Peking to Paris 2016 in a 1966 VW Karmann Ghia, Patrick & Christine Sommer Car 65

Patrick & Christine Sommer
Ready to rally.

Route 6th Peking to Paris Rally 2016

Route 6th Peking to Paris Rally 2016



Monday 18 July 2016

Day 36 Arrival in Paris

Coming from Reims we arrived happy and exhausted on Sunday in Paris on a hot beautiful afternoon.
Not in our wildest dreams did we expect to end up in the top ten of the classic cars on this rally (8th classic cars, 1st in class).

We had no mechanical difficulties to deal with, besides routine maintenance. This is exceptional given how much work other crews had to carry out on their cars just to keep them on the road.

We are particularly grateful to:

- Xavier Adam (Riverside Motors Nivelles) our mechanic who has built our car and who is a perfectionist. It is thanks to Xavier that the Karmann Ghia seemed to be one of the best prepared cars on this rally.

- Robert Bernauer (RMB Rennmotoren) who built the engine that carried us half way round the world without any hick ups.


- Jean Francois Mulnard (r.tec, Heppignies) who built our shock absorbers which withstood the pounding of the Gobi desert.

Xavier and Pat from Riverside Motors made the wonderful surprise of turning up in Paris. They had invested a lot of time in our car and the fact that the car did so well is also very much their success.
We also had family and old family friends who came to Place Vendôme on this magic afternoon.

This rally was an amazing adventure, we hope that we could share some of it with you on our blog.

Patrick & Christine 
Car 65

Friday 15 July 2016

Day 34 St Moritz to Lausanne

On this last competion day of the rally, we drove over several alpine passes with snow, ice and fog on the road. Rather unexpected in mid July.
The last test was on rough gravel which suits our car well and we thouroughly enjoyed it.
On our way to Lausanne we passed by Martigny which brought back the souvenir of a family trip, where 45 years ago my sister Nicola and I filled our wellington boots with water to try to fill the leaking radiator of the Citroên DS 21. We then stayed a couple of days in Martigny waiting for the radiator to be repared.
Tomorrow we will drive from Lausanne to Reims and on Sunday on from Reims to Place Vendôme in Paris.
If some of you living in Paris would like to see some amazing cars that have just driven from Peking to Paris, the first cars should arrive around 1pm. It is difficult to estimate at what time we will get there as we will be sent towards Place Vendome in batches of ten cars; our guestimate is 2pm ish.

Thursday 14 July 2016

Day 32 Ljubljana to San Martino Di Castrozza (Italy) + Day 33 San Martino Di Castrozza to St Moritz (Switzerland)

The two past days have been exhausting, driving through the spectacular scenery of the Italian Dolomites with very steep climbs and descents (the reason for not posting a comment yesterday). Our car is very light and has a lot of ground clearance, all of this causes understate, thus making fast descents quite difficult. As a result we have lost one place in the ranking but we are very pleased with our overall results.
Today is July 14th and Jean, our French friend from Vancouver, proudly wears his tricolour scarf.
One can feel the huge enthusiasm for Motorsport of the Italian public welcoming the rally through towns and villages..
Late in the day today we crossed the border to Switzerland and arrived in the elegant town of St Moritz. 
Tomorrow will be the last day with  competition before we cruise through France.
Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin designed the Karmann Ghia for Volkswagen who wanted to build a sports car in the 1950's. Our car therefor has an Italian touch and is very well known in Italy. Many enthusiasts recognised the car on our way through Italy.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Day 31 Maribor to Ljubijana

Today was a sequence of test sections on gravel and tarmac in the Slovanian mountains. This was a intense and tiring day for pilots, co-pilots and cars. Navigation was intense with a succession of quick turns throughout the whole day.
Slovania is a beautiful country with the best roads we have seen since the beginning of the rally. The very steep climbs and descends were a foretaste of things to come in the Italian Dolomites this week.
Tonight we tried to do all the checks on the car before we enter Italy.

Monday 11 July 2016

Day 30 Budapest to Maribor (Slovenia)

Today we left Budapest on a hot morning heading for four fasr tests on gravel. The rally is running at a quick pace for the last week.
Our Karmann Ghia went much better today because as you can see we worked on the car yesterday (no, I am not sleeping under the car).
In the afternoon we crossed into Slovenia  were will spend the day tomorrow.
The marshalls looked splendid wearing their finest Chinese underwear which they had acquired in Beijing.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Day 28 Kosice to Budapest + Day 29 Rest day in Budapest

On our way from Kosice (Slovakia) to 
Budapest we drove four fast test sections on closed twisty tracks in the woods. 
The morning of the rest day in Budapest we worked with the rally mechanics on the car. We replaced our sparks and the car is going much better.
In the afternoon our friend Julia had organised a guided tour of Budapest. This brautiful city is loaded with history and we felt transported into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It is expected that next week, the last week of the rally, will be very intense and demanding. Lot's of mountain passes in the Dolomites are waiting for us.

Friday 8 July 2016

Day 27 Rzeszow (Poland) to Kosice (Slovenia)

Today we left the beautiful city of Reszow to drive two test sections on very tight twisty road sections.
We then drove through a beautiful countryside with sunflowers into Slovakia where two more road sections in woods followed. A number of cars in the top ten have had mechanical issues or left the road, the leaderboard has therefor changed quite a bit.
Today started the European cup, which will be run in parallel to the overall competition, a chance for those who suffered mechanical issues or mishaps to start again with a clean slate.
We are looking forward to our rest day Budapest on Sunday.