Day 24

Today’s first test was around a racetrack. I wanted to drive it again, but Mario said that gearbox oil has been leaking and that he needed to drive in order to make sure the car was safe. It is rather strange how mechanical issues (gearbox, steering, brakes…) seem to appear around timed sections and miraculously disappear by the time we arrive at the hotel.

This afternoon we got caught up in a huge queue leading up to a crossing. We waited for a few minutes but weren’t moving at all so Mario decided to veer onto the dirt. We overtook everyone and rejoined right at the front of the traffic light which was holding everyone up. When driving old cars you sometimes allow yourself to bend the rules a little and do things you otherwise wouldn’t. Other drivers also seem to be a lot more lenient if you’re in an old car.

This evening we slept at a resort outside of Moscow. In 2016 I joined the Peking to Paris for one week and we stayed at the same hotel then too. The good thing about being somewhere a little remote is that the rally stays together. If we are sleeping in a town a lot of the teams will break into cliques and eat out, especially when the hotel isn’t too good. As a result there was a really great atmosphere tonight.