INTRODUCTION: In Brazil, entrants in the gruelling Round South America Motor Rally began straggling into the Amazon jungle town of Manaus on Wednesday (30 August).
INTRODUCTION: In Brazil, entrants in the gruelling Round South America Motor Rally began straggling into the Amazon jungle town of Manaus on Wednesday (30 August). They had completed the first ten thousand kilometres (about 6,200 miles) of the rally, said to be one of the world's toughest test for drivers and cars. The entrants headed north from Buenos Aires, in Argentina, on 17 August on the first leg of the thirty-nine day rally. But for many of them, Brazil's tropical jungles proved too much.
SYNOPSIS: Just over half of the original forty-eight starters managed to reach the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon, by Wednesday (30 August). Earlier, disaster overtook members of the Mercedes team who had gone into an early lead.
From the heart of the Matto Grosso jungle, came reports that British drivers Andrew Cowan and Tony Fowkes were suffering more than these rivals - they had dogged down for seven hours in thick mud. And Finnish driver, Timo Makinnen, rolled his Mercedes at over one hundred and forty kilometres (87 miles) an hour, and landed in a swamp. It took twenty bulldozers to dig the car out. Because of the delay, Makinnen dropped down into sixth position.
All three members of the French Renault team managed to reach Manaus.
Polish driver Zasada, in a Mercedes, managed to cling onto second place after colliding with a donkey.
After leaving Manaus, the rally survivors will make their way to Caracas, in Venezuela. Then they will head south as far as the frozen wastes of Tierra del Fuego, in southern Argentina, before returning to Buenos Aires. If they manage to complete the rally, the drivers will have travelled through then countries and completed a distance of thirty thousand kilometres (about 18,600 miles) under some of the world's most arduous conditions.