Day 8 - Kosh Agash to Olgy Well, today was a really crummy day. We lost four places in the standings, going from 9th to 13th. And the lousiest part of it is we didn't even have a special stage! Colin and I are pretty darn hot about it ...
Day 8 - Kosh Agash to Olgy
Well, today was a really crummy day. We lost four places in the standings, going from 9th to 13th. And the lousiest part of it is we didn't even have a special stage! Colin and I are pretty darn hot about it too!
How did that happen? Well, the organizers seem to be making the rules up as they go. They changed two rules today, both of which potentially really hurt us. The first decision was a killer. Not only for us, but for Team Germany 1 and Team Germany 3.
You'll remember that we took a late start on a couple of special stages. This practice is not prohibited and is fully within the rules. In fact, it was allowed throughout the rally last year and up until a few minutes ago! But all of a sudden, the organizers interpreted taking a late start as unsporting behavior and penalized us and the two German teams 30 minutes.
Now in a fit of semantics, they said it wasn't a penalty, as we hadn't done anything wrong or illegal. They just added 30 minutes to our time! And the rules say "no protests" and there is no official appeal process. I can tell you we are not the only one ticked off about this -- the two German teams have gone wild as well.
The change has put us a total of 2 hours and 47 minutes behind. It is going to be really tough from here on out. After clawing our way up from 17th after the first day, to 9th, Colin and I were feeling really good about our chances once we got to Mongolia. Now, we really feel gutted. But you know what? It has also made us more determined.
The second change could affect our request to return time to us for the first day. The route book specifically states that every stage has a maximum time, sort of like the max number of strokes on a hole in golf. Well now, there are no max times! Everything will be scored in actual time. And once again, the decision is retroactive! So if we don't get that first day time back, all this stuff together represents a possible total swing of 1 hour! It's stupid.
Given that, it is a good thing Kees Nierop and Laurance Yap in the Team Canada entry, called it quits when they did. Their plan was that if they could have gotten a transmission from Moscow to replace the one that got wrecked in their Cayenne S TransSyberia, they would have taken the maximum times until they caught up with the pack. With this ruling, they would have gone through all the trouble of air freighting a trans to Novosibirsk, getting it installed overnight, getting back in the rally after 3 days, and instead of having a shot at a decent placing, they would have been whacked (broadsided, would be more accurate) after the fact, with a huge time penalty, which would have made it senseless for them to continue.
In response to all this, Colin and I have decided to keep our heads down and our mouths shut and to really go for it now.
It was supposed to be a low-keyed day at the border. It turned out to be something quite different! We are going to try and take tomorrow's day off to cool down and get ready for what now will be a real battle. But Colin and I are ready, and we both love a challenge!
We'll let you know how we feel tomorrow.
Ryan & Colin