Safari Rally Entry
555 SAFARI RALLY '96
Saturday,6th April 1996
MAKINEN LEAD SAFARI RALLY WITH MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III AFTER DRAMATIC SECOND LEG
Finland's Tommi Makinen, co-driven Seppo Harjanne,leads the 1996 Safari Rally after the longest and toughest leg the three day event, returning to Nairobi this evening. April 6, with a 2m 11s leading margin in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III with just one day to go.
Makinen battled hard throughout the day over the 725km of competitive sections taking the lead from Subaru's Kenneth Eriksson on the very first competitive section, the 140km raed from Morendat to Elburgon, north west of Nairobi.
Makinen powerd ahead, Increasing his lead the following two sections over the twisting.treacherous roads north of Eldoret, dropping back behind Eriksson momentarily on the fourth competitive section when the soaring temperatures and dry, dusty conditions took their toll on his tyres, and he suffered two punctures.
With the final 128km section remaining, the Team Mitsubishi Ralliart driver changed his propshaft, all four dampers and fitted fresh Michelin tyres in preparation for a dramatic, final attack to snatch the lead by over two minutes after starting the section nearly four minutes adrift.
Said Tommi: "It was a very tough, long hard day with no time to rest. The car perfect all day-not one problem apart from the punctures-and I drove very hard on the last section to take the laed again. I am very happy, but it's very close."
His Mitsubishi team mate, Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka, was not as fortunate in the Mitsubishi Lancer Dealer Team car. Co-driven by Pentti Kuukkala, Shinozuka left the roed on the second section after a pace note error. and damaged his suspension and two tyres.Repairs were effected on the stage. and he finished the leg at Nailobi still holding sixth place.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Manager Phil Short commented: Today has gone very well for Tommi,and he set an excellent time on the final section to take the lead. He is in a good position,although I have never seen such a closely fought Safari Rally. It was very hot today. and dry,which led to tyre problems but the Lancers ran perfectly and need only routine servicing tonight."
Of the 44 cars that started the second leg, the survivors of today's 1,211km route will restart from Nairobi tomorrow moning at 06:30 for the final 959km dash south of the Kenyan capital which will contain 659km of competitive sections.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AT THE END OF LEG2
2. K.Eriksson/S. Parmander S/S Subaru Impreza +14.16
3. I.Dancan/D.Williamson EAK/GB Toyoya Cerica +44.00
4. C.McRae/D.Ringer GB/GB Subaru Impreza+1.07.04
5.P.Liatti/M.Ferforlia I/I Subaru Impreza +1.27.30
7. S.Bloomqvist/B.Melander S/S Ford Escort RS Cosworth + 4.27.28
Communique 1/Communique 2/Communique 4
Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
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