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Original Issue

Hairpins in the Clouds

Next week's Alpine Rally will again pit hardy cars and drivers against a vicious terrain

Up in the clouds on the devilish hairpins of Italy's Stelvio Pass, still snow-flecked in early summer, an entrant in Europe's famous Alpine Rally scurries toward the top. As this photograph and those on the following pages indicate, the Alpine is at once a breath takingly beautiful tour (if the contestants have time to look up from the road) and an immensely difficult test of drivers and machines. The British journalist Denis Jenkinson has written of the acute surprise of motorists encountering a rally car "coming round a hairpin on its door handles." Starting at Marseille and winding its way through the French and Italian Alps for six days, this event has produced an adventurous breed of competitors, and more than 50 of them will be out in force again next week—June 23-28—for a dice in the mountains, with a stopover at Monza for speed tests.

Alpine troops flank one of the competing Peugeots at control point on Italy's Gardena Pass. Of the women contestants (dressed in slacks) one who had expected a trophy was outraged when she received only an ashtray as prize.

Closer look at the Stelvio shows the low and ominous roadside barriers, from which this particular Triumph is keeping a respectful distance. A few hair-raising encounters with casual motorists occur during race, but most roads are clear.

Idyllic scene of pastoral beauty may be lost on this driver-navigator team. They leave a spume of dust behind them as they streak along this narrow, unpaved road toward some cattle which are feeding on lush green Italian hillside.

Open country like this—one of the most delightful sections in all of Yugoslavia—is coursed in high speed by a typically aggressive Alpine team's Alfa Romeo to gain themselves extra margin of time against the rugged mountain stretches soon to come.