Marussia dash to Jerez – Mercedes SLT

Last updated 21:30 GMT.

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CHANNEL DELAYS: currently Force 5 winds Dover, delays 50mins P&O, 3h00 DFDS (tech issue).

Condor Ferries rescheduled St Malo-Channel Islands, weather. LDLines Poole-Santander/Gijon + St Nazaire-Gijon disrupted this week, weather Bay of Biscay.

WEATHER ALERT: Amber alerts: Portugal/Spain, France, Serbia + Greece.

WEATHER: Unsettled South. Wind and rain. Snow southern Alps, Balkans.

MAJOR TRAFFIC DELAYS: A13 Brennerbahn, total delay Italy border>Innsbruck, 1h30 J27-4. No cause given (not snow).

ROADS: warnings issued Norway (see @UKinNorway); Denmark, Bulgaria (resolving), Romania, and Greek island of Kefalonia.

See Travel/Traffic/Weather for more.

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DASH TO JEREZ.

Drivers’ hours rules threaten to cramp Marussia’s style.

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While the covers were being whipped off the Red Bull RB10 and Mercedes W05 in the pitlane at Jerez this morning, the Marussia MR03 was still back at the factory in Banbury.

With Formula one pre-season testing restricted to just twelve days – four of them at Jerez, starting today – every second out on track counts, especially in the wake of big technical changes to the cars this year.

The Marussia truck finally left Banbury at 09:30 on an almost exactly 1,500 mile journey. According to journalist @AdamCooperF1, ‘The team’s not sure if it will be ready to run late tomorrow.’ It will be cutting it very fine indeed.

For most drivers this would be a grit your teeth, pedal to the metal type scenario. Two up it would take 20-24 hours. A big HGV however would be lucky to do it in 28-29 hours we’re told, and that’s just the driving.

As well having to cross the Channel, and trucks being limited to 97kmh, the amount of time the drivers spend behind the wheel is strictly regulated. Even with a crew, in the thirty hours after leaving the factory the maximum driving time is 21 hours.

The crunch is that whereas the 45min breaks drivers are required to take every 4.5 hours can be taken in a moving vehicle, the remaining nine hours in that thirty hour period cannot.

If Marussia wants to do even a single installation lap tomorrow, so they can hit the ground truly running on Thursday, they will have to send fresh drivers out to meet the truck. Otherwise, at 07:30 tomorrow morning – don’t forget the clocks go forward an hour too – the drivers will have to take a nine hour break, and still have a minimum seven hours ahead of them before they reach the circuit.

That’s assuming everything goes smoothly. Traffic has been relatively light the past few days but the direct route Calais-Jerez takes them through south west France, currently under amber alert for rain and flooding, and northern Spain, only just off red alert for storms.

Still, we’re sure they’ll do it just fine. Of course, this being Formula One, we will be timing them.

update: according to @Marussia_F1Team the truck arrived at 15:18.

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SLT: If Mercedes doesn’t have the truck you want in the regular range it can make it for you. The Custom Tailored Truck (CTT) plant in Molsheim, north east France, has had a hand in the new Actros-SLT heavy-duty tractor unit, just coming on stream now, which assembles all the features available on the rest of the Actros range to develop a vehicle with maximum flexibility, from long distance driving to low speed manoeuvrability. Powered by a 625bhp, 15.6 litre straight six engine developing 2213Ib ft of torque, with its special ‘heavy’ mode on the 16-speed transmission the SLT can haul 250 tonnes.

SLT: if Mercedes doesn’t have the truck you want in the regular range it can make it for you. For instance, the Custom Tailored Truck (CTT) plant in Molsheim, north east France, builds the new Actros-SLT heavy-duty tractor unit, launched today. CTT has assembled features available on the rest of the Actros range to develop a vehicle with maximum flexibility. Powered by a 625bhp, 15.6 litre straight six engine developing 2213Ib ft of torque, with its special ‘heavy’ mode on the 16-speed transmission the SLT can haul 250 tonnes. Allied to the GigaSpace cab with 16 cubic metres of space, 2.2m long beds and separate driving and lounging areas – plus fridge, integrated towel rack + shaving mirror, massage seats, fibre optic lighting and twice as much luggage space as a C-Class – the SLT makes a comfortable long range truck too. And there’s an illuminated three-point star on the front..

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