When your luck runs...
After the adventures of the EFG crew yesterday, we had basically accepted that our target of a top 100 placing was gone. All that was left was to enjoy ourselves, get safely to the finish and see if we could set some competitive times.
Running nearly at the back of the field was a huge disadvantage yesterday as the stages froze over and we were trying to drive in the dark in a snowstorm. But today with a warm sun in the sky conditions were greatly improved by the time we got into the stages.
Nonetheless, the first stage at 60km was the "Big one" of the 2015 Monte and still had a healthy covering of snow and ice. It was the one everyone wanted to win and it was a complete turn up for the form books when we bounced back from our nightmare day yesterday and did exactly that!!!! With just 8.8 seconds of error combined across all the checkpoints of 60km we beat the remaining 300 runners ensuring ourselves of bragging rights for the next 12 months. Given that I'd never driven the Fulvia on snow before and hadn't rallied on snow since 2012 it's been a steep learning curve, but as you can imagine we are immensely pleased. Fred was checking the results on the run into the midway control when there was a slight choking noise followed by large amounts of disbelief from my side of the car... but despite repeatedly checking the result every 30 minutes since it hasn't changed and we did indeed win the stage!
With new found confidence (and limited amounts of snow on the stages) we followed it with 30th then 38th on the following two and have even protested the result of the final stage as they've given us 140 seconds of error over just 13km which seems a tad unlikely.
So it was a very different atmosphere in the car tonight as we arrived back at Valence pretty jubilant.
However our buddy Zac lost a wheel on the 3rd stage and by the time he got towed out of the stage he was 2 minutes over the allowable lateness. Fingers crossed he manages to schmooze the ACM into letting him restart in the morning.
While we got word that the Porsche crew that crashed so heavily on the concentration run both walked away uninjured after the driver dozed off. Saved apparently by the quick thinking of the lady coming the other way who saw them rolling towards her and managed to stop her car and reverse out of the way!
Tomorrow we set sail back to Monaco early with a couple of stages on the way then the legendary night of the Turini with heavy snow forecast!
Ideally it should all be over about 3am Wednesday morning but we'll keep you updated on here!
Your "still disbelieving" correspondent.