Day 8: Murun – Telmen Lake ( 293 km )

The drive to Telmen lake took us through vast open planes dotted every known and again with a yurt and some grazing animals. The lack of permanent structures made the nomadic lifestyle of the inhabitants particularly apparent. There were fewer animals today than in previous days but this is largely due to the change in landscape. The dust also returned in force, making overtaking difficult and once again completely covering us and every inch of the car.
The day’s route took us over a number of mountain passes with car 46 reaching a maximum altitude of 1800 m. Although the views were wonderful, the roads were once again extremely rough. As a result many of the competitors experienced problems which led to our position in the overall ranking improving to 12th. We have not been gaining places by driving faster than those ahead of us on the leader board, but instead been fortunate that our issues have not occurred during critical stages.
We thought that we had managed to arrive at camp unscathed but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Waiting in line to fill up our car from the fuel tanker, a local lady pointed out that something was dripping from the back of our car. Taking a closer look we realized that the small leak was originating from the petrol tank.
With a lot of help from friends the fuel tank was removed and possible solutions were assessed. A stone must have hit the drain plug and caused the crack in the insert, which led to the leak. Although we have underfloor protection, this had been extremely deformed from previous impacts and was as a result not able to prevent the damage. Removing the protection was challenging because of the new shape that it had taken on, however it was necessary in order to get to the fuel tank.
The decision was made to apply cold weld to the drain plug, let it set overnight and cover it with fiber glass in epoxy in the morning. Although we are not certain which particular impact led to the leak, as Mario had been driving all day we at least know who caused it.

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