1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 12

TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 1996
LEG 10: EL MREITI - TICHIT (MAURITANIA)

DISTANCE: 632 KM
STAGE DISTANCE: 632 KM
STAGE DISTANCE TO FINISH: 2519KM




TAMBAY TAKES T2 LEAD IN MITSUBISHI PAJERO


AFTER THE LONGEST AND TOUGHEST LEG OF THE 1996 GRANADA - DAKAR RALLY, FORMER FORMULA ONE DRIVER PATRICK TAMBAY, AND HIS EXPERIENCED PARTNER RENE METGE, MOVED INTO THE LEAD OF THE MODIFIED PRODUCTION CAR CLASS - T2 - IN THEIR MITSUBISHI PAJERO TODAY.

AT 632 KM THROUGH MAURITANIA'S HARSHEST DESERT TERRAIN, THE 10TH LEG OF THIS YEAR'S "DAKAR" FORMED THE SECOND PART OF A 1261 KM MARATHON SECTION; TWO DAYS OF HARD DRIVING OVER DUNES, DESERT PLATEAUS AND ESCARPMENTS WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF MECHANICS AND TECHNICIANS. RELIABILITY WAS AT A PREMIUM.

IN THE HOT, FLY-BLOWN VILLAGE OF TICHIT, NESTLING IN NEARLY 40-DEGREE TEMPERATURES BETWEEN SAND DUNES AND A HIGH ESCARPMENT, TAMBAY REPORTED: "I REALLY ENJOYED DRIVING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LEG TODAY, AND IT WAS VERY SCENIC. MY PAJERO WAS PERFECT TODAY AND I HAD A GOOD RACE WITH SOUZA AND PRIETO TODAY FOR ABOUT 50 KM - IT WAS FANTASTIC."

HIS PARTNER RENE METGE ADDED: "IT WAS ONE THING ENJOYING THE RACE, BUT WHEN WE SAW DELAVERGNE, WHO ROLLED HIS NISSAN, WE DECIDED TO CALM DOWN A LITTLE AND BE CAREFUL."

AS WELL AS DOMINATING THE T2 CATEGORY, WITH PAJEROS FILLING THE TOP TWO PLACES WITH THAILAND'S HANTRAKUL SAKCHAI SECOND, MITSUBISHI IS ALSO CLEANING UP IN T1 - THE CLASS FOR NEAR STANDARD CARS - HOLDING THE TOP THREE POSITIONS, HEADED BY JEAN-PIERRE STRUGO AND BRUNO CATARELLI, FOLLOWED BY SPANIARDS PRIETO AND OLAVE, WITH PORTUGUESE PAIR SOUZA AND LAROQUE THIRD..

COMMENTED STRUGO: "FIRST, THE RUSSIAN PAJERO DRIVEN BY SHMIKOV PASSED ME AT HIGH SPEED, AND THEN AT THE TOP OF A DUNE, AND I SAW THAT HE HAD ROLLED AND HE WAS OUT! I WAS DRIVING HARD,TOO, AND NEARLY ROLLED NOSE FIRST! BUT I WAS LUCKY, AND THE CAR LANDED BACK ON ITS WHEELS."

IN T3, AS THE STRONG SAHARAN SUN BEAT DOWN ON THE SALT FLAT OASIS VILLAGE, FRENCH PAIR JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA POWERED HOME TO FINISH SECOND FASTEST OVERALL ON THE STAGE IN THEIR TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE.

SAID FONTENAY: "WE ATTACKED ALL THE WAY FROM EL MREITI TO TICHIT.WE SAW SOME INTERESTING SIGHTS ON THE WAY, LIKE WAMBERGUE WHO TOOK OFF INTO THE AIR AFTER HITTING A JUMP IN THE CAMEL GRASS AND LANDED ON JUST TWO WHEELS! THERE WERE MANY LONG JUMPS AND WE WERE DRIVING IN SIXTH GEAR ALL THE TIME. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO JUDGE WHERE THE JUMPS AND DIPS ARE AT 170 KPH! THE SCENERY AT THE END OF THE STAGE WAS STUNNING, WITH BIG CANYONS AND BEAUTIFUL DUNES. I'M PLEASED TO SAY THAT THE PAJERO AGAIN RAN PERFECTLY TODAY."
.../...
AS WELL AS WAMBERGUE'S NEAR MISS, HIS CITROEN TEAM MATE ARI VATANEN COMPLETED THE JOB BY ROLLING HIS CAR AT SPEED. FORTUNATELY FOR THE FINN, THERE WAS VERY LITTLE DAMAGE TO HIS CAR.

JAPAN'S HIROSHI MASUOKA, CO-DRIVEN BY GERMAN ANDREAS SCHULZ, EASED PAST PIERRE LARTIGUE AS THEY RACED TOWARDS THE FINISH LINE TO RECORD THIRD FASTEST IN THEIR TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART RVR SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE.

MASUOKA REPORTED: "IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR US, DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE SUFFERED A PUNCTURE. I DROVE FOR 500 KM NEAR FONTENAY AND WATCHED FROM BEHIND WHEN HE RACED WITH WAMBERGUE AND VATANEN - IT WAS LIKE FOLLOWING A FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX! I STAYED BACK TO AVOID ANY PROBLEMS, BUT MY SPACE RUNNER WAS SUPERBLY RELIABLE AND RAN PERFECTLY TODAY."

MASUOKA AND SCHULZ RETAIN THIRD PLACE IN THE RACE TO DAKAR, BEHIND THE CITROENS OF LEADER PIERRE LARTIGUE, WHO WAS FOURTH QUICKEST INTO TICHIT, AND SECOND PLACED PHILIPPE WAMBERGUE,THE FRENCH DRIVER SETTING FIFTH FASTEST.

