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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com special of the Rainforest Challenge 2007, the hardest off-road trophy worldwide. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Rainforest 2007: The first heavy challenges started on Tuesday.

After the easy introduction stages on Monday the RFC teams encountered their first real challenges on Tuesday. The difficulty increased so much that even some of the hardcore teams were not able to complete the stages. It was wet and muddy and heavy winching was necessary.

On the early morning the day started with a transfer stage of about 12 kilometers. The first part the track was still in a relatively good condition. This means that in dry weather it can barely be driven without winching. Heavy vegetation reached from the left and right into the way and several larger logs had to be cut before a passage was possible. In total the convoy needed about 2 hours for 12 kilometers.

The location of the special stages was reached at around noon. Two stages had to be driven in and near to a small river. In the first stage the river had to passed and a steep 10 meter hill to be climbed. Then the track passed through small bamboo bushes. On the other side of the hill a vertical 90 degree drop of about 5 meters had to be driven. Here winch was necessary again and a cable or mechanical failure would have meant to tumble the car down into the river again. Especially the first cars had no chance to pass the area without minor damages. A Malaysian jeep went in in first. With enormous noises he made his way through the densely overgrown passage. The dead and dry bamboos cracked and loudly broke until the car was blocked and the crew had to winch themselves out again.

Who made it through the bamboo and the descent still had to pass the river. If the cars "found" the wrong spot they suddenly had about 1,50m water next to them. A high number of cars never made it up the hill or through the bamboo. A Thai team with a Mitsubishi L200 managed the winching difficulty only to find themselves totally stuck in the bamboo. After long tries the team had to winch themselves down again. Back in the river they again managed to find a nice spot to get stuck with a non-working rear winch. In total the Mitsubishi ended up blocking the track for more than one hour.

Who was hoping for an easier second stage found himself disappointed. After a fast almost dry passage in a stony river bed the track lead in a right angle into the jungle. The entry was a step several meters high. Almost all teams had to winch themselves over it to get into the green. There about 300 meters had to be driven on a designated path. As usual the vegetation did its part to to make things complicated. Fallen trees, 50 cm high roots and lots of other plants made it a challenge to get through. In this area there was also a tree with a diameter of about 4 meters. Some of the regions the RFC goes to had been logged several years or even dozen of years ago. These big trees had been a part of the original vegetation.

One of the most spectcular jungle entries was performed by the Italian Toyota team with their rebuilt BJ40. At the step from the river they tried to convert speed into height - unsucessfully. In contrast to the expectations this mainly ended in a big collision with one of the framing trees. The entire top left side of the car was pushed in and the rear window burst with a loud noise. With no mercy the team pressed the car through the jungle section. Unfortunately at the end the car was disqualified because of some part of the track that supposedly had been driven incorrectly.

After the special stage a "small" transfer drive of some kilometers had to be managed. The river that was also part of the special stages acted as a boundary for the lesser used parts of the track. So with every meter the quality of the route gor worse. The path ended at another river that had to be crossed. Some organization vehicles had scouted a suitable track. Fortunately at the time of passing it had not rained before so the water just barely went into the foot room of some cars. Some cars had to winch themselves out again. This time there were no exceptions for non-competitors - all cars had to go through there. So even the press, service and support vehicles and crews got wet and muddy.

The camp that was reached in the deep night mainly consisted of a flat overgrown space next to a small river. The vegetation was flattened by driving cars in and out of the area. Where snakes and all kind of jungle bugs and animals had been crawling just minutes ago the rain protection sheets and camp beds were then set up. Mosquito protection was one of the main used personal care products on that evening ...

2007/12/05 | 12:41 CET | Editor: MR/HS/JS

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