4 March 2012, Mersouga/MissorDistance380Km, single special stage (second stage cancelled)WeatherOvercast, 18deg, heavy rainSummaryThe penultimate day of competition within Morocco for the Race2Recovery team saw more frustration for both cars, the Orange Plant Qt Wildcat and RatCat. However, the team had elected to use the flexibility of the Tuareg Rally to move co-drivers around within the team to allow all members to gain useful experience of working with crew other than those they are usually paired with.
Dave Marsh contested the day with Barney Gillespie and immediately settled into a good routine. The first part of the first special stage used the edge of the dune field from the last few days as the crews headed north but overnight rain changed the nature of the sand drastically.
Dave and Barney were running well until they had to stop to change a damaged tyre. They also lost time when they had to replace one of the rear wheel bearings between sections.
Tom Neathway had moved from the Orange Plant car to Ben Gott's RatCat and immediately felt at home. However, for the second time in the event, Ben was forced into a route he did not want to take by other competitors and became stuck. Once free, they elected to try to help the last running vehicle on the road, which was also stuck and lost a further 30 minutes in the process.
The second special stage was cancelled, as the torrential rain in the area had caused severe flash flooding on part of the route and the organisers feared that this could cause unnecessary problems.
Both cars arrived at the Missor service ready for routine checks before their last racing day in Morocco, before catching a ferry to Spain and the final test of the rally on Monday.Team QuotesDave Marsh, driver:
"We had a really good day today. Barney settled in very well and we were having good fun. The sand was very different in nature this morning, when it was wet we ran higher tyre pressures than we would have had it been dry, which meant we wouldn't have to stop to increase them again when we got to the harder, gravel tracks.
"But I made a mistake in a ravine and sliced one of the tyres, so we had to stop and change that, which cost us perhaps ten minutes. On the next sections, the brakes also started to feel strange, so we checked and one of the rear wheel bearing was loose, so we changed that as a precaution.
"The final special stage was cancelled, so we drove the rest of the route as navigational sections, which were fantastic. The scenery was absolutely amazing."Barney Gillespie, Co-driver"I had a fantastic day today - it was real racing! I felt I settled in really well with Dave and enjoyed it hugely. We were going really well - we even caught the cars again that we were running with before we had to stop and change the tyre, so that gives an indication of our pace."
Ben Gott, driver"I guess you could describe today as a learning and character-building exercise. For the second time in two days, we were forced into a route I didn't want to take and immediately had problems. The wet sand didn't behave like the dry did - in the dry, the sand would fall back into the space left by the tyres when we lifted the car on the jack and we could gradually 'walk' the car free.
"However, in the wet, it didn't fall back in, so we just ended up back in the same hole and didn't actually get anywhere. After about an hour, we managed to free ourselves but by then, the entire field has passed and the Pro MAN truck was still stuck next to us. I couldn't leave them there on their own, so we tried to help them out. But even with three of our tow ropes and two of theirs, it wasn't enough and I was on the verge of getting stuck myself again. Sadly, we had to leave them and carry on before we ran out of time."When the second special cancelled, we drove the navigational section with four other Wildcats, including Dave and Barney and had a great time."Tomorrow's routeDay seven of the event takes the crews from Missor to the ferry port of Nador, to catch an overnight boat back to Spain. It will be a tricky day though, since the support crews are booked on a lunchtime ferry and therefore, the competing crews will be on their own for the day, necessitating a careful and measured approach to ensure they reach the port on Sunday evening.