Motor sport...and veteran French driver Bernard Darniche is the surprise winner of the forty-seventh Monte?
GV PAN winner Bernard Darniche, in car 4 Lancia Strators, cheered by crowds as he passes
GV car 2, Waldegaard and Thorszelius in Ford Escort, arriving in second place
GV PAN car 3, Markku Alen in Fiat 131, passing crowds for third place
GV PAN car 14, Fiat Abarth driven by Rohrl Geistdorfer
SV car 9 fiat arrives at finish, followed by car 5 Mikkola Hertz in Ford Escort (TWO SHOTS)
SV PAN car 1 arrivers, at finish, and skids on ice
GV Darniche seated in winning car surrounded by officials
SV Darniche & Alain Mahe sitting on top of car spraying champagne
Final placings: 1. Bernard Darniche -- Alain Mahe (France, Lancia)
2. Bajorn Waldegaard -- Hans Thorszelius (Sweden, Ford Escort)
3. Markku Alen -- Ilkka Kivimaki (Finland, Fiat Abarth 131)
4. Jean Claude Andruet -- Chantal Lienard (France Fiat 131)
SPORT: MOTOR RALLYING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Motor sport...and veteran French driver Bernard Darniche is the surprise winner of the forty-seventh Monte Carlo Rally. A brilliant performance in the final section -- a series of special timed tests -- allowed him to beat Swedish driver Bjorn Waldegaard by just six seconds on Friday (26 January).
SYNOPSIS: Here is Darniche in his Lancia Stratos roaring towards victory, and Waldegaard, who had a four minutes lead before the final stage. Darniche chose the right tyres, and won all ten of the overnight timed tests. But Waldegaard had the wrong tyres for the conditions in the french Alps. A sudden change of weather had turned road surfaces from melting or packed snow to mainly dry, with icy patches. Darniche put on flat racing tyres with less adhesion than the other drivers' snow tyres, but capable of producing faster speeds.
Motor racing experts said the performance of Darniche and co-driver Alain Mahe was unprecedented in the Monte Carlo Rally's long history, Darniche was calm about their surprise win. He said later he had gone into the timed tests determined to do well, but not with strong thoughts of doing enough to win. Darniche, a former European Rally champion, had lost his only previous chance of winning the Monte Carlo Rally, in 1972, when his gear box broke within a few kilometres of the finish.