A West German...Walter Rohrl...headed a pack containing four Fiat cars into the top six places when competitors in the Monte Carlo Rally reached at the French ski-resort of Serre Chevalier.
CU: Flag inscribed with Monte Carlo Rally emblem
SV AND GV: Cars waved off at start in Bad-Homburg and car No. 7 leaves surrounded by crowds (2 shots)
SV: Car No. 10 flagged off at ramps, followed by car No. 11 (2 shots)
GV: Car No 31.
CU PULL OUT TO GV Crowds at starting point in Rome, with cars pulling up before start
GV Cars No. 111 and 128 driving off at start (2 shots)
GV AND SV: Starting point at Rheims, France, with crowds and officials gathered
SV: Officials check Porsche, which then pulls off
SV: Police keep crowd at bay as another car pulls off
GV: Onlookers watch as cars No. 2 and 17 driv??? down street.
SV PAN: Car No. 80 around bend as crowd looks on
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Automobile Club of Monte Carlo Available for Commercial Sale
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A West German...Walter Rohrl...headed a pack containing four Fiat cars into the top six places when competitors in the Monte Carlo Rally reached at the French ski-resort of Serre Chevalier. At that point, second place was held by the Lancia Stratos of Frenchman Bernard Darniche, who won last year. Italian Attilio Bettega was holding third in a Fiat Ritmo.
SYNOPSIS: This is among the elite of motor rallies.
Sweden's Bjorn Waldegaard, among the most fancied competitors, was here running ninth in a Fiat 131 Abarth with special tyres. Last year, he came second in a Ford Escort, but this year Ford are not competing.
The early leader, Walter Rohrl - here being flagged-off at the ramps -- was trying to maintain a two-and-a-half minute lead over Frenchman Bernard Darniche at Serre Chevalier. Although two hundred and thirty six cars started the seven-day world championship from nine European centres, only the top two hundred competed in Monday's (21 January) fifteen hundred kilometres (939.5 miles) section through the Alps.
Classic sports cars...like Mercedes and Porsche ...are joined this year by hand-built models from England - the Lima Panther and Morgan Plus Eight.
Twenty-five of the entrants began the rally from a stadium in Rome. Their first section went through Arezzo, Brescia and Turin.
Despite famous Italian names like Lancia and Alfa Romeo, Fiat were more highly favoured to win.
Starters this year face a new challenge on the rally - the inclusion - in the main stage - of a run through the narrow and often tricky roads of the Ardeche area of South Central France.
Another name to watch this year is Finland's Mikkola Hannu, here driving a Porsche. At this stage, he was seventh, only two seconds behind Michele Mouton of France in another Fiat.
Along with the works teams, several private rally enthusiasts are competing at their own expense.