I went to a small scale rally event yesterday, in the Netherlands. As a petrolhead I need to do such things in order to keep my addiction for burned rubber and gasoline fumes under control.
Now for those unfamiliar with the rally sport, the rules of the game are simple. Contestants need to drive over a number of fixed routes within a certain area. Usually, in Western Europe, these routes are over small countryside roads or through forest areas. At speeds often approaching or exceeding 130 mph, participants need to have some ‘muy grande cojones’. Cars start at one minute intervals and finish times of all routes are measured and added up to determine the winner at the end of the event. There are two people in each car: a driver and a navigator.
Because crowds gather at many spots along the route, there are so called marshals that keep an eye out and make sure no spectators set foot on the actual road. A number of ‘safety cars’ drive along the routes first, to check whether everything is in order, before the actual race kicks off. The drivers of these safety cars tend to have a heavy foot and often the cars are fully prepped rally cars as well. Yesterday, someone thought it’d be fun to employ a Lamborghini Gallardo for the task.
A new one of those, in the Netherlands, costs about £290,000. With 560 horses it isn’t exactly an underpowered car. This one was race / rally prepped, so the above price should probably be multiplied by some integer value.
I believe my friends and I were among the few people to have actually seen it in action. We could hear it coming a couple of minutes in advance and as it passed us at ridiculously high speed, my brother exclaimed, loosely translated, “why would anyone do this with a Lambo, he’s going to park it around a tree”. Two corners later the sound of the car’s V10 suddenly died out.
My brother does not have telepathic gifts. The Gallardo did not end up hugging a tree. It had dived into a ditch instead.
Both driver and navigator were fine stepped into another car (a heavily tickled, rally-prepped Fiat Punto) soon after to continue their job. I shot some footage of the Lamborghini’s ‘rescue operation’. With many of its body parts made from carbon fiber, it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to be driven so fast again.