1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 10

SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 1996
REST DAY AT ZOUERAT

STAGE DISTANCE TO FINISH: 3231 KM



MITSUBISHI CELEBRATES SPECTACULAR 1-2-3 EIGHTH LEG VICTORY ON THE ROAD TO DAKAR


AT THE HALF WAY POINT OF THE GRUELLING 7597 KM GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY AT THE IRON ORE MINING TOWN OF ZOUERAT, MAURITANIA, THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE COLD AND RAIN IN SPAIN AND THE BLISTERING HEAT AND BLAZING SUNSHINE AT ZOUERAT COULD NOT BE MORE STRIKING.

BUT IT IS HERE IN THE SAHARA DESERT THAT MITSUBISHI HAS COME INTO ITS OWN, WINNING TWO OF THE MOST DIFFICULT STAGES IN THE POWER-SAPPING SAND DUNES AND BONE-SHAKING CAMEL GRASS SECTIONS. EVERYONE AGREES THAT THE RALLY WILL BE WON OR LOST OVER THE NEXT MARATHON SECTION IN THE DESERT.

IN ZOUERAT ON JANUARY 6, AFTER ONE OF THE TOUGHEST SECTIONS IN THE DESERT COVERING 511 KM, MITSUBISHI CELEBRATED A SUPERB 1-2-3 RESULT, WITH HIROSHI MASUOKA WINNING THE STAGE, FROM JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY, AND KENJIRO SHINOZUKA THIRD.

SAID THE JAPANESE STAR: "I WAS DELIGHTED THAT MITSUBISHI GAVE ME A NEW T3 CAR TO DRIVE THIS YEAR. AT THE START IN SPAIN I HAD NO IDEA HOW I WOULD PERFORM.I FEEL VERY SECURE IN THIS MITSUBISHI, AND AFTER THREE DAYS OF GETTING USED TO IT, I WAS SURPRISED TO BE THE LEADING MITSUBISHI DRIVER. BUT FOR ME, THE PRIORITY IS TO REACH DAKAR."

AS JAPANESE DRIVER HIROSHI MASUOKA AND HIS GERMAN CO-DRIVER ANDREAS SCHULZ TOOK THEIR FIRST EVER OVERALL STAGE WIN IN THE TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART RVR SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE ON LEG EIGHT, THE RIVAL CITROEN TEAM WILTED IN THE SOARING TEMPERATURES PROVING THAT ONE CAN NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE DESERT TO TURN A CROSS COUNTRY RALLY ON ITS HEAD. PIERRE LARTIGUE WAS STILL LEADING FOR THE FRENCH MANUFACTURER IN ZOUERAT, BUT AS HE PASSED OUT AT THE STAGE FINISH IN THE HEAT, IT WAS CLEAR THAT THE RALLY IS FAR FROM OVER.

FROM THE START OF THE EPIC AFRICAN ADVENTURE, THE MITSUBISHI TEAM POSTED ITS INTENTIONS WHEN KENJIRO SHINOZUKA, FROM JAPAN, AND HENRI MAGNE, FROM FRANCE, WON THE PROLOGUE TEST - A SPECTACULAR GRAVEL DRAG RACE IN THE CENTRE OF GRANADA - IN THEIR TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE ON DECEMBER 29.

AT THE FIRST PROPER STAGE AFTER THE PROLOGUE, A SHORT, SHARP BLAST AROUND A MUDDY WINDING TRACK AT A MILITARY BASE NEAR GRANADA ON DECEMBER 30, FRENCH PAIRING BRUNO SABY AND DOMINIQUE SERIEYS TOOK A DOMINATING VICTORY IN THEIR TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE.AND BY THE END OF THE FIRST LEG IN AFRICA, ALONG THE STONY MOUNTAIN TRACKS OF NORTHERN MOROCCO, SHINOZUKA HELD THE TOP POSITION FOR MITSUBISHI IN THIRD PLACE OVERALL.

SAID SHINOZUKA: "BEFORE THE START IN GRANADA I DECIDED TO ATTACK FROM THE FIRST STAGE. I WAS CONFIDENT BECAUSE MY PAJERO IS VERY COMPETITIVE. UNFORTUNATELY, IN MOROCCO, ON THE THIRD LEG, WE HAD A SLIGHT MISINTERPRETATION OF THE ROAD BOOK AND DROVE INTO A DEEP GULLY, WHICH BROKE THE SUSPENSION,SO WE LOST A LOT OF TIME. NOW, A WIN HERE WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT, BUT I AM PLEASED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF MY PAJERO.I'M SURE THAT THIS CAR PERFORMS BETTER THAN ALL THE OTHERS IN THE CAMEL GRASS BECAUSE IT FEELS VERY STRONG AND SECURE."

