1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 4

MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 1996
LEG 3: OUJDA - ER RACHIDIA (MOROCCO)

DISTANCE: 552 KM
STAGE DISTANCE: 328 KM
DISTANCE TO FINISH: 6581 KM




SABY CHARGES BACK INTO CONTENTION FOR MITSUBISHI


FRENCHMAN BRUNO SABY BEGAN THE NEW YEAR WITH A CHARGE THROUGH THE FIELD ON LEG THREE OF THE GRANADA - DAKAR '96 IN HIS TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE TO TAKE FOURTH PLACE OVERALL TODAY, AFTER STARTING OUT FROM OUJDA IN SEVENTH POSITION.

PUTTING THE PREVIOUS DAY'S PUNCTURE PROBLEMS BEHIND HIM, SABY, CO-DRIVEN BY DOMINIQUE SERIEYS, POWERED HIS PAJERO PAST THE CITROENS OF WAMBERGUE AND SERVIA ON THE HOT, DUSTY TRACKS CROSSING THE DESERT PLATEAU CLOSE TO THE ALGERIAN BORDER.

SAID SABY: "AFTER THE FIRST 100 KM WE DROVE VERY QUICKLY BUT SUDDENLY THE ROUTE APPEARED DIFFERENT THAN IN THE ROAD BOOK, SO WE GOT LOST FOR A FEW MINUTES. HOWEVER, I AM VERY CONFIDENT FO THE REST OF THE EVENT BECAUSE DURING TODAY I WAS ABLE TO PASS SOME OF THE CITROENS, AND MY PAJERO IS OBVIOUSLY VERY COMPETITIVE IN COMPARISON."

UNFORTUNATELY, HIS TEAM MATE KENJIRO SHINOZUKA BECAME AN EARLY CASUALTY OF THE UNPREDICTABLE TERRAIN WHEN HIS TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE PLUNGED INTO A DEEP DRY RIVERBED CARVED ACROSS THE ROAD.THE IMPACT DAMAGED THE CAR'S FRONT LEFT SUSPENSION AND HE WAS UNABLE TO CONTINUE UNTIL THE SUPPORT TRUCKS ARRIVED.

SABY ADDED: "AFTER I SAW SHINOZUKA'S CAR, I STARTED TO DRIVE WITH MUCH MORE CAUTION UNTIL THE FINISH."

JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA, DRIVING THE TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE, ALSO BECAME LOST MOMENTARILY ALONG WITH SABY AND SERIEYS, BUT THEY, TOO, RECOVERED QUICKLY TO FINISH IN FIFTH PLACE OVERALL.FONTENAY COMMENTED: "IT WAS A VERY BEATIFUL STAGE TODAY WITH A LOT OF VARIETY IN THE TYPE OF TERRAIN WHICH MADE IT NECESSARY TO DRIVE WITH A GREAT DEAL OF CARE AND CAUTION.I REALLY ENJOYED IT."

TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART RVR SPACE RUNNER DRIVER, HIROSHI MASUOKA FROM JAPAN, CONTINUED HIS APPRENTICESHIP IN THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE T3 MACHINE, TOGETHER WITH NAVIGATOR ANDREAS SCHULZ FROM GERMANY.STILL LEARNING TO DRIVE THE SPACE RUNNER TO THE MAXIMUM, MASUOKA ENJOYED YET ANOTHER GOOD RUN IN THE DUSTY CONDITIONS. HE REPORTED: "WE HAD NO BIG PROBLEMS TODAY - THE NAVIGATION WAS PERFECT AND THE CAR RUNNING WELL, ALTHOUGH WE DID HAVE A SLIGHT ELECTRICAL PROBLEM IN THE FUEL PUMPS FOR THE LAST 100 KM SO WE HAD TO SLOW DOWN A LITTLE BIT."

ARI VATANEN CONTINUED TO HOLD THE LEAD SCORING THE FASTEST TIME AGAIN TODAY IN HIS CITROEN, WITH TEAM MATES PIERRE LARTIGUE IN SECOND PLACE AND PHILIP WAMBERGUE THIRD.

MEANWHILE, MITSUBISHIS CONTINUED TO PERFORM WELL IN THE T1 AND T2 CLASSES, WITH SPANIARD MIGUEL PRIETO, CO-DRIVEN BY JOURNALIST JAVIER OLAVE, DOMINATING THE FORMER CATEGORY IN HIS MITSUBISHI PAJERO AND HOLDING AN AMAZING 10TH OVERALL. IN T2, FORMER FORMULA ONE DRIVER PATRICK TAMBAY WAS CHALLENGING FOR THE LEAD IN A MODIFIED PAJERO, PARTNERED BY FORMER "DAKAR'-WINNING DRIVER, RENE METGE.

PRIETO ENJOYED A RELATIVELY PROBLEM-FREE DAY, APART FROM DAMAGING THE PAJERO'S EXHAUST AFTER A SHARP DIP IN THE ROAD. HE EXPLAINED: "THE REAR OF THE CAR HIT THE GROUND AND SQUASHED THE EXHAUST, SO WE HAD TO STOP AND FIX IT. THE LAST PART OF THE STAGE WAS VERY SMOOTH AND FAST, SO WE ATTACKED, BUT THREE SLOWER CARS HAD PASSED US WHEN WE STOPPED WITH THE EXHAUST AND IN THE DUST, IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET PAST THEM AGAIN."

TAMBAY ALSO SUFFERED A HEAVY LANDING AFTER A DIP IN THE ROAD, BUT THE STRENGTH OF HIS PAJERO WAS IN HIS FAVOUR. HE REPORTED: "IT WAS A VERY HEAVY LANDING, SO WE STOPPED THE CAR TO CHECK IT, BUT EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT. LATER, HOWEVER, WE WERE HELD UP BY VISMARA'S SSANGYONG FOR OVER 100 KM. THE END OF THE STAGE WAS VERY PLEASANT AND, APART FROM A PUNCTURE, EVERYTHING WENT PERFECTLY TODAY."


SS 3 - 328 KMS
1 - A. VATANEN - CITROEN - T3 - 03.20.24
2 - P. LARTIGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 03.25.07
3 - B. SABY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 03.27.57
4 - P. WAMBERGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 03.30.50
5 - JP. FONTENAY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 03.32.00
6 - S. SERVIA - CITROEN - T3 - 03.38.19
7 - H. MASUOKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 03.52.55
8 - T. DELAVERGNE - NISSAN - T1 - 04.08.52
9 - JL SCHLESSER - SCHLESSER - T3 - 04.15.30
10- J. KLEINSCHMIDT - SEAT - T3 - 04.24.16


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS3
1 - A. VATANEN/G. PICARD (SF/FR) - CITROEN - T3 - 05.30.56
2 - P. LARTIGUE/M. PERRIN (FR) - CITROEN - T3 - + 05.27
3 - P. WAMBERGUE/F. GALLAGHER(B/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - + 15.42
4 - B. SABY/D. SERIEYS (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 17.17
5 - JP.FONTENAY/B. MUSMARRA (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 20.09
6 - S. SERVIA/J. PUIG (SP) - CITROEN - T3 - + 26.32
7 - K. MASUOKA/A. SCHULZ (J/D) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - + 43.22
8 - T. DELAVERGNE/L. ARGUELLES (FR) - NISSAN - T1 - +1.12.49
9 - JL.SCHLESSER/R. WILLIS (FR/IRL) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +1.33.30
10- PRIETO/OLAVE (I) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +1.47.13
11- G. VISMARA/M. CAMBIAGHI (ITA) - SSANGYONG - T3 - +1.47.20
12- P. TAMBAY/R. METGE (CH/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +1.47.42
13- J. KLEINSCHMIDT/F. HERRERA (D) - SEAT - T3 - +1.48.21
14- D. HOUSIEAUX/J. COTTRET (FR) - NISSAN - T2 - +1.48.56
15- SOUZA/LAROQUE (P) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +1.50.08
16- F. GERMANETTI/E. CASTIGLIONE (I) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +1.51.06
17- SAKCHAI/TULL (THA) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +1.51.19


TOMORROW, TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 1996
LEG 4: ER RACHIDIA - FOUM EL HASSAN (MOROCCO)
DISTANCE: 776 KM
SPECIAL STAGE: 540 KM

IF THE COMPETITORS IN THE GRANADA - DAKAR '96 THOUGHT THE FIRST THREE DAYS WERE TOUGH, THEN THEY ARE IN FOR AAAAAAA 03.52.55 8 - TN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE ON LEG 4 WHEN THE TRUE "DAKAR" BEGINS IN EARNEST.

THE HARROWING 800 KM JOURNEY FROM ER RACHIDIA TO FOUM EL HASSAN WILL TAKE THEM ALONG SANDY VALLEYS AND THROUGH M'HAMID - "THE GATEWAY TO THE DESERT"- AND ONTO THE IMPOSING DRAA PLATEAU. THE SECOND HALF OF THE STAGE WINDS ITS WAY ALONG THE DRY RIVER BED OF THE DRAA, WHICH HAS BEEN SPECIALLY OPENED FOR THE EVENT.

WARNS TEAM MITSUBISHI RALLIART DIRECTOR ULLRICH BREHMER: "TOMORROW WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT AND THE LAST 150 KM ARE SO ROUGH AND ROCKY THAT EVERYONE WILL HAVE TO DRIVE VERY CAREFULLY."

LEG 4 COMPRISES PART OF THE FIRST MARATHON SECTION OF THIS YEAR'S "DAKAR", AND NONE OF THE AIRBORNE MECHANICS AND TECHNICIANS WILL BE ALLOWED ACCESS TO THE VEHICLES AT THE FINISH OF THE LEG IN FOUM EL HASSAN. WITHOUT SERVICE OTHER THAN WORK CARRIED OUT BY THE COMPETITORS THEMSELVES AND THEIR SUPPORTING TRUCK DRIVERS, THE CREWS WILL ALL FACE THE FOLLOWING 494 KM SECTION TO SMARA UNAIDED, MAKING IT A TOTAL OF 1270 KM WITHOUT FULL TECHNICAL SUPPORT OVER TWO DAYS!

LEG 4 IS DUE TO START AT 06:00 FOR THE FIRST MOTORBIKE AND 07:40 FOR THE FIRST CAR TOMORROW MORNING, WITH THE FIRST BIKE AND CAR EXPECTED AT FOUM EL HASSAN AT AROUND 17:00 AND 18:40 RESPECTIVELY.



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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation