Grueling Peking to Paris rally readies 35-day adventure

Grueling Peking to Paris rally readies 35-day adventure

Competitors from around the world will line up for a grueling 8,500-mile, 35-day vintage-car rally starting June 12 as the sixth Peking to Paris Motor Challenge gets under way.

A Bentley crosses an arid wasteland during the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge | Endurance Rally Association

A vintage Bentley crosses an arid wasteland during the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge | Endurance Rally Association

Competitors from around the world will line up for a grueling 8,500-mile, 35-day vintage-car rally starting June 12 as the sixth Peking to Paris Motor Challenge gets under way. The 110 crews will start at the Great Wall in Beijing and cross through 11 nations before reaching the finish line at the Place Vendôme in Paris on July 17.

With more competing teams than ever, the Motor Challenge will follow the Peking to Paris route used in the original 1907 race, crossing through the Gobi Desert and Mongolia, then into Russia. But instead of coursing through Moscow, the rally will head into Belarus and enter Europe through Poland, then cross Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and finally, France.

Fifty of the rally cars are competing in the Vintageant class for pre-1942 vehicles, and 60 in the Classic class for those produced before 1977. An abundance of American cars will run in the Vintageant class, following wins in 2010 and 2013 by Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown in Chevrolet Fangio coupes.

The 1973 Leyland P76 races toward its 2013 Classic win | Endurance Rally Association

The  Leyland races toward its 2013 Classics win | Endurance Rally Association

Much attention is directed at the 2013 Classics winner, Gerry Crown from Australia in his 1974 Leyland P74. Crown, at 84, is the oldest competitor in the rally. Crown has competed in all five of the previous Peking to Paris adventures organized by the Endurance Rally Association.

“The entry list features over 30 different automotive manufacturers and competitors representing 24 different countries,” Fred Gallagher, Endurance Rally Association rally director, said in a news release. “This is a truly global event that challenges both car and crew to the limit.

“Some of our competitors have faced the ‘P2P’ before and are self-confessed adrenaline junkies, whereas the newcomers are a mix of people undertaking this mammoth journey in aid of charities or to cross a dream off their bucket lists.

“We have husbands and wives, fathers and daughters, friends and colleagues taking part, who normally spend their days very differently. Occupations range from student to retired CEO, from Fish Farmer to Rocket Scientist. But none of that will matter once we cross the starting line. It’s all about the next 35 days and getting to Paris.”

Winners of the time-speed-distance competition will be presented with a magnum of champagne and the coveted trophy when they cross the finish line in Paris. There will also be awards for class winners, such special awards as Spirit of the Rally and True Grit, and a trophy in memory of Endurance Racing Association founder Philip Young.

For more information about the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, visit the event website.

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