It was another great day today-- I know you are probably getting tired of hearing that, but it was! Our strategy of working hard at conserving our Cayenne S TransSyberia seems to really be paying off. We've been watching a lot of the...
It was another great day today-- I know you are probably getting tired of hearing that, but it was!
Our strategy of working hard at conserving our Cayenne S TransSyberia seems to really be paying off. We've been watching a lot of the other guys really punishing their equipment and Colin and I are convinced that they are going to be in big trouble once we get to Mongolia, you wait and see.
Once again today, we took another rear start as it was really dusty again and the rain they had predicted was a no-show. Except this time, we weren't alone -- a bunch of the other guys picked up on our strategy and thought it was a pretty good idea. It's getting crowed at the back!
We ran at a pretty brisk, but not crazy pace today, finishing 7th on the special stage. We were about nine minutes off of Armin Schwarz's stage winning pace. And while we may have been able to go a little faster, I really don't think we could have gone much quicker without doing some damage. (Remember the strategy, Ryan!)
We had some navigation system issues here and there, and the dust was pretty thick. By the end we had passed three cars and the Team Italia Cayenne went out due to an injury, so I think that we jumped 3 spots, all the way up to 9th place overall. And again, the guys who ran quicker than us did so by beating on their cars. We're not going to do that.
And, just to give us a little dose of reality, we ran up on something that kind of looked like a dump truck! (There are a lot of strange vehicles on the road here!) It was a quick reminder that here in Eastern Russia and all the way through the rest of the rally in Mongolia, the roads aren't completely closed. We're going to have to deal with civilians and all sorts of vehicles, carts and animals from here to Ulaan Baatar
As our goal was to be back in the top 10 by the time we crossed into Mongolia, I'd say we're right on target. We're still negotiating with the organizers to get some of the time back that they docked us on the first day when everyone got bottled up behind a bunch of vehicles stuck in the mud during that first Special Stage. If we can get those 30 minutes back, we'll really be in the thick of it. (That would put us all the way up into 7th place overall!)
As I mentioned before, one of the more unfortunate things that happened today is that one of the guys from Team Italia got hurt. There was a big "jump" that ended in a deep sort of ditch and if you took it too fast or landed the wrong way, you could really mess up either yourself or the car. Unfortunately, the guy from Team Italia messed himself up, breaking his back. Since the medics had to take him to the hospital (and who knows how far away that is!) and they will not be able to get back in time tomorrow for the start of the next leg of the rally, the organizers have decided to cancel the next special stage. That means from here on to Mongolia we have no more special stages, only long transits. Once again, this will help us conserve our car, and the Team USA Cayenne is going super right now.
Tonight will be our last night in a real, live hotel until we get to Ulaan Baatar. We start camping out tomorrow. And from what I hear from my Dad, it is quite an experience. Sand storms, thunderstorms, the whole deal. Colin and I go camping a lot, so this will be fun -- as long as there are no sandstorms, thunderstorms-- You get the picture. Maybe here is another instance where being a little younger will give us a performance advantage -- no stiff backs in the morning!
We'll check in again tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in!
Ryan & Colin