SHINOZUKA LEADS FIA
WORLDCROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER ROUND 2
famous rally driver, Kenjiro Shinozuka leads the FIA
World Cross Country Rally Championship after finish
second on the second round, the Italian Baja, in his PIAA
Mitsubishi Dealer Team Pajero Evolution.
Shinozuka, the only Japanese driver ever to win the
Paris-Dakar with his amazing victory in 1997, finished
second on the same event this year. The Dakar
formedthe first round of the new Cross Country World
series this season.
The Italian Baja, which started on March 6 with a
prologue, followed by two days of tough driving over a
128.12 km course repeated five times, was centred on the
town of Pordenone in the north east of Italy. The
terrain featured sand, gravel, grass and dirt roads in
complete contrasts to the Dakar in Africa, in
which the Mitsubishi Pajeros took the first three places
for the past two years.
Nevertheless Shinozuka led the even initially, and was
only overtaken by Jean-Louis Schlessers buggy near
to the end when the tracks became deeply rutted. Second
place was more than enough, however, Shinozuka to clinch
the championship lead for Mitsubishi.
after the event : I think that this was the most
unusual round of the series and an especially difficult
one for 4x4 cars. Its like a dirt trails course
which hands the advantage to the Protrucks and buggies.
The Pajero was quite fast when the route was not bumpy,
but when I came across the deep ruts I had to slow a
little. This unusual terrain was ideal for the buggies
which are built especially for this, but for normal 4x4
cars it was hell ! The other rallies will be more to our
liking and suit the Pajero better, so I hope I will win
them. Im now looking forward to Tunisia, the next
||TOYOTA HDJ 80
Republic/ D=Germany/ F=France/
Britain/ GR=Greece/ I=Italy/
NZ=New Zealand/ RA=Argentine/
S=Sweden/ T=Thailand/ USA=United States