Recce in Oaxaca - Day 0 + 3

The Oaxaca valley with afternoon storms.

The Oaxaca valley with afternoon storms.

Today is our first full day in Mexico and our first chance to recce the Oaxaca Stage 1 speed sections. We ended the day feeling good about our chances of achieve our first goal, to finish La Carrera.

After a long day of traveling from the U.S. to Mexico Chris and I landed in Oaxaca Sunday evening. We got the hotel sorted and headed to the Zona Central for dinner. This is the old part of the city. We ate at a great restaurant, Casa de Oaxaca, over looking the plaza of Santo Domingo.

Monday’s Work - Stage 1 Rece

Today we decided to drive all of Stage 1 which will be the starting stage of La Carrera on Friday. The Volvo isn’t arriving until Monday night, so we got a rental. We ran that little car pretty hard. Somewhere there’s a Chevy Beat that really deserves a new set of tires. ; ) After getting orientated and marking up our maps we headed out.

Before leaving Colorado I made a preliminary route and marked up all the stages.

  • Yellow highlighter for timing controls.

  • Pink highlighter for hazards, like topes, on transit stages.

  • Orange highlighter for dangerous turns on the speed sections.

We’ll get the final-final route books before the race, but my working books let us get up to speed on using Carrera pace notes. For our first time on Carrera stages, we didn’t do too bad.

We stopped for lunch at a wonderful place called Colibri, The Hummingbird, in the village of Las Animas. It’s right on the stage route, just before the begin of section 13. After lunch we finished the last two speed stages and headed back to the Victoria Hotel in Oaxaca. Both driving and navigating on tight mountains roads at speed is tiring and we both needed a rest.

Getting Right with the Rules

Notes on the timing control procedures.

Notes on the timing control procedures.

We spent the rest of the afternoon reviewing the rally rules and talking through the timing control procedures. For every stage section you have a designated arrival time, being late or early means time penalties. Making mistakes with the timing control procedures also brings penalties. Since we don’t have much experience in race driving we looking to rely more on good execution than speed. If we can avoid time penalties and drive clean we feel we can do pretty well. La Carrera is a race of attrition. We plan to finish.

The Team Arrives

Our team finally arrived tonight—Tim the mechanic, Alberto the guide, James the assistant—along with car and the rest of our kit. We had a chance to catch a late dinner and plan our week.

Tuesday - Registration and Scrutineering

Tomorrow’s work is to get Chris and I through registration and the car through scrutineering. We’ve got to make a last minute update to our racing seats, so Tim the mechanic will have a busy morning before the car goes through inspection. We’ll see what else the scrutineers find.