Andrew Cowan of Scotland has been maintaining his lead over the final stretches of the London-Sydney car rally.
AERIAL VIEW AND GV OF: Andrew Cowan in the lead. (TWO SHOTS)
SV: Aborigines looking on.
CU: Mechanic pumping petrol in car.
SV PAN: More Aborigines looking on.
SV PAN: Car drives away from checkpoint.
GV PAN: Car along road PAN TO signpost Alice Springs.
GV PAN: Mercedes along road.
GV PAN: Same mercedes No 33 along dirt road.
GV PAN: Car along road.
AERIAL VIEW: Car on road.
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Background: Andrew Cowan of Scotland has been maintaining his lead over the final stretches of the London-Sydney car rally. Barring accidents or severe mechanical trouble, Cowan looked a sound bet to repeat his 1968 victory in this event.
SYNOPSIS: As the cars sped closer to Sydney, Cowan's lead was being cut back. Here just outside Alice Springs in central Australia, he was leading British colleague, Anthony Fowkes by five minutes. Both are driving Mercedes cars, strange sights to the residents of this Northern Territory aboriginal settlement.
This is rough country, the road's so bad and dusty that the organisers advised tailenders against competing in this section because they were likely to lose too much time.
Over its last few days, the race had developed into a battle between Cowan and Fowkes. As they roared into the eastern Australian states, Fowkes trimmed back Cowan's lead to a mere three minutes. Two punctures by the leader could put Fowkes back in front. The car in third place was a full 46 minutes behind second.
Chairman of the organising committee, Mr. Wylton Dickson, announced that 42 of the 51 cars which came off the ship in Fremantle, Western Australia on Tuesday (20 September) were still in the race.
Australian rally Champion Ross Dunkerton lost third place after hitting a tree stump in the Snowy Mountains. Dunkerton and several other competitors said they would protest against time penalties incurred for being radar-recorded above the posted speed limit. First offenders are penalized 10 minutes for each kilometre per hour over the limit.