Targa 2016 - Day 5
Coming into day 5 today we had a solid 4th and possible third if we could keep our heads on straight. For the first time our cards were on the table since the penalties were finally removed and our starting position went from sixth to fourth. There were a lot of comments from the other drivers who were shocked with our significant advancement.
We nailed the morning races getting 0 penalties, even less than our team captain. As the drivers came in from the second to last race one left a trail of transmission fluid down the hill creating a bit of a treacherous start to the next race. Race crews sprinkled kitty litter over the trail and the next race began.
We didn't think much of it because I had consistently kept the car in the middle of the road and didn't cut the corners. Just as we hit the top of the first hill, one of the wheels hit the kitty litter and the car slid like it was on ice right towards the guard rail.
In these situations you can't hit the break or it can get so much worse. The front bumper took a hit on the guard rail just before I could finally get some traction and hit the gas.
We were away with some cosmetic damage to the car but no structural damage and no harm to either of us. And despite the setback we still managed to complete the race on time with no penalties.
After lunch the crew had a new tire on the car, the wheel well sorted and everything set to go within a few minutes, just in time for us to head out on the next race.
The next ones would include the most notorious town stages. We had heard stories of cars going under houses, through fences and tiny roads between white picket fences and shrubs. Needless to say I was a bit worried and couldn't help but think about my previous blunder.
It was not nearly as bad as we thought and I was having no problem keeping up with the switch backs, sharp turns and instructions that Andrew was calling out. It was actually having fun and we were making excellent time...that was until I heard 'Chicane in 150 meters.' I had no idea what Andrew was saying and so began doing what you have to do if you can't process an instruction, follow the tape barrier and or arrows.
The only problem was the tape blocked my right, pylons were ahead of me and there was no road to the left. Meanwhile Andrew kept yelling, 'Chicane! Chicane!'.
So I yelled back, 'I have no idea what a chicane is!'.
'Do an S curve around the pylons!' he yells back.
In a few short seconds we went from a stand still to flying out the other end of the town but again racked up an 11 second penalty. Thankfully most of the other drivers had also had issues and had racked up penalties.
The day wrapped up our final races and to commemorate the end all the cars were lead by a police escort through the town past cheering fans. We rounded a corner and drove through an archway where they presented each driver with a medallion for completing the Targa.
There were a few drivers that barely crossed the line and others that walked across the line with a steering wheel since their car would no longer run (drivers have to cross with at least a part of the car in order to have completed the Targa). It was a fabulous way to end the day.
But there was more! This evening the Canadian Forces Services St. John's hosted a dinner for us. During dinner we recieved the best news, we are sitting in 3rd place! So long as they don't find any more penalties then we will be standing on the podium tomorrow night. We will keep you posted!