As soon as I end this blog, I shall jump in a car and zoom off to a picturesque piazza to await the arrival of our teams later this morning. If today is half as much fun as yesterday was at Imola Circuit, then it’s safe to say we’re in for another great day.
After early morning scrutineering & registration, followed by an eloquent briefing on how to read the navigation rally road-book, we left the Molino Rosso and following our road-books, headed off for a day at Imola circuit!
A few minor housekeeping points before I recount what occurred at the circuit. 1) The dentist’s visit has clearly had the desired effect. It seems pain is subsiding and the now pretty obvious swelling is reducing nicely. 2) The domestic seems to have hit a plateau of mutual understanding as during all yesterday I saw no bickering or aggressive head shaking 3) team Lavazza, who have travelled all the way across Europe towing a Mini trailer carrying a heavy fuel efficiency crunching generator and espresso coffee machine with which to keep us fuelled in a caffeine frenzy sort of way, are running out of coffee! Help! 4) I dropped my phone onto the beautiful, very hard and very unforgiving marble floor in the hotel last night and now I slice my fingers with tiny shards of glass each time I swipe the screen… so please… don’t call me 5) TeamVariety Club have, as far as I can work out now left the UK and are drifting across Europe with the aim of joining us in Florence.
Back to Imola Circuit. We arrived and parked the cars in a such a way as to cause all the avid amateur photographers to moan that the picture would have, could have and thus should have looked so much better had we… yawn yawn yawn! We luncheoned in the pits and then assembled (with our cars) on the track for a couple of laps…. We stopped at the Senna monument for a moment or two and reflected whilst admiring the beautiful bronze statue. Back to our cars and a faster lap round the circuit …. Amazing how many GO PRO’s there were strapped to cars… I can feel a You Tube moment coming!
Exiting the ‘pista’ we assembled once more in the massive parking area behind and started the special stages. These stages (3 in total) consisted of simple games in which the driver’s ability, discipline and prowess were not tested in the slightest. Everyone was on an even keel, irrespective of experience or skill. They had upturned plastic cups to squash with their wheels (sounds easy huh?) plates with tennis balls held out of the window by the co driver and a spoon with a tennis ball held out of the window by the driver. All this against a merciless clock which penalised to 100th of a second. Sadly a couple of teams were too busy enjoying the last of the Lavazza coffee to hear the instructions properly and thus did their own thing, culminating in them receiving hefty penalty points. Curiously though, when daily standings were posted later that evening, many of them who ‘aren’t taking the competition seriously’ felt it necessary to lodge a complaint!
As the frivolity of the fun and games came to an end, we left Imola Circuit and whilst driving back to the hotel, I reflected that we had achieved a few notable things that afternoon: 1) everyone now knows how to read the Road-book 2) we drove a world-class circuit in our own cars and not many of us have that privilege 3) we established that instructions need to be given either before or immediately after Lavazza coffee time 4) We need to procure more Lavazza Coffee.
Casualties of the day: the service crew rummaged around under a couple of cars fixing a clutch cable on a Vauxhall engined Mini (eh?) and a clutch on a Mini engined Mini…. and in the process got incredibly dirty hands. Lusan Li from Toronto celebrated a birthday so we organised a cake and an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday.