NETWORK Q RAC RALLY
Monday, November 20, 1995
Team Petronas Mitsubishi Ralliart survived one of the toughest days in World Championship rallying with Kenneth Eriksson holding third place at the end of Leg Two in the Network Q RAC Rally in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III and Rui Madeira grabbing first in Group N in his standard version of the same car.
As the remaining competitors eased their way back to Chester for the second overnight halt of the four day rally, Eriksson considered himself fortunate that the reliability and strength of his Lancer paid dividends while his rivals were lucky to have survived.
In front of a massive home crowd that flocked the stages in the pleasant, autumnal weather Colin McRae almost threw away his chances, as he chased his Subaru team mate Carlos Sainz for the lead, by hitting a rock on stage 11, damaging his front suspension. Rally leader Sainz spent all day fretting because his engine was overheating, possibly as a result of radiator damage sustained on the first day.
McRae survived his incident, but Tommi Makinen, who did the same thing on the first of today's seven stages, wasn't as fortunate in the second Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III. The Finn survived to finish the stage, but by driving with the broken strut to the next service area, he damaged the Lancer's transmission system and was forced to retire from the lead.
The second leg's 190 km of stages that carved their way through the notoriously treacherous Kielder Forest and Lake District areas included the longest of the entire World Championship, Pundershaw (SS9), which stretched to a massive 59 km. It was on this stage that both Eriksson and McRae struck trouble by puncturing tyres on the same rock half way through the stage. In both cases the mousse that normally keeps the tyre inflated leaked out and the drivers were forced to stop and change wheels losing two minutes apiece. The incident allowed Sainz to shoot into the lead.
A tremendous battle ensued as Eriksson and McRae chased the leader, gradually clawing back lost time. Said Eriksson: "McRae was going too fast for me, taking too many risks. He was very, very lucky to survive when he damaged his suspension. He nearly lost his wheel. I am trying very hard but I do not like to take these risks. The car has been perfect for me today."
With Eriksson in touch with the leading pair and driving carefully, and Madeira looking set for a good points-scoring position in Group N, Mitsubishi is still in with a shout for the FIA World Championship for Manufacturers. Team Petronas Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan commented: "Of course we're disappointed that Tommi went out. Kenneth was also very unlucky to get a puncture, but he's been very consistent today and he's still hanging in there. There's a lot of pressure at the front and we're not even half way through the rally yet - anything can happen and we're very pleased with the way Madeira is performing, so it's still very much all to play for."
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS/CLASSEMENT GENERAL APRES EC 14
1. C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E - SUBARU IMPREZA 2.23.37
2. C.McRAE/D.RINGER GB/GB - SUBARU IMPREZA + 0.39
3. K.ERIKSSON/S.PARMANDER S/S - MITSUBISHI + 1.59
Madeira drove carefully through Kielder, avoiding the large boulders strewn across the track by the Group A cars, to take first place in Group N in his Ralliart Germany Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III by the end of the leg in Chester.
Said Madeira: "It's been very difficult today. There were so many rocks on the road I had to be very, very careful. But my car has been 100 per cent reliable and I am now pleased to be leading."
The remaining competitors have a short night's rest to recover from the rigours of Kielder before diving into the fast, flowing Welsh forest stages tomorrow, starting out from Chester at 05:30 for another seven stages covering 172 km in a total leg route of 642 km. One thing they will be thankful for is that the pleasant mild, dry weather is set to continue until the end of the rally.
|Pos.||Comp.||DRIVER/CO-DRIVER||CAR||G/C||Gr Pos.||Cl Pos.||Time|
|1||5||C. SAINZ/L. MOYA||SUBARU||A/8||1||1||2:23:37|
|2||4||C. McRAE/D. RINGER||SUBARU||A/8||2||2||+0:39|
|3||10||K. ERIKSSON/S. PARMANDER||MITSUBISHI||A/8||3||3||+1:59|
|4||6||R. BURNS/R. REID||SUBARU||A/8||4||4||+3:07|
|5||8||B. THIRY/S. PREVOT||FORD||A/8||5||5||+3:12|
|6||44||A. McRAE/C. WOOD||FORD||A/8||6||6||+4:28|
|7||15||G. De MEVIUS/J.M. FORTIN||FORD||A/8||7||7||+10:39|
|8||33||A. NAVARRA/R. CASAZZA||TOYOTA||A/8||8||8||+11:28|
|9||12||R. MADEIRA/N.R. SILVA||MITSUBISHI||N/4||1||1||+13:30|
|10||18||G. EVANS/H. DAVIES||FORD||A/7||9||1||+13:47|
Communique 5 & 4 / Communique 2 / Communique 1
Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation