Bjorn Waldegaard of Sweden and Andy Cowan of Britain led the field on Sunday (9 December) after the first day of the Ivory Coast's Bandama Rally.
Bjorn Waldegaard of Sweden and Andy Cowan of Britain led the field on Sunday (9 December) after the first day of the Ivory Coast's Bandama Rally. The rally covers a distance of 5,700 kilometres (3,4000 miles) and since 1977 it has been one of the twenty-two venues for the World Rally Championship.
SYNOPSIS: The Bandama rally sets off from the Ivory Coast capital of Abidjan. The annual event is one of the longest and toughest courses in the world and attracts many of the world's leading drivers. Conditions this year are especially difficult because of an unduly long rainy season.
Attention was firmly on car number four-the Mercedes 450 SCL driven by Bjorn Waldegaard of Sweden. He went into the race with one hundred and five points so far this year. Britain's Andy Cowan is in car number ten-also a Mercedes.
The first leg was over a distance of 238 kilometres (140 miles)-- of which over 100 kilometres (60 miles) were on metalled roads.
An expected the Waldegaard-Thorszeliu team took first position early despite the road conditions.
But car number ten, the Cowan-Kaiser team, weren't far behind. Thus, after the first day the two mercedes 450's were in first place with six penalty minutes each. Kenyan driver, Vic Preston, also in a Mercedes, finished the first day's driving with seven minutes of penalties placing him in third place.
With three days still to go-- much of it in primitive road conditions the cars to watch will be the two leading Mercedes.