Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard rounded off a successful year on Thursday (24 November) by winning the British Lombard RAC motor rally.
Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard rounded off a successful year on Thursday (24 November) by winning the British Lombard RAC motor rally. Earlier in the year he had won the African Safari and Greek Acropolis rallies. His latest success in an Escort gave Ford its sixth successive victory in the annual British rally.
SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of people had gathered at York to welcome the rally drivers at the end of their five-day contest.
Of the 180 cars which had set out from London on Sunday (20 November) only a third were still in the running at the finish. During the 1900 mile (3040 kilometres) rally the drivers had tackled 69 special stages, often in nightmarish conditions. In snow, ice and torrential rain, they had toured Britain, the mountains of Wales and the forests of Scotland. The winner, Waldegaard, whose car is seen being escorted to the place of honour, had a particularly rough time. He had badly strained his right wrist in the early stages, and in many of the roughest patches he was forced to drive one-handed. He finished just two minutes ahead of Finland's Hannu Mikkola, who was second in a Toyota Celica.
Waldegaard and co-driver Hans Thorszelius must have felt they had earned their reward.
But Waldegaard's sprained wrist was a drawback during celebrations as well. He could only watch while Thorszelius made merry with the champagne. With their win Ford had taken five of the top places in the rally.
Waldegaard had taken an early lead in the rally with runner-up Mikkola, following closely all the way. British drivers Russell Brookes, Roger Clark and Andy Dawson had taken the next three places, and Finland's Nyosti Hamalainen was sixth.