Carrera Panamericana Day 7 - Race to the finish!
Mechanical issues cost our friends in team 122 dearly; first the gearbox, then a faulty oil hose coupling. Each time the car was repaired and they caught up the lost time. They were quickly climbing back up the order when disaster struck, another oil leak which would cost them the race. Their consistently fast pace meant that, despite reliability issues, they were never out of the top 10. This was the last blow though, unable to finish the final stages of day 6, they racked up too many penalty points.
The race must go on though and Gabriel and Angie are not quitters, they were back out there for this mornings start to complete the race and finish the Carrera Panamericana. Their determination was rewarded by a visit from none other than Emerson Fittipaldi! (can anyone translate the Spanish?)
Video: Angelica Fuentes Garcia
Starting in 45th place, with the win out of reach, meant there was nothing for it but to have fun and enjoy the drive from Zacatecas to Durango. This incredible video below was taken by one of Angie's friends, just look at the way Gabriel recovers from the spin! Some incredible car control there but no doubt the spectators on that corner required new underwear!
Video: La Carrera Panamericana
Through the course of day 7 Angie and Gabriel reclaimed 23 places, crossing the finish line in 22nd place. They may not have won the race but were perhaps the most talked about after that spectacularly well caught spin! First place went to team 139, another Studebaker Champion, piloted by Mexicans Ricardo Cordero and Marco Hernandez.
Following Team 122 through the highs and lows of this week long race has given me a real taste for the adventure that is the Carrera Panamericana, I only wish I could have been there! Angie and Gabriel are already making plans for next year and, who knows, perhaps I can be there in person to cheer them on. Even better, perhaps I can compete myself one day. The Mexican tourist board hope that the race will attract more visitors to the country, it has certainly had that effect on me.