Rally the Globe – Road to Hanoi

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In a spectacular start to 2024, Rally the Globe’s first driving adventure in the Far East – the Road to Hanoi Marathon (27 January to 23 February) – was a real journey of discovery through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.  It was also the club’s second consecutive ‘Marathon’ category event following its successful Alaska to Mexico last year.

The action started in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), with the first few days spent in Vietnam before crews headed into Cambodia across the mighty Mekong River.  The 4,300-mile (6,900km) route then pressed northwards into Thailand before entering Laos and eventually returning to the Ho Chi Minh Trail and mountains of northern Vietnam en route to the finish, nearly four weeks later, in historic Hanoi.  

Rewarding both driving and navigational skills, the itinerary included around 40 Regularity Sections on quiet roads – some of which were loose-surface – plus 15 Speed Tests at venues such as racetracks, sports stadia and roads specially closed for the purpose.  Six rest days provided participants not only with the chance to make running repairs to their cars but also for sight-seeing excursions to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Angkor Wat and Ha Long Bay.

An early gearbox failure robbed winners of the Pre-War category in the Alaska to Mexico, Manuel and Irene Dubs, of any hopes of a back-to-back win and handed the early advantage to the Swiss pair of Daniel Sauter and Martin Reubel in their 1938 Chevrolet Fangio.   In pursuit of the Chevy were Keith and Norah Ashworth (1927 Bentley 4½ Le Mans) and Nigel Dowding and Mary Antcliff in their 1934 Aston Martin Mark II. 

By  the  end  of  the  first  week,  however,  the plucky Aston had surpassed its far bigger engined rivals and the little giant killer seemed on target for a heroic triumph until it shed a rear wheel with the finish almost in sight.  Its retirement gave the Chevrolet – now co-driven by Severin Senn – a clear run to the finish.

Read all about it in our April 2024 issue, now available as hard copy or digital 

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