Rally Charlemagne Robert Gough, paired with co-driver Carl Williamson set out to continue their Peugeot Super 106 Cup experience, with the Rally Charlemagne, Maubeuge, France. After a disappointing finish on the Wirral Rally in May due to ...
Robert Gough, paired with co-driver Carl Williamson set out to continue their Peugeot Super 106 Cup experience, with the Rally Charlemagne, Maubeuge, France.
After a disappointing finish on the Wirral Rally in May due to a puncture, the pair hoped for a better result this time out.
They took full advantage of the two days recce, and the 4 runs per stage that were allowed. This was the first `proper' tarmac rally that Robert had ever contested.
The conditions were very hot throughout the recce, and the `jolly' turned into an uncomfortable 12hrs a day in a car while they made their pace notes.
Friday came and the first two stages, which by the time they ran, were in virtual darkness. Robert made a cautious start for the first time on his own notes. They were re-seeded overnight and ran in between a Group A Honda Civic and an ex-works Ascona 400 for the remainder of the rally on Saturday.
The first two stages of the day were excellent, with Robert setting top 10 Peugeot times on each. Then...'The Rains Came'. Panic set in for tyre choices that were available. There was a scramble to get intermediates on for the next pair of stages.
All this work proved seemingly fruitless however, when they encountered a puncture on the next stage and had to endure the rest of the stage (and the next one) with a slick and an intermediate on the front.
This was fixed at service and they went out for the next pair of stages (7 +8)only to slide off on mud and into one of the notorious ditches. Thanks to some spectators, the pair finally got back onto the road but had lost precious time in the process.
Tyre choice remained a constant problem, with half the stages drying out, but the other half still encountering heavy rain throughout the day.
Things progressed until the final pair of stages, which were again in darkness for the pair. The lamp pod failed at the start line of stage 13 (unlucky for some), and unfortunately this was one of the longest at over 23km. Some time was dropped due to lack of night vision. The pod was hurriedly fixed on the road section between the two stages and the start line beckoned for the final stage of what had been a fraught rally to say the least.
Three or four corners into the stage and disaster.... the throttle cable snapped. Some quick repairs with a Carl's shoelace, and some 5 minutes later, the pair finished the stage with a `hand throttle'.
Problems aside, the pair finished 16th Peugeot and still in the points. "Whatever could happen did happen. Despite all that, we thoroughly enjoyed the rally and especially the hospitality of the organisers and the locals who really added to the experience of doing an international event."
Robert and Carl are now looking forward to Robert's favourite surface on the Swansea Bay Festival Rally on 21st July.