The morning brought good news. We were closer to Semey, a large town near the Russian border than we thought. There was still the issue of how to get our half-broken-down car there.
(To read earlier posts from Mongol Rally, click here)
It was time to put our knowledge of off-road driving to the test and manoeuvre the car as lightly and gently as possible over the potholes to the safety of a garage.
The sight of a gaggle of sunburnt, shirtless mechanics smoking on a garage driveway was a relief. It took the combined intelligence of the three members of my rally team and four Kazakh mechanics to communicate, mostly using sign language, what was wrong with the car.
The dusty back windscreen of the car became a handy blackboard as we agreed a price. We were ushered into a roadside café to wait while the repair work was done and snacked on savoury doughnut/dumplings stuffed with ground meat. Evidently it was a local favourite as we had been eating it for lunch and dinner ever since we arrived in Kazakhstan.
About an hour later, we were back on the road with a new set of suspension springs and a new spare tyre. The car felt good and we crossed the border into Russia later that afternoon without incident.