John and I have just arrived back from todays recce. It has been a long day, driving continuously for 13 hours after a 5am start. We have completed our two recce passes of some of the day 1 and 2 stages, and all day 3 stages. Tomorrow we have the remaining stages of days 1 and 2 to complete, which will involve another good hike inland to the country area where the stages are based.
The roads look very good, but they are also very fast. Some parts are comparable to the flat out roads that we encounter in South Canterbury, while a couple of the other stages are similar to the flowing stages often associated with Rally New Zealand. There are a few rougher and softer sections that will get rutted, but in general the roads are very hard packed and fast. So fast in fact, that compared to a 22 km NZRC stage, for which on average we would write around 20 pages of pace notes, here on a couple of the 22km stages today we only wrote half the pages!
I am really looking forward to attacking the stages at speed, as they are the type of roads that I will be comfortable on, as I have always favoured fast roads. But fast roads require precise notes, as at such high speeds there is little room for error. Tonight we will look over the video footage we took from recce today, to make any final changes and to be assured that our notes are 100% accurate.
Back at base it has been a quite day, with the car getting cleaned up after shakedown. The guys all fly in first thing tomorrow morning and their day will be spent going over the car with a fine tooth comb, making the necessary set-up changes and getting the car tuned.
Will keep in touch tomorrow.