NETWORK Q RAC RALLY
Sunday, November 19, 1995
Team Petronas Mitsubishi Ralliart inched closer to its goal of lifting the prestigious FIA World Championship for Manufacturers as Tommi Makinen and Kenneth Eriksson powered their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IIIs into the lead on day one of the Network Q RAC Rally which finished in Leeds today, Sunday, November 19.
Makinen extended his lead to 11 seconds ahead of his Mitsubishi team mate Eriksson over the seven stages of Leg One as cold, damp foggy weather early in the morning gave way to bright sunshine and dry conditions as the rally carved its way through the English Midlands from Chester to the northern industrial city of Leeds.
Finnish driver Makinen, co-driven by fellow countryman Seppo Harjanne, scored four fastest stage times, and one joint fastest, over the 45 km of short special stages held mostly on tarmac in the park lands of stately homes. A clever choice of Michelin racers on the drying stages at Donington put the Mitsubishis in front, while their main rivals stayed on wet weather rubber, and they held their advantage over the 178-strong field to the finish of the leg as an estimated crowd of 85,000 spectators cheered them on their way.
Colin McRae held onto third place in his Subaru, one second adrift from Eriksson, while his team mate Carlos Sainz struggled to fourth place after damaging his radiator on the second stage.when he went too quickly through a watersplash. Francois Delecour became the first victim of the tough event when he retired his Ford with front transmission failure at Donington.
Makinen commented: "We had no problems at all today. It was just a nice drive through the country parks. The car has been great and the tyres very, very good."
Eriksson's co-driver Staffan Parmander said: "The team has performed a great job today and to be first and second at this stage is very good. Of course, the rally proper starts tomorrow, but I see no reason why we should not be able keep this performance up tomorrow. The team is confident and the cars are very good, and this is a very nice position to be in."
"It's been a brilliant day," added the delighted Team Petronas Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan. "We've really not had to do more than cruise through as planned because it is so easy to throw it all away on these spectator stages. Both Tommi and Kenneth are really driving well and they're very confident in their cars. The Lancers have been perfect all day with no damage or technical problems of any kind. It's looking very good for tomorrow when we get into the forest stages. The Lancers really only need a spanner check tonight they've been so reliable. Of course, there are three hard days to go so it's all to play for."
The third nominated Mitsubishi driver and new Group N World Champion Rui Madeira drove carefully on his first ever visit to the RAC Rally in the virtually standard Ralliart Germany Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III to end Leg One fourth in the category for showroom-class cars. He said: "It's only my first time here so we decided to take it very carefully. It was so hard to get into a rhythm because the stage surfaces vary so much."
Leg Two of the final round of the World Rally Championship starts tomorrow morning, Monday, November 20 at 05:00 in Leeds, before the surviving competitors charge into the infamous Kielder forest where early morning black ice and cold conditions are expected to greet them as they tackle seven forest stages including the longest of the whole championship, Pundershaw, which stretches to a massive 59 km. In total, the competitors will tackle 190 km of stages on Monday in a total route for the day of 798 km, before arriving back into Chester for the second overnight halt in the four-day rally.
|Pos.||Comp.||DRIVER/CO-DRIVER||CAR||G/C||Gr Pos.||Cl Pos.||Time|
|1||11||T. MAKINEN/S. HARJANNE||MITSUBISHI||A/8||1||1||30:18|
|2||10||K. ERIKSSON/S. PARMANDER||MITSUBISHI||A/8||2||2||+0:11|
|3||4||C. McRAE/D. RINGER||SUBARU||A/8||3||3||+0:12|
|4||5||C. SAINZ/L. MOYA||SUBARU||A/8||4||4||+0:26|
|5||8||B. THIRY/S. PREVOT||FORD||A/8||5||5||+0:47|
|6||9||M. WILSON/B. THOMAS||FORD||A/8||6||6||+0:53|
|7||44||A. McRAE/C. WOOD||FORD||A/8||7||7||+1:01|
|8||15||G. De MEVIUS/J.M. FORTIN||FORD||A/8||8||8||+1:24|
|9||6||R. BURNS/R. REID||SUBARU||A/8||9||9||+1:55|
|10||33||A. NAVARRA/R. CASAZZA||TOYOTA||A/8||10||10||+2:25|
|15||32||D. BUCKLEY/N. EWING||MITSUBISHI||N/4||3||3||+2:54|
|18||12||R. MADEIRA/N.R. SILVA||MITSUBISHI||N/4||4||4||+3:00|
|24||34||H. STACEY/M. VAN DEN BRAND||MITSUBISHI||N/4||6||6||+3:37|
|30||26||I. HOLDERIED/T. THORNER||MITSUBISHI||N/4||8||8||+4:07|
|31||74||V. WETTON/J. RABBETT||MITSUBISHI||A/8||23||18||+4:10|
|34||84||Y. KATAOKA/S. HAYASHI||MITSUBISHI||N/4||11||11||+4:18|
Communique 5 & 4 / Communique 3 / Communique 1
Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation