WEVO Hayden has just finished Day Three of the 2013 Great South American Challenge with Steven Harris in Lola, the 1964 Porsche 356C. This is the fifth event of Hayden’s marathon rally career that I’ve covered as official WEVO blogjacker and it’s bound to be another good story.
Last used in anger on the 2010 Peking to Paris Rally, Lola has undergone a programme of evolutionary improvements on its P2P spec. Steven has a bit more experience under his belt and Hayden has done a few rallies with the competitive, experienced and thoroughly hilarious Alastair Caldwell, so is now a surgically precise co-driver navigator. I’m expecting cool runnings from Lola and her crew this year.
Team WEVO’s hard-earned expertise broke cover for the first time yesterday, when Steven and Hayden took first place on the day’s sole special stage of 19 kilometres: the only car to clean the run. Lola took the complete day’s drive of 693 kilometres from Curitiba to the wonderful Foz de Iguacu waterfall on the Brazil/Argentina/Paraguay border in her stride, a minor misfire at the end of the day due to suspected dirt in a fuel jet.
Today is the first rest day of the event, so time to visit the falls, clean the car and the carburettors. The team can catch their breath after a rushed start to the event, when Lola was delayed through customs: arriving at the start point (above) well after other competitors had finished packing their cars and stickering up.
So it was that Lola ran naked through the initial 488km transport stage from Rio to Campinas, skirting the edge of Sao Paolo in an enjoyable first day’s driving. Day 2 was another sub-500km run from Campinas to Curitiba, through the open plains of Brazil’s wheat bowl region, before climbing into the Apial Hills.
Parking alongside this magnificent straight-eight Buick shows her size in relation to most other competitors but they don’t spare the old stuff on these rallies: everything gets a proper thrashing. Car budgets include the build cost and the repair cost afterwards!
Today’s rest day will be mostly about settling into the marathon rally rhythm. Extended rallies are not just driving: there are rest/tourist days and fixit days, days to catch up with overseas news but any real downtime is about soaking up the unique pace of life: a pace that will dominate until March 24th, when the rally finishes in Tierra del Fuego: South America’s southernmost point.
Thirty-nine days rallying in a Porsche 356. I think we could all go for that, right!?