FRENCH PAIRING BRUNO SABY AND DOMINIQUE SERIEYS WERE SEVENTH FASTEST IN THEIR TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE, SABY EXPLAINING: "THE CAR IS RUNNING VERY WELL. THIS STAGE WAS NOT A DRIVER'S STAGE, NOR WAS THE NAVIGATION VERY HARD, BUT RELIABILITY WAS VERY IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY AS WE HAD NO FULL SERVICE LAST NIGHT. THERE WERE MANY SMALL DUNES ON THE LEG AND LOTS OF CAMEL GRASS, WHICH IS VERY BUMPY, BUT TODAY WE WERE SUPPORTING FONTENAY AND MASUOKA, TO HELP IF ANYTHING WENT WRONG."

LIKEWISE, JAPANESE DRIVER KENJIRO SHINOZUKA CONTINUED TO PLAY AN IMPORTANT SUPPORTING ROLE WITH HIS FRENCH NAVIGATOR HENRI MAGNE, FINISHING THE DAY EIGHTH FASTEST IN THEIR TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE.

SAID SHINOZUKA: "WE HAD A PUNCTURE 30 KM AFTER THE START, BUT AFTER THAT IT WAS PERFECT. THE NAVIGATION WAS EASY, AND WE WERE ABLE TO TAKE IN THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY NEAR THE END."

THE SURVIVORS OF THE 106 CARS AND TRUCKS AND 64 MOTORBIKES THAT STARTED THIS MORNING WILL NOW PREPARE FOR THE FINAL DAY OF DESERT HELL, BEFORE MOVING INTO THE SUB-TROPICAL SAHEL AND FOREST AREAS FOR THE LAST FEW DAYS BEFORE THEIR GOAL OF REACHING DAKAR.

FOR CITROEN, THIS MAY BE DIFFICULT AFTER LOSING ALL BUT FOUR OF THE TEAM'S TRUCKS IN THE RALLY, AND WITHOUT MANY ESSENTIAL SPARE PARTS, THE CITROENS WILL FIND THE GOING TOUGH FROM NOW ON. FORTUNATELY FOR TEAM MITSUBISHI, SEVEN TRUCKS REMAIN, GIVING FULL SUPPORT TO THE TEAM, A VERY IMPORTANT TASK FOR THE MARATHON SECTIONS, ONE OF WHICH STILL REMAINS TO BE RUN BETWEEN KIFFA AND LABE, THURSDAY JANUARY 11 UNTIL THE END OF THE FOLLOWING DAY.


SS11 EL MREITI - TICHIT 632KM
1 - A. VATANEN - CITROEN - T3 - 06:01:16
2 - JP FONTENAY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 06:03:27
3 - H. MASUOKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 06:05:51
4 - P. LARTIGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 06:07:52
5 - P. WAMBERGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 06:17:44
6 - S. SERVIA - CITROEN - T3 - 06:22:13
7 - B. SABY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 06:32:30
8 - K. SHINOZUKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 06:51:27
9 - JL SCHLESSER - SCHLESSER - T3 - 08:06:33
10- K. LOPRAIS - TATRA - T4 - 08:21:20


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS11
1 - P. LARTIGUE/ M. PERRIN (FR) - CITROEN - T3 - 44:19:00
2 - P. WAMBERGUE/ F. GALLAGHER(FR/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:54:32
3 - K. MASUOKA/ A. SCHULZ (J/D) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +01:39:50
4 - A. VATANEN/ G. PICARD (SF/FR) - CITROEN - T3 - +01:42:28
5 - JP.FONTENAY/ B. MUSMARRA (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +02:04:10
6 - S. SERVIA/ J. PUIG (SP) - CITROEN - T3 - +02:29:08
7 - JL.SCHLESSER (FR) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +08:04:15
8 - B. SABY/ D. SERIEYS (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +08:51:36
9 - G. VISMARA/ M. CAMBIAGHI (ITA) - SSANGYONG - T3 - +12:39:46
10- J. STRUGO/ JP. CATARELLI (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +16:05:32
11- V. MOSKOVSKIKH/ V. KOUZMINE (RUS) - KAMAZ - T4 - +17:26:14
12- M. PRIETO/ J. OLAVE (SP) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +18:28:45
13- K. LOPRAIS/ V. TOMECEK (CS) - TATRA - T4 - +18:34:02
14- P. TAMBAY/ R. METGE (CH/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +18:39:49
15- C. SOUZA/ P. LAROQUE (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +18:43:34


TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 1996
LEG 10: TICHIT - KIFFA (MAURITANIA)
DISTANCE: 535 KM
SPECIAL STAGE: 530 KM

THE REMAINING CARS, TRUCKS AND MOTORBIKES IN THIS YEAR'S GRANADA - DAKAR NOW FACE THEIR FINAL DAY IN THE DESERT, A 530 KM JOURNEY STARTING THROUGH THE DRY RIVERBED NEAR TICHIT AND ON TO THE IGUEKKATEME PASS, 200 KM INTO THE STAGE, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO GO DOWN IN THE "DAKAR'S" HISTORY AS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT AND DRAMATIC CHALLENGES.

FROM THERE, THEY PICK UP THE ROUTE TO NEGA AND THE SCENERY WILL THEN BEGIN TO CHANGE AS THEY ENTER THE SAHEL AS FAR AS KIFFA.

THE FIRST CAR IS DUE TO LEAVE THE OASIS AT TICHIT 08:35 AND WILL ARRIVE AT KIFFA BY AROUND 15:35. THE MOTORBIKES START AT 07:15, WITH THE FIRST DUE TO REACH KIFFA AT ABOUT 14:15.



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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation