1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 3

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1995
LEG 2: NADOR - OUJDA (MOROCCO)

DISTANCE: 223 KM
STAGE DISTANCE: 149 KM
DISTANCE TO FINISH: 7133 KM




SHINOZUKA LEADS MITSUBISHI ATTACK AFTER FIRST LEG IN AFRICA


JAPAN'S KENJIRO SHINOZUKA SEIZED THE INITIATIVE ON THE FIRST STAGE IN AFRICA DURING LEG TWO OF THE GRANADA-DAKAR, PUSHING HIS TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE UP TO THIRD OVERALL WHILE HIS TEAM MATES SUFFERED DELAYS WITH PUNCTURES ON THE ROUGH, TWISTING MOUNTAIN TRACKS IN NORTHERN MOROCCO.

ALL 119 BIKES AND 70 TRUCKS MADE IT TO AFRICA, AND OVERNIGHT LEADER BRUNO SABY, DRIVING THE TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE, LED THE 105 CARS AWAY FROM THE START OF THE LEG IN NADOR, AFTER A PLEASANT OVERNIGHT SEA CROSSING FROM MALAGA IN SOUTHERN SPAIN. CO-DRIVEN BY DOMINIQUE SERIEYS, THE FRENCHMAN MADE SUPERB PROGRESS IN SUNNY, DRY CONDITIONS, UNTIL THE FIRST CHECK POINT 65 KM INTO THE STAGE. SHORTLY AFTERWARDS, HOWEVER, HE SUFFERED THE FIRST OF TWO PUNCTURES WHICH COST THE PRE-EVENT FAVOURITES AROUND 10 MINUTES IN TOTAL.

SABY REPORTED: "THE FIRST PUNCTURE WAS A REAR LEFT, AND WHEN WE TRIED TO CHANGE IT WE LOST TIME BECAUSE THE JACK WASN'T WORKING PROPERLY.THEN WE HAD ANOTHER PUNCTURE ON THE RIGHT FRONT. THE STAGE WAS VERY TWISTY AND EXTREMELY ROCKY, WHICH IS WHY WE HAD THE PUNCTURES. BUT I AM NOT WORRIED BECAUSE THIS WAS ONLY 140 KM AN THERE ARE ANOTHER 7,000 KM TO GO AND I AM SURE WE CAN MAKE BACK THE LOSS."

SHINOZUKA, CO-DRIVEN BY HENRI MAGNE, ECHOED SABY'S COMMENTS ADDING: "I HAD NO PROBLEMS TODAY, BUT I DROVE VERY CAREFULLY TO AVOID PUNCTURES WITH THESE BIG ROCKS EVERYWHERE.THERE IS STILL SUCH A LONG WAY TO GO, AND TODAY WAS NOT LIKE A NORMAL 'DAKAR'; IT WAS MORE LIKE AN ATLAS RALLY - VERY SLOW AND TWISTY, AND VERY ROCKY. TOMORROW, I THINK, WILL BE BETTER FOR US WHEN WE GET TO PROPER 'DAKAR' TERRAIN."

WITH SHINOZUKA BIDING HIS TIME AND THE THE LEADING MITSUBISHIS OF SABY AND JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY SUFFERING PUNCTURES, ARI VATANEN WAS ABLE TO TAKE A SLENDER 44 SECOND LEAD OVER CITROEN TEAM MATE PIERRE LARTIGUE, BOTH HAVING MANAGED TO AVOID TYRE PROBLEMS.

TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE CREW JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA JOINED THE LIST OF PUNCTURE CASUALTIES AT EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE AS SABY, PHILIP WAMBERGUE, AND SALVADOR SERVIA, ALL HAVING TO STOP AND CHANGE WHEELS.NEVERTHELESS, FONTENAY AND MUSMARRA WERE ABLE TO TAKE SIXTH FASTEST AND FINISHING THE LEG IN FIFTH PLACE OVERALL.

SAID FONTENAY: "WE HAD OUR PUNCTURE BEFOREE THE THIRD CHECK POINT ALONG WITH MANY OTHERS. THE ROADS WERE DAMP IN PLACES WITH BIG ROCKS AT THE SIDE AND EXTREMELY NARROW, SO WE HAD TO DRIVE VERY CAREFULLY. SOMETIMES THE ROAD WAS SO NARROW WE COULD HARDLY TURN THROUGH THE BENDS!"

LIKE HIS FELLOW COWE HAD TO DRIVE VERY CAREFULLY. SOMETIMES THE ROAD WAS SO NARROW WE COULD HARDLY TURN THROUGH THE BENDS!"

LIKE HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMAN SHINOZUKA, HIROSHI MASUOKA AND HIS GERMAN NAVIGATOR ANDREAS SCHULZ DROVE WITH SENSIBLE CAUTION THROUGH THE UNFAMILIAR NEW STAGE TO FINISH IN EIGHTH PLACE IN THEIR TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE. HE COMMENTED: "THIS IS THE FIRST TIME FOR ME WITH THE RVR SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE AND I AM STILL LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE IT TO THE MAXIMUM. I WAS CAREFUL TODAY BECAUSE THE POWER OF THE ENGINE IS MUCH MORE THAN I AM USED TO. WITH THE BIG ROCKS AND THIS NARROW TRACK, IT WAS IMPORTANT TO BE CAREFUL BECAUSE IT IS ONLY THE FIRST DAY IN AFRICA AND THERE IS A VERY LONG WAY TO GO."

