Day 2 - Annecy to Bormio
The rally was split across 2 hotels in Annecy, ours at the top of the mountain, another at the bottom. Everyone had to meet up at the bottom hotel for the start of day 2. I'd taken a stack of early morning pics of the mountains from the balcony, but Andy had gone one better and had found a spot for taking a good pics of Veronica. We headed a little further up the road and John did an interesting 3 point turn with guidance from Andy standing by the vertical drop! After the photos we headed back down towards the hotel car park - triggering a burst of "What's that coming over the hill, is it a monster?" as we passed the marshalls! A couple of corners later Justin overtook us in his 827 and disappeared into the distance. John realised that yesterday's hillclimb had taken its toll on our fuel and we were running on fumes. I radioed the marshalls behind us, asking if they knew of any nearby petrol stations. "It's downhill - coast it!" encouraged Jon, before asking "does anyone in front know where we're going?" We were fairly blindly following Top Cats and Soap Me Down Mutha and had missed the crossroads, so powered up the GPS and directed the Top Cats' Escort. I was amused by our convoy as we approached the town: Andy would call out directions to me, I'd radio them to Top Cats and as they indicated the big Saab in front would suddenly realise which way to go!
After a fuelling stop we met the other teams and received the day's challenge. Further repairs were being undertaken, especially the TLDB Volvo which was still suffering brake issues. Stories of them driving down the mountain with only the handbrake for company were being passed around!
The start was a bit of a mish mash. 40 odd cars (and some were really odd) trying to get out of one exit. At least one car was seen turning against the road signs and 200m up the road everybody was attempting to u-turn. At least John selected a better place to perform this, even if he didn't notice the French car bearing down on us... I had said that I was watching left and calling traffic from that side for him. Still, skid marks do not an accident make as Yoda would say. ;-)
Today's challenge was a souped up version of an observation test. We had A4 sheets containing 20 cropped images, our job being to take a photo of the complete image - which could be found somewhere on the 300+ mile trip before Italy. One of our images was a Swiss mountain village, another was a particular road tunnel. I was impressed that we spotted some of ours, even doing a u-turn to go back for one pic that we knew we'd just missed. Again, my camera stayed on high zoom, burst mode and I didn't see much of Italy as I sat in the back deleting the unwanted pics and marking the useful ones.
The Simplon Pass was a highlight of this day. It did seem that a huge chunk of this region is either underground in a tunnel or hanging off the side of a mountain on a cantilevered roadway. There was a parking spot on the first section which we used to let Veronica cool down a little, though she didn't really get that hot.
I drove the last segment of the day into Bormio. We couldn't initially see from the guide where the hotel was supposed to be, but as the radio started picking up more chatter I spotted rally cars and Veronica dived into the car park. I think we would have otherwise had an early scenic tour of the town!
I believe we scored 14/20 on the challenge (and there were 50 points for a correct image.) There was one shot we knew we'd missed, plus a few pics of what seemed like random, rocky outcrops - but we thought we'd done well. As with the previous day, better teams had scored 17/20. At least we got in a couple of hours before the TJT team to make up for yesterday!
Added: 20/Sep/06 by Darren
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