Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mapping the Monte

Maping of Night Loop
Originally uploaded by wjwmorrow.
If you haven't guessed by now, today's posting is going to again talk about my planning for the 2005 Monte Carlo Historique rally. This event is now looming large and preparations are in full swing so I've spent the last two days in Monaco with Bill Richards mapping the the infamout Col d' Turini night loop. On Tuesday evening I marked up the Michelin map and yesterday we drove the route. Twice! As I suspected one of the most difficult tasks is getting out of Monte Carlo at high speed. Getting lost in town is very easy to do and quite humiliating. Anyway I think we got the hang of it and we'll do another run through tomorrow (at least the exit from the town.) Bill now understands what so called "regularity" driving is all about namely keeping to an exact average speed. Now he sees how difficult it is, especially through the mountains, and precisely what his job will entail, I suspect he's going to oversee the rest of PRX 720B's preparation with a much more critical eye.

Anyway the route is quite interesting. The first regularity stage to Sospel is relatively short (15Km) and straighforward on fairly nice roads, mostly flat or downhill. The second is longer, around 25Km, and goes over the Turini. This is a mess of hairpins, dangerous curves and rock walls and quite a lot of detritius from small landslides (in our second run we hit a small rock and punctured a tyre -I hope Europcar don't charge us for this). Fortunately, from a navigation point of view it's quite straightforward. The third stage is much longer (40Km) and goes over some truly horrid small roads. This last section will be our greatest challenge on the event as we will be exhausted by this time and it seems to go on for ever. I'm please we had the opportunity to do this practice as to tackle it at night for the first time is daunting to say the least, especially if the weather is bad and the boy racer element of the rally participants swarming around.

Interestingly there were quite a few people out practicing the route. A Porsche 911 went past our Ford Fiesta at improbable speed as did a Renault Alpine. The latter was smoking a bit and we later found him pulled over at the side of the road with the hood/bonnet up. Something was broken and Bill and I suspected he'd blown a piston ring. I'm hoping that our attention to detail on engine preparations will help avoid this kind of catastrophe.

Later today we head back to England. Tomorrow I'll have another full day working on the car and then I'll need to switich gears (apologies for the automotive metaphor) and start thinking about academic stuff again as I head towards University of Plymouth at the weekend.


No comments: