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PARIS - GRANADA - DAKAR 1998
Communique 7
LEG 6 : OUARZAZATE - SMARA
Distance : 1050KM
Stage distance : 354KM

SMARA,
Tuesday, January 6, 1998


IT'S FONTENAY'S TURN AS MITSUBISHI CONTINUES DAKAR DOMINATION


Mitsubishi Pajeros continue to hold the top three positions in the 20th Paris-Dakar as the Rally reached Smara today, January 6, close to the edge of the Sahara desert and the Moroccan border with Mauritania.
Bruno Saby continues to lead after six legs in his Team PIAA Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero, although this time it was second-placed Jean-Pierre Fontenay who topped the time sheets in the Team Off Road Express Mitsubishi Ralliart Pajero. Last year's winner, Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka, now holds third in his Team Mitsubishi Oil Ralliart Pajero.

Fontenay's first stage victory this year on the 354 km competitive section through the treacherously rough Draa Valley means that each of the leading trio of Mitsubishi Pajeros has scored at least one stage win each so far in the 1998 event.

The rain of Europe and the mist and drizzle of northern Morocco will soon be a distant memory, however, as the rally moves to Mauritania and the Sahara desert tomorrow.
Although temperatures during the day at Smara reached a comfortable 23 degrees Celsius in hazy sunshine, all the remaining competitors hope they have seen the last of the freezing nights where temperatures drop to a distinctly uncomfortable minus five degrees in Morocco.

As the route becomes tougher, so the list of retirements grows, with just 99 cars and 160 motorbikes taking the start this morning. Pierre Lartigue was the biggest casualty, the Protruck driver retiring last night with an eye infection, thought to have been caused after driving without a windscreen and getting dirt in his eye.

The past two days have also been tough on the privateers, especially those in T1 standard production vehicles, although those driving Mitsubishis have been more fortunate than most! In the Mitsubishi International Team, Carlos Souza, from Portugal, was pleased to find himself in the top 10 in his Mitsubishi Montero. He said: "The car is great. Our aim is to get to Gao in the top 10 overall and the top three in T3."

Spanish driver Miguel Prieto counted himself lucky to be in the rally at all at Smara, despite rolling his Mitsubishi Strada yesterday. He explained: "We were going quite fast and didn't see a big dip in the road because of the dust. Luckily, the Mitsubishi is a strong car and we didn't have any permanent damage. I know we can now climb back up the order."

The Mitsubishi success story in T1 continues, with French pair Jean-Pierre Strugo
and Bruno Catarelli holding first in the class in their Pajero, despite the difficulties in crossing yesterday's dunes in what is, effectively, a standard car. He revealed: "We had to drive around in circles two times to get up enough speed to get over the dunes yesterday, so the thought of 80 kms of dunes on the stages later this week worry me. I had better get fit! I like this long wheel-base Pajero, however. It works very well."


Brazilian pair Kolberg and Laroque we reported to be going well in their T1 Mitsubishi, although Kolberg admitted: "We started badly and the dunes yesterday were very tricky and we caused a bit of a dune traffic jam! But having done this event on a bike, I appreciate the car."

Meanwhile, French multiple World Ski Champion Luc Alphand has reached an impressive 18th overall at Smara on his first attempt at the event in his Mitsubishi Pajero.

In the truck class, the Mitsubishi FR415 4WD-RS trucks were reported to be still going well; last night they still held an impressive first and second in the category.

 

 

SS6 - OUARZAZATE - SMARA - 354 KM

1.J.P.FONTENAY MITSUBISHI Pajero 03.31.35 T2
2.B.SABY MITSUBISHI Pajero 03.34.42 T2
3.J.L.SCHLESSER BUGGY Original 03.35.26 T3
4.K.SHINOZUKA MITSUBISHI Pajero 03.42.02 T2
5.J.KLEINSCHMIDT BUGGY Original 03:45:24 T3
6.H.MASUOKA MITSUBISHI Challenger 03.45.55 T2
7. H. PESCAROLO PROTRUCK 03:56:11 T3
8.J.SERVIA I COSTA TOYOTA 04:06:48 T2
9.P.WAMBERGUE TOYOTA 04:07:22 T2
10.C. SOUZA MITSUBISHI Strada 04:08:26 T3
11.B. HANCIAUX NISSAN 04:09:10 T3
12.P. ALLIOT NISSAN 04:09:49 T3
13.G. MARCY MITSUBISHI Pajero 04:16:07 T2
14.J. LOOMANS MITSUBISHI Pajero 04:16:49 T3
15.JP.STRUGO MITSUBISHI Pajero 04:21:29 T1
...      
19.M. PRIETO MITSUBISHI Montero 04:27:43 T2

 

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION after SS6

1.B.SABY / D.SERIEYS MITSUBISHI Pajero 11.08.47 T2
2.J.P.FONTENAY / G. PICARD MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:01.16 T2
3.K. SHINOZUKA / H. MAGNE MITSUBISHI Pajero +00:09.58 T2
4.J.L. SCHLESSER / A.C. PAUWELS BUGGY Original +00.13.25 T3
5.J. KLEINSCHMIDT / M. STEVENSON BUGGY Original +00:53:15 T3
6.H. MASUOKA / A. SCHULZ MITSUBISHI Challenger +01.02.37 T2
7.B. HANCIAUX / J. LURQUIN NISSAN +01:54:35 T3
8.C. SOUZA / P. REY MITSUBISHI Strada +02:06:09 T3
9.P. ALLIOT / J. DUBOIS NISSAN +02:08:00 T3
10.T. DE LAVERGNE / L. ARGUELLES NISSAN +02:20:46 T3
11.J.P. STRUGO / B. CATARELLI MITSUBISHI Pajero +02:25:39 T1
12.H. PESCAROLO / J. BOUSSIER PROTRUCK +02:26:29 T3
13.G. MARCY / C. GHAEM MITSUBISHI Pajero +02:32:31 T2
14.M.PRIETO / F. GIL MITSUBISHI Montero +02:39:24 T2
...      
16.J.LOOMANS / M. LAWERS MITSUBISHI Pajero +02:52:05 T3
...      
18.L.ALPHAND / A. DEBRON MITSUBISHI Pajero +03:02:54 T3


Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 7, 1998
LEG 7: SMARA - ZOUERAT
Distance: 614 KM
Special Stage: 494 KM

The easy part, if ever there was such a thing on the Dakar, is over, and tomorrow the survivors in this year's rally head into Mauritania and the Sahara Desert along the old Imperial Route that once linked Morocco to Timbuktu. They will face a long, 494 km special stage in the open desert were navigation will be at a premium, plus the first of the difficult Saharan dunes!

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




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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.