The 23rd Safari Rally in Kenya got off to a cracking start on Thursday (27 March) in the country's capital, Nairobi, as President Jomo Kenyatta flagged off the leaders on the first leg of their five-day drive -- to Mombasa and back.
GV President Kenyatta starting car No. 1.
GV Kenyatta starting car No. 2.
SV No. 14 being pushed up ramp and mechanics checking engine after start.
GV Car No. 32 (only Japanese entry) starting.
GV No. 14 starting engine to cheers from crowd and away.
GV Car No. 3 down track and past camera.
GV Car No. 5 past camera as giraffe watches (2 shots)
SV Car No. 9 past camera followed by No. 16(2 shots)
GVA PAN Car 23 past camera.
LV & SV Car No. 33 in open country followed by Car No. 31.
SV Giraffe watching as cars No. 35 and 34 pass camera. (2 shots)
Initials VS 10.05 VS 10.30
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
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Background: The 23rd Safari Rally in Kenya got off to a cracking start on Thursday (27 March) in the country's capital, Nairobi, as President Jomo Kenyatta flagged off the leaders on the first leg of their five-day drive -- to Mombasa and back.
With seven withdrawals before the start, 79 cars started on the marathon 6,000-kilometre (3,7000-mile) drive around Kenya.
First away was Finnish driver Timo Makinen. Not far behind -- in car number seven -- was his countryman Hannu Mikkola. Mikkola started the rally as favourite to win; he is the only non-East African driver to have won the event, which he did in 1972.
But this first leg -- which was expected to be "easy," according to race officials -- spelt disaster for the Scandinavian drivers. Both Makinen and Mikkola dropped out, and at the day's end the leader was Kenyan Joginder Singh, driving a Colt Lancer. Singh has already won the Rally twice and hopes to claim a unique third win.
Mikkola rolled his Peugeot 504 in heavy dust after going through only four checkpoints and covering a mere 300-kilometres (190-miles). Neither Mikkola nor his co-driver (Jean Todt of France) was hurt, but the car was withdrawn.