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PARIS-GRANADA-DAKAR 1998
Communique 4
LEG 3: GRANADA - ALMERIA
Distance: 234 KM
Stage Distance: 4 KM / 36 KM

ALMERIA,
Saturday, January 3, 1998

MITSUBISHI LEADS THE CHARGE TO AFRICA

Mitsubishi Pajeros continued their domination of the 1998 Paris-Granada-Dakar Rally, today, January 3, with yet another successful day in Europe, tackling the last two stages before taking the ferry from the Mediterranean resort of Almeria to Nador in northern Morocco, and the start of the African adventure.

Thousands of Spanish spectators turned out to cheer the motorbikes, cars and trucks on their way as they blasted through two stages, the first of which was held just outside Granada, with French pair Bruno Saby and Dominique Serieys maintaining their lead with a superb drive in their Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero.

Saby was more than happy with the performance of his Pajero, despite the wet, muddy conditions on the first short stage. He said: " The stage today was like following a desert river bed except, unlike in the desert, this one had water in it! We did not push very hard - the time for that has still to come. But we are confident that we can continue the speed we have shown in Europe."

For the first time since the rally began three days ago, Saby was not fastest on the final stage of the day, which was shortened from 80km to 34 km for safety reasons. That honour went to Pierre Lartigue in the Protruck, although, ironically, the Frenchman now has very little of providing a serious threat to Mitsubishi. He missed the first stage and collected an eight hour penalty after gearbox problems this morning.

Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka made up for his problems yesterday when he took second fastest on the second stage in the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Challenger/Montero Sport. The Mitsubishi International driver declared: "It was a very good day - I was at my best!"

Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka in the Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero, and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Fontenay in the Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, both enjoyed successful days again before embarking for Africa and the main challenge of the event.

Shinozuka admitted: "We were not trying to go flat out today. I want to be in Africa where it will be much better and we can enjoy ourselves."

Fontenay, commenting on the wet conditions in Europe, added: "There was water everywhere. It even came in the car. I am glad that Africa is not like Spain! Some sun and heat will be nice."

Mitsubishi's success continued down the field to the amazing success of the Mitsubishi FR415 4WD-RS trucks. These impressive machines have had no problems dealing with the heavy rain and mud of the European section of the rally, finishing first and second yesterday on the stage score sheets and lying first and second overall.

In the class for near-standard cars, T1, Mitsubishis were still setting the pace with Italian driver Andretta winning the class on both stages in his Mitsubishi Pajero and for the fourth time, the japonese lady crew (M. Tomokawa and A. Asada) are also waiting for a good result in this same category.



SS3a GRANADA - ALMERIA 4 KM

1.B. SABY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:05:24 T2
2.K. SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:05:41 T2
3.P. WAMBERGUE TOYOTA 00:05:42 T2
4.JP. FONTENAY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:05:45 T2
5.J.L. SCHLESSER BUGGY Original 00:05:59 T3
6. C. SOUZA MITSUBISHI Strada 00:06:01 T3
7.J. SERVIA I COSTA TOYOTA 00:06:04 T2
8.M. PRIETO MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:06:08 T2
9.J. KLEINSCHMIDT BUGGY Original 00:06:17 T3
10.P. ALLIOT NISSAN 00:06:21 T3
11.B. HANCIAUX NISSAN 00:06:22 T3
12.T. ANDRETTA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:06:23 T1
...      
19- L. ALPHAND MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:06:31 T3

SS3b GRANADA - ALMERIA 36 KM

1.P. LARTIGUE PROTRUCK 00:22:44 T3
2.H. MASUOKA MITSUBISHI Challenger/Montero 00:23:21 T2
3.B. SABY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:23:41 T2
4.P. WAMBERGUE TOYOTA 00:23:45 T2
5.J.P. FONTENAY MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:23:46 T2
6. J. SERVIA I COSTA TOYOTA 00:23:50 T2
7.J.L. SCHLESSER BUGGY Original 00:23:57 T3
8.J. KLEINSCHMIDT BUGGY Original 00:24:07 T3
9.K. SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI Pajero 00:24:20 T2
10.L. RAGLAND PROTRUCK 00:24:36 T3

 

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION after SS3b

1.B. SABY / D.SERIEYS MITSUBISHI Pajero 01:07:51 T2
2.J.P. FONTENAY / G. PICARD MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:02:04 T2
3.K. SHINOZUKA / H. MAGNE MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:03:03 T2
4.P. WAMBERGUE / J.P. COTTRET TOYOTA +00:04:24 T2
5.J. SERVIA I COSTA / T. DELLI-ZOTTI TOYOTA +00:04:33 T2
6.J.L. SCHLESSER / A.C. PAUWELS BUGGY Original +00:05:05 T3
7.J. KLEINSCHMIDT / M. STEVENSON BUGGY Original +00:07:01 T3
8.M. PRIETO / F. GIL MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:07:18 T2
9.C. SOUZA / P. REY MITSUBISHI Strada +00:07:34 T3
10.L. RAGLAND / J. RIVIERE PROTRUCK +00:08:41 T3

 

Tomorrow, Sunday, January 4, 1998
LEG 4: NADOR - ER RACHIDIA
Distance: 613 KM
Special Stage: 247 KM

After a ferry trip across the Mediterranean Sea, the remaining competitors in the 20th Paris-Dakar will start their African adventure for real tomorrow, with the first, long stage in Morocco. They will face a twisty, pebble-strewn course, often along dry river beds, in their first taste of Africa this year.

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

 

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