The private bank for historic motor racing

Day 3

When the results were in from the marathon stage that was Leg 2 of the first running of the Mille Et Une Nuits rally for classic cars, Marc (recent Tour de France winner) and Danielle Rinaldi were at the head of the field. On the day it was the Porsche 911 of Jacques and Marie Noelle Fossa that had taken the honours, despite Jacques managing to switch off all the electronic distance gear halfway through the regularity. His resourceful co-pilot managed to switch to hand timing and the average speed tables in time to take him across the line on the exact second. The regularity had included a lower speed section but this failed to trick the leading bunch who with exception of Day 1 leaders, the Arnauds in their 911, saw the leading 5 all get within 4 seconds of the scratch time.


Mopeds and blind crests

Spectacular rock formations

 


Fierce rivals line up for regularity start

Safari replica volvo of Yves Morizot

Day 3 found the crews up against the Algerian border in Tamerza with an early regularity in the hills above the stunning Tamerza Palace hotel where we had spent the night. A 9km run out to the start before turning and attempting to return at exactly 48kph proved tricky with some low speed hairpins to contend with both at the start and at the end of the 5km timed route. But at least the slow run out to the start allowed the crews time to appreciate the breath-taking scenery that was to be the signature of the entire morning.


How do they persuade them?

In convey heading for mountain descent

Running straight on from the end of the regularity the crews climbed 37km up through Redeyef before making an astonishing 8km descent on a winding mountain road covered in loose gravel with stunning views on the desert valley below. This finally gave way to a spectacular (slightly loose surfaced) fast track that saw the Rolls Royce using its extra weight to cut through to the tarmac below and scalp some traditionally faster cars. The teams then joined a tarmac main road for the blast down into Tozeur where lunch and a well deserved afternoons rest waited at the beautiful Hotel Dar Cherait.


Rolls leads way up the hill

911 heading for a drop

For our crew, we were both pretty battered after yesterdays long hours in the car, but pleased to have been once again the fastest crew without specialist tripmeters in the car so we’ve moved up to 9th in the standings. Clearly as well today’s stage suited our 911 as the power to sprint between the hairpins gave us a distinct advantage over the 2CV (which is controversially only sporting 1 engine and not the 2 declared at entry!) and which has just a tenth of our power and was struggling to average 45kph flat-out! There was no doubt in the minds of anyone who saw the Citroen “en route” of the commitment of Jean-Pierre Lenfant at the wheel though...


The road down...

A fantastic route down

So overnight at Tozeur which today is apparently most famous for the pair of Boeing 747’s which belonged to Saddam Hussein and were evacuated to the airport here when Iraq was invaded. Unfortunately the runway is apparently too short for them to leave again...

Tomorrow sees the crews return from this, the most Southerly point of our adventure, to the holiday island of Djerba on the East coast. A 366km day, the second longest of the rally, which starts with a 224 km liaison to the lunch break in Matmata. Then another 26 km to the start of the days only regularity, a 5km run called “Epingles et Troglodytes” (Hairpins and Cave Dwellers), another 71km to the ferry across to the island followed by a final 40km into the hotel.

Your “pleased to be first to arrive at the hotel today” correspondant

Rick Pearson


Oasis on edge of plain

Palmeria

 

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