WRC

Press Releases/Standings After Portugal

31st TAP Rallye De Portugal 98 Official Site: http://www.tap-rallyedeportugal.pt/iindex.html Excerts from the press releases of the WRC teams: 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings...

31st TAP Rallye De Portugal 98 Official Site: http://www.tap-rallyedeportugal.pt/iindex.html

Excerts from the press releases of the WRC teams: 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers Reference Sites and Further Information

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Subaru http://www.speedmedia.com (media access only)

Victory is what they came for and it was richly deserved. The 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist put in a crushing display of supremacy in the first true gravel event of the 1998 FIA World Rally Championship to win by 2.1 seconds over Carlos Sainz.

In the first real test of competitiveness this year, McRae and Grist dominated the Rally of Portugal from the outset, never once loosing the lead they established on special stage 3.

"This is just what we needed!" said Colin. "Winning was the only option for us hereand ten points has put us back in contention and where we should be. The rally has not been without its problems but we won and that’s what counts.

"For me it is disappointing but I found it quite difficult because the conditions on the stages changed each time. On one stage there would be many small rocks and then on the next it would be very clean," said Piero. "It was my first time in Portugal, so I suppose that is one reason, but I was sorry not to catch Ari and move into fifth position. Obviously I am very happy for Colin, Nicky and the 555 Subaru World Rally Team. Spain will be my turn to win.

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Toyota http://www.tte.de

Toyota Corolla WRC drivers Carlos Sainz and Freddy Loix played a starring role in the final, tense day of the Rally of Portugal. Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya set five fastest stage times as they reduced a 26 second gap to rally leader Colin McRae to 6.8 seconds before the last stage. However, they failed to win by just 2.1 seconds. The result maintained first place for both Sainz and Toyota in the Drivers' and Manufacturers' World Championships.

Although victory eluded him, former double world champion Sainz admitted that the final day's charge to second place filled him with satisfaction. "We had to make up a lot of time on Colin McRae but realised it might be possible. At the finish though, when we saw that there were only two seconds between us, we were very disappointed. But now it is not so bad - it was a fantastic battle, we made progress with the car and we still have the lead in the championship. With our home event in Catalunya coming next, it is good to go there in a strong position" said Carlos.

"It was a thrilling finish to the event, one that says so much about the high level of competition in the WRC" said TTE President Ove Andersson. "Carlos and Freddy both drove superbly and although we have to undertake some more development on the car, it is good to have such a competitive showing on this event."

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Mitsubishi http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/98portugal/index.html

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has retained its lead in the 1998 World Rally Championship for Manufacturers thanks to an excellent performance on the fourth round of the series, the Rally of Portugal, in which British driver Richard Burns came fourth in his Mitsubishi Carisma.

“We’ve came out in the same place in the championship as we were at the start – third – and Mitsubishi still leads the manufacturers’ championship. We’ve scored useful points and I’ve got to the end of another event without biffing the car! I’m a bit disappointed, because I lost too much time on the long stage yesterday and again today. Both times we lost something like 10 seconds, but it wasn’t a bad result,” Burns said.

As usual, Mitsubishi swept the board in Group N, the class for barely modified production cars. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs took the top four places, led home by vastly experienced Uruguayan Gustavo Trelles, co-driven Martin Christie, the Group N title winner for Mitsubishi for the past two years.

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Ford http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Ford preserved its remarkable reliability record on the 1998 FIA World Rally Championship when both Escort World Rally Cars of Juha Kankkunen and Ari Vatanen scored top 10 finishes on the Rally of Portugal which ended in Porto this evening. Both Escorts have finished each of the opening four rounds of the 14 event series, the only team which can boast a 100 percent record.

"I'm obviously very proud that once again both Ford Escorts have finished a world championship rally," said team director Malcolm Wilson. "Taking last years RAC Rally into account, it's now five rallies on the trot in which both cars have finished. We've been working hard on the car's reliability since the beginning of last year and it's clear for all to see that the Escort is currently the most reliable car in the world championship."

Wilson praised both his drivers for their efforts during the past four days. "Ari has done another fantastic job for the team. He's done exactly what I requested and finished in the points. As for Juha, this was probably one of his best drives since joining the team. Although the end result was disappointing, he held second for the best part or two days and his fightback today was superb. Just one more stage would have been enough to catch Liatti," he said.

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers

Carlos Sainz                22
Juha Kankkunen                16
Richard Burns                15
Cloin McRae                14
Tommi Makinen                10
Ari Vatanen                6
Didier Auriol                4
Piero Liatti                4
Freddy Loix                4
Kenneth Eriksson        3
Marcus Gronholm                2
Harri Rovanpera            2

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers

Mitsubishi                22
Ford                        21
Toyota                        19
Subaru                        10

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Reference Sites and further information:

1998 World Rally Championship coverage WRC Infosystem: http://www.travelnet.fi/wrc/ Rallysport.com: http://www.rallysport.com FIA info: http://www.fia.com/presse/ralnew-a/lista.htm

555 Subaru World Rally Team (media only)  http://www.speedmedia.com
Team Toyota Europe  http://www.tte.de
Mitsubishi Ralliart  http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/
Ford Motorsport press releases  http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Mobil 1 British Rally Championship http://www.motorsport.co.uk

Federation Internationale De L'Automobile (FIA) http://www.fia.com

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Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Freddy Loix , Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Didier Auriol , Marcus Gronholm , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Gustavo Trelles , Luis Moya , Nicky Grist , Ari Vatanen , Piero Liatti