At the end of the first leg of the London to Sydney Car Rally, the Polish rally champion Sobieslaw Zasada, driving a Porsche Carrera, has maintained his lead after reaching Madras in India on Sunday (28 August).
At the end of the first leg of the London to Sydney Car Rally, the Polish rally champion Sobieslaw Zasada, driving a Porsche Carrera, has maintained his lead after reaching Madras in India on Sunday (28 August). Since entering India, the rally leaders have been greeted with wild enthusiasm by spectators lining the route.
SYNOPSIS: So enthusiastic was the welcome in Madras, a cavalcade of motorcycles was needed to get the rally leaders through city centre streets with the minimum of delay. Since the drivers entered India a week ago (23 August) millions of spectators have turned up along the route from the Pakistan border through New Delhi and Bombay.
More than two million people in Bombay alone saw the rally leave for Madras. At times the enthusiasm got out of control and police in Bangalore had to use tear gas and batons to keep order. Some spectators showered gifts on the competitors, but others threw bottles and rocks leaving at least eight windscreens smashed. Drivers had many near misses with the toes of front row spectators and erratic cyclists, so thick were the crowds in places. Only forty five of the 69 cars which left London two weeks ago, made it to Madras.
With only a 59-minute and 35 seconds time penalty counted against him, Polish rally driver Sobieslaw Zasada will lead at the start of the second leg in Penang, Malaysia. He took the lead from Germany's Achim Warmbold during a gruelling stretch in the eastern Iranian desert. The German had led from Athens but dropped out of the leader board completely after collecting a large time penalty.
Indian customs officials made a thorough search of the rally cars before they were hoisted aboard a ship, which will take them to Penang. The second leg will run to Singapore, where another ship will be waiting to take the drivers to Indonesia where they'll make their way to Djakarta and then on to their final run to Sydney. Close behind the Polish leader in second and third place are two Britons, Tony Fowkes and Andy Cowan. Nine minutes behind in fourth place, is the German driver, Alfred King. The rally is due to finish on September the 27th, after a journey of 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometres).