The favourites, Bengt Soderstrom and Gunner Palm, of Sweden, led after the first quarter of the 3,100 mile (about 5,000 km) East African Safari car rally today (Friday).
Cars awaiting start; Cortina of Soderstrom and Palm (No.1.); Mini Cooper of Altonen (No. 8); Vice President Moi; various cars away; last years winner Singh being interviewed; cars travelling.
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Background: The favourites, Bengt Soderstrom and Gunner Palm, of Sweden, led after the first quarter of the 3,100 mile (about 5,000 km) East African Safari car rally today (Friday). The Swedes, like most drivers, complained of choking dust, making driving difficult, and overtaking almost impossible.
The 15th East African Rally was officially started by Kenya's Vice President, Mr Moi, from Nairobi yesterday (Thursday). Various weather experts said it would be a "wet Safari," but so far there has been no sign of the long awaited rain. Soderstrom and Palm, driving a Ford Cortina, were the first to arrive at Dar Es Salaam, 800 miles (1,290 kms) south of Nairobi.
The Swedes had incurred only five penalty points. Closely challenging them were last year's winner, Bert Shankland and Chris Rothwell of Tanzania in a Peugeot (II points) and Viscount Mandeville and J.F. Jeeves of Kenya in a Triumph 2000.
Monte Carlo Rally winner Rauno Aaltonen of Finland and Henry Liddon of Britain were reported to have retired in their Mini Cooper at Lunga Lunga, just north of the Kenya border. Among other withdrawals were two cars which overturned during last night's run. About 80 of the 91 starters were left in the rally as the crews started north from Dar Es Salaam later today.