RALLYING IN CHINA is different
Though the Classic Cars Challenge China was supported by FIVA and loosely run to European rules, on this event friends switch cars, as do navigators, while at least two drivers elected to complete the course solo. Timing bordered on the supernatural, while the organisers took delight in running regularities with finish controls tucked away in hard-to-find city locations. Running red lights to save a couple of precious minutes did little to endear competitors to the police.
The 42 crews on this seventh running of the Challenge left downtown Beijing for stage one of a 1400km regularity rally that would end in Shanghai seven days later. Cars ranged from a 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom and 1931 Packard to a pair of Jaguar E-types and such rarities as a BMW 2002 Turbo, Subaru Leane RX Turbo, a works replica Lancia Delta Integrale, and a Volkswagen Camper van with expanding roof and bed. The VW not only lasted the course, but even arrived home in third place!
Each relaxed stop-over (Tiajan, Weifang, Qingzhou, Nanjing and Wuxi) was followed by a formal departure ceremony attended not only by local dignitaries and sponsors but also enormous crowds, most of whom had never seen a ‘classic’ car before.