Hi We have completed day two of Rally Portugal without any more major issues. Todays stages have been very rocky and abrasive in places, and have roughened up a lot after the first pass, with the first stage after the midday service claiming 20 cars! The stages have also been even more techincal today, which has caught us out a little with our pace notes.
We have completed day two of Rally Portugal without any more major issues. Todays stages have been very rocky and abrasive in places, and have roughened up a lot after the first pass, with the first stage after the midday service claiming 20 cars! The stages have also been even more techincal today, which has caught us out a little with our pace notes.
The first stage of the day did not start so well, as approaching a blind junction I misheard the note and turned right instead of left – which is a first for me! So after a 3 point turn, and a lot of lost time, we were on our way again. The next two stages were very tricky, one being faster and the second twistier, with a very slippery dust/sand surface. The mistake that I have made with these technical roads, as we found out today, is that my normal style of writing quite complex pace notes was too full on in places for roads where things happen very quickly. So in places this morning it was easy to get confused in the notes, as I had too much information coming at once. This is not a huge confidence booster, but neverless a good lesson for when we encounter similar types of roads again.
The afternoon stages went without problem, with John concentrating on splitting the long notes up as much as possible, me starting to push harder. Our times were okay, regularly in the top 20 overall and mixing it with the more superior Super 2000 cars in front, but our team mate Ott Tanak and local Armindo Araujo are very fast. On average we have been 0.5 seconds per kilometre slower, which may not sound like a lot, but it soon adds up. Obviously I have to be realistic, as they have both done these stages in previous years and it is our first time here, but the competitive side of me still wants to match them. Tomorrow I hope to close the gap in the times, as I know we can get up with them, its just a matter of getting all the little things sorted, such as our notes and my driving style, which we can certainly work on.
All in all it has been a good day. Despite our 11 plus minutes of penalties from day one, we have recovered from 53rd after the Thursday night Super Special stage to now sit in 27th and 4th of the proper group N cars. Of course we could have been a lot higher up the leader board without our problems, but never-the-less it has been a good learning experience so far and I am looking forward to the 4 stages tomorrow and another run through the stadium Super Special stage.
The team have again done a great job, though luckily I have given them a lot less work to do! Also, my Nana turned up this afternoon, so it will be great to have some support and see the New Zealand flag waved out on the stages, albeit from a lone voice.
Thanks everyone, I will keep you updated on how the final day goes.
Today has been a very up and down day for us. The day started well, with us setting some good times in the opening two stages, mixing it with our Estonian team mate Ott Tanak and local Production World Rally Champion Armindo Araujo. I must admit that one of the strangest things today was our 9.49am start time, which was due to our 43rd position on the road and the 2 or 3 minute gaps given between each car, due to the dust.
Prior to the event we knew that tyre wear would be an issue, but a lot of us under estimated just how much. After the first stage our tyres were considerably worn, so we had to change our plan of attack for the remaining two stages to conserve our tyres. Going into the third stage of the set our tyres were getting low on tread, even after changing them front-to-rear. Unfortunately 3km from the end the front left tyre punctured, which at the same time also damaged the gearbox, making only 5th gear useable for the remainder of the stage and the road section back to service.
The time loss was luckily not huge, 15-20 seconds, and we managed to get the car back to service as almost all of the route was motorway. There our team from Ralliart Italy did a great job replacing the gearbox in 40 minutes, and despite the 1minute 40 second penalty for lateness out of service, at least we were still in the event.
After checking out of service late, we found ourselves behind a slower car that we had been taking nearly 2 minutes out of per stage in the morning, so we made the decision for safety and performance reasons to check in 2 minutes late to the first stage of the afternoon, to give us a 3 minute gap on the road, but accruing an extra 20 second penalty.
The next two stages we drove at a good steady pace to conserve our tyres, and after bolting our two brand new spares on the front for the last stage, we were confident of a good time. Unfortunately the same stage bit us again, as 11km in we hit a hole on the inside of the road which had been dug out on the morning run, and broke the steering, making the car undriveable.
Thankfully the repair is quite simple and the team will have the car repaired to run under SupeRally again tomorrow. Hopefully this is the last time that we have to use SupeRally this year, as it is not something that I want to make a habit of.
A huge thanks to Tony, Hugh and Brian (who had to fly home) from ESP, for their help and the study they have been doing again toady on our personal performance, with regular testing throughout the day to establish how our bodies are operating and how to optmise this. I look forward to getting the in-depth report to see our performance.
Thats all for now. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but in saying that it is not all bad. We will be rejoining tomorrow, and I have been happy with our speed while driving at a comfortable pace. Tomorrow we hope for more of the same, but their are some very tricky stages which will require good pace notes, so John and I will continue to work on them tonight.