Day 21

Kazan to Nizhny Novgorod - 494 km

A boring day with a lot of kilometres to cover. Saturdays are busy days on the Russian roads with many cars and truck on the main roads. There was not much competition just passage controls and one time control after about 315 km.

The morning started very sunny and very warm. Unusual as the last week or so we have not had much good weather at all. The top of the Pagode came off in the morning and at one stage the sun was becoming so hot it was almost too much drive an open car.

Thing were not helped by a bad night sleep in our hotel in Kazan. We found that the hotel in Kazan uses the 25th floor restaurant and bar in the weekends after 10 pm as an all night discothèque / nightclub. Anty went to sleep at about 11 pm and I went to sleep at 12 midnight only to be woken at around 1 am by an incredible noise of a drum beat or DJ sound from the 25th floor. We were on the 18th floor. This noise increased and stayed until 5 am as far as I can recall. Not a good night after what was supposed to be a rest day..

By noon we had covered almost half the distance and we suddenly found ourselves in a freak rainstorm. However when driving we could keep the top down and it soon dried again. Then the route took us – unnecessarily – off the main road again and we drove at least a hundred km’s over very badly damaged roads.

Maybe this is done to show us a bit more of the country site or some of the locals villages , but the bad road conditions make progress very frustrating and in our opinion unnecessary. There is no competition other then the time controls . We are all in the same boat so lets take it as it is.

The villages we drove through are very poor but there are many families gathered to cheer us on. Many young people and or families all shooting away with their cameras and smart phones.

The final time control was in a stadium- open air plane museum on the shores of the Volga river near Nizhny Novgorod. There was an enormous crowd gathered to welcome us and we were treated to some food and sweet tea, The enthusiasm of people is really very impressive. Some of them try and speak to us in English and most of them want to take pictures of themselves in or outside the rally cars.

After this interlude a short run to another hotel. The Park Hotel overlooking the Volga has small rooms but is clean and functional. We each have our own room again and we intend to make up for the lost sleep of last night.

Form my little balcony I overlook a massive statue of Lenin with the Volga River in the background. Tomorrow an early start as we have to start the rally at the Novgorod ring and not from the hotel. The ring is situated approx 40km out of the city so we will leave here at 7.30. Am.

We will have to do a few fast laps on the circuit before moving onto our route.

Then another long day to Zavidovo…

Good night,