West Africa's biggest and toughest car rally, "Ralleye du Bandama" entered its third stage on Wednesday (17 December) with only 18 out of the original 42 competitors still in the race.
GV Contestant number 9 drives off ramp at start of rally
SV Crowd watch contestant no. 39
GV Africans on push bikes
GV Car roaring through dust along tract in bush
SV AND GV Car no. 12 skidding around bends (2 shots)
SV Car no. 18 goes around bend
GV Car no. 39 going along dirt bush track
GV Car No. 21 going over dirt hump
GV Car no. 17 going over dirt hump with headlights on
Initials NG/1950 NG/1815
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
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Background: West Africa's biggest and toughest car rally, "Ralleye du Bandama" entered its third stage on Wednesday (17 December) with only 18 out of the original 42 competitors still in the race.
The rough dirt bush tracks which comprise most of the 4000 kilometre (2,500 mile) rally route through the Ivory Coast took a heavy toll on both the drivers and their vehicles.
Among those who were forced to abandon the rally were the Swedish team of H. Mikkola, the european rally champion, and his partner J. Todt, driving a Peugeot 504. It was this team that won the rally last year.
It appeared that the famous European rally drivers found the conditions too tough even for them.
The pulling out of Mikkola and Todt came as a surprise as they had the best time into Djibi and were the first out of "the gates" ahead of the French team of H. Pescarolo and J.P. Aujoulet also driving a Peugeot 504.
Another French team, B. Consten and G. Flocon are now leading the event. They are also driving a Peugeot 504 which appears to be standing up to the heavy going better than other makes of car.
SYNOPSIS: As the third stage of West Africa's biggest and toughest car rally, Ralleye due Bandama, got under way in the Ivory Coast, only eighteen out of the original forty-two competitors were still in the competition. And most of the remaining cars were Peugeot Five-O-Fours.
But some of the local people found an even more reliable way to travel.The tough, dirt bush tracks took a heavy toll on both drivers and cars in the rally.
One of the surprises of the event was the withdrawal of last year's winners, the Swedish team of H. Mikkola and J. Todt, driving a Peugeot Five-O-Four.
French teams also driving Peugeot Five-O-Fours are at present in the best positions. The rough dirt bush tracks which comprise the four thousand kilometre rally through the Ivory Coast, have taken a heavy toll on both drivers and their vehicles.
Drivers are competing not only for trophies and prestige but prize money of several thousand pounds.
So far, it looks like the Peugeot Five-O-Four that will take the honours in this tough, gruelling event.