Even rougher than the roads in Africa!
Young Zimbabwean Conrad Rautenbach headed to Greece to gain more gravel experience at the wheel of his Geoff Jones Motorsport run 2006 spec Subaru Impreza production car and returned fairly pleased with how the event went.
picking up a puncture a short way into the first stage, which cost the pairing nearly 5 minutes the rest of day 1 went well.
Even so Conrad wasn't happy with the setup and changes were made at final service in preparation for Saturdays stages. Saturday was possibly even more rough than Friday and Conrad admitted that the roads were far rougher than any he had experienced in Africa, and that he was impressed with the type of punishment the car could handle.
In fact, such was his increase in pace that he was hampered by dust as he kept catching slower cars ahead of him!
Another puncture on Stage 8 cost him a bit of time but all in all the day went without trouble and the pairing were happy with their performance. Stage 11, the second running of the 12 and a half kilometre Mandra stage saw Conrad move ahead of Subaru driver Toshi Arai, and his consistent times had elevated him into 9th in class with another 2 stages still to go.
The day then ended on a high with 5th fastest in class N4 through Psatha 2.
Day 3 began with the 24 kilometre long Avlonas stage but Conrad did not get too far through the stage.
“We were only about 3 kilometres into the stage and were flat in 4th gear when suddenly the ball joint broke! Although we ended up in a ditch it could have been much worse, because we had just come through a bit of forest and I dread to think what damage would have been done if we'd hit a tree instead!
“On the whole we are happy with how the event went. It was incredibly rough but it has given me an idea of the type of punishment the car can take. It also showed that we are close to the pace of the PWRC regulars.”
Even though Conrad was reduced to a spectator for the rest of the event, thanks to super rally rules he was still classified as having finished 35th overall and 17th in Group N!
Next up for Conrad is his home event, the Zimbabwe Challenge Rally, a round of the FIA African Rally Championship. Conrad will be returning home to defend his 2005 victory before returning to the UK for the tarmac Jim Clark Rally, round 2 of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.