2006 Ferrari 599 Panamerican 20,000 - 3


(from Ferrari Press Release)  Huaraz, 16th September 2006 - The crews left Lima at 8.30 under the customary low skies and humidity. As the expedition neared the desert the road climbed and the cars entered the clouds that cloak the city. The mountains change in character towards the interior as vegetation appeared that accompanied the cars almost to the Conococha pass at 4100 metres. From there it was a descent to the Huarez valley.

The Huaraz valley is similar to many found in the Italian Alps. Here the valley lies between the Cordigliera Nigra and the Cordigliera Blanca. The plains that come after the Conococha pass recall the 'Piana delle cinque miglia' in the Abruzzo Appennines. However, the cloudy skies prevented the two ranges from coming into view and Huarez was reached in showery conditions. Having refuelled for the morning departure, the expedition turned in for the night.

Trujillo, 17th September 2006 - The 599 GTB Fioranos left at 8.30 under cloud cover.

The Swiss owner of the hotel where the Panamerican 20,000 team stayed had moved to the area from his home country. The 599 GTBs began the descent to take them back onto the Panamericana.

The Alpine features of the valley continued for a while before it narrowed in a canyon called 'Canyon del Prato'. It is an arid, enclosed place with steep sides boxing in the most uneven roads.

Holes and landslides fully tested the Ferrari journalist drivers. They often came across abandoned mine shafts and villages. Evidently, the economic downturn forced the workers to move away from the area. The rough surface went on for more that a hundred kilometres.

Finally, after a long and dusty day, the expedition drove onto an asphalted road as evening fell. The Panamerica then led the crews into Trujillo.

Piura, 18th September 2006 - In the morning the journalists, the operators and the photographer visited the archeological ruins around the pre-Colombian city of Trujillo. Among the most famous of these are the pyramids of the sun and the moon. In the meantime, the drivers removed the dust that had settled on the cars on the route between Huaraz and Trujillo. There was time for a quick lunch and a tour around Piazza Mayor, situated around a monument to celebrate the declaration of independence in the city. Then, at around 13.00, it was off towards Piura.

A desert of sand and black rock alternated in this area with fertile ground and farmland. The most commonly spotted crops were sugar cane and rice. Having passed Chiclayo, the field disappeared and flat desert zones with the odd bush took over. This terrain extended as far as the horizon. This was the Sechura desert.

The road was more or less straight and ferried the crews across the desert to Piura.

Cuenca, 19th September 2006 - The Maranello berlinetta left Piura at 8.30 on the desert road. The highway climbed gradually and the greenery thickened until it dominated over the desert. The border between Peru and Ecuador was set over a river on the scenic Macara bridge.

Thanks to the enthusiasm that Ferrari always generates, the customs procedures were quick. The countryside became ever more rocky and uneven. The road rose and fell continually and the curves came one after another. This meant that the average speed was kept rather low. There were not many people spotted in this area and the villages were situated many kilometres apart. Once over the border, however, the 599 GTB Fioranos and support vehicles needed to refuel. For over one hundred kilometres, the Iveco vehicles had driven with the risk of running out of fuel.

The crews were travelling at an altitude of between two and three thousands metres. The road descended to Loja and then the road continued winding through the mountains until Cuenca.

Medellin, 24th September 2006 - The Panamerican 20,000 expedition left Cali at around 6.30. The destination was Medellin for a date with the Italian Consul in Colombia.

A large group of cyclists on its customary Sunday ride accompanied us out of the city as the road snaked its way to Tulua. This type of road differed to that which climbed the slopes of the Cordillera, with its curves and dips.

Many varieties of flower appeared along the roadside as the crews enjoyed their weekly rest day. The 599 GTB Fioranos were then caught out by a tropical storm while they crossed a coffee growing area.

The last stage of the day was windy and uneven for the last 60 km into Medellin. The city was reached in the afternoon and the team members settled into their hotel, one that enjoyed a privileged position over the city.

Cartagena, 27th September 2006 - The Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 expedition today enjoyed the final day of its stopover in Cartagena. Tomorrow the crews will board a ferry for Panama, crossing the famous canal that divides the American continent in two. The two days spent in this city have given the crews a chance to rest after the heat of the Brazilian coast, the winds of the Argentinean pampas and the swings in temperature experienced in the peaks and valleys of the Andes.

Now came 48 hours of doing next to nothing and even the 599 GTB Fioranos took a break. The Prancing Horse cars have performed admirably and proved to be more durable than the crew on the tour.

Serious Wheels