WRC

1000 Lakes Rally report

World Rally Championship Neste 1000 Lakes Rally The race for the 1994 World Rally Championship title is heating up and the top contestants came to Finland in hunt for the 20 points. But there was someone who was going to beat...

World Rally Championship Neste 1000 Lakes Rally The race for the 1994 World Rally Championship title is heating up and the top contestants came to Finland in hunt for the 20 points. But there was someone who was going to beat them all. Tommi Makinen was offered a drive for the Ford Motorsport team in place of Miki Biasion and after testing the car in a local rally he said that he got the feel for the car immediately and that he felt very confident for the 1000 Lakes. Neste 1000 Lakes rally saw also the return of Francois Delecour after his road accident last spring. The only one missing from the event was Subaru's Colin McRae who was said to be concentrating for the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. It is not known how much this decision had to do with Colin's history of crashes in the last two years. The rally started on Friday and already on the 2nd special stage the drama began. Juha Kankkunen rolled spectacularly on the stage which was situated close to his home farm. He was able to continue with the badly damaged car, the left rear wheel was folded under the car and even the roll cage was bent. The car was later repaired to almost its original shape but Juha lost almost 20 minutes because of the incident. He decided to continue the rally to test tyres for Auriol and to entertain the crowds. On the very same stage Ari Vatanen overshot a bend by "no more than the width of a tyre" and lost the left rear wheel. He continued with the rear diff guard dragging on the ground. This caused the diff to break and since it is not allowed to change the diff until at the end of the day, Ari had to retire from the event. His team-mate Raimund Baumschlager rolled and retired on SS 3, so this wasn't a good one for the Konrad Schmidt team. After these incidents Tommi Makinen took rather surprisingly the lead with Didier Auriol and Carlos Sainz close behind. On SS 10 Makinen had a spin and lost the lead to Auriol but on the first stage of the second day (SS 16) he took back the leading position. During the day he pulled a 20 second gap between him and Auriol who was battling hard with Sainz. Francois Delecour inherited solid 4th place as Bruno Thiry crashed out of the rally on SS 18 after a very good showing. Juha Kankkunen drove just as fast as the men in the front (but 19 minutes behind) and he was rising constantly in positions. On Sunday morning there were still 7 stages to go and Carlos Sainz was 7 seconds behind Auriol but on the first stage of the day Carlos lost 10 seconds to Didier and since Carlos, who skipped 1000 Lakes last year, wasn't very familiar with the last stages he decided to settle for the third place. On the last stages there was drama in gr. N as leader Jarmo Kytolehto had a puncture and lost the lead to Tomas Jansson by 6 seconds. On the next stage Jansson drove off the road under the pressure from Kytolehto who thus won gr. N. Tommi Makinen took his first WRC win and it must be admitted that leaving the championship leaders behind in this fast-paced rally is a great achievement. And not least because of the fact that the win was gained by driving, not by bad luck of others. It may well be that we'll see Tommi driving in WRC with a factory team next year. Didier Auriol was happy with the second place, extending his Championship lead and confirming the manufacturers title for Toyota. Sainz wasn't unhappy either; he is in a good position only 6 points behind Auriol. Francois Delecour was also pleased with the 4th position, he is obviously fit enough to be back in the top category. Fifth in the rally was Finnish driver Marcus Gronholm as the best private entry. Juha Kankkunen was at the end 9th, collecting two valuable Championship points. He still has good possibilities even to win the WRC but certainly this result was a setback for him. Results of Neste 1000 Lakes Rally: 1. Tommi Makinen / Seppo Harjanne Ford 4:33.44 2. Didier Auriol / Bernard Occelli Toyota -0.22 3. Carlos Sainz / Luis Moya Subaru -1.04 4. Francois Delecour / Daniel Grataloup Ford -5.38 5. Marcus Gronholm / Voitto Silander Toyota -7.11 6. Lasse Lampi / Pentti Kuukkala Mitsubishi -12.03 7. Tomas Raadstrom / Lars Backman Toyota -16.25 8. Jarmo Kytolehto / Arto Kapanen Mitsu. (N) -18.11 9. Juha Kankkunen / Nicky Grist Toyota -19.45 10. Olli Harkki / Antti Virjula Mitsu. (N) -24.53 ... World Rally Championship standings Drivers: 1. Didier Auriol 90 points 2. Carlos Sainz 84 3. Juha Kankkunen 74 4. Armin Schwarz 31 5. Miki Biasion 30 Francois Delecour 30 7. Bruno Thiry 22 8. Colin McRae 21 9. Ian Duncan 20 Tommi Makinen 20 Ari Vatanen 20 12. Kenneth Eriksson 18 13. Kenjiro Shinozuka 15 ... Manufacturers: 1. Toyota 145 2. Subaru 129 3. Ford 88 4. Mitsubishi 41 (not enough starts) ... Next event: Rally of San Remo, Italy, October 9-13. -- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= = Petri Karonen Email: pakar@tukki.jyu.fi = = World Rally Championship Infosystem: http://www.jyu.fi/~pakar/ = =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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