Friday – car pickup day

On bus number 3, red code, we were delivered to the inland port where the cars for the entire rally were unloaded for competitors to drive back to the Shangri-La hotel. The day was fine, 32 degrees no wind no pollution at all. A typical kiwi summers day.

The first car to arrive, from Russia. The driver took ten hours to get to Beijing. On his own. It’s a Lada.

Eager to get into their cars, many were disappointed to find all of the petrol had been drained from the tanks. This is not unusual and we were told that this could occur.

Denise ready to roll from the storage area.

Naturally we could only be concerned about our little Denise. Plenty of fuel and she started at the first turn of the ignition.

An inspection of the fuel bowl and the accompanying smell indicated a seal had dried out and was slowly loosing fluid.

Not long for Steve to replace and not long before we were underway, following the “tulip map “ supplied for the fuel station and the trip back to the hotel. Seemed simple enough.

Either it was the way the map had been drawn up and explained or the interpretation by the navigator. No guessing.

It was an hours drive back in heavy Beijing traffic, hot and slow.

Nothing of note to report other than the roof vent Stephen installed operated very well.

We were not the only ones who had difficulty reading the map it seems as many other drivers were perplexed by the instructions.

The display of vehicular machinery back at the hotel car park can only be described as stunning.

Some of the amazing car bodywork, fashioned from bright aluminium. Stunning work. And a means of relief when travelling, Travel John. Interesting!!

Cars of all shapes and sizes and makes glistened in the afternoon sun, their owners shining them up and tinkering in readiness for scrutineering that afternoon and the following day.

Some of these cars are showroom ready. Big ones, small ones, some as different as you can imagine.

Pity that they will not stay this way for long.

Some of the various cars in readiness for the event including a voiturette a three wheeled French vehicle (left) to be driven by Belgian competitor Anton, a determined man who just wants to do things differently, to make it all the more exciting.

Stephen prepared Denise in a way that meant a minimal amount of preparation for the mechanics to inspect the fitness for purpose and that we had the necessary equipment on board.

However our inspection would not be until Saturday morning.

At 6pm we were invited to drinks in the hotel gardens. A lot of guests enjoying the interaction and talk of previous experiences rallying.

Good fun,  then dinner in the ballroom.

We didn’t last long. Food was Chinese, probably fine cuisine. Different would be a nice way to describe.

Stephen didn’t last long opting to eat sea bass at the hotel garden cafe/restaurant.

Bed and ready for the next days challenges.

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