1998 ACROPOLIS RALLY
Sunday 7, June
LEG 1 366.48 km - 6 SS 111.53 km
CARISMA GT LEADS ACROPOLIS RALLY
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is in an excellent
position after the first leg of the Acropolis Rally, the
eighth round of the 1998 World Rally Championship, as
Carisma GT driver Richard Burns leads, while Mitsubishi
Lancer Evolution head the Group N production class, with
Austrians Manfred Stohl/Peter Muller in front.
The first day of the Acropolis has been as tough as ever,
for although some of the stages have been smoother,
sweltering, 34-degree heat has tested the drivers
fitness not to mention the car and the tyres
to the limit. Huge crowds thronged the rocky,
twisty stages winding through olive groves, eager to
catch a glimpse of the drivers as they battled for
fractions of seconds.
Burns and fellow Briton Robert Reid have judged the pace
superbly, making the most of the latest Michelin tyres to
lead for much of the day, despite intense pressure from
rivals in Subarus and Toyotas, but Ford man Bruno Thiry
retired with engine trouble.
Ive tried to be consistent, but Ive
been pushing at the same time. The car has been good and
today has gone well, Burns stated.
Germanys Uwe Nittel and Swedens Tina Thorner
have put on a fine showing in their Carisma GT to take
eighth place, well in touch with the leaders.
Its been a tough day. Its been hot and
rough, but Im pleased with the car and our
performance, said Nittel.
Sadly, double World Champion Tommi Makinen and Risto
Mannisenmaki retired when their Lancer Evolution suffered
a freak electrical problem that cost them too much time
to make it worth continuing.
It was just one, small electrical connection and we
couldnt find the problem, so we lost too much time
to get any points, with so many good cars here,
Its been a day of substantial highs and
substantial lows. Losing Tommi was a blow, but Richard
has compensated with an excellent drive. We look forward
to tomorrow with some optimism, commented Team
Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. Uwe
has driven well, but the toughest part of the rally is
still to come, added Team Manager Ingolf Raiss.
has taken command in the Group N class, the hardest test
of a normal production car. The Lancer Evolutions have
taken the top three places.
leg includes five tough stages, totalling 128 kilometres,
in a loop north-west of Delphi.
CLASSIFICATION AFTER LEG 1