We've picked up another rally win, as Tim Laughton's 1969 Porsche 911T takes 'most reliable car' on the 2012 Gira Andina.
Francis has just returned from a stint on the South American epic, and having his collar felt in Chile - amongst other things. Long, crazy story and typical confusion, but more of that later!
The Gira Andina was a marathon, traversing an entire continent in 55 days. Starting in Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, the rally weaved up and down through Colombia and into Ecuador. Climbing to the Ecuadorian capital of Quito at 2,850 metres (9,300 ft), the rally then took in Cotopaxi: an active volcano, which erupts twenty times per century.
Two weeks into the event, the rally entered Peru, running past a multitude of Inca history. By day 27, the rally had reached Cusco, the ancient Incan capital, and was 3,400 metres (11,100 ft) above sea level. From Cusco, it's possible to catch a train to Machu Picchu.
After Cusco, the road went even higher. Competitors travelled through the Raya Pass at 4,300 metres (14,100 ft). After Raya, came the World's highest city at Potoso: 4,090 metres/13,400 ft. Then the event headed for the World's largest salt lake: Salar de Uyuni.
From there, the tour went through Chile and on to Argentina on day 39, via the 4,400 metre/14,435 ft Jama Pass. The Argentine loop encompassed the country's famous wine region, before heading back to Chile and some time in beautiful Valparaiso.
The ultimate aim of the rally was Tierra del Fuego and the most southerly city in the world. The final days of the route included the Moreno Glacier, one of the few glaciers still advancing. Sixty kilometres wide, the teams saw huge chunks of ice heaving into the blue waters of the lake. From there, the road to Ushuaia closed the tour: taking the cars right to the tip of South America.
55 days and so much adventure: a smart little Porsche prepared by Tuthills made the ideal traveling companion. Tim's car needed no mechanical help over the entire event and is coming back to Wardington to prepare for the next run. Great job Tim and team!