The morning of day four found me with a relatively late start, ie 7.30am – we had to travel to the nearby Khis gatch to enter the desert between PC1 and PC2 – and unlike the previous day we found the perfect spot to film within a few minutes. It wasn’t just Jerome who hit the jackpot – I found myself in the perfect spot to capture the action.
Cross-cresting – polish driver Adam Malysz shows how it’s done!
Polish biker Michal Hernik and Austrian Ferdinand Kreidl battle it out
Vladimir Vasilyev – halfway to becoming the winner of ADDC 2014
The lovely Carmen Liparotti from Italy – the leading lady in the quads and a stalwart of the ADDC
It’s not often you get three rally cars into shot (well apart from the beginning!)
Yehia Al Helei – the highest placed Emirati Competitor “photobombed” by the Eurosport ‘copter!
Once back in the bivouac we discovered that my own car (supposed to be Neil’s wheels for the day) hadn’t started that morning – parts were required. Resourceful Renaud found his friend – Dubai based garage owner Sam of 1000 Dunes garage who managed to locate a good second hand starter motor in Sharjah and that came down to the bivouac early the next morning along with his own consignment. In the meantime we discovered that the car he was maintaining on the race, number 333 was still in the desert with a very dodgy clutch.
“Let’s go and drive shotgun with them while they do the recovery” suggested Renaud. Within 5 minutes we were enroute to the broken car which thankfully had failed near the end of the stage. The recovery was done by a local man, Obaid, who made amazingly light work of towing a heavy car with his modified Nissan Patrol. No potos of it but will upload a video of the best bits shortly (will post a link on the Desert Diva facebook page).
No desert challenge is complete without a visit to take photographs from “the plateau” and this year we were blessed with a clear day and a low sun!
Day five, special stage four and another super early start. The remit – enter the desert with Mark and Julien at Arada, drive over the Liwa crescent until we each found a good place to film. The reality – the cameramen didn’t like any of the waypoints between PC2 and PC3, so after a quick hello to my hubby Neil and his team who were manning the PC3, we drove further until we found an “ok” point. Our dash across the Liwa Crescent – saw us covering 86kms in 1 hour 58 minutes, which is pretty good going for two amateur drivers piloting production cars, and this was one of the highlights of the week for both myself and Mark.
It was an exciting day for the bikes too – for the first time in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge they took off in a mass start – 15 bikes at a time and the ariel shots near the start were simply amazing. You can watch the Eurosport footage for SS4 here.
The point we did find was probably the worst of the week and I have to confess feeling a bit down at this point as the day before we were parked at a great spot and Jerome took some amazing footage. However this happens sometimes and he did get some good shots of the bikes although the cars kept taking different routes over the low dunes and it was impossible to predict which of three possible tracks they would take!
All too soon it was the last day of the ADDC 2014 – Special Stage 5. Another very early start – I was up at 5am, ready to collect my cameraman from the beautiful 5 Star resort – The Qasr Al Sarab. We were in position on stage before the sun came up – did I say we were up early?
We found a great vantage point this time – just up from where we were on SS5 last year but this time the cars had no option but to travel past us over some very choppy and bumpy dunes! You should have seen those bikes, quads and even minis fly!!!
Highlights of Day 6 – Special Stage 5 – can be found here.
We met up with Mark at the first PC, exited the desert via gatch track and had plenty of time for an egg paratha and a cup of Karak tea at the White Sands Restaurant before we returned to Rally HQ at Yas, in time for the podium ceremony. This year we even remembered to take a group photo of the Eurosport cameramen and their drivers!
Here’s one of the Bruce Clan – first and possibly (because Cameron lives 5000 miles away) last time that three of our family will marshal at the same event.
You can see many more great photos, including the official ones by RallyZone, on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Facebook page.
Results and news from ADDC2014 can be found on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Website.
Can’t wait til ADDC 2015!