The other day a good friend and I were discussing the importance of having a good driver in order to win and while I agreed with him I also mentioned that even the top drivers in the world have no control over situations than can (and do) arise almost every day during a major endurance race such as La Carrera Panamericana.
Today my good friend Mats Hammarlund of MH Racing reminded me of something that took place during last years race.
This is a story about what can happen in the Panamericana.
As I have said earlier, Stig didn’t have one single problem during the whole race. That is why he won with 13 minutes. I think it was equal part preparation before the race, service during the race and Stig saving the car. Even though I felt sick in my stomach everythime I saw him start at 6.000 rpm and sidestepping the clutch!
Anyway, he did have one problem that would have been hard to prepare for. Waiting for the start at the day after Guadalajuara, he opened the door to let in a little bit of air. It is hard to imagine how hot it gets inside the cars with the racing suit in the middle of the day. The ambulance of the organization drives by and SMACK!! The door looks like a banana. Only minutes to the start, Stig finds something to tie the door shut and takes off. I think he won the stage (he was probably pretty mad) and luckily after this stage is the service. Stig walks up to me and asks very calmly ”Do you have an extra door”?
I said WHAT!!? No we didn’t have an extra door so instead we started a frantic body shop session to make the door shut. We took it off and took turns jumping and banging on it until we got it to close again.
This is just a little story about how hard the Panamericana is.
No matter how hard you try, it is hard to prepare for everything.