Day 17

Tyumen to Yekaterinburg 385 km

Finally an easy day with a nicer countryside to drive through. After two long driving days in generally bad weather today was a fairly relaxed run.

We left the city of Tyumen an hour later then was advertised by the organisers. We got up early this morning for a 8.16 start only to learn that our start had been delayed by an hour. Shame and its not the first time this happens during the rally. An extra hour sleep is welcome after such a series of long runs. This morning the first time trial was cancelled. The terrain chosen for the trial had become impassable by the heavy rainfall of the last few days.

Instead we were directed to an old rally cross circuit 13 km out of town. There we each had to perform 2 individual high speed laps with an astride stop in between the two laps. The terrain was okay but we took it fairly leisurely, as there is no point wrecking the car for a few seconds advantage. Fun though and the Pagode sounds great around such tracks.

The rest of the day was basically a direct run to Yekaterinburg with some diversions to back roads, which were clear of traffic and in good condition. The countryside is much friendlier then the last two days. Green fields with flowers and sometime tree lined roads. The only place where the roads turn really bad is in the villages we drive through. Villages must have a different budget from the main through roads. The villages though are full of enthusiastic waving people and children so it is good we cannot drive through them at great speed.

The first part of the day we could drive with the top off. Then black clouds gathered and with perfect timing we had the roof closed before we hit another big rainstorm.

The local roads are flooding quite quickly and develop a sort of white foam, which according to Anty is caused by all the oil leaking from the old cars and trucks on the road. Careful driving therefore particularly when overtaking.
There were two PC’s (Passage Controls) today and then a run straight into Yekaterinburg. The outskirts of the town are as run down and in as poor a condition as all the other Russian towns we have seen and the roads are really, really bad. But when you get closer to the centre the buildings become more modern and fashionable and the cars become more western.

We are stopping tonight at the luxury Hyatt hotel on the river…. That flows through the town. Anty and I have each a very nice room overlooking the river. In fact we have had each our own room for the last 5 days, which is a nice gesture from ERA. The car has been good again but I notice that she is tired from the beating in Mongolia. We therefore take it gently and will give her another check up in two days time in Kazan.

Tomorrow a longer run with some time trials to Perm.

Good night,