BY ER RACHIDIA ON NEW YEAR'S DAY, WHERE SABY HAD SET THIRD FASTEST OVER THE ROCKY, TWISTING ROADS, THE FRENCHMAN HELD FOURTH OVERALL, BUT BEFORE HE REACHED THE REST DAY AT ZOUERAT, HE HAD SUFFERED TWO ROLLS AND NUMEROUS PUNCTURES, REMARKABLY STILL HOLDING EIGHTH PLACE IN THE GENERAL CLASSIFICATION.

"MY PAJERO IS VERY COMPETITIVE WHEN COMPARED TO THE CITROENS," SAID SABY. "I'M ONLY SORRY THAT I'M NOT HIGHER IN THE OVERALL STANDINGS AT THE MOMENT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT."

BUT IS WAS JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA WHO CAME TO THE FORE AS THE RALLY MOVED FURTHER SOUTH FROM THE PUNISHING MOROCCAN TRACKS TO THE IMPOSING SAHARA DESERT IN MAURITANIA. THE FRENCH PAIR WHERE IN THIRD PLACE AFTER SETTING THIRD FASTEST ON THE FINAL MOROCCAN SECTION FROM FOUM EL HASSAN TO SMARA ON JANUARY 3, BUT AS THE RALLY HIT THE SAND DUNES FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE LEG FROM SMARA TO ZOUERAT THE FOLLOWING DAY, THEY STORMED INTO SECOND PLACE WITH FASTEST TIME ON THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS 603 KM STAGE IN THEIR TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE.

A DELAY WITH SUSPENSION PROBLEMS ON THE FOLLOWING SEVENTH LEG, FROM ZOUERAT TO ATAR, WHEN THEY WERE RESCUED BY SHINOZUKA, DID NOT DAMPEN THEIR SPIRITS AS THEY FOUGHT BACK ON THE EIGHTH SECTION, THE RETURN LEG TO ZOUERAT, POSTING SECOND FASTEST BEHIND MASUOKA.HE NOW LIES IN FIFTH POSITION AT ZOUERAT.

HARD CHARGING FRENCHMAN, FONTENAY REPORTED: "I ATTACKED FROM THE START TO STAY IN CONTACT WITH CITROEN, AND MENTALLY, I HAVE PREPARED MYSELF TO WIN. DESPITE SOME SMALL PROBLEMS, I AM STILL DREAMING OF VICTORY BECAUSE I KNOW FROM PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE THAT SO MANY THINGS CAN CHANGE IN THE 'DAKAR'.NOW I THINK CITROEN ARE VERY WEAK BECAUSE SO MANY OF THEIR TRUCKS HAVE BEEN DISQUALIFIED, AND WE STILL HAVE A STRONG TEAM WITH GOOD SUPPORT FROM OUR TRUCKS. THIS IS OUR STRENGTH."

AFTER MOVING UP TO FOURTH PLACE ON JANUARY 5, ON THE ROAD FROM ZOUERAT TO ATAR, MASUOKA TOOK HIS FIRST STAGE WIN IN T3 OF HIS CAREER ON THE FOLLOWING LEG AND PROVED THAT A CAUTIOUS APPROACH IS OFTEN MORE DESIRABLE IN THE HARSH ENVIRONMENT OF THE MAURITANIAN DESERT. AT THE HALFWAY MARK HE LIES THIRD OVERALL.

TEAM DIRECTOR ULLRICH BREHMER, REVEALED: "THE TEAM'S MORALE IS VERY HIGH, AND THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE NEXT HALF OF THE EVENT.THE CARS ARE VERY RELIABLE, AND DESPITE A LACK OF EVENTS LAST YEAR TO TRULY TEST THE PAJERO AND SPACE RUNNER T3S, WE'VE ONLY HAD MINOR PROBLEMS.I WOULD LIKE TO DO MORE TESTING IN FULL COMPETITION ON OTHER EVENTS IN FUTURE, BECAUSE, FOR SURE, THE CARS ARE IN VERY GOOD SHAPE NOW AND EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE. OUR ONLY SLIGHT WEAKNESS HAS BEEN IN AERODYNAMICS.

"OUR POSITION IS GOOD, AND ALTHOUGH ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN ON THIS EVENT, I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SECOND HALF OF THE GRANADA - DAKAR '96 WITH CONFIDENCE. WITH ALL BUT TWO OF OUR ORIGINAL NINE TRUCKS STILL GOING WELL, AND THE FACT THAT CITROEN HAVE LOST SO MANY OF THEIRS, PUTS MITSUBISHI IN A VERY STRONG POSITION. WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE SUCH GOOD TRUCKS WITH BRILLIANT CREWS." IN PROBABLY THE TOUGHEST CATEGORY OF ALL - THE T1 CLASS FOR NEAR-STANDARD CARS - MITSUBISHI LEADS IN STYLE FILLING THE TOP THREE PLACES.JEAN-PIERRE STRUGO AND BRUNO CATARELLI HEAD THE LEADERBOARD IN THEIR MITSUBISHI PAJERO, WITH THE SIMILAR PAJERO OF ITALIANS THIERRY ANDRETTA AND MARIO SIMONI IN SECOND PLACE. SPANIARDS MIGUEL PRIETO AND JAVIER OLAVE HOLD THIRD IN A PAJERO.

