1998 RALLY ARGENTINA
Friday 22 May
LEG 2 -433.01 km - 8 SS - 137.38 km
MITSUBISHI LANCER TAKES CONTROL IN RALLY OF ARGENTINA
Mitsubishi looks well placed to regain the lead
of the 1998 World Rally Championship for Manufacturers
thanks to a brilliant performance from its Lancer
Evolutions and Carisma GTs on the Rally of Argentina.
World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen has a commanding lead
in his Lancer Evolution while Carisma GT-driving
team-mate Richard Burns holds a good fourth place.
The second leg has taken competitors into the rugged
mountains west of Cordoba, over some of the highest roads
used in the World Rally Championship, reaching an
altitude of 2,100 metres. In isolated villages, the horse
is still a common means of transport a pronounced
contrast to the speed and colour when the rallying circus
comes to town. Didier Auriol retired his Toyota with a
blown engine, while Colin McRae lost the lead after
hitting a rock and damaging his Subarus suspension.
Makinen has judged the pace perfectly and looks set to
retain his unbeaten record in Argentina. Co-driven by
Risto Mannisenmaki, he lost a little gound in the morning
when he had to cope with more slippery conditions, but he
exploited the Lancer Evolution and its Michelin tyres to
superb effect to regain the advantage on the roughest
stages of the rally, in warm, dry conditions.
Its been a tough day. The stages have been
long and very hard for the cars. Anything can happen in
rallying, but we dont have to try too hard any more
with one day left, said Makinen.
Burns and co-driver Robert Reid has lost some time
dodging large rocks torn out of the soft surface by
previous cars, but he has also set a fastest stage time
in the Carisma GT and is confident that he can aid
Makinens championship chances by holding off McRae
in the third and final leg.
Its been an up and down day. Weve been
quick on the fast stages, which should help us tomorrow
and the car has been very good, Burns commented.
We felt the roughness of the roads would be a
strong factor today and so its proved. Tommi has
driven very well and he is in a good position with most
of the rally behind him, said Team Mitsubishi
Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. Richard is also
in good form and well make every effort to keep in
front of McRae tomorrow. It will be close!
Mitsubishi remains firmly in charge of the Group N
production category, where the Lancer Evolution is
near-invincible. Double World Group N Champion Gustavo
Trelles is well ahead, with Omans Hamed al Wahaibi
in second place.
The third and final leg takes competitors south for
another six stages, totalling 132 kilometres, in a double
loop around Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, before the finish
in Cordobas vast football stadium on Saturday
CLASSIFICATION END OF LEG 2
E=Spain/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/
GB=Great Britain/ I=Italia/ PY=Paraguay/
OM=Oman/ PL=Poland/ RA=Argentina/