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Communique 3
LEG 2: NARBONNE - GRANADA
Distance: 1182 KM
Special Stage: 35 KM

GRANADA,
Friday, January 2, 1998

MITSUBISHIS PAJERO START AS THEY MEAN TO GO ON !

Mitsubishi drivers enjoyed another successful day on the Paris-Granada-Dakar Rally with three Pajeros filling the top three places after the second leg competitive section at Chateau-Lastours near Perpignan today, Friday, January 2.

A delighted Bruno Saby, co-driven by Dominique Serieys, was first across the line after 35 km of rutted vineyard tracks in his Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero. Today's special stage was much more to the liking of the 349 competitors, closer in nature to the tracks they are expecting in Morocco for which the cars, trucks and motorbikes are designed. As Saby noted, it was a pleasant change from yesterday's mud bath at La Chatre.

Said Saby: "The stage was so pleasurable. It reminded me of stages in the World Rally Championship. I wish all stages could be like this, but in two days we will be in Africa, and that's where it really begins."

Second fastest behind Saby was Jean-Pierre Fontenay, partnered by Gilles Picard in the Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, just over a minute adrift of the rally leader.

Fontenay was impressed with his new Pajero, and brimming with confidence after today's stage, commenting: "It was a super special stage and the first chance to see what the car can really do. It is lighter than last year and the handling is better. We are going to be hard to beat."

Last year's victor, Japanese ace Kenjiro Shinozuka finished third in the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, co-driven as usual by Henri Magne, despite a spin at one point. He said: "It was good fun today, even though I spun right at the end and lost some time. I am relaxed though - the real rally has yet to start."

The only drama of the day occurred when Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz suffered a suspension problem followed by a fire, which thankfully was put out quickly by marshals. The Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Challenger/Montero Sport survived the incident intact, however, and Masuoka finished the day just 40 minutes down despite the problems.

In the T1 category for standard cars, the Mitsubishi crews were still in control with Italy's Andretta still holding first place in his Pajero over Frenchman Jean-Pierre Strugo, also in a Pajero, all this despite the pressure from Bruce Garland's Isuzu.

It was the longest leg of the rally, and although much tougher challenges await the remaining competitors in Africa, all were delighted to reach the ancient Andalucian capital of Granada in southern Spain after their 1182 km trek from France for some well-earned rest.

 

 

SS2 - NARBONNE - GRANADA - 35 KM

1.B. SABY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:29:01 T2
2.JP. FONTENAY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:30:10 T2
3.K. SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:30:52 T2
4.J. SERVIA I COSTA TOYOTA 00:31:26 T2
5.P. WAMBERGUE TOYOTA 00:31:31 T2
6. J. KLEINSCHMIDT BUGGY Original 00:31:56 T3
7.J.L. SCHLESSER BUGGY Original 00:31:59 T3
8.C. SOUZA MITSUBISHI Strada 00:32:00 T3
9.T. DE LAVERGNE NISSAN 00:32:07 T3
10.A. SAKA ISUZU 00:32:44 T1
11.M. PRIETO MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:32:51 T2
12.P. LARTIGUE PROTRUCK 00:33:18 T3
13.B. HANCIAUX NISSAN 00:33:46 T3
14.L. RAGLAND PROTRUCK 00:33:58 T3
15.P. ALLIOT NISSAN 00:34:01 T3
...      
22.T. ANDRETTA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:34:47 T1
...      
26- L. ALPHAND MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:35:14 T3


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION after SS2

1.B. SABY / D.SERIEYS MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:38:46 T2
2.J.P. FONTENAY / G. PICARD MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:01:38 T2
3.K. SHINOZUKA / H. MAGNE MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:02:07 T2
4.J. SERVIA I COSTA / T. DELLI-ZOTTI TOYOTA +00:03:44 T2
5.P. WAMBERGUE / J.P. COTTRET TOYOTA +00:04:02 T2
6.J.L. SCHLESSER / A.C. PAUWELS BUGGY Original +00:04:14 T3
7.C. SOUZA / P. REY MITSUBISHI Strada +00:04:51 T3
8.M. PRIETO / F. GIL MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:05:17 T2
9.J.KLEINSCHMIDT/M.STEVENSON BUGGY Original +00:05:42 T3
10.P. LARTIGUE / A. GUEHENNEC PROTRUCK +00:06:41 T3
11.L. RAGLAND / J. RIVIERE PROTRUCK +00:06:41 T3
12.D. HOUSIEAUX / M.DOMINELLA NISSAN +00:07:24 T3
13.T. DE LAVERGNE / L. ARGUELLES NISSAN +00:07:52 T3
14.B. HANCIAUX / J. LURQUIN NISSAN +00:07:53 T3
15.M. TRAGLIO / A. PIO NISSAN +00:08:16 T2
...      
18.T. ANDRETTA / M. SIMONI MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:08:31 T1
...      
22.J.P. STRUGO / B. CATARELLI MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:09:20 T1
...      
37-L. ALPHAND / A. DEBRON MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:14:17 T3


Tomorrow, Saturday, January 3, 1998
LEG 3: GRANADA-ALMERIA
Distance: 234 KM
Special Stage: 4 KM / 34 KM


A much shorter day awaits the remaining competitors in the 20th Paris-Dakar tomorrow with the run down to Almeria in preparation for the crossing to Africa. However, they will face two Andalucian special stages - a short one of four kilometres and a longer 34 km test - before leaving Europe.

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

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