1996 GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY
COMMUNIQUE 6

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 1996
LEG 5: FOUM EL HASSAN - SMARA (MOROCCO)

DISTANCE: 494 KM
STAGE DISTANCE: 474 KM
DISTANCE TO FINISH: 5293 KM




MITSUBISHIS TAKE THE LEAD IN T2 AND T1 AFTER FINAL MOROCCAN LEG


FORMER FORMULA ONE DRIVER PATRICK TAMBAY TOOK THE LEAD TODAY IN THE T2 CATEGORY FOR MODIFIED PRODUCTION VEHICLES IN THE GRANADA-DAKAR '96, DRIVING A MITSUBISHI PAJERO. PARTNERED BY RENE METGE, THE MITSUBISHI DRIVER STORMED AHEAD AND TOOK 10TH OVERALL WITH FASTEST TIME IN THE CLASS ON THE TOUGH FIFTH LEG FROM FOUM EL HASSAN TO SMARA, WHICH FORMED THE SECOND PART OF A GRUELLING 1265 KM MARATHON SECTION WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF AIRBORNE MECHANICS.

SAID TAMBAY: " IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TODAY, BECAUSE WE WERE STARTING AT JUST 30 SECOND INTERVALS AND THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF DUST. IT WAS DIFFICULT TO PASS SLOWER CARS IN THE DUST BECAUSE I COULDN'T SEE AND HAD TO BE VERY CAREFUL. I ENJOYED THE STAGE; IT WAS VERY GOOD, BUT THE LAST 15 KM SECTION WAS VERY ROUGH. I AM ALSO VERY TIRED AFTER THIS TWO-DAY MARATHON SECTION BECAUSE I GOT VERY LITTLE SLEEP LAST NIGHT. I AM VERY PLEASED WITH THE TRUCK SUPPORT, HOWEVER; THEY WORKED ON THE MITSUBISHI PAJEROS THROUGH THE NIGHT, SO I HAD A VERY WELL-PREPARED CAR TODAY."

IN THE T1 CATEGORY, THE CLASS FOR NEAR-STANDARD VEHICLES, FRENCH PAIRING JEAN-PIERRE STRUGO AND BRUNO CATARELLI ALSO MOVED INTO THE LEAD IN A SHORT WHEELBASE MITSUBISHI PAJERO, WHILE ANOTHER MITSUBISHI PAJERO, DRIVEN BY DUTCH PAIR WEM SNIPPE AND HANS WAGENVOORT SET AN ASTOUNDING FASTEST TIME IN THE CATEGORY AND NINTH OVERALL ON THE STAGE.

STRUGO REPORTRED: "WE DROVE TO THE SAME RYTHM AS YESTERDAY, BUT OUR MAIN RIVALS IN THE CLASS HAD PROBLEMS AND EVERYTHING WENT PERFECTLY FOR US. I HAD TO DRIVE VERY PRECISELY TODAY TO AVOID RISKS. TOMORROW WE WILL HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THE RACE WILL START."

AVOIDING PUNCTURES ON THE ROCKY MOROCCAN TRACKS WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE 100 MOTORBIKES AND 124 CARS THAT SET OFF FOR THE FIFTH LEG TODAY, THE FINAL SECTION IN MOROCCO THIS YEAR. JEAN-PIERRE FONTENAY AND BRUNO MUSMARRA SET THE THIRD FASTEST TIME DRIVING THE TEAM OFF ROAD EXPRESS MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE DESPITE SUFFERING NO LESS THAN FOUR PUNCTURES ALONG THE HOT, DUSTY ROAD FROM FOUM EL HASSAN TO SMARA. THEY HAVE NOW MOVED INTO THIRD PLACE OVERALL.

