Official website:

Day 9


 Stayed at a Movenpick resort (left) on the Red Sea last night. A pity we got there so late, it looked interesting.

Today started with a four-hour transport running down the coast and was to have three world cup stages in the desert sand.

The drive down was interesting, in that there are thousands of windmills generating electricity (below) and hundreds of unfinished resorts. Perhaps a GFC problem.

About 2km into the first stage we were bogged for the first time. That was after getting past three other cars who were bogged sooner than that. And we were on our own. The others were bogged together and helping each other.

After a while a Land Rover (a competitor) came past and we waved the tow rope at him and he tried to pull us out. Unfortunately he got bogged as well and lost interest in helping us. Next was a 4WD towing one of the Porsches.

By now we had attached a second tow rope so the rescue vehicle could stand off on more solid ground (perhaps where we should have been driving) and he got us out.

Sadly a few kilometres later we found ourselves going in the wrong direction and started heading cross country (driving across the sand dunes) hoping to intersect the real road.

When we came to it (the road we wanted), we were going down hill at about a 45 degree angle and Mark stopped, as it looked like a sheer drop to the road we wanted. It wasn't, it was just a bit steeper, say 60 degrees and we could drive down it, except we were again bogged. I couldn't believe it.

above left: Richard Atherton and Rob Henchov get some hellp from locals

above right: Mark powering through the sand

below left: several cars bogged.

(photos from official website)

After a while a local boy arrived and he and I tried to push. Still no go. Then another local arrived and with three of us pushing, once it started, it rolled easily down to the road we wanted. We lost about 30 minutes.

I expect we will gain a few spots over the ones who didn't get out as easily as we did but the 4WDs who didn't get bogged will probably now be ahead of us.

The second section was cancelled. They ran the 3rdone which was only 7 Km and while bumpy there was no real worry of being bogged or lost.

'We are at a hotel called Imperial Shams in Safaga (right) where we have rooms but will have to leave at midnight to catch a ferry at 4am for Duba in Saudi Arabia

Tomorrow is just a drive through Saudi. We have been told cars will be searched for alcohol. I'd better have a few drinks now.

next: a drive along the coast of Saudi Arabia