The challenge is to Rally from Peking to Paris. Is it a race then? Well, strictly speaking no. It is not legal to race cars on public roads so we wont be racing. The rules are deceptively simple, setting off from point A to reach point B, following a prescribed route against a fixed time schedule. The greater the deviation from the route, or from the time schedule, the greater the penalty. The car that has fewest penalties by the time we reach Paris will be the winner.
There are 3 categories of cars competing – the Pioneers are those vehicles dating from before 1920. The Vintageants date from 1920 to 1940 and then there are the Classics heralding from 1940 to 1964. In effect there are three different rallies with their own time schedules so we Vintageants will only be competing against other Vintageants.
Each day we will have a set route to complete, we have been sent the route books and all we have to do is follow the instructions. The instructions are given in the form of Tulip diagrams – the principle is that you arrive on the ‘ball’ and leave on the ‘arrow’. If you look at the picture you’ll see what I mean.
We have a pretty essential piece of equipment called a Monit to help us. It is a digital trip meter. It is connected to the prop shaft and measures our distance travelled to an extraordinary degree of accuracy. If you look carefully at the route book, you will notice the distances in our Route book are shown to 2 decimal places. In fact we have installed two of these little chaps in case we have problems.