Tuareg Rally: Day 1, South From Nador To Missor

The first day of the rally didn’t go as planned. The service team was on the ferry from Alméria to Melilla, which arrived about two and a half hours later than the ferry from Alméria to Nador that drivers who were entered in the competition had taken. We had hoped to stop at the designated photo points to get some pictures of our cars, but when the rally officially started, we were still stuck at the border, getting our passports stamped and clearing our vehicles with customs.

It took over three hours to finish all the formalities, and then another hour to change money and fill up the tanks.

Although the service route was easy driving compared to the specials, our race drivers passed all the photo points ahead of us, beating us by at least two hours to the finish.

It was raining lightly when we arrived, and the team had already set up camp and was waiting for us (and the tools in the truck) to service the cars. It had been a warmup day. There were four specials, but the course had been fast and not too demanding, so nothing was broken and most of the maintenance was routine.

We didn’t get any onboard video from the Protruck, because we accidentally left the camera on after we transferred the video from the SD card while we were waiting in Alméria, and the battery was dead.

The briefing for day 2 started at 8 pm and was followed by a buffet dinner in the hotel. It was well after 9:30 pm before the team had finished work and could get something to eat, and it was after midnight before everyone crawled into their tents, either on the roof of the MAN KAT or in the Berber tent set up beside the hotel. We slept lightly because of the cold and the unfamiliar sounds nearby; it seemed like the dogs barked all night. When we heard the muezzin begin the call to prayer around 5 am, we knew it meant the end of a short night’s sleep.

The Profi Cars would be the first to start 8:15 am, and we wanted to get up early to make the final checks and make it to the starting line in time to take some pictures of the team. The cars from our team were well placed after the first day, and since the starting position was determined by the order of the day’s results, they would start soon after the first car of the day.

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