1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 16

SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 1996
LEG 14: LABE (GUINEA) - TAMBACOUNDA (SENEGAL)

DISTANCE: 675KM
STAGE DISTANCE: 304KM (620KM)
STAGE DISTANCE TO FINISH: 495KM




THREE MITSUBISHI PAJEROS LEAD PRODUCTION CARS INTO SENEGAL


MITSUBISHI TODAY CONTINUED ITS DOMINATION OF THE STANDARD PRODUCTION CAR CLASS (T1) OF THE 1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY ON THE PENULTIMATE LEG FROM LABE, GUINEA, TO TAMBACOUNDA, SENEGAL OVER TORTUOUSLY BUMPY AND TWISTY GRAVEL TRACKS THROUGH THE TROPICAL AFRICAN BUSH. WITH ONLY 20 KM OF COMPETITIVE DRIVING TO GO, MITSUBISHI LOOKS SET TO SCORE A MEMORABLE 1-2-3 VICTORY IN THE TOUGHEST CATEGORY IN ADVENTURE MOTOR SPORT.

FRENCH PAIR JEAN-PIERRE STRUGO AND BRUNO CATARELLI CONTINUE TO HOLD THE LEAD IN T1 IN THE GENERAL CLASSIFICATION DRIVING A PAJERO FROM SPANIARDS MIGUEL PRIETO AND JAVIER OLAVE IN A SIMILAR MITSUBISHI. PORTUGUESE CREW CARLOS SOUZA AND PASCAL LAROQUE ARE THIRD, ALSO IN A PAJERO.

IN THE CLASS FOR PROTOTYPE VEHICLES (T3), FRENCHMEN JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA PUT IN A SUPERB PERFORMANCE IN THE SWELTERING HEAT TO RECORD SECOND FASTEST OVERALL ON THE LAST LONG STAGE OF THE EVENT TO SECURE THIRD POSITION IN THEIR TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE. THE MITSUBISHI PAIR OVERTOOK TWO CITROENS WITH A FINAL CHARGE THOUGH THE WINDING BUSH ROADS, TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE OF THEIR PAJERO'S SUPERIOR HANDLING, AND WERE ONLY THWARTED IN THEIR EFFORTS TO WIN THE STAGE BY A SINGLE PUNCTURED TYRE. FONTENAY REPORTED: "MY PAJERO HAS AN EXCEPTIONAL ADVANTAGE ON THIS TYPE OF TERRAIN. IT TAKES CORNERS SUPERBLY, AND HANDLES THE BUMPS AND ROUGH ROADS WITH EASE.

"I PASSED LARTIGUE'S CITROEN EASILY, BUT I HAD TO FOLLOW WAMBERGUE'S DUST FOR 50 KM UNTIL I FOUND A GAP IN THE NARROW ROAD TO GET PAST. IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO PASS OTHER CARS ON THESE ROADS TODAY, BECAUSE THE HIGH GRASS ON THE VERGES HIDE MANY BIG BOULDERS AND ROCKS. THEN I CAUGHT UP WITH VATANEN, AND IF WERE NOT FOR THE PUNCTURE, I AM SURE I WOULD HAVE GOT PAST AND WON THE STAGE."

UNFORTUNATELY, JAPANESE DRIVER HIROSHI MASUOKA, CO-DRIVEN BY GERMAN ANDREAS SCHULZ, WAS DELAYED WHEN HE WAS CAUGHT OUT BY THE NARROW TRACKS AND HIT A TREE STUMP HIDDEN IN THE GRASS, WHICH DAMAGED THE SUSPENSION OF THE TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART RVR SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE. BOTH THE FOLLOWING MITSUBISHI DRIVERS BRUNO SABY AND KENJIRO SHINOZUKA STOPPED TO HELP, AND IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE SPACE RUNNER WILL STILL MAKE ITS FINAL DESTINATION IN DAKAR ONCE THE MITSUBISHI TRUCKS ARRIVE TO HELP FINISH THE REPAIRS.

FRENCHMAN SABY, CO-DRIVEN BY DOMINIQUE SERIEYS IN THE TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE COMPLETED THE STAGE SIXTH FASTEST TO HOLD SIXTH OVERALL, AND REPORTED: "I DROVE VERY CAREFULLY TODAY AS MY MISSION WAS TO SUPPORT FONTENAY AND MASUOKA. WE STOPPED FOR 10 MINUTES, BUT SHINOZUKA ALSO ARRIVED AND MASUOKA WAVED US ON AND SAID HE WOULD WAIT FOR THE TRUCKS." .../... JAPANESE DRIVER SHINOZUKA, CO-DRIVEN BY FRENCHMAN HENRI MAGNE IN THE TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE ADDED: "IT WAS A VERY HARD SPECIAL STAGE TODAY - SO NARROW AND IT WAS VERY EASY TO GET CAUGHT OUT. THE TREE STUMPS ARE HIDDEN IN THE GRASS SO CLOSE TO THE NARROW ROAD."

