Day 3 of rally
Start in St Nectaire. We had breakfast, checked out from hotel and loaded the bags in the car. We checked the wheel suspension in front and no loose bolts were found. We looked on map that Joel had plotted and saw it was a long transport with some challenges on white roads, some questions to answer and code boards to find. We also thought that our petrol would take us to a bigger town where we hopefully could fill petrol.
On our start time 08:26 we took off, going south on smaller roads, passed places like Arlanc, Retournac and Yssingeaux.
Just before the manned passage control we passed some teams that had crashed into each other, they had apparently been to close to each other and not reading msp in all cars when the main road turned right they drove straight on a smaller road until the first cars realised they were on wrong road and they braked. Bang! Some other teams stopped to help out. Ambulance, fire department and Police came. One Mini was seriously damaged but the crews got minor injuries, one with knee injuries and others with neck problems . Two crews were taken to hospital.
We arrived lunch stop in Privas without any bigger problems. There was some traffic jam in Privas, but that we had experienced already last year as well so that was expected.
After a bagutte lunch, discussing routes wirh other teams and a quick check of the car we checked out, opened the envelope for afternoons section and plotted the map.
We now decided to swap seats so Joel had a chance to experience how it was to be a driver on the small french roads, and I got a chance to do the “easy” navigation part (how wrong I was!!)
We took off on afternoons section that was in the Ardeche, going west of Privas, climbing up and down, passing places like Mezilhac and Burzak. On very narrow roads and we met several other cars, among them some of the rally cars doing the recce for the Ardeche rally that was going to take part during the weekend.
It was really an experience to be in navigators seat! Very intense, trying to read map and at same time lookout to see where we was and to find code boards. No time to think, take photos or doing anything else!. I must say that I’m impressed of Joel navigating, he makes it look so easy. He was also a very good driver on these roads. The ride he gave me beats any ride on any fun fair I’ve ever been to, it was a white knuckle ride with this tiny car on the edges of the windling roads with mixed surface, mostly asphalt but some times, water, wet leaves, sand and gravel on the road!
We came down to the big roads and headed back to Privas in the dark. We had learnt the lesson so we stopped at a petrol station and filled up, we managed to put in 25,4 liters in a 25 liters tank so I guess it was time to fill!
Back at Privas we checked in to our room, we had som beer and then went out to the car and did some mechanical work. The fan belt was slipping so we tightened it. The wheel angles had changed since we left home so we checked if anything had come loose but didn’t find anything.
We washed of the road dust and dressed up for dinner. Was great to discuss todays roads and adventure with the others. When todays results up to lunch was given by Helen we realised that we had dropped even further down in the results list, from day ones top position and now down to around place 20. Main reasons for that was the detours to find petrol and the time lost when helping team Jan and Dave in the Mini that had problem with ignition. ( but that gave us a chance to get some petrol and a very tight and fast drive with the Minis on the small roads! :-))
Back out to the parking after dinner to do some more work, we jacked up the car and adjusted the wheel angles. And while doing that we found one snapped wheel stud on left front wheel!!! As we didn’t have any spare we decided to mount the wheel and ask around at breakfast time if anyone had spares. When i tourqed the wheels another wheel stud snapped, on the same wheel!
Time for bed after another long day. Zzzz
( I must say it took a while to fall asleep, thinking of the drives during the day, the snapped wheel studs and tomorrow’s finishing section ..)