First Kiwis to Complete the Norwegian Rally!

7 months after we started planning our dream trip to compete in the Norwegian round of the WRC, we have achieved the goal of not only getting to the other side of the world to compete, but we have achived a finish! And finishing was no easy task!

It would be fair to say that we have had a fantastic time, but it has not been without its drama's! Friday did not start well, with time lost over a bank and engine problems, but the rally got better, and on days 2 and 3 the only dramas we had were 2 spins (into snowbanks) costing about 30secs each time.

From the outside watching the scandanavians driving fast on snow and ice is simply awesome, and the skill level and commitment required is high. What we have learnt and experienced over the past 3 days is truly amazing. Each day we improved our speed, and today we were happy with our stage times. The first stage this morning was SS15, which was a repeat of the Mountain stage that was run in complete whiteout conditions yesterday afternoon. Fortunately the weather today was nicer and the road conditions were snowy which meant for a great stage. With the lessons learnt over the last 2 days, Andrew attacked with a fair amount commitment, and we improoved our stage time from yesterday by a whopping 1min 45sec, over 24km!!

SS16, was a beautilful flowing snow covered stage which went well except for a 30sec spin into a snowbank! SS17 was a quick 1km blat around a park in the middle of Hamar, before the final 45km stage to complete this fantastic rally. This stage was a repeat of a Saturday morning stage, but unfortunately when we arrived at the start of it on Saturday morning, they cancelled it after a car had gone off and blocked the road. Bugger! It was unfortunate that we hadn't had a decent look at the stage at speed, but we cruised through taking no risks and brough the car home to the finish ramp in Hamar to a very delighted (and relieved) team manager Teemu Tahko. Teemu had calculated that if we hadn't had our dramas we would have finished 27th... but rallying is all about what if's and but's!!

The scandanavian part of our adventure has ended, and we must say a big thank you to Teemu and the team. They were very organised and worked the servicing very well. They also had a fair amount of dry scandanavian humour!

This part maybe over, but a good piece of news is that we have been invited to compete in a rally in England next weekend! Our performance this weekend had been noted, and through the assistance of Castrol and Jardine International Communications we will be competing in the Sunseeker Rally in Bournemouth (1st round of the British gravel rally championship) next Friday and Saturday the 23rd and 24th of February. Details are still sketchy and the deal is not 100% confirmed, but we will be driving a Ford Fiesta. The organisers have accepted a late entry for us and now it is down to logistics as to whether we can get ourselves there, and for the team that will be running us to accomodate running an extra car. Very exciting news, hopefully we will have more to report in the next few days!!