It is already late when I am writing this so I will keep it quite short.
This morning Grace and I were quite nervous about the day to come.
A lot was at stake. We had already moved up one place to 10th overall but this day would give us three regularity sections, very high temperatures until late in the afternoon and two competitors in 11th and 12 th breathing down our neck.
There was also the worry about the boiling fuel in the Mercedes.
Then there is also the unofficial competition between the four Dutch teams, as to who will be the best Dutch finisher of the rally.
Well at the end of the day we came out on top…!
The morning started very hot and it remained hot until late in the afternoon when we crossed the mountains and finally saw the Ocean near Eureka.
In between we had had three regularity sections, one in the morning that was on very rough mountain terrain with a 62 km average speed down hill. To save the car and crew I took it gentle and we lost 23 seconds over all, but our direct competitors and the other Dutch crews did much worse.
One – zero to team 23.
Then in the afternoon two tarmac regularities on one mountain pass with cooling temperatures.
The run up to the start was pretty tricky and we guessed that the demanded average speed of 60 km and 55 km would be a tough task to do.
When we arrived at the start of the first test I fortunately discovered there that my left rear tyre was very low. When I checked it it had half the required pressure. Two choices before a test: pump up the tire and hope it will last for the two tests or change the wheel there and then which costs time.
I pumped up the tire with our electrical pump and took he gamble. Before the start of the third regularity I checked the tyre again and gave it some more air.
It stayed together and as we learned tonight we came second overall in the second regularity and first overall in the third and final regularity of the rally.
Grace did an amazing job on all tests but especially on the last one as it was a high-speed roller coaster ride on a narrow mountain pass and she kept calling the times so that I could adjust the speeds.
The tyre stayed okay during the run into Eureka on the coast of the Ocean and tonight I changed the wheel for our final day into San Francisco tomorrow.
There is still one day to go but no more difficult regularities just time controls and a finish at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Mick and Grace (fast asleep after a exhausting day)