THE DISTINCTIVE SOUND OF TOM-TOM DRUMS WELCOMED THE REMAINING COMPETITORS IN THIS YEAR'S GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY IN TAMBACOUNDA ON A BALMY TROPICAL AFRICAN EVENING AFTER THE FINAL LONG STAGE BEFORE THE FINAL DRAG INTO DAKAR.

ONLY 20 KM OF COMPETITIVE DRIVING REMAIN, AND THE 51 MOTORBIKES AND 75 CARS AND TRUCKS THAT LEFT LABE THIS MORNING WERE ALL HOPEFUL OF REACHING THEIR FINAL DESTINATION AT DAKAR'S PINK LAKE BEACH.

TODAY'S COMPETITIVE SECTION WAS SHORTENED, ALTHOUGH IT REMAINED CHALLENGING THROUGH THE TROPICAL AFRICAN BUSH AT JUST OVER 300 KM. AFTER MANY OF THE CARS AND TRUCKS BECAME STUCK IN YESTERDAY'S MUD HOLE BESIDE ONE OF THE TWO RIVER CROSSINGS, THE ORGANISERS DECIDED IT WAS SAFER TO TRUNCATE THE ROUTE TO ALLOW FOR A LATER START THIS MORNING SO THAT THE LATE ARRIVALS COULD GET A FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP.


SS15 LABE - TAMBACOUNDA 304KM (620KM)
1 - A. VATANEN - CITROEN - T3 - 04:20:48
2 - JP FONTENAY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 04:25:38
3 - S. SERVIA - CITROEN - T3 - 04:25:49
4 - P. WAMBERGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 04:29:13
5 - P. LARTIGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 04:30:2
7 6 - B. SABY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 05:05:54
7 - JL SCHLESSER - SCHLESSER - T3 - 05:08:41
8 - D. HOUSIEAUX - NISSAN - T1 - 05:09:32
9 - K. SHINOZUKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 05:15:16
10- T. DELAVERGNE - NISSAN - T2 - 05:18:54


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS15
1 - P. LARTIGUE/ M. PERRIN (FR) - CITROEN - T3 - 65:22:43
2 - P. WAMBERGUE/ F. GALLAGHER(FR/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - +01:09:52
3 - JP.FONTENAY/ B. MUSMARRA (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +01:42:06
4 - A. VATANEN/ G. PICARD (SF/FR) - CITROEN - T3 - +01:52:24
5 - S. SERVIA/ J. PUIG (SP) - CITROEN - T3 - +03:12:45
6 - B. SABY/ D. SERIEYS (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +11:06:25
7 - T. DELAVERGNE/ L. ARGUELLES (FR) - NISSAN - T2 - +20:50:53
8 - JL.SCHLESSER (FR) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +20:55:36
9 - JP STRUGO/ JP. CATARELLI (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +23:21:56
10- M. PRIETO/ J. OLAVE (SP) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +24:09:19
11- C. SOUZA/ P. LARROQUE (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +25:07:20
12- P. TAMBAY/ R. METGE (CH/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +25:15:02
13- K. LOPRAIS/ TOMECEK (CS) - TATRA - T4 - +26:24:28
14- K. SHINOZUKA/ H. MAGNE (J/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +26:33:10
15- G. SARRAZIN/ T. FUJISAWA (FR/J) - TOYOTA - T1 - +26:45:25
16- T. ANDRETTA / M. SIMONI (ITA) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +27:24:53
...


TOMORROW, SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 1996
LEG 15: TAMBACOUNDA - DAKAR (SENEGAL)
DISTANCE: 495 KM
SPECIAL STAGE: 20 KM

THE END IS IN SIGHT FOR THE SURVIVORS IN THIS YEAR'S EPIC GRANADA - DAKAR, AS PINK LAKE BEACH BECKONS FOR THE FINAL 20 KM BLAST TO THE FINISH.

THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF THE TOUGHEST, MOST GRUELLING "DAKARS" EVER, AND THE THE WARM WELCOME OF THE SENEGALESE PEOPLE IN THE CAPITAL DAKAR WILL COME AS A WELCOME RELIEF AFTER 14 DAYS OF HARD COMPETITION IN AFRICA.

ONLY ONE CHALLENGE REMAINS: THE PARTY THAT FOLLOWS PRIZE-GIVING! THAT SHOULD COMPENSATE FOR THE EARLY START TIME TOMORROW OF 04:30 FROM TAMBACOUNDA FOR THE MOTORBIKES, THE FIRST ARRIVING AT THE FINISH IN DAKAR AT AROUND 12:30. THE CARS AND TRUCKS WILL START AT 05:10, HOPING TO ARRIVE AT THE FINAL CONTROL AT APPROXIMATELY 13:10.



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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation