After a good night’s sleep we headed off to set up our Time Control (TC) for our first regularity event just outside Malaga. My first initiation to the wonderful world of rallying is to realise that a ‘tulip’ is no longer just a flower….It is in fact a little diagram that provides a snapshot of the road that helps with the navigation process. Whilst we have a map, and like the competitors, we are also given a Road Book – this effectively describes the route via these ‘tulip’ diagrams and distances.
Getting out of Malaga was pretty easy – although hampered by torrential rain. Mike and Sean McInerney , a father and son team who can be found competing at Le Mans and other endurance racing – but had never been on a rally before – commented that they had had a very wet half hour resulting in damp clothes, mobiles and equipment but they just smiled broadly and got on with it. So the 2CV has a few little leaks here and there and possibly not what the competitors were expecting in Spain, but everyone was extremely good natured and looked on it as part of the fun.
The sun and warmth came out on the second regularity event (where you have to travel from A to B maintaining a predetermined average speed). This was held in a section of the Dos Bahias nature reserve woodland that runs between the Med and Atlantic. The road; a narrow track with potholes big enough to swallow up whole cars also was sometimes busy with oncoming traffic and ramblers-a-plenty. Surely these pot holes would break the 2CVs? “not at all” I was reliably informed. Citroen designed the cars predominantly with farmers in mind with suspension that enables the car to comfortably cross ploughed fields. The wheels can move up and down with greater flexibility than our more rigid modern cars. So this means that actually the 2CV is an absolutely fantastic car to deal with these potholes. They just bounce straight in and out – at speed – and carry on completely unaffected.
Regularity event over, Simon and I joined the film crew and left as an advance party to catch the afternoon ferry to Tangier. The competitors headed for a hotel in Tarifa and their first chance to compare notes about their cars’ handling and comfort, the route they had driven and their expectations of the start of the rally-proper in Morocco.