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Greetings from the Norwegian Alps!

I am writing this from our accommodation in Geilo, a popular ski resort in Norway. The past week has been jam packed and certainly an eye opener and inspiration for me.

Our first two days were spent in London where Dad and I did the tourist thing, having a look at all the famous sights of London. It's pretty crazy to see these buildings built in the 11th century, particularly when our oldest buildings are only around 200 years old! London certainly lived up to its reputation of being wet and overcast, although on the second day we did see a bit of sunshine. Dad and I missed the last bus and ended up walking 4km back to our hotel in the dark and the rain.

LOOK AT MOLLY'S NORWEGIAN RALLY PICS

Just showing my lack of travelling experience, one of the first things I noticed about London was that I hadn't seen one Holden. Then as we pulled up next to what I thought was a Holden Astra, Dad just shook his head saying 'No Molly, that’s a Vauxhall!' And it happened again when we got to Norway, except this time it was 'No Molly, that’s an Opel!'

I really enjoyed seeing the sights of London, but spending two days looking at buildings only made me more keen to see the WRC cars come screaming through the forests of Norway. On our plane trip from London to Oslo there was a thick cloud cover the whole way. So it was only just as we came in to land that the clouds cleared and I caught a glimpse of Norway. The best way we came up with to describe it was that it was like some kind of fairyland. Everything is white, and driving down the white capped pine tree-lined roads it looks very surreal.

We were met at the airport by Ric Cary and Robert Edwards who had already been over there for a week or so and had spectated at Rally Sweden the week before, so we were informed that we would be on the 'Ric tour'. After the drive to Hamar, where the rally was based, we settled into our bed and breakfast and then the tour began as we snuck our way into the service park to have a look at everything whilst it was still being set up. My first sight of Hamar as we pulled in was of an older lady with what looked like a walking frame, but as we got closer, I saw that it had extensions on the rear and she was actually skiing down the side of the road!

Norwegian breakfasts have the usual cereal, and toast is served as an option with toppings of caviar and bacon in tubes, as well as fish, processed meats and gherkins offered to tempt the taste buds. There was no fridge in our room so it was the first time you could get away with leaving the milk on the window ledge and have it being too cold! The biggest danger of walking around Hamar was crossing the road as the traffic always seemed to be coming from the wrong direction!

On Thursday we went to watch the Shakedown and found a great spot, it was a slight right hander over a crest with a few humps after it. The WRC cars cruised over it all like it was bitumen whilst the front wheel drive and Super 1600 cars looked a bit more hairy. There was also a brave spectator who put his video camera in the middle of the crest - luckily it wasn't damaged and his gamble paid off.

After our feet were sufficiently frozen, we headed to the service park. The factory teams were set up in the 'Viking Centre' which was the big stadium built for the winter Olympics, designed to resemble an upside down Viking ship. The whole set up was pretty incredible and the bonus was that it was very nice to be able to go in there to warm up! Ric was telling us that it was so cold at Rally Sweden (around minus 22 degrees) that the Ford mechanics were going into the cool room because it was warmer to stand in there!

The ceremonial start of the rally was held in the town centre and I'm sure the whole town and more were out to cheer on the rally cars - predominantly Henning and Petter. They are national heroes. I even saw Petter on the front page of the Norwegian 'New Idea'. Just for the rally, the organisers had a 'rally song' and 'rally dance' prepared which went along the lines of 'rallying is my heart and soul. I love it very much' and the dance included a guy dressed up as a moose.

The spectating at the rally was fantastic. The first day was a bit windy which added to the chill factor but mostly, I am told, the weather was warm! Rob had bought an Aussie flag so at every spectator point we went to we claimed a bit of Norway for Australia. The cars are awesome to watch, especially when you get to see some faster sections of road - the speed they carry is breathtaking.

On the Saturday we went to a spectator spot, which on Chris and Glenn's notes I think was 800m 6 Right. The long straight was out in the open and we saw them as they took the right hander into the forest (which again looked like it was out of a picture book). They didn't back off and some were even cutting in so tight they were lifting wheels mid-corner whilst up in the 200kph range. The Super 1600 cars also sounded awesome. And if watching the cars was getting exhausting, there was always some hot dogs within walking distance! One of the popular meals in Norway is a sausage in a crepe rather than a roll.

Being on the 'Ric tour' certainly had a lot of perks. I’m still not quite sure how we usually managed to find a park within the VIP and Media car park and not have to walk further than 100m!

Part 2 of Molly's March Blog will appear on the RallySport Magazine website on Friday.

LOOK AT MOLLY'S NORWEGIAN RALLY PICS
 


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