Leg 6 –  Grosseto – Rome

Just a half day of competition today, a regularity with 6 timing points and a test on another driving school site. However, that was enough to cause big changes at the top of the leader board.

Nothing serious happened on the regularity with most crews achieving similar results. After this, all that was left was a Time Control and a long run to the final test and the end of competition.

It was on the section that things went wrong for the Rally leaders Christian Ruter and Stephan Huber in their Frogeye Sprite. After the TC, they then managed a very long wrong slot and it was after recovering from this that they then missed the combined secret check and speed check control. This gave them a 15 minute penalty. They also then managed to do a wrong test and incurred an extra 3 minutes penalty for this as well.

These penalties have unfortunately dropped them to 3rd place overall. That left Pit Lindner and Jaap van den Broek to fight for first place. At the end of leg 5 Pit had a 1 minute lead over Jaap. For leg 6 they both have similar penalties but Jaap is incurring an extra 2 minutes per day for using a Tripmaster.

Therefore the final result in the Trial Category is:

1st – Pit and Silvia Lindner, Siata 208S

2nd – Jaap and Hansje van den Broek, Peugeot 404

3rd – Christian Ruter / Stephen Huber, Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

The Vintage Category has been won with a spirited drive by both father and daughter Geert and Loes van de Velde in the Lagonda M45.

Leg 5 –  Rapallo – Grosseto

The morning of Leg 5 was spent in the Apennines. Lots of bends and a few trucks transporting the local quarried stone blocks to be sliced up into slabs, made the roads interesting. 2 regularities and a test before lunch, followed by a repeat of the test and another regularity in the afternoon as the rally crossed the Arno Plains around Pisa on its way to the overnight stop in Grosseto.

The test was in Ciocco Sport’s Resort. This is a large complex that is big enough to host a round of the Italian stage rally championship each year. Our test was on closed roads high up at the top of the estate. Steep gradients and hairpins made for some spirited driving.

The afternoon coffee halt was in Volterra in the old City. This can date its routes back to prehistoric times with ruins dating back before Roman times. The rally control was set up in the Piazza Giovanni which is close to the Piazza Priori that is holding a Medieval Fair at the moment.

Again today we have seen a lot of movement in the top positions resulting in 2 of the rally’s top 3 dropping back considerably. The Austin Healey 100 of William and Ivo Nijs developed overheating problems and broke a fan belt this morning. They got that fixed and were still in second place at Lunch. However this afternoon the head gasket let go and they have switched to Team Hire Car.

Another unfortunate day for Richard and Nicola in the Aston Martin. After wrong slotting early this morning they then got stuck in a ditch while trying to turn around. This compounded as the car fell of the jacks and a pile of rocks they used to try to get it out. By the time they got to lunch they were only 2 minutes late but unfortunately they had been OTL at other TCs prior to then.

Car 28 the Jaguar XK150 of Ad Beers and Jos Christiaens came into lunch with a big smile on their faces despite having maximum penalties on a regularity. The story is that they saw an old Fiat Bulldozer on the side of the road. They stopped, negotiated a price and bought the Bulldozer. Now Ad can add this to his collection.

Ron and Reinhilde Cryns are indeed back with the Rally in Grosseto tonight in their Porsche 356. Well done for fixing the car and then catching up the rally in time to enjoy the final leg into Rome.

Leg 5 leaders:

17:14    Christian Ruter / Stephen Huber, Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

27:15    Pit and Silvia Lindner, Siata 208S

28:20    Jaap and Hansje van den Broek, Peugeot 404

Leg 4 –  Bormio – Rapallo

After a night in the excellent Grand Hotel in Bormio everyone was ready for more climbing despite the early start time. They were not disappointed as the rally left Bormio and headed for the Passo Gavia.

