Tyres screeching, engines throbbing and 96 souped-up rally cars burning up the east coast of Tenerife. It must be the 35th annual rally. The dockside slip road has been converted into the pits area ready for the 8.20pm start on Friday 13 November, well the last thing these drivers fear is superstition.
Going into the race, Santiago Concepcion Acosta and Nazer Ghuneim Olivares lead the Canaries road rally championship in their Porsche 911997 GT3 (below). They will be in everyone’s sights as the two days racing unfolds. First the cars are all processed through the mecanical checkpoint in Santa Cruz to ensure no team has added a bit too much oomph or fluffy dice in the back window.
The race is split into short sharp bursts of small groups, starting at Poris, up the TF-627 to Arico on a 8.5 km run, next is the Icor run, on the TF-28 from KM 54 to KM 43, a burn-up of 10.95 kms. Finally for Friday it’s Fasnia to La Tose on the TF-620, a mere 6.40 kms. Eveything revolves around the Santa Cruz hub, the cars are whisked back up to the pit area for the presentation of the first podium positions just before midnight – well that eases them in.
Saturday’s action starts at 9.50am on the Los Loros section, on a 13 km burst up the TF-523, rattling the vines as it ends at the Bodega Comarcal. Fasnia to El Bueno comes next, up the TF-28 and the morning triple challenge ends with a repeat of Friday night’s Arico run. Don’t worry, these routes are well marked off and scrutinised so no chance of a stray TITSA bus or holiday maker Doris Dawdle in a hire car.
At 12 .30 the competitors re-group in Santa Cruz, and have two hours to re-tune their motors and steel themselves for another attack of the morning sections. All being well, with the times and points collated, Santa Cruz will again be swamped with all the teams for presentations just before 6pm on Sunday. More pics at Flickr.