The exploration of the region around Ha’il continued with a journey south of the city, following a route for a special that was 100% sand, where long stretches of off-road driving forced the competitors to use their navigational skills.
The French who like to tease their friends across the borders will tell you it is a Belgian tale. Today, the Classic lost the 3rd placed crew in the general rankings due to a broken crankshaft, which takes the biscuit for advocates of 100% Toyota parts who only swear by Japanese reliability. The father and son team of the Clayes had returned to the rally to get rid of bad luck that had previously haunted them. A puncture several kilometres from the finishing line saw them drop from the top 20 to a final 34th place last year. Their return aimed to rid them of this bitter taste that their experience left them with, still with the same vehicle, but with a new engine; a 100% original engine, but this time with a turbo. “We’d checked everything, from the internal pressure through to the con rods. We’ve driven 4,000 km here without the oil level even moving”. But there you have it, if it is not broken, do not fix it… Vehicle 745 had to be towed home this evening. Tom, the son, was the most disappointed, whilst his father Eric remained more philosophical: “There’s nothing to say, things happen, that’s just how it is,” he said, climbing out of his Toyota without the slightest regret.