Peking to Paris 1997

Those who return from a trip
are never the same persons who started
(Chinese proverb)

At the end of August '97, me and Fabio, roman dentist, we arrived in Beijing. In Paris, the night before died Lady Diana. Immersed in the realities of Chinese metropolis whirlwind, all European events already seemed far away because we were addressing a rally unique and fabulous. Were we able to make a good impression? Our Flavia coupé, named "Vagabunda", was the first to emerge from the hangar after the transoceanic crossing. Ezio Feliciani, our mechanic, reserved us a surprise: the wheels painted gold ...For better or for worse, Vagabunda would have accompanied us for 42 days, managing to navigate three deserts, more than 20 fords to cross, climbing ten times over five thousand meters.The day before departure, among the surplus dropped by competitors before the start, Francesco Ciriminna took what he called "an excellent big rope." Fabio found out an old oil lantern. The other Italian crew Selci-Campagnoli performed jockey clothing by  Palio di Siena.
There was Herman the German, with appropriate muscles to drive a car of 1907, 11 thousand ccs, chain drive (an attack of hypothermia in the Himalayas made him risking his life). There were Feit and his son, both would have died on the outskirts of Quetta, for a fatal overtaking. And there was Phil Surtees, with Jeep of 1942. During workouts, he injured his hand.When he realized he could not have time to recovered it, he decided to cut two phalanxes. Francesca Sternberg discovered after the start being pregnant. Tabitha, her daughter, can now boast she raced, in the belly of the mother, one of the most exhausting runs in the history of auto racing.
The rules were simple: controls per minute for arrival and departure times, each split divided into sectors, some of which,  with deadly averages. For pre-war cars and assimilated, milder times. Organizers recommended to lift cars as much as possible, Vagabunda looked like a spider: 30 cm from the ground. Prohibited any form of prepared external assistance (but there is nothing to predispose in Tibet ...).