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A Fowkes car into Alice Springs (No. 49, Mercedes, UK)
Andrew Cowan car in (33, Mercedes, Scotland)
Alfrd Kling car in (59, Mercedes, Germany)
GV checking in, drinking beer, discussing route.
Blinding dust, rock-strewn roads and scorching temperatures caused havoc among cars in the London-Sydney rally as they raced across the desolate Gibson desert in a run to Alice Springs. Sydney driver, Bob Holden, was the first casualty -- virtually out of the race when his car hit a tree stump.
At least five other cars of the 51 that left Perth are reportedly in trouble -- and a late flash says that one of the French-entered cars driven by Christine Dacremonte was hit by another competitor when it was stationary. choking dust apparently blinded the car travelling behind. Miss Dacremonte suffered a broken pelvis and back injuries and her co-driver Miss Yuel Vamoni cuts and abrasions. Both were flown to Darwin in a private plane for hospital treatment.
Scotland's Andrew Cowan took over the lead from Britain's Anthony Fowkes when Fowkes unaccountably checked in four minutes early at Alice Springs, according to reports this morning (23.9). Meanwhile the casualties mounted behind them. Michael and Anne O'Connor, of Ireland, were stranded when their Citroen broke down, another car is believed to have rolled on a bend and yet another hit a kangaroo.
Two competitors, including the British-entered Bedford Campervan are said to have taken one look at the desert road and headed back to Kalgoorlie. But the atrocious conditions didn't stop the cars from travelling at killing speeds across the desert. One truck driver near the remote aboriginal reserve at Warburton said the cars were "flying from corrugation to corrugation at 120 km per hour". In the early hours of Thursday competitors were strewn out over 640 km as they straggled into the Petermann range, on the final leg to the Alice. And, in the "dead heart", the leading cars started to check in, thankful of a brief rest before heading out north again to Wave Hill. They'll return via Alice Springs and Port Augusta to the south and Adelaide.
SENT UNCUT TO MAKE FLIGHT
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