Day 23 Monday 4th July 3016 Zavidovo to Smolensk

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Cool garage photos from last night

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Alexey with his handiwork.

As suspected our rather indifferent stage times yesterday have moved us slightly closer to the cars in front. There’s been a slight change in that the car in front in 16th is changed after they dropped from seventh after a test mistake. I would think that between here and Paris we could move up at best four places plus more for any cars ahead that have major issues. Attrition plays a major role and three cars lost wheels yesterday that we know of. Although that could easily be us having the problem. Inevitably our patched up suspension continues to be a concern with the tireless Jonathan working on it every night.

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Today was many miles and kilometres with two circuit tests, one at the Moscow Ring and this one at the Smolensk Ring. Not much to report, I think we kept our noses clean, but doubt if we’ve closed the gap on our target cars. Unless they’ve slipped up…
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Hotel car park views tonight in Smolensk.

Bruce Washington’s son Harry insisted on playing bagpipes so I got one of the locals to help with taking a suitable photo.
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Funny night with Tony and Jill, their car was from Bill Cosby’s collection. I asked Jill how she felt being in the rape seat. She blanched.

We went to the local bar to swerve another indifferent buffet dinner. We found around 70 other competitors in the bar with the same idea. Loads of staff, but beer being served by draft taps being bypassed into half litre squeeze bottles, before madam would ring it up and it could be poured into a glass. Loads of staff milling about, orders placed and very little food or drink forthcoming. Finally ambushed some beers, probably meant for a future five year plan.

However, after forty minutes one of the waiters came over and apologised that there was no more food. As they had only served three pizzas that I saw (each greeted to mass ironic cheering from the crews) this was pretty lame. I got the impression that they had probably had the busiest night, and certainly the most affluent crowd, ever and had probably turned a profit of three pound fifty. We gave up and ate in the hotel buffet. Luckily they had soup and boiled vegetables to have with chicken rissoles. Yum.

Competition News, we’re up one place to sixteenth. There are four probably slower cars in front of us we might catch if time allows. We closed another minute on the Alfa in front and one of the Volvo’s ahead dropped right back. The cars further up the field are probably unreachable for us, so we can only get ahead of them if they have problems. This also relies on us not cocking up or breaking the car…

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