Day 4

We are stranded in the desert with a broken sump guard.

It is now 17.30 local time and we have been waiting for a recovery truck from Ulaan Bataar for 6 hours. I guess we will have to wait even longer and then have the 5 -6 hour trip to Ulaan Bataar on the truck.

What happened this morning?

After restless night at the campsite we woke early to fold our tent and pack our sleeping bags.

Start was at 8.30 and today would bring us three time trials in the desert after which we would hit the Tarmac for another 200 km to Mongolia's capital Ulaan Bataar.

The first time trial over 16 km went well over loose sand tracks and we did a decent time. The second time trial over about 20 km was more varied terrain varying from nice fast sand track to some rough and jumpy patches.

About 2.5 km from the finish going slightly uphill we did not see that over the hill there was a steep drop with some bumps. We were going too fast and the front of the car jumpt in the air and landed full on the front of the sump guard that protects the oils sump. It was quite an impact and we immediately noticed that we were loosing oil and that the sump guard had come loose. We crept the last few km to the finish of the stage and parked the car by the Marshall post in the desert. No oil is no engine and when we looked under the car we found the sump cracked from front to back.

With no phone signal we started up the satelite phone and started calling around for recovery. Eventually we were promised a recovery truck from Ulaan Batar. But it's has been a six hour wait so far.

What next?

We have been in touch with our Dutch contact in Ulaan Batar and through him with the Mercedes dealer in Ulaan Batar.

First we need to get to the dealership and then we have two options

We find a new sump guard through the dealer

Or we find someone that can weld an aluminum sump guard but that is a by specialist job.

Altena has the parts ready for shipment but it would take too long to ship them to Ulaan Batar

It is a big blow as everything went very well so far and the car was very good. Tomorrow we have rest day in Ulaan Batar so there is some time.

Watch this space,

Mick