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

 


1998 RALLYE DE FRANCE - TOUR DE CORSE
Tuesday 5th May
Leg 2 - 486.79 km - 6 SS - 129.88 km
COMMUNIQUE N 3

MITSUBISHI LANCERS AND CARISMAS DOMINATE GROUP N IN
TOUR DE CORSE AS BURNS RETIRES


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs have taken command of the Group N production car category on the Tour de Corse, the sixth round of the 1998 World Rally Championship, with championship leader Manfred Stohl from Austria leading double world champion Gustavo Trelles of Uruguay after two of the rally's three days.

Sadly, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Carisma GT driver Richard Burns was forced to retire after leaving the road and damaging the front of his car. Conditions have been less treacherous during the second leg of the 1145-kilometre Tour de Corse, the French round of the World Rally Championship, but it remains an exceptionally demanding rally.
Light rain and slippery roads greeted the drivers on the stages early in the morning and even when warm spring sunshine dried the mountains of north-eastern Corsica, it remained slippery and treacherous under the trees, with gravel and damp asphalt to catch the unwary, then torrential rain on the day's final stage. It has been an enthralling spectacle for the large crowds. After more than 40 years, the Tour de Corse has become one of the great annual occasions on this craggy Mediterranean island and fans are eager to meet their heroes and beg for autographs.

The rally has developed into a duel between Subaru driver Colin McRae and Toyota's Carlos Sainz, with Piero Liatti in another Subaru, the Peugeots of Francois Delecour and Gilles Panizzi and the Citroen of Philippe Bugalski also battling for a place on the podium.

Stohl has played a starring role to lead Trelles and Corsican expert Santini in the battle of the Mitsubishis, which hold the top eight places in the Group N category. Their speed and reliability put them in a different class to their rivals and Stohl has been just as impressive in leading most of the way on his first attempt at this notoriously specialised rally. "We are still learning about this new car, but it seems very good and I am getting more confident all the time. Winning Group N here would be a real dream for me," Stohl declared.

Burns, co-driven by fellow Briton Robert Reid, proved that the Carisma GT and its Michelin tyres are highly competitive by keeping pace with much more experienced drivers, even though it was his first visit to this highly specialised event. Despite an overshoot in a village on the first stage of the morning, he was holding eighth place, ahead of multiple world champion Juha Kankkunen, until he made a tiny miscalculation and hit a bridge at the end of SS10. Although he managed to complete the following stage as well, he had damaged the suspension and was unable to reach his service crew. It was his first retirement in almost 12 months – an enviable record in such an intensely competitive sport. "I just entered the corner a bit to fast and it may have tightened more than I thought. There was no time between the two stages to make many repairs and unfortunately we had damaged the right front suspension quite badly. We tried to rope it together after stage 11, but it was too far to get back to service. It's been a good learning experience: I've seen all the stages and we were pretty close to the pace, closer than I thought," said Burns.

Competitors face another six demanding asphalt stages, totalling 134 kilometres, before the finish in the island's capital, Ajaccio, tomorrow afternoon.


OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AT THE END OF LEG 2

1.C.MCRAE/N.GRIST GB/GB SUBARU IMPREZA 2.49.21.5 Gr-A
2.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E TOYOTA COROLLA 2.50.08.6 Gr-A
3.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 2.50.13.3 Gr-A
4.F.DELECOUR/D.GRATALOUP F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 2.50.39.1 Gr-A
5.D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 2.50.52.4 Gr-A
6.B.THIRY/S.PREVOT B/B FORD ESCORT 2.50.57.4 Gr-A
7.G.PANIZZI/H.PANIZZI F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 2.51.03.0 Gr-A
8.P.BUGALSKI/JP.CHIARONI F/F CITROEN XSARA 2.52.07.1 Gr-A
9.J.KANKKUNEN/J.REPO FIN/FIN FORD ESCORT 2.53.15.9 Gr-A
10. F.DOENLEN/JM.ANDRIE F/F CITROEN XSARA 2.53.29.1 Gr-A
22.M.STOHL/P.MULLER A/A MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.04.49.2 Gr-N
23.G.TRELLES/M.CHRISTIE ROU/RA MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.06.33.6 Gr-N
24.JM.SANTONI/JM.CASAMATTA F/F MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.06.39.6 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 2

Communique 1

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

 

 

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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.