A regularity had been set for the climb up and most of the crews immediately came to a dead stop as an enormous flock of sheep, aprox 500 metres long, descended the hairpins at a slow sheep walking pace. There was nothing to do except stop, turn off the engine and wait patiently for them to pass. A mad dash then occurred to get back lost time with the roads now covered in sheep droppings. Needless to say the Clerk of the Course decided to cancel the timing point that had all the extra penalties.

After the Gavia the route passed through the town of Ponte di Legno where the local organiser of the Summer Marathon invited the rally to visit the town square that was regularly used on the Liege Rome Liege back in the 50’s and 60’s. The locals all turned out and a little of the buzz from the old days was recreated.

Next came the Vivione for the 3rd of the rally’s “Big 3” passes. No timing was set, only a passage control. This allowed time for everyone to enjoy the drive and the views on the often very narrow track.

Lunch was another super spot, this time an outside terrace overlooking the Lago Iseo. From there a quick run on motorways took the rally across the Po Plans to the 2 afternoon regularities near Bobbio and the final section to the overnight halt in Rapallo.

After 4 days some of our “new to Rallying” crews are getting to grips with the way the event operates. Others are still a bit baffled.  One new navigator at lunch was heard saying “Why do I get so many penalties for things we did not do?” … a good question. Another crew after 4 days still had questions on what was a self start and a logger start regularity. They were pleased and thankful to be told to “read the regulations” as all would then be explained.

One of yesterday’s mishaps may yet reappear. After a 640 km round trip to Modina in another car for spare parts, the Porsche 356 of Ron and Reinhilde Cryns, who were stranded yesterday at the bottom of the Stelivo with no brakes, are motoring again and hope to rejoin the Rally at lunch tomorrow.

Leg 4 winners for the day are for the first time a Belgium crew. William and Ivo Nijs in their Austin Healey 100, had the best time for the day of 32 seconds total penalties. This keeps them in 2nd place overall and closes the gap to Christian Ruter & Stephen Huber in the Frogeyed Sprite who remain the overall leaders

Leg 4 leaders:

9:53    Christian Ruter / Stephen Huber, Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

12:32  William and Ivo Nijs, Austin Healey 100

19:34   Richard Worts / Nicola Shackleton, Aston Martin DB2

Leg 3 –  Uberlingen – Bormio

400 km today with superb roads and views to enjoy all day. The morning’s regularity started just east of Uberlingen and contained 6 timing points, 2 were manned and 4 were GPS logger points. Most crews are getting into the swing of things now and no major problems were reported.

The route then skirted Ravensburg and Lindau to enter Austria with a short motorway section to bypass the holiday traffic along the shores of the Bodensee. That brought the rally to the first Manoeuvrability Test with 2 laps at the Driver Training Centre north of Feldfirch and a little fun on their skid pan.

After that the scenery started to really impress as the route climbed to the lunch halt in the ski resort of Oberlech a favourite winter resort of the Dutch Royal Family. The lunch was served outside on the terrace overlooking meadows and mountains, a very agreeable location.

The rally continued through the Tirol and headed south for Italy and a regularity up and over a 2100m pass and through the lovely little village of Glorenza.

Next came the mighty Stelvio as the historic rally route climbed up its 48 hairpins to the 2757m pass. Eveyone enjoyed the section, crews and marshals alike.

We spend the night in Bormio with a promise of more great roads to come tomorrow and beyond.

Todays results show a lot of mishaps and resulting penalties. Richard Worts & Nicola Shackleton were the big fallers after first encountering a herd of slow moving Cows on a regularity, they followed this with a wrong slot and then the car stopped and would not restart. All their problems came at once and spoiled their day.

Pit & Silvia Lindner also slipped back a number of places after a wrong test and incurred a number of penalties as they attempted to fix the problem.

Other mishaps included Ron and Reinhilde Cryns who have lost the brakes on their Porsche 356 on the other side of the Stelvio to the nights Hotel.

