From General Article [ 24/05/2006 ].
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Now with the updated, complete results.
The Carrera Sudamericana’s last leg is a full 10 days long. Today is only day12, so the last leg takes nearly half the event! So the leg starts in easy but stunning fashion. Like on the way to La Paz in Bolivia, the highest city of the planet, today it is mainly road sections. The event is long in Peru. On this day we reach the highest point of the event at 4,800metres (near 16,000feet) above sea level, but from here everything is downhill to around “only” 1000metres. The article photo on the right shows part of today’s route.
Day13 was an unlucky one for many. Two desert stages were planned today in what looks like green dunes. The dunes are green for some kind of minerals, not for any vegetation. Unfortunately one of the event’s most exciting battles was removed when Safari legend Mike Kirkland and Crispin Sassoon in their Datsun 240Z reported a rear suspension failure on the day’s 1st stage. The Datsun team was in 4th place with time gaps that made them very promising of challenging the leading Hondas. Instead after missing to complete today’s SS20 & SS21 Mike Kirkland dropped from 4th to 18th place overall! Incredibly also one of the dominant Hondas had problems, when the 2nd placed Integra Type-R of Rick Bates started to drop gears. But at least they managed to keep going and with Kirkland’s problems Bates even stayed in the top3!
The day was so tough, that even in the challenge section, that just runs to time penalties, there was plenty of drama. To take this away now, with 2 days to go the challenge time tables still show Barry & Roma Weir, Toyota Hilux and Paul & Sandra Marryweather, Mitsubishi Pajero fighting for the lead. Jack Nelleman from Denmark and his Swiss navigator Joseph Huber are still leading the 2WD category in their 200,000kms Mercedes 350SLC, while they moved up to 7th overall. However Pierre-Yves Maisonneuve/Jean-Paul Lamy in an Alfa Giulia GTA and Gerry & Helen Leumann in the historic Bentley Le Mans Tourer both had mechanical problems during the day. The Bentley team even had to find a car museum to help them repair the car. The Alfa Giulia missed stages for differential repairs, but incredibly a few days later the crew is back in the 12th position they occupied originally.
Back to the main event and we find that the troubled day13 was a good day for Porsches. With the Hondas still up front, the Porsche 911s of Vlado Palko/Jiri Kotek and Rupert Trotter/Craig Redelinghujs completed the top5 on the stages. Overall this has Vlado Palko only 1m09s from 4th place and catching fast. The Trotter/Redelinghujs 911 is still down in 14th place. But the day’s fantastic stage times of this crew is made funnier since Trotter hurt his wrist and let his South African navigator take the wheel on the stages!
Day14 saw two more desert type stages but with less drama as the day before. The cars of Rick Bates and Mike Kirkland are repaired again and post competitive times. Indeed Bates is even fighting, posting the exact same time on SS22 as his event leading team mate Joe McAndrew. And the Palko/Kotek Porsche did as promised. 4th quickest on both stages today, the pair moves past Nick Starkey’s Opel into 4th place overall by a mere 18secs.
But day14 will be more remembered for the stunning scenery. Today the route moved down to the coast line and its the first times the crews see the ocean since 14days. Only this is the Pacific, not the Atlantic. It was 14 tough days over the Anden mountains with altitudes rather often above 4,000metres. Had they taken the Panama route, the trip from Atlantic to Pacific would have taken 1hour, not 14days!
And day15 is like being back in civilisation, since the day’s action is located around the famous city Lima. There are two more gravel stages. And one may have wondered what happened if Mike Kirkland’s Datsun 240Z didn’t have the problems. With the 3 Hondas firmly at front, Vlado Palko’s Porsche keeps posting 4th fastest times ahead of Kirkland, and the pair by now would have had a close battle for 4th. In fact Kirkland’s stage times are not on the lame side either, since he climbed back from 18th to 9th by now. But after the fine sand-gravel stages, there is a most stunning asphalt road. A road section, but imagine barely 24hrs after reaching the cost the route winds up to 4,000metres above sea level again!
Day16 from Huaraz to Truillo has only 1 asphalt stage, followed by a long road section on gravel. But yet again what the route looks like is just amazing. It starts with a 19km stage on a tarmac mountain main road. This is pure James Bond car chase stuff. Then it's small primitive alpine villages, pigs, cows and dogs sleeping in the streets. Old men with donkeys laden with firewood. It's a film set for a medieval movie. Then the road section at tight average speed schedules are described as the most outstanding 80km gravel road drive of all time. We chase a crashing white water river through a canyon with sheer rock walls rising as far as the eye can see. So tall it's like looking up at the sky through a chimney. Crude rope and plank bridges cross the canyon; hand hewn narrow tunnels dust filled and dark are treated with caution as you burst from pitch black into bright sunlight.
On Monday and day17 it’s back closer to the cost and more level, lower stages. The stages are fast gravel and head onto farmland and banana plantages. The night halt is in a town called Piura, the last stop before crossing the border from Peru to Equador.
On the stages, Shane Murland was for a change the leading Honda driver, posting fastest stage times on both fast gravel stages by a long margin. New Zealander Nick Marshall, who was very competitive in his Ford Capri V8 at the London-Sydney Rally 2004, posted a few very promising top8 times in the last few days and also on the first stage of day17. But for the 2nd stage his rotten luck was back again, being delayed with suspension problems. Also Nick Starkey’s Opel had problems and was delayed after losing 4th place to Vlado Palko’s Porsche. The fastest Porsche of the day was however that of Rupert Trotter, who re-took the wheel again from his fast navigator since his wrist injury is better again. And American’s are delayed, Paul Shaver, Honda Integra Type-R with a collpased suspension, while Leonard Bennett even twice beached his BMW 318i with the rear wheels in the air and needing a good push to regain traction.
Official results after day17/SS28:
1st Joe McAndrew NZ / Sue O’Neill NZ ; Honda Integra Type-R 5h49m55s
2nd Rick Bates AUS / Jenny Brittan AUS ; Honda Integra Type-R +4m45s
3rd Shane Murland NZ / John Benton NZ ; Honda Integra Type-R +8m55s
4th Vlado Palko SK / Jiri Kotek CZ ; Porsche 911 Carrera +32m05s
5th Nick Starkey GB / Jim Hurman GB ; Opel Kadett GSI 16v +40m42s
6th Ian Begg NZ / Allan Dippie NZ ; Toyota Corolla +47m53s
7th Garry Leeson AUS / Rebecca Cochrane AUS ; Ford Falcon 4.2 +58m33s
8th Mike Kirkland EAK / Crispin Sassoon EAK ; Datsun Fairlady 240Z +1h03m26s
9th Ian Swan AUS / Val Swan AUS ; Ford Falcon 4.2 +1h25m29s
11th Rupert Trotter GB / Craig Redelinghujs ZA ; Porsche 911 Carrera
15th Paul Darrouzet AUS / Paul Benko AUS ; Ford Capri V8
16th Nick Marshall NZ / Steve Wilcock NZ ; Ford Capri V8