AN EXHAUSTED FONTENAY ARRIVED IN THE SAHARAN TOURIST TOWN OF SMARA TO A WARM WELCOME FROM THE LOCAL PEOPLE WHO TURNED OUT IN LARGE CROWDS AT THE ROADSIDE IN NEARLY 30 DEGREE HEAT AND STRONG SUNSHINE. HE SAID: "WE DID NOT HAVE VERY GOOD LUCK TODAY. I AM VERY TIRED BECAUSE CHANGING FOUR WHEELS IS HARD WORK, ESPECIALLY IN THIS HEAT. WE GOT THE LAST PUNCTURE JUST 3 KM FROM THE END OF THE STAGE! BEFORE THIS EVERYTHING WAS GOING SO WELL. WE WERE RUNNING FIRST IN THE STAGE FOR THE FIRST 300 KM UNTIL WE GOT THE PUNCTURES. THE PAJERO IS SUPERB, AND I HAVE A REALLY GOOD FEELING FOR THE CAR NOW. I TRIED MANY DIFFERENT ../.. SETTINGS ON THE FIRST FEW DAYS TO ADJUST THE CAR TO SUIT ME, AND NOW IT IS PERFECT."

LESS FORTUNATE WERE BRUNO SABY AND DOMINIQUE SERIEYS WHO ROLLED THEIR TEAM PIAA MITSUBISHI RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE HEAVILY AFTER A SERIES OF SHARP JUMPS JUST 50 KM FROM THE END OF THE 474 KM STAGE.NEITHER CREW MEMBER WAS HURT, AND ALTHOUGH THEY COULD NOT CONTINUE IMMEDIATELY, THE PAJERO WAS NOT EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED DESPITE ROLLING THREE TIMES.

SABY AND SERIEYS ARE EXPECTED TO ARRIVE AT THE LEG'S FINISH IN SMARA LATER TONIGHT ONCE THE MITSUBISHI TRUCKS CAN REACH THEM AND HELP REPAIR THE CAR.

BOTH RALLY LEADER VATANEN AND HIS CITROEN TEAM MATE, SECOND-PLACED PIERRE LARTIGUE, WERE DELAYED WITH JUST ONE PUNCTURE APIECE. LARTIGUE SCORED THE FASTEST TIME TODAY, WITH VATANEN SECOND QUICKEST.

IN SIXTH PLACE OVERALL AT THE END OF THE LEG, JAPANESE DRIVER, HIROSHI MASUOKA, PARTNERED BY GERMAN NAVIGATOR ANDREAS SCHULZ IN THE TEAM CAR PLAZA MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART RVR SPACE RUNNER PROTOTYPE, TOOK ANOTHER FIRM STEP FORWARD IN HIS OBJECTIVE TO REACH DAKAR. "WE STOPPED WITH A MINOR ELECTRICAL FAULT, AND SHINOZUKA HELPED US," HE REPORTED. "WE SOON GOT GOING AGAIN. WE ONLY HAD ONE PUNCTURE TODAY, BUT THE CAR IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION AND VERY STRONG AND RELIABLE, SO I AM STILL CONFIDENT OF REACHING DAKAR."

STILL RUNNING WELL, DESPITE A LONG DELAY TWO DAYS AGO, WAS JAPANESE DRIVER KENJIRO SHINOZUKA, CO-DRIVEN BY FRENCH NAVIGATOR HENRI MAGNE IN THE TEAM MITSUBISHI OIL RALLIART PAJERO PROTOTYPE. ALTHOUGH THEY WERE DELAYED BY TWO PUNCTURES AND WHEN THEY STOPPED WITH MASUOKA AND SCHULZ, SHINOZUKA AND MAGNE MANAGED TO SET SEVENTH FASTEST TIME AND ARE ON COURSE TO MAKE A STRONG COMEBACK.

SAID SHINOZUKA: "WE WERE ACTING LIKE A QUICK ASSISTANCE CAR TODAY, SO WE STOPPED TO HELP MASUOKA AND SCHULZ. WE DID WHAT WE COULD AND THEN CONTINUED.IT WASN'T A PARTICULARLY HARD STAGE, BUT AS DIFFICULT AS USUAL FOR "DAKAR" WITH MANY HIDDEN TRAPS."

UNFORTUNATELY THE EVENT WAS MARRED TODAY BY AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT INVOLVING A COMPETING TRUCK CREWED BY LAURENT GUEGUEN, PASCAL LOUDENOT AND VINCENT BAUDIN. GUEGUEN DIED IN THE INCIDENT, WHILE LOUDENOT AND BAUDIN WERE ONLY SLIGHTLY INJURED.


