Rally driving....and, in Kenya, the leaders at the end of the first leg of the?
Rally driving....and, in Kenya, the leaders at the end of the first leg of the gruelling East African Safari were last year's winners, Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius of Sweden, in a Porsche. Conditions were rough and organisers were forced to cut 60 Miles (100 kilometres) from the first stage as part of the route in western Kenya was washed away.
SYNOPSIS: There were 68 cars lined up for the start in Nairobi...and Kenyan Vice President Daniel Moi sent them on their way. One of the first cars away was the Mercedes Benz of local rally hero Joginda Singh, the only man to have won the race three times.
The rally has traditionally been a big battle between the factory teams. Nineteen kilometres (12 miles) from the start came the first incident. A local driver was involved in a fatal accident while trying to avoid cars on the route. The driver escaped unhurt, but six people are believed to have been killed.
As expected, conditions were rough. Rain, mud and flooding claimed 22 of the 68 starters on the opening 1,300 kilometre (820 mile) section. Among them local ace Joginder Singh. His Mercedes Benz plunged into a flooded river and he was forced to retire. The road surface was very treacherous.
Others found the rough roads were too much for the car's suspension....and were forced into roadside repairs.
The organisers had to cut 100 kilometres from the route on this stage, after getting a report that a section of road in western Kenya had been washed away. With 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) still ahead, racing experts predicted another 30 cars would have to retire before the end.