Some news from the sand pit.
Sunday 6th November 2005 - Nearly there & nearly ready!
The first phase of the 2005 U.A.E. Desert Challenge takes part tomorrow as Mark and Tim have to complete the documentation process, showing the organisers numerous documents such as their driving licenses, international racing licenses, team registration, car registration, insurances etc. etc. This will no doubt take a few hours as they struggle for a place in the queue with about 150 competitors, including bike riders, drivers and co-drivers, at the official race headquarters, Dubai International Marine Club.
Ard Lampers arrived from the Netherlands last night, and he and Mark spent all day carrying out the hundreds of small but very important jobs on the car to make sure it's in perfect - or at least as close as we can get to it - condition for the race. There was a slight problem when we realised the fire extinguishers were out of certification, so these were whisked off to a nearby extinguisher inspection company and they have PROMISED that they'll be ready for collection by noon tomorrow.
They must be installed in the car by tomorrow evening because the all important scrutineering takes place on Tuesday 8th November inside the Ibn Battuta shopping mall. The whole car and the crew's safety clothing will be inspected to see it meets the FIA's regulations and once that hurdle is crossed, Team Saluki will be included on the official starting list.
Later today the UK contingent of service crew and supporters will be arriving at Dubai airport where the very busy Ard Lampers will collect them and they'll all, somehow, be squeezing into Mark's villa in Dubai.
Various magazines have come out this week featuring articles about Team Saluki, including Game On, Time Out, Middle East Car, Total Sport, Emirates Today and others, whilst Tim has been busy with radio interviews on both Radio 2 (FM 99.3) and Dubai Eye (FM 103.Cool in the last two days. In the UK we also have articles in Land Rover Monthly, Land Rover Enthusiast and Land Rover Owner International this month. The team's P.R. machine continues to roll on...
Monday 7th November 2005 - The band of crazy volunteers has arrived
Early this morning Team Saluki expanded with the arrival of the rest of the volunteer crew who will support the team during the Desert Challenge - Mark, Nicky, Dave and Craig have all arrived safe and well and spent today with Ard tidying up loose ends on the Saluki. Bob Morrison from LandRover Monthly also made an appearance the Saluki camp.
The support crew spent the day getting the vehicle into a fit state for scrutineering which will take place tommorow . Items that were completed today include - aligning the belts on the waterpump / tensioner and drive shaft, electrical changes and checks, and the fitting of new side windows amongst other things. True to their word - the fire extinguishers have been collected from the inspection company and are now back in the vehicle.
Since documentation took place today successfully- the vehicle has been plastered with vehicles number (208) as is now well and truly stickered up.
The vehicle is 99% complete with only a small number of tasks to be completed for tommorows scrutineering which for the first time ever for an FIA event is being held in a public location - Ibn Battuta shopping mall. Team Saluki are scheduled for a 12:00 appointment with the scrutineers.
We'll let you know tommorow how we got on...