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Per Ardua Ad Infinitum – Cars Gather on the Eve of the Event

Per Ardua Ad Infinitum – Cars Gather on the Eve of the Event

The Metropole is an appropriate name for the hotel that provides the base for the Per Ardua ad Infinitum rally, that begins in earnest tomorrow morning. For if this part of Wales is not the homeland of British rallying, it is certainly the heartland and in years gone by this famous old building has been at the centre of that. Here we are at the centre of things, with Epynt around the corner, Abergwesyn and the Devils staircase and countless other miles of hallowed rallying terrain. The perfect place for this challenging event, no?

A challenge it will be as well, with some drama unfolding before the cars had even begun assembling. One of the hot favourites, Dan Willan, had only finished fitting a replacement diff to his car yesterday evening, the replacement having taken so long to arrive it must have been sent from the moon. He was modest about his and navigator Niall Frosts chances this weekend, but they are quicker than the proverbial hot stuff at the moment.

One car that won’t be challenging them is number 15, the MG B of Stewart Christie that sadly never made it here after the engine expired on the run to Wales. Car 27, the RS2000 of Michael Pedley and Paul Griffin is also a non-starter, as the car just wasn’t ready.

Car preparation is often the lynchpin between success and failure in any motorsport, but this weekend a reliable machine will be crucial, such is the pace at which the event will come at the competitors. “Busy” is how veteran driver Paul Crosby described it, “it’s a tough one, there is a lot crammed into a short space of time”. There is, as well, with plenty of tests and regularities that come at a wicked tempo and will keep even the most experienced on their toes.

Of course, nobody was being particularly boastful about their chances, woe betide anyone who taunts fate and turns her hand against them. That is not to say the competitors will not be pushing for a result, as they absolutely will, although some are being typically British about their prospects, such as Edward Vandyk in the gorgeous Alpine A110, surely one of the heartthrob cars of the event. “That’s about all we’ve got goig for us” he said, “we are definitely going to finish last”. Still, what does that matter if you look fabulous doing it.

Sat next to Edward in the maps seat is Henry Vandyk, one of a number of teenage competitors here this weekend, including Oli Waldock and Bob Rutherford Scholarship finalist Daisy Walker, who is navigating for Peter Higton. Daisy said she was “looking forward to the event after a great experience on the Bob Rutherford finals” and is hoping for a “good result”. However, any of our youngster’s finish, it is brilliant to see them out and involved, they are the future of the sport after all.

How they and everyone else will fare is of course the perpetual unknown, anything could happen. Ahead are three challenging legs in this, the third edition of the Per Ardua ad Infinitum. This time tomorrow Leg One will be done and dusted and Leg Two about to begin, by which time everyone’s prospects may be a little clearer.

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