Leyland victorious on epic Peking to Paris Rally

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Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson won the fifth Peking to Paris Rally in their 1973 Leyland P76 on 28 June.

Crown, who is 81-years old, said: “I’ve competed in the Peking to Paris four times and this one was the most demanding and the most competitive.

“The victory is all down to the car. Every night Matt got under it checking and fixing everything to make sure we kept going hard. It’s the best rally machine I’ve ever driven!"

The Australian-built saloon’s outback origins suited the gruelling rally conditions.

The pair had been involved in an event-long tussle with the British duo of Peter Lovett and Tim Smith driving a 1965 Porsche 911.

They had to settle for second place taking the European Trophy – for the best effort from Kiev to Paris – in the process.

The 1974 World Cup Rally-winning Citroën DS23, crewed by Robbie Sherrard and Peter Washington, which had led the Rally’s early stages, took third.

Top honours in the Vintageants group, meanwhile, went to Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown in their 1937 Chevy Fangio Coupe – the same car that won in 2010.
Garratt commented: “We had to totally rebuild the car when we got it as it had been trashed in 2010.

“We’ve spent three years preparing it and any mechanical problems on the road were minor, the worst being the clutch cable breaking. But with a spare on board, it was soon fixed.

Kiwis Bruce and Ben Washington took second spot in their 1929 Chrysler 75 Roadster, while Mike Reeves and Michelle Jana Chan, in a 1940 Ford Coupe, came third.

Winners of the European trophy for the Vintageants were Canadians Tony and Lee Strelzow in their 1936 Bentley Drophead.

Of the 96 cars that tackled the 8000-mile trip, 86 crossed the finish line in Place Vendome, Paris.

The rally was overshadowed by the death of Emma Wilkinson who was killed after a head on collision in Russia.

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