INTRODUCTION: The third Paris to Dakar motor rally got under way on New Year's Day.
GV of Place Trocardero in Paris. Cars assembling for start
SV competitors getting ready for rally (2 shots)
SV CU of Rolls Royce bonnet with mascot
SV of the Citroen/Belgian team No. 125 with Ickx and Barssaeur. Citroen CX 2 400 GT1
SV of No. 78 Patrice Cornaz Swiss team Yamaha XT 500
SV of No. 82 another Yamaha
SV of Versini Punch Rally buggy
SV of Citroen 125 leaving the start
SV of motorcycle competitors in wood south of Orleans (2 shots)
SV of Citroen in woods and another car on muddy course and specially adapted Rolls Royce white (4 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The third Paris to Dakar motor rally got under way on New Year's Day. From the French capital, a variety of vehicles, from motorcycles to trucks, must battle some of North Africa's most gruelling desert before arriving at Dakar, capital of the West African state of Senegal.
SYNOPSIS: Competitors assembled in the Place Trocadero in Paris, ready for one of the most testing events in the rallying world. One of the more unusual entries was this Rolls Royce Corniche. Most famous of the drivers taking part is former Grand Prix winner Jacky Ickx, in a Citroen CX 2400.
This Yamaha XT 500 motorcycle is ridden by Patrice Cornaz for Team Suisse.
Another Yamaha, ridden by Jean-Pierre Lloret for the Sonaut Yamaha team.
Entry number 122 is the Versini rally buggy, one of several of this type of vehicle entered in the rally.
The Citroen driven by Jacky Ickx, gets away.
The 286 starters left Paris and headed for the first special stage, in the Forest D'Olivet south of Orleans. Muddy conditions resulted from recent heavy rain, making things very slippery, especially for motor cycle entries.
Jacky Ickx in the Citroen, number 125, negotiates the muddy conditions. The roads in this special stage were badly rutted, making control and traction difficult.
The rally route takes competitors through France to Marseilles, then across to Algeria, Niger, Mali and Senegal - a trek of more than six thousand miles, including punishing special stages in the desert.
These early stages of the rally are the easiest - the drivers are fresh and their vehicles are in top condition. But there are many rough miles ahead before the survivors reach Dakar.