Motor sport...and veteran French driver Bernard Darniche is the surprise winner of the forty-seventh Monte?
Motor sport...and veteran French driver Bernard Darniche is the surprise winner of the forty-seventh Monte Carlo Rally. A brilliant performance in the final section -- a series of special timed tests -- allowed him to beat Swedish driver Bjorn Waldegaard by just six seconds on Friday (26 January).
SYNOPSIS: Here is Darniche in his Lancia Stratos roaring towards victory, and Waldegaard, who had a four minutes lead before the final stage. Darniche chose the right tyres, and won all ten of the overnight timed tests. But Waldegaard had the wrong tyres for the conditions in the french Alps. A sudden change of weather had turned road surfaces from melting or packed snow to mainly dry, with icy patches. Darniche put on flat racing tyres with less adhesion than the other drivers' snow tyres, but capable of producing faster speeds.
Motor racing experts said the performance of Darniche and co-driver Alain Mahe was unprecedented in the Monte Carlo Rally's long history, Darniche was calm about their surprise win. He said later he had gone into the timed tests determined to do well, but not with strong thoughts of doing enough to win. Darniche, a former European Rally champion, had lost his only previous chance of winning the Monte Carlo Rally, in 1972, when his gear box broke within a few kilometres of the finish.