Day 5 – Rally For Heroes

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Venice - Split - 559km

This morning’s driver briefing promised great things and set the tone for the day ahead. We were to tackle the legendary Adriatic Highway, one of the most awe-inspiring roads we were to encounter on our rally.

The Adriatic Highway is a road that stretches along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea and is part of the European route E65. The road passes principally through Croatia, with smaller stretches through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

It is an undivided two-lane road for almost its entire length, except for a short stretch through Zadar and a 24 kilometres dual-carriageway section from Plano to the southeast suburbs of Split.

The road itself consists of several sheer drops, which you are protected from by small concrete bollards in which I wouldn’t wish to put either mine or my passenger’s fate in.

We were due to drive it for approximately seven hours and so needed to stay hydrated, refreshed and alert.

Driving in convoy with varying driving and speed capabilities was demanding on these fabulous coastal roads. With one eye on the car in front, and one eye on the ‘fast’ approaching rally cars in the mirror you really had to stay focused and on the ball.

Braking was a critical factor in enjoying this drive and staying safe of these challenging roads.

The road surfaces were not fantastic so you had to line the car up and scrub off the speed going into the bends in order to get the most from the car. The brakes on the M2 are M Compound brakes which are both mighty and fierce.

I found gently rolling my foot on to the side of the pedal was all that was required. A full on stomp will have your passenger wiping the nose imprint from the windscreen and glaring at you like you’re a crazy person.

Now, I am a good old fashioned Can-Am racing girl ‘when excess was barely adequate’. Therefore to me personally, massive brakes that squeak and squeal are hugely appealing and mean that there is sheer competition class running through the DNA of the car.

That being said, you do need to be prepared for the braking soundtrack that the M2 has along with the curious looks from people asking ‘is it supposed to make that noise’.  My stock answer ‘Yes, I paid extra for it’….

Having found a gorgeous seaside town we stopped to stretch our legs and breathe in the fresh air, forgetting the excitement and chaos we caused with the locals. Children quickly abandoned their beach toys and gathered around us asking us to rev the cars and wanting to know how quickly the cars could do. It was a pleasure to let one or two sit in whilst their parents proudly took pictures of big toothy grins with thumbs up.

We went on to refuel at a tiny one-man petrol station and then took the road to Split with the most incredible sunset sprawled out before us.

I got chatting with Nicole who was a member of our Team and had been driving this long and demanding section all day.   Asking her how she found the drive of her BMW she let it be known that today was the first time she had EVER driven abroad and that she’d really enjoyed it.   An amazing testament to the comfort and confidence these cars give to a lady who’s not afraid to step up and drive.

A quick touch down in the hotel and we were ready to go into town and see the delights of Split.

A taxi dropped us into the chaos of the main street, which consists of numerous bars and restaurants. We followed our way around and found a huge square which was a little less frantic and all twelve of us were gratefully and swiftly seated then served.

Our energy levels were low and we had an even earlier start than usual due to the excitement and challenges that the day ahead held.

Day five was concluded and the rally was beginning to stretch our capabilities of endurance and driving. We were mostly loving every minute though and knew we had reached the halfway point safely in our trusty M2 keeping up with the best of the best supercars safely on these epic roads.

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