START: The Great Wall

FINISH: Hohhot

DISTANCE: 538.52 km

At 05:45 we were loading up the car and ready to drive to the Great Wall where the official start of the P2P would take place. The car seat felt a little tighter than I remember it as being. It must have shrunk in the 6 years since I last sat in it! There couldn’t possibly be a different reason for the snugger fit.

At 08:52, surrounded by dragon performers, drummers and mum it was finally our time to set off on the 14,000 km journey.

The rally started very much the same way that every race I do with my dad does: with an argument!

Within 3km of the start, the roadbook and the road didn’t match up. We were meant to take turns where there were no turns and see petrol stations where there weren’t any. It turned out we had started the rally with the roadbook on page 2! No wonder everything seemed so wrong.

I tried to convince Mario to go back to the Great Wall and start over again. He thought otherwise and decided to potter on using only his instincts to guide us. By the time I got him to stop we were completely lost and 11kms in the wrong direction. This meant that we were late to a time control and received the maximum penalty, effectively killing any shot at a top 10 finish.

I spoke to a couple of the sons driving with their fathers and it sounds like we weren’t the only car where things got a little heated. We came to the conclusion that dads don’t always know best.

Tomorrow is a new day and now that we have no chance at winning we can take it a little easier (in theory)!