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DAKAR-AGADES-DAKAR 1997
Communique 3
LEG 2 : TAMBACOUNDA - KAYES (MALI)
Distance : 594KM
Stage distance : 505KM
Stage distance to finish: 7337KM
KAYES, MALI
Sunday, January 5, 1997


Mitsubishis perfectly poised after second leg of Dakar Rally


Mitsubishis fill four of the top five places after the second leg of the epic 1997 Dakar - Agades -Dakar Rally, which reached Kayes in Mali today, Sunday, January 5.

Blinding sunshine and extremely high temperatures, reaching over 35 C, greeted the competitors as they crossed the border from Senegal to Mali. The just tracks concealed hidden dangers, especially for those caught in the dust of other competitors. large rocks and massive pot -holes, together with shurp dips and bumps were among the many hazards that lay in wait to catch the unwary.

It was japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka who grabbed the limelight in his Team Mitsubishi Oil Car Plaza - backed Mitsubishi Challenger, taking advantage of a clear run, free of dust to record second fastest time, just 13 seconds behind leader Jean Louis Schlesser. It was a superb drive from the young Japanese driver whose navigator, Andreas Schulz from Germany, is still suffering from a stomach upset.

Said Masuoka : " I drove very carefully, but I was fortunate not to have any dust or any punctures. I was able to drive very smoothly. My car is in perfect condition." His result moved him up to fifth from sixth overnight.

French pair Bruno Saby and Dominique Serieys survived the dust and pot-holes to record fourth fastest in their Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, and second in the overall standings and first in T2. Saby reported : " The dust was terrible, and you could not see to avoid the holes in the road, so I had to drive very carefully. It was a difficult day."

It was even more difficult for overnight leaders Jean Pierre Fontenay and Bruno Musmarra, the french pair having to stop twice to change left rear punctures, losing over six minutes in their Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero. They were fifth fastest, but dropped to fourth overall at Kayes.

"I don't know what happened, " said Fontenay. "Both times, first after 100 km and then at 150 km, we were on a fast road. Perhaps there was something we did not see in the dust. Otherwise, we had a good day and the car is perfect".

Driving the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, Japanese star Kenjiro Shinozuka powered into Kayes to take third place overall after a puncture delayed his progress. He was third fastest in the competitive section despite losing three minutes as he and French navigator Henri Magne changed the punctured tyre 70km from the start.

"It became more and more hot as we got closer to Kayes, " said Shinozuka."Now it is very hot. There was so much dust and we had to be very careful".

Mitsubishi Team Manager Ullrich Brehmer commentated : "Everyone drove to plan, which was to avoid losing rather than try to win ! This was the first of a three-day marathon with little service and the objective was to get the cars here without damage".

After two days, the majority of Mitsubishi drivers were delighted with their progress. French pair Jean-Pierre Strugo and Bruno Cattarelli started the day in eigth place and first in T3/1 category in their Mitsubishi Pajero, while portuguese crew Carlos Souza and Philippe Rey led T1 in their near- standard Mitsubishi Pajero. Spain's Miguel Prieto and Carlos Mas were going well in their T2 Pajero in 19th place, closely followed by Thailand's Pornsawan Siriwattanakun and Suvaranat Tull in 22nd in their Similar pajero. The rate of retirement has been low, with 130 cars and trucks leaving Tambacounda for Kayes this morning.



SS2 /EC2 TAMBACOUNDA - KAYES 505KM

                                
1 - JL. SCHLESSER SCHLESSER ORIGT32 04:53:30
2 - H. MASUOKA MITSUBISHI CALLENGER/MONTERO SPORT T2 04:53:43
3 - K. SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI PAJEROT204:56:24
4 - B. SABY MITSUBISHI PAJEROT2 04:57:06
5 - JP. FONTENAY MITSUBISHI PAJEROT2 04:59:55
6 - T. DE LAVERGNE NISSANT2 05:07:03
7 - P. WAMBERGUE TOYOTAT2 05:21:41
8 - S. SERVIA NISSANT2 05:22:16
9 - M. TRAGLIO NISSANT2 05:23:49
10-P. WAMBERGUE TOYOTA T2 03:33:49



GENERAL CLASSIFICATION after SS2 / CLASSEMENT GENERAL apres EC2

                                
1 - JL. SCHLESSER /P. MONNET (FR) SCHLESSER ORIGT3208:16:39
2 - B. SABY / D. SERIEYS (FR) MITSUBISHI PAJERO T2 +00:00:48
3 - K. SHINOZUKA / H. MAGNE (J/FR) MITSUBISHI PAJEROT2+00:01:02
4 - JP. FONTENAY/B. MUSMARRA (FR) MITSUBISHI PAJEROT2 +00:01:12
5 - H. MASUOKA/A. SCHULZ (J/D) MITSUBISHI CALLENGER/MONTERO SPORTT2 +00:05:32
6 - T. DE LAVERGNE / L. ARGUELLES (FR) NISSANT2 +00:18:56
7 - S. SERVIA / G. PICARD (SP/FR) NISSANT2 +00:31:28
8 - P. WAMBERGUE / J.P COTTRET (FR) TOYOTAT2 +00:38:51
9 - M. TRAGLIO/M. DOMINELLA (I) NISSANT2 +00:45:51
10-P. WAMBERGUE / J.P COTTRET (FR) TOYOTA T2 +00:15:53


Tomorrow, Monday, January 6, 1997 Leg 3: Kayes (Mali) - Nara (Mali) Distance: 592 km Special Stage: 552 km

Going into the Sahel for the first time, the third leg is expected to be faster, but with harder navigation. The leg starts from Kayes at 07:00 for the motorbikes and 08:35 for the cars and trucks. The first motorbike is expected at Nara at 15:30 and the first car at 17:05




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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.