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2nd Update on the 2007 Peking Paris Challenge

June 18th, day 23, a day-off in Moscow  PART II

But of course the people I meet the most are the garage mechanics and other professionals we approach for help in sorting out our car’s problems. You already met the on-the-ground radiator-fixing Mongolian “magician”. Here is a small selection of other characters:

Let’s start with another scene in Mongolia, during the day, welding the exhaust and the sump guard mounts, on a family “ger” enclosure. Again, working on the ground dust, with both headlamps still intact … but the two fog lamps already broken. The front license plate is kept in place with tape (later we were to also brake the rear license plate mounts…). On the right you can see the petrol generator that powered the welding machine…

Still in Mongolia, the guys that transported our car (and us) from 8 pm to 6 am the following morning, on a 300 Km run to the border. They had already loaded their flat bed truck with sand, but quickly emptied it by shovel to load our car… Here they are, after the car was unloaded on a road side ditch, a few hundred yards before the border.

Crossing into Russia, we had more of the same during the day-off in Novosibirsk.

Here they look very pleased with themselves, and I later could find out why: I did not check the last bit of work they did (putting the sump guard back in place) and they made a mess of it, leaving mounts loose and bolts unbolted. A mere 50 Km after, we were back on square one…

The real good work was done at a Ford-Mitsubishi service dealer at Yekaterinburg on June 13th. The exhaust was properly flame welded, sump re-fixed and a lot of other small details taken care of. The car was even washed and was looking its best again…
Here is a selection of the people involved, starting with the workshop manager delighting on the driver’s seat, followed by the welder that did it all, and the whole team, with Pavel who acted as an interpreter, on the far right, and the chief mechanic in red on the foreground:

And finally the car outside, all shiny, with new Russian head lamps plus license plate fixing mounts.

Today on the Moscow rest day, we finally got new front shocks and suspension bushes. I had to rush to a UPS bonded warehouse this morning some 40 Km from the hotel to get them (the hotel refused acceptance on Friday because we did not had a room number – no wonder, we only got here Sunday evening…).
And in the afternoon we found Igor, just a mere 300 m from the hotel, to install them.


We have a day-off today in Gdansk. I hope I can "drive" to Koblenz and not be on a trailer. I have been on 3 cylinders for some days (no compression...) and things can only get worse.... I am waiting today for something called "piston seal" from Holts that we hope will improve things. Still, the competitive part of the event is over: we are 13th in the  classics (out of some 35 participants) and our team "The dry martinis" is first, thanks to the other 2 members (only the best 2 contribute for the team classification). Would be a pity if we fail to finish...

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