INTRODUCTION Rally driving, and Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius won Kenya's silver jubilee safari rally on Monday (11 April).
INTRODUCTION Rally driving, and Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius won Kenya's silver jubilee safari rally on Monday (11 April). The rally was one of the toughest drives in the 25 year history of the event. Only 12 cars made it to the finishing line in Nairobi out of the 68 which set off on the rally last Thursday (7 April).
SYNOPSIS: The Ford Escort of Waldegaard and Thorszelius came storming through the mud on its way to Nairobi.
They were on the final stretch at this stage, near Nyeri.
And here comes the Japanese Datsun Violet of Finland's Rauno Aaltonen, who with co-driver Lofty Drews of Kenya came second overall with 700 penalty points, compared with the 665 points of the Swedes.
The favourites at the start of this gruelling race were three-time rally winner Joginder Singh and co-driver David Doig...both British but resident in Kenya...in car number ten, a Japanese Colt Lancer. Britain's Andrew Cowan and Paul White in another Colt Lancer were right behind.
Local villagers got in on the act when the Datsun of Kenya's Robert Collinge and Anton Levitan got stuck with heating trouble. But they were soon going again.
Sweden's Waldegaard and Thorszelius led almost throughout the rally. Their winning drive was a personal triumph -- they came third in 1975 and second the year before.
Joginder Singh had David Doig eventually finished fifth, but their effort helped win the manufacturer's prize for the Colt Lancers.
There were big crowds waiting at Nairobi's Kenyatta Conference Centre where the race both started and ended.
This is what they were waiting for. Surprisingly, after 3,750 miles (6,000 kilometres) of tropical storms, flooded roads and deed mud, the winning Ford Escort was virtually undamaged.
Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius celebrated their win in the traditional manner. Walegaard said afterwards: "I don't think I have ever driven in a more difficult rally." His fellow competitors would no doubt drink to that.