Rallye de France - 42nd Tour de Corse (4-6 May)
1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 6

 


1998 RALLYE DE FRANCE - TOUR DE CORSE
Monday 4th May
Leg 1 - 464,10 km - 6 SS - 134,65 km
COMMUNIQUE N 2


MITSUBISHI CARISMA SHOWS PROMISE ON TOUR DE CORSE AS
WORLD CHAMPION MAKINEN SUFFERS DISAPPOINTMENT


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Carisma GT driver Richard Burns is making a fine impression on his first attempt at one of the most demanding rounds of the World Rally Championship, the Tour de Corse, holding eighth place after the first leg of the tough three-day event. Mitsubishis are performing even more strongly in the Group N production class, as Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs dominate the leaderboard.

The twisty, mountainous roads of the French island of Corsica are demanding enough at the best of times, but the first day of the 1998 event, the sixth round of the World Championship, has been held in some of the worst conditions imaginable. Competitors have had to cope with torrential rain and swirling fog on some stages, but dry roads on others. Choosing tyres has been particularly difficult, because the weather has been so unpredictable and has changed so swiftly, but the drivers have found the cars liable to aquaplane even when they have the right tyres. The weather has done nothing to deter the fans. The rally is Corsica’s most prestigious sporting event and its international reputation means that plenty of foreign spectators travel to the idyllic Mediterranean island to witness some of the world’s foremost drivers in action. Colin McRae led after the first leg, with Peugeot driver Francois Delecour second, Piero Liatti third in another Subaru and Carlos Sainz fourth in a Toyota.

Burns, who is lying second in the World Championship, and fellow Briton Robert Reid knew that their first Tour de Corse would be one of their toughest tests of their first full World Championship season, because they had no prior knowledge of the roads. Reid has been modifying their pace notes in mid-stage, while Burns concentrates on extracting the utmost from his ultra-reliable Mitsubishi Carisma and making the most of Michelin’s vast range of tyres. Once again, the 27-year-old British star has driven superbly and is very much in touch with the leaders with the bulk of the rally still ahead of him.


“I’m quite happy. This is about where I expected to be after the first day – maybe a bit better. We’re eighth, but we’re only 25 seconds behind the World Championship leader Carlos Sainz and we lost that time while I adapted to the conditions on the first stage,” said Burns.

Sadly, early leader and double World Champion Tommi Makinen retired his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution just before starting the fifth of the day’s six special stages with a mysterious electrical fault. It took too long to trace, which was doubly frustrating, as Makinen and fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki were eventually able to drive the car back to the final service point of the day. Despite his lack of experience of the rally, Makinen had been leading after two stages and stood an excellent chance of scoring his second outright win of the season.

“It’s been a tough season so far, but there’s still a long way to go, so although this is disappointing, I am sure we can fight back,” said Makinen.

“Richard’s performance has been very satisfactory,” said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. “He has set some very good stage times and he is very close to a lot of drivers with a good deal of experience of Corsica.
They’re obviously very difficult conditions and I’m sure there will be plenty of changes before the rally finishes. We don’t know exactly what went wrong for Tommi, but my feeling is that water has got in somewhere it shouldn’t.”

Mitsubishi Lancers and Carismas are sweeping the board in Group N. The Group N World Championship leader Manfred Stohl from Austria is leading a fleet of Mitsubishis in this ultimate test of a near-standard production car, with rivals such as Fabien Vericel and Gustavo Trelles – the Group N champion for the past two years with Mitsubishi – in hot pursuit. It has been another resounding demonstration that the latest Lancer Evolution and the Carisma GT are the cars to beat, proving Mitsubishi’s commitment to putting high technology into production.

Competitors face another six stages in tomorrow’s second leg in the mountains of north-eastern Corsica. All told, they must tackle another 120 kilometres of flat-out stages before returning to Ajaccio tomorow night – and the weather is expected to be just as fickle as it has been today.

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION END OF LEG 1

1.C.MCRAE/N.GRIST GB/GB SUBARU IMPREZA 1.31.46.3 Gr-A
2.F.DELECOUR/D.GRATALOUP F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 1.32.07.0 Gr-A
3.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 1.32.09.9 Gr-A
4.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E TOYOTA COROLLA 1.32.19.1 Gr-A
5.B.THIRY/S.PREVOT B/B FORD ESCORT 1.32.21.5 Gr-A
6.D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 1.32.30.4 Gr-A
7.G.PANIZZI/H.PANIZZI F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 1.32.37.7 Gr-A
8.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 1.32.44.9 Gr-A
9.J.KANKKUNEN/J.REPO FIN/FIN FORD ESCORT 1.33.32.1 Gr-A
10.P.BUGALSKI/JP.CHIARONI F/F CITROEN XSARA 1.33.53.1 Gr-A
20.M.STOHL/P.MULLER A/A MITSUBISHI LANCER GT 1.40.09.10 Gr-N
23.F.VERICEL/V.DUCHER F/F MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 1.41.05.60 Gr-N
24.JM.SANTONI/JM.CASAMATTA F/F MITSUBISHI LANCER GT 1.41.14.80 Gr-N
Nationality :
A=Austria/ B=Belgium/ CZ=Czech Rep/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ I=Italia/ NL=Netherlands/ RA=Argentina/ ROU=Uruguay/ S=Sweden/ SA=Saudi Arabia/ TR=Turkey

Communique 4

Communique 3

Communique 1

MICHELIN - MITSUBISHI OIL - ENKEI - NGK - OHLINS - OMP -
PIAA - PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND - SABELT

 

 

PRE EVENT PRESS RELEASE ENTRY LIST MITSUBISHI LANCER/MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT
SPECIAL STAGE RESULT PHOTO LIBRARY DAILY COMMUNIQUE
TOP PAGE

 

--------------------

Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.