IN T2, THE CATEGORY FOR MODIFIED PRODUCTION VEHICLES, THE MITSUBISHI PAJERO OF FORMER FORMULA ONE DRIVER PATRICK TAMBAY, CO-DRIVEN BY RENE METGE, LIES SECOND, WITH THAI PAIRING HANTRAKUL SAKCHAI AND SUWANARATT TULL THIRD IN ANOTHER PAJERO.

KARL ILLE, THE MAN IN CHARGE OF MANAGING THE MITSUBISHI CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE SERVICE, IS PERFECTLY PLACED TO OBSERVE THE PERFORMANCES OF THESE DRIVERS.

HE SAID: "OUR RESULTS THUS FAR ARE EXCELLENT IN ALL CLASSES. WE HAD 18 CARS AT THE START, AND ALL HAVE PERFORMED EXTREMELY WELL. EVERYBODY IS FIGHTING FOR CATEGORY WINS."

SAID STRUGO: "I AM DRIVING WITHOUT RISK, ALWAYS KEEPING SOMETHING IN RESERVE. I THINK THAT IS WHY I AM FIRST IN THE T1 CATEGORY, AND OF COURSE MY PAJERO IS VERY RELIABLE."

LEADING THE MITSUBISHIS IN T2, TAMBAY COMMENTED: "OUR PAJERO HAS PERFORMED WELL FROM THE START, JUST PUNCTURES DELAYING US A FEW TIMES."

WHILE HIS CO-DRIVE METGE ADDED: "SOMETIMES WE LOST TIME WHILE LOOKING FOR THE BEST ROUTE; THE NAVIGATION IS VERY DIFFICULT IN MAURITANIA."

AFTER THE LOOP FROM ZOUERAT TO ATAR AND BACK, THE 1996 GRANADA - DAKAR NOW STRIKES SOUTH ONCE AGAIN, WITH THE FIRST LEG OF A TWO-DAY MARATHON SECTION TO EL MREITI AND ON TO TICHIT, COVERING SOME OF THE HARSHEST TERRAIN IN THE SAHARA. THE TWO LEGS MUST BE COVERED WITHOUT AIRBORNE MECHANICS, THE COMPETITORS RELYING SOLELY ON THEIR OWN SKILLS, THE HELP OF THE SUPPORT TRUCKS, AND THE RELIABILITY OF THEIR CARS OVER A STAGE DISTANCE OF 1261 KM. FROM THERE THE RALLY HEADS SOUTH AGAIN SWAPPING HE RIGOURS OF THE DESERT FOR THE BUSH TRACKS OF MALI, GUINEA AND SENEGAL, FINISHING WITH A BLAST ALONG PINK LAKE BEACH IN DAKAR ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 14.


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AT ZOUERAT
1 - P. LARTIGUE/ M. PERRIN (FR) - CITROEN - T3 - 31:52:23
2 - P. WAMBERGUE/ F. GALLAGHER(FR/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:50:59
3 - K. MASUOKA/ A. SCHULZ (J/D) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +01:41:03
4 - A. VATANEN/ G. PICARD (SF/FR) - CITROEN - T3 - +01:53:04
5 - JP.FONTENAY/ B. MUSMARRA (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +02:06:33
6 - S. SERVIA/ J. PUIG (SP) - CITROEN - T3 - +02:15:12
7 - JL.SCHLESSER (FR) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +05:17:16
8 - B. SABY/ D. SERIEYS (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +07:57:01
9 - G. VISMARA/ M. CAMBIAGHI (ITA) - SSANGYONG - T3 - +08:34:54
10- T. DELAVERGNE/ L. ARGUELLES (FR) - NISSAN - T2 - +08:38:55
11- J. STRUGO/ JP. CATARELLI (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +10:56:44
12- T. ANDRETTA / M. SIMONI (ITA) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +11:44:13
13- V. MOSKOVSKIKH/ V. KOUZMINE (RUS) - KAMAZ - T4 - +12:44:58
14- M. PRIETO/ J. OLAVE (SP) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +13:19:45
15- G. SARRAZIN/ T. FUJISAWA (FR/J) - TOYOTA - T1 - +13:23:44
16- P. TAMBAY/ R. METGE (CH/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +13:33:04
17- H. SAKCHAI/ S. TULL (THA) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +13:40:31
...
19- C. SOUZA/ P. LAROQUE (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +13:45:14
...
27- W. SNIPPE/ H. WAGENFOORT (ND) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +16:13:50
...


TOMORROW, MONDAY, JANUARY 8, 1996
LEG 9: ZOUERAT - EL MREITI (MAURITANIA)
DISTANCE: 638 KM
SPECIAL STAGE: 629 KM



[ COMMUNIQUE 9 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 8 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 7 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 6 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 5 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 4 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 3 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 2 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 1 ]
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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation