The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.
Tuesday, 21 June 2016
Rally Day 6
To be honest these Porsches aren't much cop as rally cars and are more useful as, say, washing line posts.
In camp we have carnage corner with cars in all sorts of bad ways being brought back to life. It's a bit grim down there and I don't like to ask the rather fraught crews or mechanics what their stories are. There's a rolled Ford Capri, but no one is hurt, and several broken springs and shock absorbers. It's now dark and the work goes on.
Bloody cold here. I'm wearing my shoes in bed. One of the mechanics is sleeping on the grass in his sleeping bag. He's made of tougher stuff.
Whilst Google and Uber want us to to have self driving pods and give up cars, the fact is that people love motor cars and particularly the big powerful old noisy ones we are driving on the rally. Droves of Mongolian families waved us off at the restart today, with young boys wanting to sit in the driving seat and young mothers wanting to see pictures of Pike, Richard's dog.
Off into the Ulaan Bataar rush hour and oh my God why don't these people get Uber or self driving pods this is is appalling, they can't drive for toffee - two smashed up buses in a three mile journey that took over an hour.
Finally we started climbing into the mountains - Owen Turner showed us excitedly how the altitude had made his bag of nuts expand, and this made us think about taking some air out of our tyres. Our Bluetooth tyre pressure monitor means we can see pressures from my iPhone but it also means we get a warning klaxon every time the Bluetooth connection is lost, which is every ten minutes. If you put this gadget on a real car you would shoot it after the first day. Speaking of which we passed one of the Swiss cars which no longer has a navigator - whether there has been a fatal falling out, illness or emergency we can't yet find out.
Later in the day we were back on the dirt but now with enough confidence to overtake a Porsche.