Friday 31 October - Day 4: Photos by
Hans-Peter Rombouts in Dannevirke stages 35/36
Wednesday 29 October - Day 2: Taupo - Palmerston North
Great day today, and we're still in one piece! With very changeable weather conditions today we had quite a challenge both reading the road
and keeping the car on it.
The new Dunlops are working great though, and we're having fun finding just how far they do work! That said, we aren't overdoing it and a bit of caution on our part has served us well. Road surfaces have ranged from excellent to treacherous and judging from the number of offs today, we've driven wisely.
This morning we drove the stage that claimed us last year. It was good to finish it proper this time! The only disaster was the "gumboot-throw" that awaited me at the Taihape lunch stop. Atrocious to say the least. This afternoon's stages were fantastic.
Rob is really coming to grips with the car, which made
the final stage, 4 laps of Manfield circuit, all the more exciting. We may not have made the fastest way around the track but it sure was fun!
Photos: waiting for a stage near Kimbolton and
frame-grab from in-car camera at Manfield
Tuesday 28 October 2003 - Day 1 Waikato - Taupo
I Watched Rob and Igor today at stage 6
in the Waikato, it was very wet and they drove very
sensible for the conditions. Unfortunately I didn't have
a better photo opportunity. Webmaster
Monday 27 October 2003 - Day 0
Today was two stages as a kind of shakedown before the event
proper. First up was a reconnaissance of the first stage,
Papakura. This 8km stage was not to be taken lightly, starting
narrow and climbing through bush. The road opens further on, but
drops, brows and tightening corners can catch you out. Patches
of loose gravel were also across some of the stage. Returning
after the first look, Rob decided to take it easy, though once
we began it was
hard not to really work the engine. It's working best above 4000
rpm, and really comes on just before 6000 so high revs was the
order of the day. Pushing just that little harder meant that we
caught the Cortina in front of us, which admittedly was quite a
The new rims seem to be working just
fine, and after fitting a slightly larger steering
wheel, we seem to have a much lighter steering car,
requiring much less effort to muscle around.
Next up was Pukekohe race circuit. Definitely a
highlight! Cars started at 30 sec intervals for four laps each
of the track. The main straight was excluded with cars going
through the pits as part of the course. Some tight turns through
armco here! Lots of fun exercising the old beast on the track
and even passing the odd car or two! Overall a good introduction
to the week and it looks like we're second in class behind the
big Healey! We don't stand a chance against it so this result is
the best we could hope for. Looking forward to the next 5
Igor de Borst
Monday 27 October 2003
This morning we were due for documentation and scrutineering at
the Turners supersite in Penrose. Since then we've become
members of the Fiat club, but yes we still drive a Volvo! We had
inadvertedly let our car club membership expire, and since you
can't compete without one, we had to take swift measures.
As always there were the little last minute things to be taken
care of, but all in all the car is looking good. It is now
wearing brand new minilite wheels from the UK which really look
the part. Alan, our service crew man, has just spent the last
week tracking down inserts for the competition wheel nuts as 2
out of the 5 wheels arrived without them. Thanks Alan!
It's always interesting to compare a modest budget like ours to
the big spenders of Targa. I don't want to sour the camraderie,
but there are certainly social classes within the competition
classes. We have one, albeit one very hard-working and
dedicated, service person, whereas others can actually say they
have a "crew", it must be a whole different dynamic.
It is always interesting when a conversation starts, "what
are you driving?" The eyes usually glaze over when you
reply, "Volvo PV544" but I guess "the Volvo"
is just as accurate, there being only one. That said, we've had
some great responses to the car, with a lot of people glad to
see us back this year.
The short drive we had this morning felt very promising and I
can't wait till we finally get underway. It will be interesting
to see how the field shapes up after the prologue. Right now
we've got a Cortina in front of us and a Jag chasing us down,
but till we find our rhythm again, we're going to take it easy.
If we make it to Saturday without incident, I'll be a happy man!