WRC

Safari Rally Results Update, Team Notes

1999 Safari Rally Kenya Official Site: http://www.safarirally.co.ke Unofficial Site: http://www.thesafarirally.com/ Round 3 of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship 25-28 February 1999 Tommi Makinen Has Now Been Excluded From The Safari ...

1999 Safari Rally Kenya Official Site: http://www.safarirally.co.ke Unofficial Site: http://www.thesafarirally.com/ Round 3 of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship 25-28 February 1999

Tommi Makinen Has Now Been Excluded From The Safari Rally.

Toyota Team Europe lodged an official protest against Mitsubishis's Tommi Makinen, for allegedly receiving External Physical Assistance on Competitive Section 2 of the Safari. This protest has now been upheld.

The protest refers to an incident when Makinen and navigator Risto Mannisenmaki stopped to change punctured wheels in the middle of CS2 Isinya, and spectators became involved in the operation. The claim was backed up by video evidence

Under World Championship Rally rules, competitors are not allowed to receive External Physical Assistance outside designated Service Parks. Any work on the car outside these areas must be conducted by the crew themselves, using only parts and tools carried in the competing car. The issue is whether any action by the spectators constituted a breach of this rule. There has been much informal debate on the subject during the event, with the definitions of the rule itself being discussed as much as the particular incident.

Toyota now lead the Manufacturers Championship but Makinen continues to lead the Drivers Championship.

----------------------------------------------------------- Ford Martini

"This win means more to me than my first Safari success," said 30-year-old McRae, who won the Kenyan event in 1997. "This is a new car and a new team and for me that makes this very special.

"This is a good indicator for the rest of the season. In its first three rallies the Focus has finished third twice and won here and they're superb results for any car let alone one which is still in the relatively early stages of development. The engineers have done a fantastic job in designing the car.

"It was a controlled drive. You can't drive flat out and win the Safari but we found a good pace throughout and it worked well. Over the last few months we've experienced big highs and big lows but this is the biggest high of all," added McRae.

Solberg's performance on his debut drive in both the Focus and the rally, drew praise from experienced Safari veterans. "We came out here firstly with the aim of trying to finish the rally and secondly of going for a top 10 place. To finish sixth and score points in both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships is a great feeling."

----------------------------------------------------------- Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart

No comment yet on the exclusion of Makinen.

An exciting battle for the Group N crown was one of the highlights of the last leg. Marlboro Middle East driver Hamed Al-Wahaibi started the day under two minutes ahead of fellow Lancer Evolution drive Luis Climent of Spain - a tiny gap in Safari terms. Climent closed in at first, but Al Wahaibi kept his nerve to score his first Group N win at World Championship level. He finished in ninth place overall - a stupendous result against much more highly modified cars.

"We've been flying today. I was a bit disappointed with our performance yesterday and I really wanted to win - second place just wasn't enough," said Al Wahaibi.

----------------------------------------------------------- Toyota Team Castrol

Toyota has once again demonstrated superiority in Kenya with three Corolla WRC crews finishing in the top six. Nominated drivers Didier Auriol/Denis Giraudet and Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya finished in top points-scoring 2nd and 3rd positions respectively, while Kenyan veterans Ian Duncan and Dave Williamson had the honour of finishing first of the privateers in 4th position

Auriol: "Carlos was right behind us, but it was also important to keep the pressure on Tommi while still preserving the car and tyres. The tracks today were much more rutted because they had already been used once, but the speeds were still exceptionally high -- we were doing over 200 kph in sixth gear in some sections. It's been long and hard, but this is a good result for Toyota.

Sainz: "It's been a tough event, we've suffered a few problems, but the Corolla has stood up to the challenge and I am happy to have added to our points tally. It would have been better if either Didier or I could have won, but it is good to see Colin (McRae) winning the event and breaking the run of luck Tommi has had."

Duncan: "The competition has been steep but we have been competitive against the best drivers in the world. There's a lot for us to be pleased about."

----------------------------------------------------------- Seat Sport

SEAT was satisfied with the performance of its World Rally Car (WRC) on its Safari Rally debut, after reaching the finish of the hardest event in the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship in a points-scoring position.

Rovanpera said: "The rally has been a very good test for the SEAT WRC. The stages were extremely difficult, much harder than last year. All the team performed very well, but the problems we encountered didn't allow us to challenge for the lead. I enjoyed driving the SEAT WRC at over 200kph on the African stages - it was an incredible experience."

Team-mate Piero Liatti had been as high as 4th. Co-driven by fellow Italian Carlo Cassina, Liatti had completed 90% of the gruelling 1,010km competitive route when his car's engine stopped after the oil pump failed.

Liatti said: "We were going very well, then suddenly the oil pressure warning light on the dashboard came on. The car stopped 45kms before the end of the section and it was impossible for us to continue. This rally has been very hard, but it has also given us a great deal of experience. Until the engine stopped we had encountered no major problems with the SEAT WRC at all - which on its Safari Rally debut is a fantastic achievement."

----------------------------------------------------------- Subaru World Rally Team

All Subaru WRT drivers retired from the rally. Juha Kankkunen and Bruno Thiry with the failure of Electronic Control Unit and Richard Burns with suspension failure while leading.

Allstars driver, Freddy Dor driving a Subaru Impreza, claimed another strong Safari finish, holding station on the final leg to return to Nairobi in 8th position, and in doing so claimed the FIA Team's Cup win on this event.

Hideaki Miyoshi, driving a Group N Subaru Impreza - the class for production standard cars - secured an amazing 11th position and 3rd in Group N.

-----------------------------------------------------------

1999 FIA World Rally Championship: Manufacturers Classification after the Safari Rally Kenya

Toyota                23
Mitsubishi        20
Ford                17
Subaru                10
Seat                7

1999 FIA World Rally Championship: Drivers Classification after the Safari Rally Kenya

Makinen                20
McRae                10
Auriol                13
Sainz                10
Kankkunen        7
Radstrom        4
Duncan                3
Delecour        3
Solberg                2
Burns                2
Thiry                2
Rovanpera        1
Liatti                1

-----------------------------------------------------------

Full Unofficial results (24 finishers) 1 MCRAE Ford GB A10 8:41:39 2 AURIOL Toyota F A10 8:56:05 3 SAINZ Toyota E A10 8:59:46 4 DUNCAN Toyota EAK A10 9:05:35 5 SOLBERG Ford N A10 9:26:28 6 ROVANPERA SEAT FIN A10 9:40:08 7 DOR Subaru F A10 9:41:38 8 AL WAHAIBI Mitsubishi OM N5 10:05:09 9 CLIMENT Mitsubishi E N5 10:08:24 10 MIYOSHI Toyota EAK A10 11:21:28 12 STOHL Mitsubishi A N5 11:41:42 13 HELLIER Mitsubishi EAK A10 11:48:44 14 LLOYD Subaru GB N5 11:51:31 15 MURJI Subaru GB N5 12:22:27 16 REHSI Subaru EAK N5 12:32:32 17 TILBURY Nissan GB N5 13:19:32 18 KIMATHI Hyundai EAK A9 13:26:16 19 WAHOME Subaru EAK N5 13:44:26 20 ROSE Subaru EAK A10 13:51:22 21 SEHMI Subaru EAK N5 14:18:53 22 KHAN Subaru EAK N5 14:23:42 23 ROCCA Subaru I A10 14:45:55 24 ESSAJEE Mitsubishi EAK N5 15:36:27

"Cynan 'Dusty' Rhodes" <cynan@harvestroad.com.au>

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , Juha Kankkunen , Luis Moya , Piero Liatti , Carlo Cassina
Teams Williams