1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 2

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1995
LEG 1: GRANADA - MALAGA

DISTANCE: 166 KM
STAGE DISTANCE 4 KM
DISTANCE TO FINISH: 7356 KM




MITSUBISHI LEADS DAKAR AFTER MUDDY FIRST LEG


FRENCHMAN BRUNO SABY STORMED INTO THE LEAD OF THE GRANADA - DAKAR DRIVING HIS TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE THROUGH THE SHORT, MUDDY FIRST SPECIAL STAGE, HELD AT THE ARMILLA MILITARY RANGE NEAR GRANADA, 12 SECONDS FASTER THAN HIS NEAREST RIVAL OVER JUST 4 KM TODAY, DECEMBER 30, 1995.

THE RESULT MEANS THAT SABY, CO-DRIVEN BY DOMINIQUE SERIEYS, WILL LEAD THE EVENT INTO AFRICA TOMORROW FOR THE FIRST SPECIAL STAGE IN MOROCCO, FROM NADOR TO OUJDA. THE SECOND 75 KM TEST PLANNED IN SPAIN WAS CANCELLED DUE TO RECENT HEAVY RAIN, AND THE COMPETITORS RE-ROUTED TO MALAGA FOR THE OVERNIGHT CROSSING TO MOROCCO.

THE TWISTING, TREACHEROUSLY SLIPPERY FIRST STAGE OF THE "DAKAR" WAS HELD UNDER LEADEN SKIES, ALTHOUGH THE RAIN HELD OFF UNTIL THE TOP 10 CARS HAD PASSED THROUGH. NEVERTHELESS, DEEP POT-HOLES FILLED WITH WATER CAUSED EVERYONE PROBLEMS AS THEY STRUGGLED TO FIND GRIP.

THE MITSUBISHIS WERE ABLE TO FIT NARROWER MICHELIN TYRES THAN THE RIVAL CITROENS, HANDING SABY AN ADVANTAGE WHICH HE USED TO THE FULL, DESPITE A MISTING WINDSCREEN THAT OBSCURED HIS VIEW.

HE EXPLAINED: "THERE WERE MANY DEEP POOLS OF WATER, AND EVERY TIME WE EMERGED THE WINDSCREEN BECAME MISTED AND I COULDN'T SEE. DOMINIQUE HAD TO KEEP WIPING THE INSIDE OF THE SCREEN. WE ALSO HAD TO BE CAREFUL THAT WATER DIDN'T GET INTO THE ENGINE, TOO. WHERE THERE WAS NO WATER THE STAGE WAS VERY SMOOTH AND FLOWING AND WE HAD A GOOD RHYTHM."

JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA FINISHED THIRD IN THE TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE, JUST TWO SECONDS BEHIND LARTIGUE'S CITROEN. HE SAID: "THE STAGE WAS EASIER FOR ME BECAUSE THE CARS IN FRONT HAD CLEARED SOME OF THE WATER AND MUD FROM THE TRACK. I REALLY ENJOYED DRIVING THE PARTS OF THE STAGE THAT WERE CLEAN."

THE FIRST CAR TO START FROM GRANADA, THE TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE CREWED BY KENJIRO SHINOZUKA AND HENRI MAGNE, WAS EIGHTH FASTEST, THE JAPANESE DRIVER COMMENTING: "BECAUSE WE WERE FIRST THROUGH THE STAGE THE WATER WAS MUCH DEEPER THAN FOR THE OTHERS. AFTER EACH WATER SPLASH I COULD NOT SEE THROUGH MY WINDSCREEN BECAUSE OF THE CLOUDS OF STEAM THAT CAME INTO THE CAR.WITHOUT THIS PROBLEM I WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH FASTER." ANOTHER JAPANESE DRIVER, HIROSHI MASUOKA, DRIVING THE TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE PARTNERED BY ANDREAS SCHULZ, FINISHED THE STAGE IN SEVENTH PLACE, SIX SECONDS AHEAD OF TEAM MATE SHINOZUKA. HE SAID: "IT WAS SO WET, MUDDY AND SLIPPERY I DECIDED TO PLAY COOL AND DRIVE CAREFULLY. THE RALLY IS FOUGHT IN AFRICA, NOT HERE, ALTHOUGH I AM PLEASED WITH MY TIME."../.. THERE WERE FEW CASUALTIES ON THE OPENING STAGE OF THE DAKAR, AND NEARLY ALL OF 106 CARS, 119 BIKES AND 70 TRUCKS - INCLUDING GILBERT VERSINO'S IMPRESSIVE MITSUBISHI "FR" 4WD-RS WHICH FINISHED THE FIRST STAGE IN AN IMPRESSIVE SIXTH PLACE IN ITS CLASS AND 110TH OVERALL - TRAVELLED FROM GRANADA TO MALAGA TO BOARD THE SHIP BOUND FOR AFRICA AND THE FIRST PROPER SPECIAL STAGE TOMORROW.


SS1
1 - B. SABY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 00:05:36
2 - P. LARTIGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 00:05:48
3 - JP FONTENAY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 00:05:50
4 - A. VATANEN - CITROEN - T3 - 00:05:58
5 - P. WAMBERGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 00:06:00
6 - S. SERVIA - CITROEN - T3 - 00:06:03
7 - H. MASUOKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 00:06:12
8 - K. SHINOZUKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 00:06:18
9 - JL SCHLESSER - SCHLESSER - T3 - 00:06:36
10- C. ARNOUX - BUGGY - T3 - 00:06:39

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS1
1 - B. SABY/ D. SERIEYS (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 00:05:36
2 - P. LARTIGUE/ M. PERRIN (FR) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:00:12
3 - JP.FONTENAY/ B. MUSMARRA (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +00:00:14
4 - A. VATANEN/ G. PICARD (SF/FR) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:00:22
5 - P. WAMBERGUE/ F. GALLAGHER(FR/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:00:24
6 - S. SERVIA/ J. PUIG (SP) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:00:27 7 - K. MASUOKA/ A. SCHULZ (J/D) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +00:00:36
8 - K. SHINOZUKA/ H. MAGNE (J/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +00:00:42
9 - JL.SCHLESSER (FR) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +00:01:00
10- C. ARNOUX/ V. MATHIAS (FR) - BUGGY - T3 - +00:01:03


TOMORROW, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31 LEG 2: NADOR - OUJDA (MOROCCO) DISTANCE: 223 KM SPECIAL STAGE: 149 KM

AFTER DISEMBARKING FROM THE SHIP AT NADOR, MOROCCO, THE REMAINING COMPETITORS IN THE GRANADA-DAKAR WILL FACE THE CHALLENGE OF A SHORT BUT DIFFICULT 149 KM STAGE THROUGH THE HILLS OF NORTHERN MOROCCO TO THE FIRST BIVOUAC AT OUJDA.

THE NEW STAGE IS SAID BY THE ORGANISERS TO BE MORE TYPICAL OF AN ATLAS RALLY THAN TRADITIONAL "DAKAR" TERRAIN, WITH TWISTY, NARROW ROADS THAT MAY PROVE DIFFICULT FOR MANY COMPETITORS, ESPECIALLY THOSE DRIVING TRUCKS.

THE RALLY RE-STARTS FOR THE SECOND LEG FROM NADOR AT 09:00 FOR THE FIRST MOTORBIKE, AND 10:40 FOR THE FIRST OF THE CARS AND TRUCKS. THE FIRST CAR IS EXPECTED TO FINISH THE LEG AT AROUND 14:25.



[ COMMUNIQUE 1 ] --------------------

Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation