Day 22

Rijeka (Croatia) to Brescia (Italy)

Today was scheduled to have two stages run twice, but the organisers decided to start us half an hour earlier and run the second stage a third time – so five stages for the day.

The bad part was that it rained very heavily all the way.
left: View through our windscreen,
Car 1 ahead of us about to start the stage

The first (which was also the third) stage would have been very nice in the dry but it wasn’t all that nice on our tyres.  Crews who had wet weather tyres would have made up a lot of time. 
There was a section of tarmac with a different surface from 3.8 to 6.00km and this was the slipperiest piece of road I have ever been on. The car would break into wheel spin in any gear as soon as the throttle was opened and pretty much refused to respond to any steering input. On our second time through, we went one second quicker.

The other stage which we did three times saw us get quicker with each run.  In the first run we had a spin which probably added 35 or more seconds to our time. The exhaust pipe and the towing hook which sticks out from the bumper bar show signs of contact with a tree, so we did go close.

It felt like we were losing heaps of time. I doubt the Joost Porsch is ahead of us yet but he must be getting very close.
There are to be no stages in Italy or France so the European mainland part of the event is over. We now have informal transit to the UK where the rally will recommence on the 10th for a half dozen stages.

We will roughly follow the route and stay at the designated hotels and take the booked ferry to get to the UK. We make good tourists. Most of the Europeans are going home for a few days and Mark is looking forward to Nice tomorrow as Anne will be there.

I’m writing this as we transport 391km from the last stage to Brescia.  It hailed heavily for several minutes and we took shelter in a garage. The heated windscreen just copes with fogging and water drips from the air vent in the front centre of the cab. 

I feel sorry for today’s control officials and the people manning road blocks out in the rain. 

Service crews as always deserve a medal.

left: waiting in the rain at a control
Next: Day 23 crossing into France