The Pink Mini reaches Imola (finally) and begins it’s week long adventure competing against other jobbers while trying to raise money for charity!
After leaving the Stelvio Pass, Christian and Krystal finally reached their hotel in Imola. The next morning they set off to the meeting point at the Meridian Hotel where they met the other Jobbers and submitted the Pink Mini for the “car scrutineering.” After passing the scrutineering, where the officials checked the lights, safety equipment, spare tire, wheels and under the hood, they went to collect their team number and get their start times for the day.
Pink Mini, Team 15, was to start at an awkward time. 11.33.30 am to be precise. That was a pretty accurate number, and although Christian is German, he’s not known for his ability to be on time. Krystal and Christian came up with their game plan as they met the other jobbers for the introduction and briefing where they were given the Road Book for the Week along with the rules.
Every morning, the starting times for the various teams would be posted and it was our job to be sure we left the start line at that EXACT TIME. (Yes at 30 seconds to the minute for our team!) Teams were spaced roughly 30 seconds to 1 minute apart so you didn’t have much wiggle room for error because if you messed up on your time you would potentially mess up the team behind you’s time.
Christian took his place in the drivers seat and Krystal opened the Navigational Road book. With a series of instructions down to the precise fraction of a mile, it was crucial the pair not make any mistakes if they wanted to reach their destination in the set time. In a Staged Rally, speed was not your friend. In fact, the first route for the day was to do 20 miles in an hour and 15 minutes. This left the teams with plenty of time to get lost, sidetracked and drive casually to stop and take photos as they pleased.
The Pink Mini wasn’t a speedy car to begin with, even after the problems with the fuel had been resolved. The little car was great in the twisty, winding roads through the Italian countryside but could only go uphill in 2nd (sometimes 1st) gear depending on how steep the hills were! This meant that sightseeing through the windows of our rally car was inevitable. And what a sight we saw!
Krystal and Christian took turns, swapping the navigational and driving duties for the different stages throughout the week. They were doing rather well, considering it was their first official rally event and even came in First on Day Two!
Some of the other teams had done this particular event multiple times but the more Christian and Krystal spoke with everyone their tactics the more it was obvious that everyone had their own style for timekeeping and tracking the milage. After all, the Classic Mini’s such as the Pink Mini didn’t have any gauges to keep track of the miles or distance traveled accurately. Many relied on their stopwatches whereas Team Pink Mini decided to rely on Google for the most accurate time down to the second!
The Italian Job took them to many fun places over the week including a lap around the Imola Race Circuit, a tour around Eataly, and special stage challenges on the Lingotto Roof Test Track in Turin! The Grand Finale, and highlight for many was the Police Escort through the city of Turin where the parade of Mini’s and Italian Job cars were escorted through downtown Turin by the city police! It was hard not to feel like Royalty as people stood on the roadside and waved to us as we drove by in our convoy. The Police stopped the traffic and we ran every red light and roundabout from the hotel to the city center and back again! We even got to sit in the middle of the square and watch as the crowd of excited sightseers and locals swarmed around the Pink Mini to get a photo with her!
On the final day we got our results announced at the official Gala Dinner and Black Tie event that evening for all of the Jobbers. Team 15, Pink Mini came in a respectful 4th place! They were very happy with their results because the difference between their 4th place victory and 1st had been a gap of a mere 2 seconds! Not bad for their first staged rally and the Pink Mini’s debut!
After the awards ceremony, the Italian Job was official over. But it wasn’t the end for the Pink Mini adventures! They not only still had to somehow return home avoiding all motorways and toll roads through another steep pass through the Alps, but they also still needed to spread the word and raise money for their charity, the Buttle UK!
Which may have led to an adventure involving the Italian Police, the Pink Mini, a Castle and a Cliff!
Please donate to the Pink Mini’s fundraiser page on Just Giving! We have a long way to go to achieving our target!
Another big thank you to MAHLE Powertrain Ltd. for believing in a little Pink Mini! They are hiring in the UK so be sure to check them out at jobs.mahle.co.uk