Day One: Tuesday October 25

Lawrence and Neven had an extremely early start this morning, as they had to get out to Pukekohe for the 06:45 briefing and get on the road at 07:00. The first couple of stages went very smoothly, and we pulled up half-way through SS3 to spectate. After watching the first of the Targa cars through, we left to re-fuel at Otorohanga. We made a bit of a wrong turn here, and ended up rather late for SS5, along with Jeff Bell's 911. Along the way we picked up Aja Rock's Honda, and went hell-for-leather towards the start of SS5. We only just made it there in time (I'm sure we went faster getting there than we did on the stage itself).

Apparently quite a few missed making it to the stage at all, including the sweeper car!

We made SS6 and SS7 with less panic, and had a nice whitebait stop in Mokau before heading on to New Plymouth.



Meanwhile Mark and Sarah were back at Qualitat, getting Porridge's new carbs tuned. After much experimenting we also determined that the distributor had to be replaced, along with various other bits that had been fire damaged. Once that was done, having undertaken many test "laps" around the streets, Porridge was deemed fit and well, ready to return to the event. Hence we left Auckland mid-afternoon, with a 5 hour drive ahead of us to meet the Targa group in New Plymouth over night.

Porridge had other ideas... just over an hour into our journey we stopped on the side of the road after hearing a rattle stop suddenly. The rattle turned out to be the left rear upper damper mount, which stopped rattling when the nut dropped off and the damper dropped down. Luckily we heard something odd, so we stopped quickly and went looking up the road for the bits that fell off. The search was successful, but Porridge had bigger issues, as when starting it up from hot it once again burst into flame in the left hand carb. This time we were quicker controlling the situation, so the damage was restricted to a slightly melted filter and well smoked trumpets. After everything cooled down we were able to start it up successfully; nonetheless it was clear that Porridge's race was run, so it was back on a trailer once again for another tow home.


This was a crucial juncture for the team; after a brief discussion we decided that the support crew should continue to New Plymouth in the van, while Sarah and Mark returned to Auckland with the stricken Porsche, courtesy of a kind collection from Katy's Jeep and trailer. By 00:30 Porridge was tucked up in Auckland, and the crew had arrived in New Plymouth to catch up all the news from Lawrence and Neven.



More photos here