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Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally

21th June 2002

Day 19 - Wadi Rum to Aqaba (Jordan)

A ROYAL WELCOME ON THE SHORES OF THE RED SEA

The final day and another attempt at yesterday's stunning test - a fitting climax to the end of the event.

And then the run to Aqaba and the holding control at the Yacht Club before the champagne and garlands for the winners.

The Awards Dinner and the poolside celebrations go on as long as you can stay upright in our posh beachfront hotel.

Never has the sea been such a welcome sight for the drivers of 21 cars. The surviving cars and crews that had spent the night in the desert swooped down from their final mountain stage to the welcome sight of the sparkling blue Red Sea.

The Midnight Sun to Red Sea rally, after 20 harrowing days and 8,000 gruelling kms had reached its final destination. Such was the elation that several of the crews leaped in fully clothed for a soggy celebration of their achievement.

HRH Prince Faisal of Jordan, himself a motor sport enthusiast, flagged in the 21 survivors shaking every one by the hand and presenting them with an engraved Finishers Award.

Kiwis Joe McAndrew and Murray Cole who had lead all the way from the first stage in Sweden in their Honda Integra crossed the finish line with a 10 minute lead over the classic V8 Capri Perana of Richard Martin-Hurst and Tony Devantier. Both of them enjoyed trouble free runs.

Graham Lorimer and Jenny Brittan in their Toyota Corolla were third after a Lazerus style come-back where they came close to retiring with rear suspension torn off their car in an accident in the Czech Republic. But a hasty rebuild and drive though the night into Romania saw them arrive at the start line the following morning just in time to take their start. Their third place award was a fitting reward for their 30 hours without sleep.

Caution had been the byword for the competitors over the final 21 km craggy mountain stage. But not for Mark Bowie who trailed Peter Hall by 31 seconds and pressed on hard to turn that deficit into a 9 second advantage and jumped from 10th to 9th place overall. The stage, named The Fat Lady, claimed no victims.

The battle between the Classics and the modern show room GpN cars was resolved with victory for the Honda and two Classics in the top five.

Joe McAndrew’s performance was outstanding – he won 24 of the 40 stages and was in the top three 34 times. Other stages winner were Ray Bellm (4), Keith Callinan (4), Richard Martin-Hurst (2), Nick Starkey (2) and Graham Lorimer (1).
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