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London to Sydney Marathon

5th June - 4th July 2004

Day 9 - Thessaloniki to Alexandroupoli (Greece)


Thirty five minutes of hard core gravel racing over three of the famous Halkidiki stages was the Sunday treat for competitors.

And again it was an all Kiwi day. Two stage victories went to McAndrew and one to Shane Murland in their Hondas.

Rally leader Jimmy McRae had a stone shatter part of his brake calliper and he limped brakeless to the stage finish. He clamped the brake pipe closed with a pair of pliers and continued into the final stage. "It didn't really want to stop, which was a bit of problem in these flat out fifth gear stages," he said.

With the Hondas in full flight sounding like Zorba the Greek on fast forward Jimmy's lead was chopped by a minute. He now has just 36 seconds advantage over McAndrew who is also in full fast forward mode.

The front end of the field is colour me Japanese, of the first seven cars the only interloper is the classic British Escort of Simon Glover. The other six are the 3-car Honda and Toyota team cars.

But yesterday it could have been a different story. Graham Lorimer was sitting having a leisurely cup of coffee before a stage start. What are you doing there, asked a fellow competitor, you're due to start in three minutes. Lorimer bolted and just made the start. Co-driver Nick Starkey had forgotten to adjust watches to take in the one hour time difference between Italy and Greece.

Starkey is just beginning to recover from competitors grinning and pointing at their wrists as they drive by.

Nelson Marshall is still in limping mode, his Capri officially out of the competition with a badly damaged roll cage that no longer meets the safety requirements. more...

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