying that are laying ahead of us today. On the very first test at the Fangio circuit in Balcarce, crews it was as if they were fighting to get penalties. Jan and Roderick Schlimmer went over the test real fast ,but forgot that they had to stop astride, while Arnold Shaun and Bennie Roetgerink did stop but at the wrong place. Rob Vorspaget drive a lap to many to mention just a few. This was not Rob Vorspagets day anyway because at the fuel station they filled the Porsche up with diesel. The spirit of the event today certainly goes to Arnold and Patricia van Dobben who stopped in the middle of a regularity section to tow the Ford Mustang of Wim Peters to the end. At the end of the day Ronald Hof’s Volvo got fire, it was fortunately extinguished real quick so that the service crew could get them going again. New leaders are now Shaun Arnold and Bennie Roetgerink. Werner Esch from Luxembourg has been buzy helping out other competitors so that they can continue rolling. They are really trying to win the Spirit of the Event prize. See the results page.
Sect. 1, Leg 1: Buenos Aires – Balcarce: Only a few minutes and we start.
Prestart story. We are now just before for the start with a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that all cars have passed through customs without any problem. The bad news is that Air France might go on strike, so the key question is, will all the competitors and marshals flying via Paris make it in time for the start. Also some of the competitors are missing flights due to slow connections and delays in the French air space. Those who have picked up cars already from the docks are facing some small problems already. The 1968 Landcrab nr 27 has a mall functioning fuel pump. The Merc edes of Emile Ensink has an electric failure and is picked up by the tremendous service of our partner Global Pieter Smit. Emile is glad to be rescued from the dark back streets of Buenos Aires. Our final farewell party is given by the Dutch Ambassador mr Hein de Vries, who invited all participants for cocktails and Argentinian delicys in his residence and we are now ready to roll. The start of the first day is at 08.30 at the Fangio Statue the real car Hero of Argentina ad tonight we will finish at the Fangio Museum in Balcarce.
Sect. 1, Leg 1: Buenos Aires – Balcarce: We are off
Day 1 Buenos Aires – Balcarce Today we will drive some 400 kilometer to Fangio town. But the Cars had to be cleared from customs of course and we have to thank Global Pieter Smit for performing an impeccable job. When we arrive at the docks it is just arrive and drive. All cars are washed, ready to roll, if they can that is. Only minutes after we leave the start, were we are waved out by friends family and bystanders car number 1 the American La France leaves the city. But only 15 kilometer later we find him on the side of the road. Fortunately the service crew of Altena Classic service is right behind them to give assistance. The first regularity over dusty back roads are the first tests for the co drivers, because one has to navigate with the GPS system provide by the organizers. A new experience to many. The good thing is that all crews find the start, not all of them find the finish. The next test is a run on the Fangio circuit. Roland van Pelt and Peter van Egmond suffer a cooling fan going through the radiator, Ronald Hof lost his odometer cable, whilst Anne Ringsma fears that his valve is burned. While most competitors enjoy a great dinner served in the Fangio Museum between his cars, other will spent the night in the garage.