Britain's most prestigious long-distance motoring event, the annual Lombard-RAC car rally, set off from the northern city of York on Saturday (22 November) with a record foreign entry.
GV & SV Rally signs (2 shots)
SV Start banner
SV Car One counted down and starts
SV Car Two (Lancia) away
GV PAN Car Four (Opel) starts
GV & SV Car Six (Ford) off ramp and away
GV PAN Car 42 (Skoda) past camera
GV Car 44 (Polski Fiat) past camera
GV Car 227 away from camera (Opel)
GV Car Seventy-six (Opel) along road past camera
GV PAN Car 82 (Ford) along wooded road
GV PAN Car 99 (Ford Escort) through wood
SV PAN Car 96 (Chrysler Avenger) past camera
GV Car through wood
SPORT: MOTOR RALLYING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Britain's most prestigious long-distance motoring event, the annual Lombard-RAC car rally, set off from the northern city of York on Saturday (22 November) with a record foreign entry.
Despite a large overall increase in motoring and fuel costs over the year, organisers report that their starting list of 250 teams was heavily over-subscribed. They also claim that the rally, which covers 2,000 miles (3,200 kms.) including 72 special stages against the clock, draws the biggest attentions of any British sporting event. More than two million people are expected to watch the cars battle against tricky roads, tough weather conditions and each other for top placing over the five days.
First off the starting mark in York was veteran Finnish driver Timo Makinen, driving car number One, a specially souped-up Ford Escort RS1800. Makinen -- who is chasing his third consecutive RAC rally win -- slipped back to second place by the end of the day, edged out of the lead by the Swedish team in car Two, a Lancia Stratos, led by Bjorn Waldegaard.
Leading the British challenge against the foreign competition of the Lancias, Saabs, Porches, Fiats, Opels, Datsuns and Toyotas is ??? winner Roger Clark, in car Six, again a Ford Escort ???.
In all, British-made Fords made up more than one third of the cars taking part. Despite their success in recent international rallies, they lost the World Rally Championship for makes to the Lancia team...but ended up occupying six of the ten leading cars by close of driving on Saturday.
For Roger Clark, there is more at stake than the RAC rally title. he is competing with Irish driver Billy Coleman, in car Eighteen, another Ford Escort, for points to clinch this year's RAC rally championship. Clark needs to finish in the first six to secure the title....and he was lying fifth at the end of Saturday's leg.
Sunday's run, which starts around dawn, takes in the Midlands and West Country stages to the overnight section through Wales. The rally course loops back to finish at York early on Wednesday morning (26 November).