SS 6 - FOUM EL HASSAN - SMARA 474 KM
1 - P. LARTIGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 04:54:46
2 - A. VATANEN - CITROEN - T3 - 04:55:35
3 - JP FONTENAY - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 05:04:03
4 - S. SERVIA - CITROEN - T3 - 05:13:34
5 - P. WAMBERGUE - CITROEN - T3 - 05:19:49
6 - H. MASUOKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 05:46:26
7 - K. SHINOZUKA - MITSUBISHI - T3 - 05:49:19
8 - JL SCHLESSER - SCHLESSER - T3 - 06:03:48
9 - W. SNIPPE - MITSUBISHI - T1 - 06:10:20
10- P. TAMBAY - MITSUBISHI - T2 - 06:11:55


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS6
1 - A. VATANEN/ G. PICARD (SF/FR) - CITROEN - T3 - 15:35:48
2 - P. LARTIGUE/ M. PERRIN (FR) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:04:07
3 - JP.FONTENAY/ B. MUSMARRA (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +00:31:10
4 - P. WAMBERGUE/ F. GALLAGHER(FR/GB) - CITROEN - T3 - +00:37:45
5 - S. SERVIA/ J. PUIG (SP) - CITROEN - T3 - +01:44:21
6 - K. MASUOKA/ A. SCHULZ (J/D) - MITSUBISHI - T3 - +01:58:37
7 - JL.SCHLESSER (FR) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +03:45:46
8 - J. KLEINSCHMIDT/ F. HERRERA (D) - SCHLESSER ORIG - T3 - +04:18:02
9 - G. VISMARA/ M. CAMBIAGHI (ITA) - SSANGYONG - T3 - +04:56:35
10- P. TAMBAY/ R. METGE (CH/FR) - MITSUBISHI - T2 - +04:59:43
11- J. STRUGO/ JP. CATARELLI (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +05:13:36
12- D. HOUSIEAUX/ J. COTTRET (FR) - NISSAN - T1 - +05:14:51
13- T. ANDRETTA / M. SIMONI (ITA) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +05:25:30
14- J. RIVIERE/ W. ALCARAZ (FR) - SSANGYONG - T3 - +05:26:39
15- T. DELAVERGNE/ L. ARGUELLES (FR) - NISSAN - T2 - +05:29:33
16- F. GERMANETTI/ E. CASTIGLIONE (I) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +06:01:31
17- SARRAZIN/ FUJISAWA (FR) - TOYOTA - T1 - +06.02.40
18- C. SOUZA/ P. LAROQUE (FR) - MITSUBISHI - T1 - +06:15:19


TOMORROW, THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 1996
LEG 6: SMARA (MOROCCO) - ZOUERAT (MAURITANIA)
DISTANCE: 618 KM
SPECIAL STAGE: 603 KM

AFTER THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE ROCKY TRACKS AND WINDING MOUNTAIN ROADS OF MOROCCO, THE SURVIVORS IN THIS MOST GRUELLING GRANADA - DAKAR WILL FACE A NEW CHALLENGE IN THE FORM OF THE ENORMOUS SHIFTING SAND DUNES OF MAURITANIA FOR THE FIRST TIME TOMORROW.

ALL THE COMPEITORS WILL HAVE TO PREPARE THEMSELVES NOW FOR A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TYPE OF TERRAIN REQUIRING SKILL AND CAUTION, AND PROBABLY THE EXTENSIVE USE OF SAND LADDERS AND SHOVELS! AND INSTEAD OF MARKED TRACKS AND ROADS, THEY WILL HAVE TO FIND THEIR OWN ROUTES OVER SEEMINGLY ENDLESS UNDULATING HILLS OF DEEP SAND STRETCHING FAR INTO THE HORIZON

THE 618 KM LEG WILL START TOMORROW AT O7:30 FOR THE MOTORBIKES AND 09:00 FOR THE CARS AND TRUCKS, WHILE THE FIRST BIKE IS EXPECTED IN THE IRON ORE MINING TOWN OF ZOUERAT AT AROUND 15:30 AND THE FIRST CAR AT 17:00.



[ COMMUNIQUE 5 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 4 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 3 ]

[ COMMUNIQUE 2 ]

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

Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation