This year more than 71 contestants from all over the world entered the competition. Normally the rally starts in Villa Carlos Paz and then take the people through the Calamuchita Valley. The route this year included both paved and dirt roads which makes the competition so much more interesting.
The other big news was that this year a new category of cars, The World Rally Cars. These cars have 1600 turbo engines. Which ones are we talking about? The Citroën WRC DS3 and Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
So how was our Hostel involved in the Rally? All the action happened 700m from the hostel and people needed a place to sleep.
This was the first year that we watched the Rally. I must admit I am not normally the kind of person that get very excited before the time. Yes the Rally was passing here but first priority off-course was our guests. If there was time left to watch the Rally then all good and well. Luckily I had an opportunity to go there for a couple of hours in the morning and Andrey later in the afternoon when they returned on the same road.
I could immediately see that a lot of things were happening in the main road. People were selling souvenirs, food and making their way up the hill. I had no idea where the best place would be to take photos. So I decided to follow the group in front of me and see where the road was taking me.
It was already packed and the cars were not expected for the next hour or more. People were in good spirits and I found a spot which I thought looked good. But quickly more and more people were arriving almost pushing me out of the way to get a better look. I stood my ground, determined to get a good shot of the cars as they came around the corner.
The crowds were very entertaining and I enjoyed the humour even more now that I am able to speak Spanish. Where the crowds lacked in entertainment the film crew made up for it. Two Chinese photographers came walking up the hill towards us. They were carrying a lot of cameras.
One man in particular was very funny. He was also looking for a good spot to set-up his camera. It was obvious that he battled to find a good place and started to pace the road. It was not long or a dog from without nowhere started to follow him. People were getting anxious because cars were approaching but he thought they wanted him to take a photo of them! Which he did!
The dog was also a concern and some bystanders threw a delicious piece of barbecued meat at him to get him out of the way. Then they shouted at the photographer to get out of the way because the cars were coming.I don´t think the poor man understood a word of Spanish!
The first car came around the corner like a roar of thunder and left us all in a cloud of dust. I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I liked this! People were cheering and clapping.
I stood there eating dust and small rocks for a little while and then decided to find a better place. The dust is not good for my camera and I don´t like the taste. As I made my way down the hill I couldn´t help to think in what a beautiful place we are living.
I had to slowly make my way through the crowds. There were a lot of people. I walked back almost to the entrance and then all of a sudden I saw an ideal place to take photos. It was the pit-stop and the drivers got out of their cars to change wheels or whatever they had to do. I love photographing people so I couldn´t have been in a better place! I was not disappointed.
The contestants were also having fun. A quick word with the other drivers, smiles, jokes and then they were on their way. I really liked this place where I was standing.
The cars started to come in one after another now and my camera couldn´t stop clicking. I was moving away from the pit stop and was now heading back to the entrance of Portezuelo.
Cars were roaring past me. I wanted to stay longer but it was time to go home. I was covered in dust but I didn´t mind. I had a great day!