Saturday, May 10, 2008

24th Palma Canaria Norte Rally

The crowd goes wild for #2 José María Ponce's BMW M3

"Liveblogging" the 24th Palma Canaria Norte Rally, only 'coz it comes right past the door and the road was closed to traffic today, so I have no option, but while in previous years the rally took us by surprise, this year I was ready for them!

#14 Escuderia Club ADEA. Driver: Evelio Rodriguez. Copilot: Samuel Martin. Vehicle: Mitsubishi Evo 8
#11 Escuderia Team Sinco Sport. Driver: Roberto Negrin. Copilot: Zebensui Valiente. Vehicle: Mitsubishi Evo 8

For a change, I was even up before the "capacity crowd" (of five blokes) had assembled at the bottom of our lane. They were well prepared for the day with their huge bocadillos for breakfast and, tell me they are rally fans who go to all of these events around the island.

And I was pleased that I was ready in time to see the #1 car, a Citroen Xsara Kit Car, of this year's favorite, Ricardo Avero (La Laguna) flash rapidly past and get the shot above of #2 José María Ponce's BMW M3, because even I know that invoking the name of Ponce in relation to rallies on these islands is the kind of act that draws fans to pay homage (in a way we Anglo-Saxons might think was a bit mushy between straight adult blokes.)

Nevertheless, the names of Gran Canarian brothers, Antonio (Toñi) and José María Ponce, have been synonymous with the sport in the Canaries for many a year now: José Maria having won the Spanish Rally Championship for Drivers with the BMW M3 in 1991, with both achieving many other world class classifications.

At Toñi Ponce Sport, you can buy models of their cars, including a limited edition slot car version of the green BMW M3 pictured above. (Via: Rally Fans Club)

Bit of excitement too when a police helicopter appeared over the mountain pass coming from the direction of Masca and then zig-zagged down the route through the valley in pursuit of one of the cars. We doubt the driver is a known fugitive. Safety perhaps, or the Guardia Civil is moonlighting for a local TV station?

A total of 98 cars will be whizzing past today apparently. We (that is, the dog and I, because she barks at the unfamiliar noise if she's indoors), took a break after the Renault 5 at #34 and not long after, the road was reopened again.

Spectators are gathering again at the roadsides now for part two.

Map of the route of the Palma Canaria Norte Rally
Booking.com