Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Confronting My Demons

Oh dear
Rauno Aaltonen and Geoff Mabbs invert their Mini Cooper on the Col de Turini in 1962.

It’s now just 10 days before the start of the rally. Preparations are going quite well although there is still a lot to do. I must confess that I’m now feeling the pressure to perform quite acutely. The great thing about being a beginner is that there are no expectations. But now that we can no longer claim tyro status this sanctuary has disappeared. I’m anxious about all sorts of things: a simple navigational error can cost us dozens of places in the rankings (and make me look very foolish) as can mechanical failures, bad tyre choices or driver error. The teams that win the Monte are those that make the fewest mistakes. Previous blunders still haunt me, notably our 100 metre skid on the downhill section of the Col de Turini which ended in an unpleasant collision with a very unyielding wall.

In an attempt to exorcise this particular demon, Bill and I revisited the crash scene when we did our reconnaissance back in December. It was a somewhat cathartic experience. The error was very easy to comprehend. A longish fast downhill section (there aren’t many opportunities to make up time on the CdT) quickly became a tight and then tighter left hander. And of course there was ice on the margins. Bill has been particularly self-critical but this was a classic trap. A couple of recent web trawls have revealed some of the Col’s numerous high profile victims. We are in illustrious company and I’ve been reminded why the Monte Carlo is the jewel in the crown of both historic and modern rally series. The WRC site says it perfectly in a couple of clips here and here. Enjoy!

Now I’d better get back to the mapping. I’m also going to keep repeating the mantra “we will not crash, we will not crash”. Feel free to join in.

Volvo on CDT
Altogether now, "We will not crash, we will not crash, we will not crash..."

Photos from the excellent Turini website.

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