As mentioned, 4 time trials today. The first was mostly on tarmac and fast. The track however was narrow, there was gravel on the corners and the drops were pretty steep. While the roads are closed for the tests we have also started to see a lot of spectators on corners and not always in the safest places. There are some excellent and experienced drivers on this rally but the fact that there are also a lot of amateurs in some very old and now somewhat tired cars is a bit of a worry. We are pretty fast on the first test and then a little more cautious on the second.
The 2 trials in Poland start quite rough – the route book mentions a pot hole to one side of the first right hand corner some 200m into the trial – it does not mention that a pontoon bridge is necessary to get over it! The track improves through the forest, though the fact that once on a rough track you cannot but live in fear of another massive pothole just around a blind corner and the dappled sunlight through the trees does not make it easy to see them.
The fact that we are on the run in to Paris is increasing the sense of competition amongst those in contention for the prizes, but also other smaller battles are being fought – a top 10 position, a class win, catching the car in front etc and so people are trying a bit too hard – 2 cars are off track today.. the 2nd place Mustang leaves the track and rolls down the bank and will take some time to recover from the trees and one of the Escort Mexico’s is on it’s side and on righting has to extinguish a small fire in the engine bay. All crews survive and the Escort is soon back on the road. Both receive penalties and drop out of the top 10 and well down the table. Our attrition strategy continues to work as we are briefly up to 22nd place. This is later adjusted to 23rd as someone else’s penalty is rescinded and they move back above us.