WRC

Acropolis Rally report

----------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Petri Karonen (C) 1994. May not be reproduced without author's permission. Permission is automatically granted for non-commercial use provided that the author is ...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Petri Karonen (C) 1994. May not be reproduced without author's permission. Permission is automatically granted for non-commercial use provided that the author is notified of the reproduction. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- World Rally Championship Acropolis Rally, Greece All the top teams were at the start of the Acropolis Rally which proved again to be one of the hardest events in the WRC calendar. Mitsubishi brought to the line the new Lancer Evolution Mark II. Ari Vatanen returned to WRC with a Schmidt Motorsport Escort Cosworth, one of the top private teams around. Malcolm Wilson was replacing the injured Francois Delecour in the Ford works team. The first day started under the reign of Subaru's Colin McRae. Of the ten stages he won six and at the end of the day he had a 43 sec lead over Carlos Sainz. Colin's pace was so hard that Prodrive team manager David Richards warned him of going too fast. Toyota drivers Didier Auriol and Juha Kankkunen took 3rd and 4th place. Kankkunen said that it's good to start the second day at 4th, so that the front runners have cleared most of the loose rock from the road. Large pieces of sharp rock on the road are characteristic for the Acropolis, puncture-proof ATS tires are a must here. Vatanen took the 5th position on the first day, beating the factory Fords. On the second day the hot and dusty Acropolis started to take it's toll. Vatanen and Kankkunen both broke the suspensions on their cars and lost a lot of time, but they could continue. Didier Auriol hit a large rock on SS 18, the engine broke and he retired from 3rd. Kenneth Eriksson of Mitsubishi also retired because of broken rear suspension, as did Miki Biasion of Ford, engine failure being the reason. On the road section before special stage 16 Colin McRae's hood flew open and smashed the windshield of his Subaru. The windshield was repaired at the start of the SS, which took 29 minutes. The car was parked so that no one could get past it so the whole rally was delayed by half an hour. Subaru team said that they had the right to do the emergency repairs and delay the rally because the reason for the hood opening was that a rally official hadn't closed it properly after an inspection. They, however, couldn't prove this. Colin continued the race but at the end of the day, after a long meeting, the rally jury decided to close him out of the event due to unsportsmanlike conduct. Colin and Subaru weren't, quite understandably, very happy with the decision. The FIA is going to investigate the incident later, but Colin was definitely out. So, at the start of the third and final day Subaru's Carlos Sainz had taken the lead. Armin Schwarz of Mitsubishi had inherited the 2nd place and then came Malcolm Wilson and Juha Kankkunen. Sainz drove the last day very carefully and had no problems, so Carlos took his first win this year. Schwarz took a very respectable second with the new Lancer Evolution. On the first stage of the day Wilson lost time because of injured steering and he dropped to 6th. Kankkunen came home third and shares now the championship lead with Sainz. Alex Fiorio came 4th with a privately entered Lancia Integrale. Ari Vatanen was happy to bring his Scmidt Motorsport Ford in front of Wilson who drove the factory-backed Ford Escort Cosworth. The five WRC rounds completed this season have all had different winners, a fact that shows how equal the top teams and drivers are at the moment. The rest of the season will, however, be a three-way battle for the championship between Kankkunen, Sainz and Auriol. Results of the WRC Acropolis Rally, Greece: 1. Carlos Sainz Subaru 6:36.38 2. Armin Schwarz Mitsubishi -4.01 3. Juha Kankkunen Toyota -5.53 4. Alessandro Fiorio Lancia -14.20 5. Ari Vatanen Ford -15.25 6. Malcolm Wilson Ford -22.47 7. Yoshio Fujimoto Toyota -32.25 8. Aris Vovos Lancia -42.37 ... 11. Winner of gr. N. Carlos Menem, Ford Championship standing, drivers: 1. Juha Kankkunen Toyota 57 points Carlos Sainz Subaru 57 3. Didier Auriol Toyota 47 4. Ian Duncan Toyota 20 Francois Delecour Ford 20 ... Next event: Rally of Argentina, June 29 - July 3. -- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= = Petri Karonen Email: pakar@jyu.fi = = "Of all the things I've lost I think I miss my Mind the most." = =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- J. Ferrell =-=

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