Italy's Sandro Munari, winner of the famous Monte Cralo rally, was leading Portugal's Port Wine car Rally in the first stage on Wednesday (10 March).
GV Cars being prepared in pits.
SV Car No. 1 leaving starting position.
SV Car No. 2 leaving.
SV Car No. 3 leaving.
SV Car No. 4 leaving.
SV Car No. 10 leaving.
GV Other cars at starting point ready to go.
Initials VS 22.10 VS 22.20
SPORT: CAR RALLYING
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Background: Italy's Sandro Munari, winner of the famous Monte Cralo rally, was leading Portugal's Port Wine car Rally in the first stage on Wednesday (10 March).
Munari, and navigator Silvio Maiga, driving one of the new Lancia Stratos', were leading Ove Anderson of Sweden in a Toyota and Italy's Rafaelle Pint in another Lancia.
Eighty cars started the rally at Estoril, 20 miles (33 kms) west of Lisbon. the first stage of the five-day race took the cars up the meandering coast road, 460 miles (751 kms) to Oporto.
A leading contender, Finland's Hannu Mikkola, was forced out only 105 miles (170 kms) from the start after crashing his Toyota.
Two other leading drives, Walter Rohrl of West Germany and Jean Ragnotti of France also had to retire shortly after the start.
SYNOPSIS: Tension was high as mechanics made final preparations to their cars for the start of the Port Wine Car Rally, from Estoril, Portugal on Wednesday.
Italy's Sandro Munari, winner of the Monte Carlo rally, driving a Lancia Stratos, went off first, and kept his position into the first state.
Sweden's Ove Anderson in a Toyota Celica was off next.
Walter Rohrl of West Germany was forced out soon after the start... allowing Rafaelle Pinto, also driving for Lancia, who followed Rohrl off the line into third place. The casualty rate was high along the tortuous first stage road to Oporto.
Finland's Hannu Mikkola a leading contender crashed his Toyota Corolla 105 miles after the start, forcing him to retire.
Apart from Rohrl, another top driver, Jean Ragnotti was also forced out soon after the start.