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Bordeaux, 28th of April, 2022

We arrived in the capitol of French wine and if you ask French wine lovers probably the wine capitol of the world. Most likely most of the drivers and their co-pilots could enjoy one or a few more glasses of red wine during the dinner to conclude an intense day.

Today was one of the days without a track visit but no less than three special stages on closed off roads. As there are specialists for both sorts of competition this is the day for the rally driver rather than the racer. With very little information the pilots have to make the best out of the given situation driving fast only on visibility rather than a repeating lap that could be learned. Unlike at the track this also means that the co-drivers are in the car with the drivers during the chase for the best time in the mountains, the forest or the fields.

This morning we left Limoges towards the first of the special stages and after a glorious sunrise the day was very friendly.

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Unfortunately, the first special stage of the day had to be neutralized as a big accident brought the run to a halt and it was reported that one crew had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. As those are only rumors one should not take it as a fact but after a long wait the cars lined up for the run were told to go directly to the second special stage of the day. Normally after this single timed runs the field is spread out very far but as the cars basically all started at the same time from the intended start of the first stage, they were running close together all morning. Sometimes one could get the impression that in between the stages and the connection between them the major difference is the lack of a helmet on the later ones. Some of the teams are very sportive on the open road and they might miss some of the great landscapes along the road. Even worse are usually the assistance sprinters as it seems all those mechanics are actually the better racers than the crew, they support but due to the lack of funds they have to race the rental or even a flatbed.

The most beautiful part of the day was before the lunch stop when the convoy passed the shores of the Dordogne with the picturesque castles and caves in the rocks. Unfortunately, there seems to be holiday in France and it is no surprise that a lot of traffic could be found in the narrow roads along the river.

Later we entered the Bordeaux area and it was easy to see that the landscape changed very much to wineries. So, we drove through large fields of grapes and one could see by the condition of the estates what money the wine brings into the region.

So, the last special stages were in such a wine area and after the last competitive miles the cars finally reached Bordeaux where they have their parc fermé at the parc d´exposition.

As mentioned earlier the special stages also brought a shift in the leader board as Mr. John of B could not defend his lead off the track as the Ligier is simply not the best car for twisty roads. It is now the Ford Escort of Kevin and Lee Jones that is leading the field but the Ligier is only separated by a margin of 7 second, just as much as behind is Thierry Boutsen in the Cobra. Also within a minute of the leaders is the fourth placed Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Comp. entered by Lancksweert / van Riet.

Tomorrow will see the traditional switch of the departure times of the single groups as tomorrow and on the final day the regularity classes will be the front runners. As they arrived the latest today and have to leave earliest this also results in a “late start” at 7:15 am. After arriving in a reasonable time today this might actually result in a good sleep, hopefully none of the drivers does take too much of a Bordeaux as he might regret that tomorrow in the car.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof