Monday, December 10, 2012

Dubai International Rally

I'd already volunteered (again) to run as '00' car for this event, planning to run it in the road car as in previous years.  But with the Beast newly tuned, I decided this would be an ideal shakedown opportunity for it.  Ian Simpson had already been press-ganged into co-driving, as Sheila was Stage Commander.

The DIR is the final round of the Middle East Rally Championship, which is a saloon car event, so the tracks are firm and fast.  But first we have to get to the start of the first stage, a 70-odd km trek from Rally HQ at Dubai Mens College.  Halfway there I felt the steering tighten up, and immediately checked the engine temperature and the ignition lamp - both OK.  So that means it's not a serpentine belt failure.  A quick look under the hood confirmed that we'd lost our power steering fluid - someone hadn't tightened the union on the pump.  With a strict schedule to keep, I couldn't spare the time to hunt for ATF, so I just refitted the union and we ran the first three stages without power steering.

At the end of the 6th stage we were headed back to DMC when the heavens opened.  The rain was the worst I've ever experienced, and I was happy to get back safely to Dubai.

Day two dawned bright and clear, but Stage 7 was littered with deep puddles and deeper lakes.  We had no problems with that, but Mark and John got drenched in their open Buggy as '0' car!  But our day came to an end as we staretd Stage 10 - suddenly we had no cooling.  An electrical problem meant that neither fan was running, and although I managed to jury-rig a supply to one to get us home, we had to bail out of the stage.

But overall, the Beast performed well, the engine ran faultlessly and we have a couple of issues to fix before it goes out again - which will be this Friday (14th December).  A 'Solo Race' is being held up at Umm Al Quwain Motorplex, so I'll be up there to try and get another win in the 4x4 class!

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