A STUNNING PERFORMANCE BY SPANISH PAIR MIGUEL PRIETO AND JAVIER OLAVE SAW THEM TAKE TENTH FASTEST ON THE COMPETITIVE SECTION AND A COMMANDING LEAD IN THE T1 CATEGORY FOR NEAR-STANDARD CARS IN THEIR MITSUBISHI PAJERO.

THE NATURE OF THE TRACKS DURING LEG TWO CAUSED MAJOR PROBLEMS FOR MOST OF THE CARS, AND MANY DRIVERS SUCH AS SHINOZUKA AND FONTENAY OPINED THAT IT WOULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE ENORMOUS TRUCKS TO COME THROUGH UNSCATHED. "IT IS SO NARROW," NOTED SHINOZUKA. "EVEN WITH THE PAJERO IT WAS DIFFICULT TO GET AROUND THE CORNERS - I DON'T KNOW HOW THE TRUCKS WILL DO IT." HOWEVER, A COMPETING CAR CRASHED JUST BEFORE THE SECOND CHECK POINT AND BLOCKED THE ROAD FOR THE FOLLOWING TRUCKS, AND ALL WERE RE-ROUTED ONTO THE MAIN ROAD TO OUJDA, THUS AVOIDING A LARGE SECTION OF THE TRICKY ROUTE. THE MITSUBISHI "FR" 4WD-RS TRUCK DRIVEN BY GILBERT VERSINO WAS REPORTED TO BE MAKING GOOD PROGRESS AND WAS EXPECTED TO MAKE IT TO THE BIVOUAC AT OUJDA ON TIME.


TOMORROW, MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 1996
LEG 3: OUJDA - ER RACHIDIA (MOROCCO)
DISTANCE: 552 KM
SPECIAL STAGE: 328 KM

AFTER THE RELENTLESSLY TWISTING, ROCKY TRACKS IN THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS, THE SURVIVING COMPETITORS WILLL WELCOME THE LONGER, FASTER ROUTE PLANNED FOR LEG 3 OF THE GRANADA - DAKAR.

HOWEVER, THE ORGANISERS HAVE WARNED THAT WHILE SOME SECTIONS WILL BE MORE LIKE A TRADITIONAL "DAKAR" STAGE, THEY ARE INTERSPERSED WITH MORE ROUGH, TWISTING PARTS WHICH HAVE DETERIORATED DURING RECENT HEAVY RAINFALLS. THE DRIVERS WILL HAVE TO ADAPT CONTINUALLY TO CHANGING CONDITIONS, ADJUSTING THEIR RHYTHM FREQUENTLY TO SUIT THE TERRAIN.

THE FIRST CAR IS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE THE MILITARY AIRBASE AT OUJDA AT 08:10 ON NEW YEAR'S MORNING, AND IS DUE TO ARRIVE AT THE ER RACHIDIA BIVOUAC AT APPROXIMATELY 14:25.


SS 2 - 149 KMS
1 - A. VATANEN - CITROEN - T3 - 2.O4.34
2 - P. LARTIGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 2.05.28
3 - K. SHINOZUKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 2.07.30
4 - P. WAMBERGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 2.09.48
5 - S. SERVIA - CITROEN - T3 - 2.13.06
6 - JP. FONTENAY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 2.13.15
7 - B. SABY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 2.14.40
8 - H. MASUOKA - MITSUBISHI - T2 - 2.15.11
9 - T. DELAVERGNE - NISSAN - T2 - 2.27.42
10- PRIETO - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 2.30.36


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS2
1 - A. VATANEN/G. PICARD (SF/F) - CITROEN - T3 - 2.10.32
2 - P. LARTIGUE/M. PERRIN (F) - CITROEN - T3 - + 00.44
3 - K. SHINNOZUKA/H. MAGNE (J/F) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 03.16
4 - P. WAMBERGUE/F. GALLAGHER (F/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - + 05.16
5 - JP. FONTENAY/B. MUSMARA (F) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 08.33
6 - S. SERVIA/J. PUIG (ESP) - CITROEN - T3 - + 08.37
7 - B. SABY/D. SERIEYS (F) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 09.44
8 - K. MASUOKA/A. SCHULZ (J/D) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 10.51
9 - T. DELAVERGNE/ARGUELLES (F) - NISSAN - T2 - + 24.21
10- PRIETO/OLAVE (ESP) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - + 28.59
11- HOUSIEAUX/COTTRET (F) - NISSAN - T1 - + 31.52
12- P. TAMBAY/R. METGE (F) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - + 32.03
13- VISMARA/CAMBIAGHI (I) - SSANGYONG - T3 - + 32.59
14- J. RIVIERE/ALCARAZ (F) - SSANGYONG - T3 - + 33.56
15- GERMANETTI/DE CASTIGLIO (I) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - + 35.40




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Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation