2008 Euros - PreReport
We set off from Manchester in the north west of England on the Thursday morning - the idea being to have a relaxing couple of days in Italy before the start of the racing. Most of the racing gear went over by car - spread between a couple of people who'd decided to drive the journey, so other than clothes the main bulky items were my camera and lenses - which have to be carried onto the plane so they don't get damaged / lost. The result is a carry-on bag that weighs as much as a sack of potatos! I'm always paranoid of getting the bag weighed and paying an excess - so the usual trick is to wear some obscenely large shorts with rude-boy sized pockets to stuff the heaviest items like lenses and pro-camera bodies. They might weigh my bag, but they can't do anything about what I have in my pockets! can they?

Sadly I'd not rehersed this routine with my new camera and getting it into my pocket was a real hassle in the middle of a crowded airport whilst also trying not to look like a terrorist - which isn't easy when you've not shaven for several days and are looking around nervous (because you FEEL like a terrorist just for putting things in your pocket.)

Landing in Turin airport we were met with overcast skies and hot and humid weather. The airport helpfully has trolleys on standby to help move your heavy baggage around after pickup - but these required a 1euro coin payment to 'dispence' a trolley - great if you live in a euro weilding country and arrive in Italy with change in your pocket, but utterly useless for the rest of the world. We lugged the bags the short journey to the car rental desk and picked up our peugeot 107 diesel beast.

The sights!
Turin is surrounded by beautiful scenic mountains - We decided to head off to the mountains , which looked close but are mischeiviously far and after about an hour we were no nearer the top, got bored, and turned back to civilisation - not the most patient of people are we.

Ridge Racer stylee thru the mountain - yay

Typical crazy old Italian house - its mad

AF Models - it was open but we couldn't find the door!

Looking out from the centre of Turin

Exiting the motorway what do we find under the bridge as we pass? someone offering us their botty - you can't make it up! It'll be hard to better this photo.

And a nice contrast - several places sell smurf flavour ice cream - I hope they remove their little bones first.

There seems to be a stange culture of 'ladies' standing in the middle of nowhere dressed in their thongs only in Italy - I can't quite understand it but after 2 days in Italy we'd seed around 4-5 women in different obscure locations far from civilisation with their arses out! awesome.

The Track
The day we arrived in Italy we went to see the track - of course. The pitting hall was just being readied for the racers, with many tables being installed inside what appeared to be a basketball arena.

The track itself didn't look as big as it had on photos I'd seen previously - and certainly the state of the track looked worse than I'd seen in photos from the previous Euros or World Championships held here in 2004/2005 respectively. The surface being heavily cracked and with many weeds evident. Whether these things make any difference I don't know - but the track looks a little unloved.

The surface is heavily cracked

come off the racing line and it turns into a grass track!

By the sunday there were a few hardcore types working in the pitting area to prepare cars for 2WD practice on Monday - but other than a small group of British drivers the venue was fairly quiet - a bit of a contrast to other recent European Championships

Apparently the organisers didn't see the need for security at the venue - so anything left overnight is at risk of being lost and it's likely most people will take most things worth stealing away every evening, which could be the reason for the rows of empty tables on Sunday.

The schedule for the championships is as follows:

Monday 2WD - 6 rounds of timed practice in heat order. 13:00 team managers meeting - 17:30 opening ceremony.

Tuesday 2WD - Two rounds of timed practice followed by three rounds of qualifying.

Wednesday 2WD - one untimed practice round followed by two qualifying rounds and then finals.

Thursday 4WD - 6 rounds of times practice in heat order. 13:00 team managers meeting

Friday 4WD- Two rounds of timed practice followed by three rounds of qualifying.

Saturday 4WD - one untimed practice round followed by two qualifying rounds and then finals.