And finally a lucky escape when Wim van Gierdegom and Stefaan Helmers parked their Lancia Flaminia Zagato at a control and failed to fully engage the handbrake on the sloping car park. When they returned the car had rolled backwards and stopped on a rock thereby avoiding a 200-meter drop. How lucky was that!

The winners for the day and now overall leaders are Christian Ruther & Stephan Huber in the Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite.

Leg 3 leaders:

8:53     Christian Ruter / Stephen Huber, Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

12:00   William and Ivo Nijs, Austin Healey 100

13:26   Jaap and Hansje van den Broek, Peugeot 404

Leg 2 – Bad Durkheim – Uberlingen

The day was spent in Germany, starting in the Black Forest and ending on the shores of the Bodensee near Uberlingen. Sunny and no rain all day. A little cold at 1000 metres but getting warmer as we head further south. Lots of smiling faces at the coffee halts and at Lunch as crews settle in to enjoying the event.

For the 4 regularities of the day, 2 were the familiar self start variety (RSS) where the start time is set as a fixed number of minutes after a previous time control. The other 2 were a new variety RSL where the start time is recorded by the GPS loggers with no marshals or set start times.

This means that competitors can start these regularities at any time that the control is open and pick their own start times. An analysis of the results from these 2 RSL sections shows that most crews seem to have managed ok and their average penalties are similar to the RSS type sections.

Mishap for the day is the retirement of Tom and Rosalie Gatsonides whose Alvis 4.3 has developed differential problems. The funny story here is that when Tom called his recovery service to take the car home he was asked if he was towing a trailer or a caravan. The obvious assumption must be, “he is Dutch therefore he must be towing something”.

Also Jaap van den Broek found himself blowing through his Peugeot’s fuel pipes after developing a blockage in the middle of a regularity. Murphy strikes again!

The results for the day show that the Austin Healey has dropped back to 2nd in a tie with Pit and Silvia Lindner. Jaap’s lack of fuel at the wrong time dropped him to 5th and the best crew of the day Richard Worts and Nicola Shackleton move from 2nd to 1st. Four more legs to go and the Mountains start in earnest tomorrow.

Leg 2 leaders:

1:37   Richard Worts / Nicola Shackleton, Aston Martin DB2

4:03   Christian Ruter / Stephen Huber, Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

4:03   Pit and Silvia Lindner, Siata 208S

Leg 1 – Liege – Bad Durkheim

The Liege Rome Liege Rally started today from the courtyard of the Palais des Princess-Eveques in the center of Liege, exactly 80 years to the day from the start of the very first event way back in 1931. Bart and Jolijn Rietbergen of Classic Events, the new organisers of the event, flagged away the cars for their 2200 km journey to Rome. The start went smoothly despite the centre of Liege being closed the previous day due to a bomb scare. So we nearly started the event with a big BANG.

From Liege the route headed south through the Ardennes for the first regularity just north of Bastogne before taking a short trip through Luxembourg and a second regularity south of Clervaux. After thunderstorms the night before, the sky was clear and bright for the start but as we reached the first regularity, the first cars experienced thick mist and low clouds and a temp drop to a chilly 9C.

After lunch at Bollendorf the route headed into Germany and another regularity just west of the days finish at Bad Durkheim. Crews had a fairly easy start on the first day as the route heads south for the Alpes. Some crews on their first event were on a fast learning curve and getting extra help and advice from the marshals along the way.

Another notable feature of the event is the regulation requiring crews to use the original odometer for their car mounted in its original position. Use of any other distance measuring device would attract extra penalties each day.

Despite this some crews were immediately performing well and as the days penalties were totalled up the rally leaders Christian Ruter and Stephan Huber in their Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite had averaged only 5 seconds of penalties per timing point while using only the cars odometer for distance measurement.

Leg 1 leaders:

0:37   Christian Ruter / Stephen Huber, Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

0:44   Richard Worts / Nicola Shackleton, Aston Martin DB2

2:40   Jaap and Hansje van den Broek, Peugeot 404