Well the "Oh my god" early morning was not as bad as expected with everyone up and about by 5am and on the road by 5:15. Last minute additions as always made it into the cars - some reheated coffee and a pile of scooby-snacks were considered essential to the upkeep of the teams enthusiasm.
A shortish drive to Abu Dhabi to the Emirates Palace Hotel where the ceremonial start was to take place. Leaving the start line almost last meant that the guys had targets to pick off during the day.
It's obvious that we don't like Mondays - our plan to have people dispersed throughout the route failed at the first hurdle - a minor problem that we easily overcame and we were soon on our way to the correct locations throughout the route.
By the time the Saluki had made it to PC1 it was flying and the guys had been picking off their targets as they scythed their way through the competitors.
Heading towards PC1
However at PC1 the guys were to become bogged down in deep sand that was created by a couple of trucks that had came through the PC just prior to the Saluki's arrival. This cost approximately 10 minutes delay whilst they extracted themselves from their predicament.
Annoyingly just prior to their arrival at the next PC it seems that the engine thought that it would throw a spanner in the works and started misfiring. The guys got out and put their spanner monkey heads on - and diagnosed that one of the spark plugs wasn't quite right - the contacts had joined. A quick fettle with the plug - a start of the car and it's confirmed that alls well again. A short while later - a large puff of blue smoke in the cabin and sudden loss of power meant that the Saluki wasn't going anywhere fast. Calls went out to the team (who by now had congregated at two pre-scheduled locations as per our plan) and the Saluki arrived at the Service Area to be trailered back to the bivouvac for further investigation. Current thoughts are being discussed whilst the main spanner monkeys get their food as we believe it will be a late night.
Of course, once we find out what the root cause is we'll tell you. Until then - we're settling in to our portakabin accommodation which is the Saluki equivalent of the Emirates Palace hotel - certainly compared to last year when we all slept on the floor. Any resemblance the bunks have to a good war prison camp is purely coincidental (well that's what they tell us anyway).
Regards Team Saluki