Apr 1, 2008
It was cold and dark in La Cumbre, Argentina. Of course most places in this world do tend to exhibit these two qualities at 5:30 in the morning. The big issue with this particular morning was the rain. It was the sort of constant, drenching rain that has the distinct ability to slowly permeate through even the most expensive rain jacket.
After enduring the dark, cold, and rain, the wind that soon followed then completed the perfect square of fall weather just outside of Cordoba. We sat in the centersoaking it all in.
While most of the world chooses to sleep, read the paper, sip some coffee, or possibly stumble home from the bar at this early hour, Amanda and I packed up our tent and began the 4 mile trek to the starting line of the 2008 WRC Rally Argentina. For those of you unfamiliar with a WRC rally, I highly recommend you spend a few seconds, minutes, or hours browsing their website. You will most certainly find clips and highlights of this unique race the Amanda and I so eagerly wanted to witness.
Though we knew it would be highly attended and a bit mad, (we are in Argentina) we eagerly trudged past hundreds of people from around the world on our march to the start. We arrived to a massive crowd perched across the soaked countryside. The star attraction, a lone dirt road, wound its way through the grassy rolling hills and crowds of the Sierra Chicas Mountains. We perched ourselves next to a loud group still drinking in their tent from the night before. At 7:44, the hills rose to life as the distinct sound of a highly turbocharged 4 cylinder engine breathed more life into an already raucous crowd.
The mud flew everywhere as the first driver navigated the first hill on the first leg of Rally Argentina 2008. Narrowly missing a massive tree as he slid on the wet surface, the engine then roared as all four wheels struggled for grip, found it, and catapulted its two occupants around the corner where Amanda and I watched in awe and anticipation. The taillights shone through the thick rain as the race car disappeared into the mist beyond us.
For the next two hours we stuck to our corner as every two minutes another car would fly down the hill, find its way around the corner and explode into a thick fog and out of our sight.
The crowd was rowdy, the track was messy, and the morning was over before 10 AM.
While we where only able to witness the first leg of over 40, it was one we will never forget. As we began the trek back to our car, the clouds began to lift, the crowd began to disperse, and the drivers flew by us on their way to the next starting line. All we could do was smile.