LEG 10 : OCLAN (NIGER)- KIDAL (MALI)
Distance : 537KM
Stage distance : 537KM
Tuesday, January 14, 1997
Jean-Pierre Fontenay and Bruno Musmarra, both from France, dominate the Dakar Rally in their Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero as it reached Kidal in Mali today after one of the most hazardous legs of the event so far, the 537 km bivouac-to-bivouac section from Oclan in Niger and across the border to Mali, 400 km of which was completely off-road, skirting along the southern edge of the Sahara.
MITSUBISHIS CONTINUE TO DOMINATE DAKAR RALLY
Mitsubishis still fill the top four positions overall, with six in the top 10. Kenjiro Shinozuka, from Japan, and his navigator Henri Magne, from France, leaders at the half-way point at Agades in their Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, remained in second place ahead of French pair Bruno Saby and Dominique Serieys in the Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero in third. Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka and his partner, German Andreas Schulz, were still fourth in the Team Car Plaza Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Challenger / Montero Sport.
Once again run in blinding sunshine and temperatures in the high thirties Celsius, the 10th leg of the 15-leg event, held mostly in the sparsley vegetated Sahel, moved close to the Sahara today with a typical desert stage, made particularly hazardous by hidden dips along the very fast, straight route. Navigation, in terms of finding the right route, was easy, but the co-drivers were kept busy warning of hazards ahead and traps in the form of deep holes, dips and sudden rocky outcrops.
It was a rough and bumpy competitive section were it was easy to puncture a tyre or even roll a car by hitting a pot-hole or wadi too hard. With this is mind, the leading Mitsubishis put aside their competitive instincts briefly and drove in formation to support each other over the most difficult parts.
Shinozuka, battling to regain the lead he lost yesterday hit trouble with a puncture, and then stopped to check an unusual noise coming from the rear. Both Fontenay and Saby stopped with him to help check the rear suspension, but all continued after a brief minute when a suspected broken anti-roll bar was felt not to be a major cause for concern.
Said Shinozuka: "It was hazardous - very fast. I had to be careful of the sudden bumps and dips. There was a small noise from the rear of the car and it was sliding more than usual, but I don't think it was serious."
Fontenay reported: "The only problem for me was the fine dust blowing across the desert which made it impossible to see the desert surface, which meant we had to be careful."
Saby added: "We just held position today because it would have been crazy to try hard on this stage."
Masuoka reported no problems with the Challenger / Montero Sport which has been running perfectly. He said: "We drive hard in difficult conditions but we take no risks, and the car has been in perfect shape since Agades."
Team Manager for the leading trio of Pajeros, Ullrich Brehmer, commented: "The drivers were very sensible today and brought their cars here in good condition. This was the second part of the marathon section with no airborne mechanics from Agades until Timbuktu, so it was important not to take any risks or damage the cars."
Jean-Pierre Strugo and Bruno Catarelli were delayed with a puncture in the Mitsubishi Pajero, but Strugo said: "The delay wasn't all bad news because others suffered more delays, so we have moved up to seventh. Of course, now I have Pornsawan close behind!"
Indeed, the Thai pair Pornsawan Siriwatanakun and Suvanarat Tull enjoyed a problem-free day in their Mitsubishi Pajero, Tull reporting: "No punctures and no problems for two days now! We are still running in the top 10 which was our aim, so we are very pleased."
Portuguese driver Carlos Souza and his co-driver Philippe Rey continue to enjoy a healthy lead in T1, the class for near-standard vehicles, in their Mitsubishi Pajero. With a comfortable cushion between them and second-placed Philippe Alliot (Nissan), Souza commented: "Our strategy is still the same - we just drive carefully."
Despite rolling their Mitsubishi Pajero on the road to Timbuktu last week, Brazilian pair Klever Kolberg and Joao Mesquita climbed to 37th position after the 10th leg, Kolberg reporting: "We are now in a better position. I started in 82nd and now it's much better. It has been so difficult to overtake other cars - I must have eaten two or three kilos of dust last week! The car is perfect. It is incredible how strong this Pajero is."
The two Mitsubishi trucks were reported to be going extremely well, if carefully, today and are providing excellent support to the Mitsubishi cars that depend on them for parts. They are expected at Kidal later this evening.
SS10 /EC10 - OCLAN - KIDAL 537KM
1 - D. GUEDES NISSANÅ@Å@ T2 04:45:41 2 - B. SABY MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T2 04:46:36 3 - JP FONTENAY MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T2Å@Å@ 04:46:57 4 - J. KLEINSCHMIDT SCHLESSER ORIG T3.2 04:49:28 5 - H. MASUOKA MITSUBISHI Challenger / Montero Sport T2 04:52:15 6 - K. SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T2 04:52:45 7 - P. SIRIWATANAKUN MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T2 04:55:04 8 - S. SERVIA NISSANÅ@Å@ T2 04:55:49 9 - E. ARGAZZI NISSANÅ@Å@ T2 05:04:26 10 - D. HOUSIEAUX NISSANÅ@Å@ T3.1 05:05:20
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION after SS10 / CLASSEMENT GENERAL après EC10
1 - JP. FONTENAY / B. MUSMARRA (FR) MITSUBISHI PAJERO T2 42:55:57 2 - K. SHINOZUKA / H. MAGNE (J/FR) MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T2Å@Å@ +00:06:05 3 - B. SABY / D. SERIEYS (FR) MITSUBISHI PAJERO T2 +00:07:45 4 - H. MASUOKA/A. SCHULZ (J/D) MITSUBISHI CHALLENGER/MONTERO SPORTÅ@Å@ T2Å@Å@ +02:17:22 5 - S. SERVIA / G. PICARD (SP/FR) NISSANÅ@Å@ T2 +04:31:28 6 - J. KLEINSCHMIDT / J. BOUTAIRE (D/FR) SCHLESSER ORIGÅ@Å@ T3.2 +04:33:59 7 - JP STRUGO / B. CATARELLI (FR) MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T3.1 +05:50:55 8 - P. SIRIWATANAKUN / T. SUVANARAT (T) MITSUBISHI PAJEROÅ@Å@ T2 +05:57:24 9 - M. TRAGLIO / M. DOMINELLA (I) NISSANÅ@Å@ T2 +06:08:22 10- E. ARGAZZI/R. ARGAZZI (IT) NISSANÅ@Å@ T2 +07:43:19
Tomorrow, Wednesday , January 15, 1997
Leg 11: Kidal (Mali) - Timbuktu (Mali)
Special Stage: 568km
The 11th leg of the rally and the third and final leg of the marathon section from Agades to Timbuktu, tomorrow will provide yet another strenuous test of man and machine as they trek through the Ifhoras mountains and then into the denser vegetation of the Sahel with camel-grass providing the major hazard.
The first motorbike is scheduled to leave Kidal tomorrow morning at 07:00, with cars leaving from 08:30. The first bike is due at Timbuktu at around 17:00 and the first car at 18:30.
MITSUBISHI OIL - PIAA - OFF ROAD EXPRESS - MICHELIN
Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.