BAJA PORTUGAL TELECEL 1000 (18-21 JUNE)
1998 WORLD CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY RALLIES ROUND 5


 

KENJIRO SHINOZUKA OVERTAKES 28 VEHICLES!

The fifth round of the 1998 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, the Baja of Portugal TELECEL 1000 which was held in and around the Portuguese city of Estoril from 19th to 20th June. This fast and furious event covered 650 km of competition stages with only 3 opportunities for servicing.

The PIAA Mitsubishi Dealer Team Pajero Evolution of Kenjiro Shinozuka attacked the course in a brilliant display of grit and courage but due to incredible bad luck reached the finish in 11th position outright. The winner was Ph. Wambergue (Toyota Land Cruiser) in a time of 9 hours 47 minutes and 59 seconds. Championship leader, J-L Schlesser (Schlesser Buggy) was 19 minutes and 18 seconds behind the winner in third position overall.

For Kenjiro the event was an incredibly hard one, but he acquitted himself with the performance of the champion he is. The result of the rally was 11th place, but as he said "I gave it everything I had."

The course covers 614 km of special stages on a rough, narrow and dusty route that winds through the olive and cork groves, across grassy plains and farms in a one day sprint, punctuated only by Formula One style "pit stop" servicing at the side of the track. Due to the nature of the route, passing other vehicles is very difficult. The starting order, decided in a prologue on June 19th, saw the first patch of trouble for Kenjiro. He got a puncture and ended up having to start the next days event in a disappointing 29th place. "I'll just have to do the best I can. It's like in life, there are good times and bad times. Sometimes things don't go the way you want," said a philosophical Kenjiro.

When the event started he was on the attack from the first turn of the wheels, and even though he had two more punctures in the next 127 kilometers and was held up by other vehicles, he didn't give up and in a brilliant display of inspired driving was up to 7th place by the 245 km mark. By the 437 km mark he had closed the gap on the leader, Wambergue, to only 14 minutes and was running in an unbelievable second position outright!

However, to everyone's disappointment, the 450 km mark saw a phenomenon "Vapor lock", where bubbles appear in over heated fuel and the fuel pump ceases to be able to send fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. It takes at least 10 minutes for the fuel to cool down to the stage where he can start the engine. On top of that, the hot weather had even effected the calculations for fuel consumption too and just 3 km from the finish line the Pajero ran out of fuel and stopped within sight of the team's goal.

2 punctures, 8 minutes; at a river crossing a car was stuck and held them up, 10 minutes; vapor lock, 10 minutes; even without running out of fuel, they wouldn't have won. But Shinozuka had shown what he was made of. He had overtaken 28 cars and although there were troubles until past the half way mark he didn't let them stop him and in a classic "Kenjiro Attack" was up to 2nd , all the time looking as if he was having a good time drifting his Pajero through the twisty tree lined tracks.

Comments

Shinozuka : "We had three punctures if you include the one on the prologue, and this is the first time we have had problems with vapor lock. Starting from 29th I wondered how far we could go and so I just went for it on 'Maximum Attack', and we actually got as far as 2nd place and with a bit of luck could have won. But, driving as hard as you can gives a driver great satisfaction. This is the first time I've done the series and this is great practice for the 1999 Dakar."


FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

1.P.WAMBERGUE/J.P.COTRET F/F TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 9.47.59
2.S.GODINHO/V.JESUS P/P SG PROTO 9.58.17
3.J.L.SCHLESSER/P.MONNET F/F SCHELESSER ORIGINAL 10.07.16
4.P.M.BREYNER/C.MATEUS P/P MITSUBISHI PAJERO 10.20.10
5.F.CAMPOS/P.FIGUEIREDO P/P TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 10.21.18
6.J.RODRIGES/P.CARDOSO P/P TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 10.23.18
7.J.VASSALO/J.CAPELO P/P MITSUBISHI PAJERO 10.24.41
8.L.DIAS/N.BARREIROS P/P NISSAN TERRANO II 10.29.59
9.T.ANDRETTA/T.SIVIERO P/P MITSUBISHI PAJERO 10.33.51
10.R.SOUSA./C.SILVA P/P NISSAN TERRANO II 10.40.49
11.K.SHINOZUKA/H.MAGNE J/F MITSUBISHI PAJERO 10.54.26

Nationality:F=France/ P=PORTUGAL/ J=Japan


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