After a good night’s sleep in the beautiful Abbaye Des Capucins resort, the crews crossed the canal and left the historical city of Montauban.
The route out was lined with fields of peach trees, leading us into the surrounding rural area and to the first regularity of the day at Castelferrus.
Alex Hammond didn’t have the easiest of starts to the day after filling his Mustang with the wrong fuel.
The morning’s route weaved the crews through the pleasant countryside of the Midi-Pyrenees. This area was filled with apple orchards, a huge industry for France as it grows more than one million tons of apples per year. Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Red Chief are all cultivated in this area for over 50 years, so we know what to expect for dessert tonight.
Crews had no time for apple picking though as they continued through the Gascony area, enjoying the joie de vivre of this idyllic setting before heading to Condom town for the morning’s coffee halt.
Condom-en-Armagnac is best known as the home to the Musketeers, with a statue of the other ‘fab four’ outside the Cathedral Saint Pierre. After parking up, crews wandered into town looking for coffee rather than culture but the route through the narrow streets, adorned with brightly painted murals gave them an insight into the local culture. We’re not saying everyone has fitted into the French life but Tristan and Sophia in the Mini were seen using the heat from the engine to warm their pastries…
From there, it was another regularity before lunch at a beautiful French farmhouse, set on a working farm. Local delicacies were devoured before the crews tackled another regularity on the farmland.
Mike and Toby Chilman were going great guns and even managed their own refueling ‘pitstop’ halfway around the test route.
This afternoon’s final regularity was also memorable for Car 7, Keith and Rebecca in the gorgeous 1937 MG SA Tourer. With very little in the way of navigation or rally experience, the couple have embraced the whole experience and finished the regularity cheering when they scored their first ‘zero’.
The whole rally then headed into Lourdes and the spectacular Funiculaire Pic De Jer. Whilst a few decided to get their time cards stamped and head to the hotel for an early bath, many took the tram ride up 1000 metres to the top of the viewing platform to get a proper first look at the Pyrenees, which crews will see close up tomorrow.
Enjoying the view and the sun, it was cold beers all round as crews watched adrenalin junkies riding down the mountainside on bikes and even one man departed by parachute.
Our hotel tonight is in the centre of Lourdes, busy with those making the pilgrimage to the area. The mechanics were busy doing some routine checks on the cars ready for the final two days ahead.