The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Bulletin 05 - Cold at Koko No
Friday 11 September Lanzhou to Koko Nor 475 kms
First along the narrowing Yellow River valley with substantial mountains to the north and south, and into Qinghai province and its capital Xining the last town of any size before Lhasa. Leaving Xining follow a gorge and climb through increasingly spectacular scenery onto the edge of the Tibetan plateau, descending to the fertile shores of the Koko Nor, China's largest lake
After a much-needed rest day yesterday, competitors are spending their first night under canvas beside the largest lake in China. Rally chief, Philip Young, reports that the lake is a vast surreal expanse of water at the foot of the long haul up onto the Tibetan Plateau. The only local residents are nomads, apparently.
The section to Koko Nor, has seen the most competitive day of the rally so far, with persistent rain and a cold wind making conditions very difficult for the crews in open cars. Many have now lost time and just 54 are still unpenalised.
However, all competitors are safe and well but the Marmon (No 11), the Stutz (No 6) and the Jaguar Mk V11 (No 64) have retired and are making their way back to Peking by various means. The 1919 Marmon was taking a beating from the rough roads and a drive shaft failed. Despite the best efforts of the crew the attempts to make repairs were unsuccessful.
Notwithstanding continuing engine problems, the 1907 La France, now running on three instead of four cylinders is looking set to make it to Koko Nor. In the hostile weather, the German crew of this ancient monster is learning first hand what the rally must have been like for the winner of the original 1907 event, Count Scipio Borghese.
One of the biggest surprises of the day has been the identity of the recipient of one of the largest penalties so far, which has gone to one of the most competitive crews: Paul Minassian in the Peugeot 404 meticulously prepared by his co-driver Paul Grogan of the Northern Healey Centre. It seems they left their Time Card behind at a control.
Not alone among cars with suspension problems was the Volvo (No 62) of Francesca Sternberg and Jennifer Gillies. A broken damper hindered their progress and lost them 17 minutes against the ideal schedule.
Engines will be even more stressed tomorrow as the rally heads into even more rarefied air, towards Golmud, climbing beyond the 3,200m of Koko Nor.
The current results show 54 cars unpenalised in 1st place with a nominal 'penalty' of 6days 0hr 0min, representing one day's penalty for each day of the event elapsed so far.
There are also 8 cars running in the Touring Category.
|Number||Driver (Car)||Total Penalty|
|8||K Jessen (Bentley)||6d 0hr 2m|
|68||Melissa Ong (Porsche)||6d 0hr 2m|
|91||H Bellm (Camaro)||6d 0hr 3m|
|45||Jennie Dorrey (Morris Minor)||6d 0hr 4m|
|17||W Binnie 4.5 Bentley||6d 0hr 5m|
|69||D Orteu (Volvo)||6d 0hr 5m|
|54||W Esch (Mercedes 300B)||6d 0hr 11m|
|99||R Taylor (Willys Jeep)||6d 0hr 14m|
|62||Francesca Sternberg (Volvo)||6d 0hr 17m|
|73||K Kopel (Triumph TR6)||6d 0hr 17m|
|4||G Acher (Aston Martin)||6d 0hr 22m|
|16||J Prior (Railton)||6d 0hr 23m|
|19||F Criminina||6d 0hr 29m|
|12||C Dunkley||6d 0hr 32m|
|10||B Ashby (Delage D8)||6d 0hr 33m|
|27||D Arrigo (Allard)||6d 0hr 46m|
|29||R Hellers (Sunbeam Talbot)||6d 0hr 51m|
|14||Baron von Schoonten (Railton)||6d 0hr 51m|
|65||C Schneider (Packard)||6d 1hr 10m|
|9||Prince Idris Shah (Ford Model B)||6d 1hr 10m|
|39||D Brister (Rover 110)||6d 2hr 2m|
|76||P Minassian (Peugeot)||6d 6hr 53m|
|61||P Noble (Bentley)||6d 8hr 0m|
|2||H Layher (La France)||6d 9hr 7m|
|15||D Saunders (Packard)||6d 9hr 10m|
|44||R Sackelariou (Wolseley)||7d 0hr 8m|
|The following are officially retired:|
|16 (Day 1)||F Noz (Ford Model A)||Engine|
|33 (Day 1)||J Netto (Ford Model B)||Engine|
|1 (Day 2)||Lord Montagu (Vauxhall Prince Henry)||Overheating|
|64 (Day 6)||D Ratcliffe (Jaguar Mk V11)||Distributor|
|11 (Day 6)||C Kleptz (Marmon)||Transmission|
|6 (Day 6)||D Cohen (Stutz)|