Motor rallying - and in the third stage of the Monte Carlo Rally, the Ford team have taken the lead, holding first and second places.
Motor rallying - and in the third stage of the Monte Carlo Rally, the Ford team have taken the lead, holding first and second places. During the high-speed trials over Monaco's icy roads on Tuesday (23 January), the closest car to the leaders was a Fiat. After last year's success by an amateur, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Nicolas, many other drivers entered this year's rally privately, hoping to beat the professional teams sponsored by car-manufacturers. But with the final stage of the annual rally still to go, the factory teams appeared to have a firm lead.
SYNOPSIS: Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard in a Ford Escort was just nineteen seconds behind his team-mate Hannu Mikkola of Finland, who had consolidated his earlier lead in the first two stages of the rally. Their nearest rival , Walter Rohrl in a Fiat, was almost two and a half minutes behind in third place and Finland's Markku Alen, also in a Fiat was fourth, two minutes and forty-seven seconds behind the leading Ford.
During the third stage of the rally, Frenchman Bernard Darniche moved up into fifth place in his Lancia Stratos. Although drivers have not yet had to contend with snow on the route, the roads around the tiny principality of Monaco were treacherously icy. Darniche ousted fellow-Frenchman Jean-Claude Andruet driving a Fiat into sixth place, lying more than four and-a-half minute behind the leaders.
The rally, which is the best known in the world and on of the most gruelling winter events, is staged in four parts. During the first leg, competitors setting out from nine European cities converged upon Vals-les-Bains in the South of France. From there contestants took part in the joint stages of the rally, reaching Monte Carlo on Monday (22 January). The final parts of the rally involve time and speed trials in and around Monaco.
Fifteen high-speed tests were carried out on the twisting, mountainous roads. This part of the rally is an eliminating round, and only the top one hundred drivers go onto the fourth stage. Those drivers who survive the course will take part in the final stage of the six-day event on Friday (26 January).