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20th PARIS-GRANADA-DAKAR RALLY

Communique 2
LEG 1: VERSAILLES - NARBONNE
Distance: 938 KM
Stage distance: 11 KM

NARBONNE,
Thursday, January 1, 1998

A HAPPY NEW YEAR START FOR MITSUBISHI


Mitsubishi Motors enjoyed a fantastic start to the New Year, reaping the first four places on the first 938 km leg of the gruelling Paris-Granada-Dakar cross country rally. Driving the Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, French pair Bruno Saby and Dominique Serieys were fastest on the muddy opening stage at La Chatre, cheered on by 68,000 spectators who braved torrential rain to watch the leading Mitsubishis make short work of the muddy conditions.

In the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, last year's winners Kenjiro Shinozuka and Henri Magne were second after the first day, followed by Jean-Pierre Fontenay in the Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero. Hiroshi Masuoka and Andreas Schulz were fourth in the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Challenger/Montero Sport.

Thick, slimy mud made the going extremely difficult for all 349 competitors, including 173 motorbikes, 115 cars and 61 trucks. Indeed, the track became so muddy that the stage was halted after competitor number 273, with the remaining contestants being allocated a time for the section by the organisers. The Mitsubishi drivers praised the efficient four-wheel drive system on the Pajeros and Challenger/Montero Sport for getting them through the horrendous conditions.

There were also impressive performances from many of the privateers running under the Team Mitsubishi International banner, including an excellent seventh from Spaniards Prieto and Gil, and Portuguese driver Souza, partnered by French co-driver Philippe Rey, who was 10th. The T1 category for near-standard cars was also won by Mitsubishi, with Italians Andretta and Simoni taking the honours in their Pajero, also finishing an excellent 14th overall.

The rest of the 938 km route down through France to Narbonne was completed without incident after starting off from the Chateau de Versailles this morning, and passing through a passage control at the Place du Trocadero in Paris, where an estimated 10,000 spectators were present to cheer the adventurers on their way.

Arriving at the historical city of Narbonne around 5:00 pm, the competitors will rest for the night in the ancient Gaul capital in preparation for the next leg which will take them to Spain and from there on to Africa.


 

 

 

SS1 - PARIS - NARBONNE - 11 KM

1.B. SABY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:09:45 T2
2.K. SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:10:01 T2
3.JP. FONTENAY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:10:14 T2
4.H. MASUOKA MITSUBISHI Challenger/Montero Sport 00:10:35 T2
5.J.L. SCHLESSER BUGGY Original 00:11:01 T3
6. J. SERVIA I COSTA TOYOTA 00:11:04 T2
7.M. PRIETO MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:11:12 T2
8.P. WAMBERGUE TOYOTA 00:11:17 T2
9.L. RAGLAND PROTRUCK 00:11:29 T3
10.C. SOUZA MITSUBISHI Strada 00:11:37 T3
11.D. HOUSIEAUX NISSAN 00:11:51 T3
12.C. ARNOUX BUGGY 00:11:59 T3
13.P. LARTIGUE PROTRUCK 00:12:09 T3
14.T. ANDRETTA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:12:30 T1
15.J. KLEINSCHMIDT BUGGY Original 00:12:32 T3
16.M. TRAGLIO NISSAN 00:12:32 T3
17.JP.STRUGO MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:12:41 T1
...      
47- L. ALPHAND MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:17:49 T3



GENERAL CLASSIFICATION after SS1

1.B. SABY / D.SERIEYS MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:09:45 T2
2.K. SHINOZUKA / H. MAGNE MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:00:16 T2
3.JP. FONTENAY /G. PICARD MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:00:29 T2
4.H. MASUOKA / A. SCHULZ MITSUBISHI Challenger/Montero +00:00:50 T2
5.J.L. SCHLESSER / A.C. PAUWELS BUGGY Original +00:01:16 T3
6.J.SERVIA I COSTA /T.DELLI-ZOTTI TOYOTA +00:01:19 T2
7.M. PRIETO / F. GIL MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:01:27 T2
8.P. WAMBERGUE / J.P COTTRET TOYOTA +00:01:32 T2
9.L. RAGLAND / J. RIVIERE PROTRUCK +00:01:44 T3
10.C. SOUZA / P. REY MITSUBISHI Strada +00:01:52 T3
11.D. HOUSIEAUX / M.DOMINELLA NISSAN +00:02:06 T3
12.C. ARNOUX / A. ARNOUX BUGGY +00:02:14 T3
13.P. LARTIGUE / A. GUEHENNEC PROTRUCK +00:02:24 T3
14.T. ANDRETTA / M. SIMONI MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:02:45 T1
15.J.KLEINSCHMIDT/M.STEVENSON BUGGY Original +00:02:47 T3
16.M. TRAGLIO / A. PIO NISSAN +00:02:47 T3
17.JP STRUGO / B. CATARELLI MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:02:56 T1
...      
47-L. ALPHAND / A. DEBRON MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:08:04 T3


Tomorrow, Friday, January 2, 1998
LEG: NARBONNE - GRANADA
Distance: 1182 KM
Special Stage: 35 KM


The long 1,182 km drive from Narbonne to Granada will be split by a 35 km special stage at the challenging track through the grounds of Chateau-Lastours. The competitors will say farewell to Narbonne, the cross-roads of Europe and head to the capital of Andalusia mostly by motorway, but the new layout of the track at Chateau-Lastours will certainly present a challenge!

MITSUBISHI OIL-PIAA-OFF ROAD EXPRESS-MICHELIN-HALF TIME/JT CORPORATION



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