to Sydney Marathon
5th June - 4th July 2004
Day 15 - Munnar
to Coimbatore (India)
TWO QUICK MORNING
TEA BREAKS FOR McRAE
The rally left the hill town of Munnar this
morning shrouded in swirling morning mists with the early
monsoon tipping down brutal showers from the heavens. How
high is Munnar? From the narrow winding roads you to look
down into clouds in the valleys! Yes, that high.
Today's stages are set in the thousands
of acres of the Tata tea plantations where the famous Tetley
tea is grown and sent around the world. Tea bushes cling to
the hillsides and women workers move through, hands a blur
of speed as they pick the tips of the leaves.
The other blur was the cars as they raced
through the two tone green tea bushes, exhausts roaring as
the plantation workers, having been given the morning off
work, became amazed first-time rally spectators.
Jimmy McRae did the business with 40 minutes
of full-on racing through the misty plantations to record
a pair of stage wins increasing his lead over Joe McAndrew
to a useful 63 seconds.
"I got the tyre choice right today,"he
said, "and I kept in the middle of the road. There were times
when I felt both wing mirrors being brushed by the tea bushes."
Less fortunate was Steve Blunt in his Toyota
who flew off and beached himself on the tops of bushes. Locals
gathered to assist with co-driver Bob Duck making mimed sawing
motions. One local returned with an axe and chopped the bushed
down lowering the car to the point where it could be driven
out. Blunts excursion cost him a stage maximum and dropping
him down to 9th place.
Even less happy was
Aussie Paul Darrouzet in his V8 Capri who had a big-time off
and had to be dragged back up on to the road with a 30 ft
winch dropping him right back to unlucky 13th place. An ignominious
excursion for the car that won the last London-Sydney without
a scratch on it. more...
out daily reports:
June to 4th July 2004 day by day