Motor Rallying -- and Hannu Mikkola of Finland has won this years Lombard-RAC round Britain rally which ended in Birmingham on Thursday (23 November).
EXTERIOR MV car number 4 driven by Hannu Mikkola (Finland) begins Bewdley Safari park stage of Lombard-RAC rally. (TWO SHOTS)
GV car number 1 driven by Bjorn Waldegaard through bends (TWO SHOTS)
GV car number 23 through bend
GV car number 12 driven by Russell Brookes through bend
GV Tony Pond's Triumph TR7 through curve
GV car number 5 driven by Walter Rohrl of West Germany
GV first three cars escorted to finishing line by police (TWO SHOTS)
MV car PAN TO Hannu Mikkola and winning crew with champagne bottle
SPORT: MOTOR RALLYING
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Background: Motor Rallying -- and Hannu Mikkola of Finland has won this years Lombard-RAC round Britain rally which ended in Birmingham on Thursday (23 November). With Ford team-mates Bjorn Waldegaard and Russell Brookes in second and third place respectively, it was a clean sweep for Fords, and their seventh successive victory in the event.
SYNOPSIS: It was Mikkola who was first away when the final stage began. The 34-year-old Finn -- one of the world's most consistently successful rally drivers -- had never won Britain's annual test before. This year though, he led from the third day.
Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard, driving a Ford Escort, won the event last year, and kept hard on the heels of his team-mate.
Russell Brookes also in an Escort, went on to take third place for the second year running. And finished top British driver ahead of fourth placed Tony Pond in a Triumph TR7.
West Germany's Walter Rohrl, who for much of the rally had challenged the leaders in his Fiat, lost ground and finished sixth.
So it was one-two-three for the Ford team at the finishing point in Birmingham. An impressive finish to the 2,000 mile (3,220 kilometre) rally which is widely regarded as one of the world's toughest. Of the 168 starters, only 61 finished. And among the first ten were five Ford cars. It was a justified champagne celebration for Hannu Mikkola and his team.