The smallest field for more than 20 years started five days of hard driving in the 43rd monte Carlo Rally on Wednesday (15 January).
GV Car No.1 (Andruet) starting
CU Car No. 2 (Mikkola)
CU Hannu Mikkola's
SV PAN Mikkola's Fiat starting
SV Spectators (2 Shots)
SV Car No. 3 (Ballestrieri) starting
GV Car No. 5 (Therier)
SV Car No. 5 starting
GV PAN FROM Sea-shore TO Car No. 77 (Beaudoin) along road (2 shots)
SV PAN Car No. 86 (Zunino) along road
GV PAN Car No. 88 (Marquet) through corners
Initials BB/2357 NC/JB/BB/2327
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The smallest field for more than 20 years started five days of hard driving in the 43rd monte Carlo Rally on Wednesday (15 January).
The 50 cars which left from Monte carlo were the first away. They will converge on Gap in the French Alps where they will meet the other competitors who started in Warsaw, Stockholm, Athens and Agadir in Morocco.
After the lengthened 2,500 mile (about 4,000 km.) first stage to Gap, the cars will return to Monte Carlo for the second and third stages of the rally.
The total field this year is only 100 cars, less than half the usual number. The biggest drop is among the private entries which can no longer afford the petrol and the 4,000 France (400 Sterling) entry fee and cannot get support from advertisers.
The rally is expected to develop into a three-way battle between Italian Lancias and Fiats and French Alpine Renaults.
Last year's Monte Carlo Rally was cancelled because of the energy crisis.
One of the leading contenders for the winner's title, Italian Amilcare Ballestrieri, blew out the engine of his Lancia only miles from the start and had to withdraw.
The cars starting from Athens were also expected to fare better this year. In the past it has been a bad route but the unusually mild winter in Europe means the cars will have a comparatively easy time, particularly in Yugoslavia where the snow is usually very bad.
This is the first year no cars have started from the United Kingdom.