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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 Jungle changes the plans again.

There is hardly an area that supports "unplannability" so much as the jungle. This rule was also applied again to the RFC on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday. Originally all participants were supposed to arrive on the late Tuesday evening at the next camp. On the following Wednesday the big departing into the so called "Twilight Zone" was foreseen. The main purpose of that area is that the teams have to get through it, no matter how - just as in the days of the Camel Trophy. The passage alone qualifies for a significant number of points needed for the final classifications. But before that another obstacle awaited the competitors - the weather and the tough conditions on Tuesday were the reasons why a big part of the participants was not able to complete the special stages from Tuesday.

The consequence was that about half of the teams had to camp at the old site and complete the old Tuesday stages on Wednesday. So on Wednesday the organization spontaneously arranged several new sections around the new campsite. The departure into the Twilight Zone was shifted to the following day. Around noon most of the participants arrived at the new campsite.

On Wednesday night and in the early morning heavy rainfalls started. Heavy means that every hour the rain alternates between real rivers coming down from above and some light drops falling. In between sometimes even the hot Malaysian sun came out and the temperature rose instantly. So a part of the water quickly went into the atmosphere and 30 minutes later thunderstorm-like rainfalls came pouring down again. The day before the camp had been a normal grassy area. On Wednesday afternoon it had grown into a place with a 10 cm high muddy layer on the ground. Most of the teams put buckets and pots to the edges of their tents to collect some fresh rainwater. The quickly accumulated water was used as rapidly as gained to clean the stained clothes and permanently soiled and wet feet. Even a quick washing session in the river would not help as the muddy area had to be passed again on the way back to the camp.

On Thursday morning the originally earlier foreseen twilight zone will lead through the deep jungle. The press and parts of the organization convoy will head back and travel several hundreds of kilometers to bypass the section on normal roads. For about 37 kilometers the competitor teams will have up to three days time. In the worst case this will last until Sunday evening.

About 40 kilometers are normally not much. In this case however the conditions are undetermined and can vary within hours. The track will lead into deep valleys and above steep hills on slippery roads filled with jungle mud.

Normally the so called X-Men will check the tracks shortly before the field goes in. This year however due to the conditions they remained with the current stages. So at the moment no one knows exactly the situation inside the Twilight Zone - especially with the heavy rains falling. "You never exactly know what is going to happen. If the conditions are good everyone might be out quickly. If things are like in 1999 we still will have cars remaining in the stage during the price giving ceremony." so Luis J.A. Wee. In that year the RFC had to be completely canceled and the last cars got out weeks after the event. "If we had not modified the course, it would have definitely be the same also this year" so J.A. Wee "Now the chances are better that we will see everyone again in 4 days - even though you never know ..."

The press and organiztion convoy will backtrack to normal streets again. However this will also be challenging as it rained the entire Wednesday. The river next to the camp already rose half a meter due to the rains. On the way back there will be three more river crossings for the convoy. So it is to be expected that ot only the competitors will have tough times tomorrow.

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

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