What a surprise, I was doing a quick recce of the Superfast ferry and found an internet room with free access, as we were nearly first on the boat (meaning last off….) I beat the rush to find this room adn now have collared a terminal to get some words to the site and relive John of having to imagineer some of the strories that have filtered through.
The visit to Iran was totally underwhelming, I feel for the Iranian citizens that were so eager for us to have a wonderful experience, that was not completely possible, the split between utter friendliness and open hostility was such aÂ contradiction, that it will take a while for me to really complete my opinion of Iran. The Azerbijan (sp?) region was the best of what we visited during our travels, but even so, I cant imagine needing to visit again soon. We met some great people, friendly,Â welcoming and proud of their nation. These same people are clearly repressed and managed by a government that is strictly in control. I can best describe our visit as tolerated and will leave it as that for now.
Turkey by contrast was absolutely glorious, a few boisterous school boys throwing stones, but without the malice attached in Iran. The beatiful Turkish countryside, super smooth paving and long days made it a quck adventure, but worth every minute and the two days leading to our stay in Abant lake were the highlight of the rally so far. The unexpected snow, freezing rain and poor visibility were all challenging, but it felt like a real rally for two days, fast smooth transit sections and time trials on challenging roads in very challenging conditions. The 356 has been a great choice in these conditions, not as powerful up the hills as the Aston, but sure footed and nimble on the tight and twisty sections. The cancellation of our fist test was necessary after a scary but injury free incident with one of teh Alvis’s going over a 70m cliff and staying upright but stuck on a ledge half way into a ravine. Last night the driver recounted a story of the recovery with a bucket excavator that built a road to the car and carried it out without further damage. I am sure that will be covered elesewhere, perhaps on the official P2P website.
The transit into Greece, also meant the event is now conducted under FIA regulations and for our open road event, no faster than 50km/hr can be averaged. The tests are all formatted in a way that illustrates that 50Km/hr is the required average. The use of passage controls also determines correct route and some small hinderence to meeting the 50km/hr average. We had 3 tests yesterday and 3 today, we cleaned them easily, with Steven having a better appreciation today about how to manage time, pace and preserve the car to make the best of the test conditions. The same can not be said of our friends Ahmet and Erdol in the Anadol, having been been off the road twice in the last two days, losing 9 minutes yesterday while they were towed back onto the test road without damage, today, less fortunate, they skidded off the slippery road between tests, clobbered a tree and damaged their radiator. A newÂ radiator is already enroute to Ancona via Rome, where we will say hi again to Erdol’s son who we met in Silviri at the Turkish Motor Club reception. He was also instrumental in getting the 356 generator to the airport and on the way to Tashkent…. On that note -Â we also met Hurcle (sp?) who loaned us the new generator, his gearhead 10 year old son and his wife. Super enthusiastic and very happy to have been able to help and see the 356 motor through his countryside.
The tests in Greece are now over, the ferry is on the way to Italy and tomorrow we have another long day – late start something like 1230hrs for car 100, with a due time in Viareggio late after 2100hrs, must remember to clean the headlights in the morning.
For those of you wondering about the car – going great. No issues since the new generator was installed in Samarkand. The climbs in Iran and Turkey were hard work for the 1600cc motor and now we have a gentle knock from the crankcase to remind us of the 13,000km we have covered so far. The systems on the car are all continuing work flawlessly, with the exception of the Tachometer which went south long ago in Khazakstan or Uzbekistan. One morning a few minutes after we set off it started howling like it would explode. Unscrewing the drive cable quieted the noise and the motor has a very obvious power delivery curve and it has not really been missed.
We have changed engine oil four times, transmission oil twice, adjusted valves once, timing twice and air filters and oil filter once. A few slightly loose bolts have been tightened when needed and apart from the major component failures of the rear t