WRC

Safari Rally: Press release/standings

Safari Rally Kenya 98 Official Site: http://www.kenyaweb.com/safarirally/ Excerts from the press releases of the WRC teams: 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for...

Safari Rally Kenya 98 Official Site: http://www.kenyaweb.com/safarirally/

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 Final Top 10 Results Reference Sites and Further Information

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Mitsubishi http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/98safari/

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Richard Burns scored his first ever World Championship rally victory, taking the Safari Rally in brilliant style, simultaneoulsy giving the Carisma GT, launched a year ago, its first major victory. The 27 year-old British driver’s success – Mitsubishi’s fourth win on the gruelling Safari – has given Mitsubishi the lead in the 1998 World Rally Championship.

“This victory has made me a lot happier. It has been the most nerve-wracking day of my life, but I really wanted to win. There are so many unknown factors with this rally, but I had the experience to do it and the car to do it. The mechanics have been fantastic and we haven’t had a puncture all rally, which says a lot for Michelin. It’s also very nice to give the Carisma GT its first win – I think we’re developing together,” Burns stated.

“I't’s very special. To win any rally is special, but having been there and competed, I know how difficult the Safari is and how it can kick back when you think you’re doing well. To win the rally with two young guys like Richard and Robert, who have been part of the team for three years is fantastic,” said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan. “It is one of the most difficult rallies in the world and they’ve won it from the front. To have a second driver who can go out there and get on the pace is good for the whole team. This is a very important victory.”

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

Ford escorts finished a superb second and third on the world's toughest rally which ended in Kenya today. Juha Kankkunen moved into the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship by taking second on the classic Safari Rally while Ford World Rally team-mate Ari Vatanen was third as both Escorts displayed outstanding pace and reliability.

The result maintained Ford's 100 per cent reliability record in the 1998 championship. Both Valvoline-backed Escort World Rally Cam have now finished each of the three opening rounds in conditions ranging from the asphalt of Monte Carlo and the ice and snow of Sweden to the searing heat and rough pot-holed gravel tracks of Kenya.

The 38-year-old Kankkunen and co-driver Juha Repo, who restarted today's final leg behind Vatanen in third, moved ahead following the final competitive section at Nairobi Racecourse thanks to a tremendous sporting gesture from his fellow countryman. Vatanen, called up to the Ford team at late notice to replace the injured Bruno Thiry, is not contesting the full championship and willingly sacrificed second spot to assist Kankkunen's title challenge.

"I have to say that it was a great gesture from Ari and it's been really nice working with him on this event," said Kankkunen. "I was confident going into the rally that we would do well and although this year's Satan was shorter than in the past, its still incredibly tough. It's a great result for the Ford World Rally team and one that I'm sure we can build on. Now I'm looking forward to Portugal and, after three rounds, I feel I'm due a win."

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Toyota http://www.tte.de

The Toyota Castrol Team experienced in highs and lows of the Safari Rally in Kenya today. Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet brought their Toyota Corolla WRC home in fourth position, losing time with punctured tyres in the rough conditions. However, team-mates Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya succumbed to the demanding conditions in section 13 when their Corolla retired with suspension damage. Their only consolation was that Sainz maintained his lead in the World Rally Championship.

"We came here with the Corolla for the first time and, to be honest, we did not expect to win," said TTE President Ove Andersson. "Losing Carlos on the last day was a big blow but Didier's performance was a good reward for all the incredible work that everybody in the team put in for this event. This rally always takes a special effort and, for our first attempt with the Corolla WRC, we are pleased to have reached the finish with one car. Now our concentration goes back to Europe and preparations for rallies in Portugal, Spain and Corsica which are only a few weeks away."

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Subaru

"Disappointed just doesn’t cover it," said Colin. It looks like it might be one of the engine bearings, but it’s difficult for the engineers to say until they have a proper look at it. All our problems are just making the fight for the Championship harder and harder."

Team-mate Piero Liatti has shone in Africa; the Italian has only competed here once before but set fastest time on section nine ahead of five current and former World Champions. "We were just 300 metres away from the finish control when the engine just seized without warning. That was it, there was nothing we could do," said Piero.

Commenting on the team’s disappointment, David Lapworth, Technical Director said: "Last season we started and finished with three consecutive victories and it just goes to show how fortunes can change. The first three rallies haven’t been kind to us this year but these have all been very specialist events unlike anything else in the World Championship. Once we get to Portugal there is no reason why we shouldn’t be back to winning form."

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers

Carlos Sainz                16
Juha Kankkunen                16
Richard Burns                12
Tommi Makinen                10
Ari Vatanen                4
Didier Auriol                4
Cloin McRae                4
Piero Liatti                3
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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Top 10 Final Results

1 R.Burns/R.Reid GB/GB                  Mit Carisma GT        8:57:34
2 J.Kankkunen/J.Repo SF/SF                Ford Escort         9:07:01
3 A.Vatanen/F.Gallagher SF/GB                Ford Escort        9:07:26
4 D.Auriol/D.Giraudet F/F               Toyota Corolla         9:12:00
5 H.Rovanpera/V.Silander SF/SF                Seat Ibiza (F2)        11:03:12
6 R.Baumschlager/K.Wicha A/D                VW Golf (F2)        11:17:35
7 L.Climent/R.Romani E/E                Mit Lancer Evo 3 (N)        11:25:37
8 K.Rosenberger/P.Carlsson A/S                VW Golf (F2)        11:43:21
9 M.Brighetti/A.Sidi EAK/EAK                Subaru Impreza        11:53:35
10 K.Hirji/F.Nekusa EAU/EAU                Toyota Celica        12:01:03

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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

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 , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Didier Auriol , Marcus Gronholm , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Luis Moya , Ari Vatanen , Denis Giraudet , Piero Liatti , Juha Repo