We have finished Day 2 after a good run. The team did a great job last night repairing the small amount of damage from our little off yesterday and we were able to drive at a good pace from the first stage this morning.
That first stage, which was repeated again in the afternoon, comprised 13km of tarmac, which, when tackled with gravel tyres and gravel suspension set-up, made it as slippery as ice.
We have also set some good times today, including the fastest group N time on 3 stages and a top 10 overall stage time. Of the rest of the stages, there was what I’d call 3 dud stages, 2 this morning where we spent more than half of each in the dust of the car ahead, which was having problems.
The dust was so thick that on several occasions we came nearly to a halt. The organisers have been trying their hardest to fix this, stretching the gap in front of us where it was needed. Then, on the penultimate stage we bent a front wheel, which started binding against the brake calliper, so we had to tour out of the stage to change the wheel.
The last stage of the day, the longest of the rally at 27km, was the first time that I have started to feel at one with the car, especially the second half where I felt I could drive with good confidence without taking risks. It is all a matter of time in the seat and making it feel like an old glove which will take time, but I am certainly feeling much better after a good day in the seat and setting some good stage times.
I am looking forward to Day 3 and picking up where we left off today. Tomorrow’s three stages are also rough in places and if wet the clay surface will become very slippery in some of them.
I will keep you all posted.
Photo of Paddon by: