Across the Border

The more trodden a path, the easier the walk, and since its exploratory, almost tentative venture across the border only a few years ago, the Hong Kong-Peking Rally seems to have established itself as the best-known event in the oriental Far East.

Hong Kong Rallies of years past were severely restricted by the colony's geographical limits, but the opening of the borders with the People's Republic of China for this particular event created a precedent which even other events might follow.

Nissan, Toyota and Ford, the latter not the factory team, were the leading participants along the strictly controlled 2,375-mile route. Police, army and thousands of spectators helped to funnel competitors and service vehicles in the right direction.

Early leader was Bjorn Waldegard in a Toyota Supra, but it was not long before he was overtaken by Stig Blomqvist in a Ford Sierra 4WD backed by 555 Cigarettes. Ari Vatanen came to a stop when he broke the rear suspension of his Sierra 4WD against a roadside tree, whilst Per Eklund, driving a Nissan, retired when an oil leak was far too severe to allow the Swede to go far in this way.

Blomqvist looked like winning the event for the second time, but a mysterious electrical failure stopped his engine suddenly and it was a good half hour before it would deign to start again, equally mysteriously. This put Waldegard firmly in the lead, which he kept to the end, ahead of Mike Kirkland's Nissan and Blomqvist's Sierra. GP