FIA World Rally Championship 3 - 6 May 1998 42nd Tour de Corse - Rallye de France Tuesday 5 May 1998 The Subaru Impreza 555 WRC of Scot Colin McRae and Welsh co-driver Nicky Grist, leads the field tonight at the rest...
FIA World Rally Championship 3 - 6 May 1998 42nd Tour de Corse - Rallye de France Tuesday 5 May 1998
The Subaru Impreza 555 WRC of Scot Colin McRae and Welsh co-driver Nicky Grist, leads the field tonight at the rest halt in Ajaccio, after Leg Two of the 42nd Tour de Corse - Rallye de France, sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Second, after a hard-fought battle, which saw him climb up from fourth place, is the Spaniard of Toyota, Carlos Sainz and third, a mere 4,7 seconds behind, is Italian Piero Liatti in another Subaru Impreza 555 WRC
The Scot has extended to 47,1 seconds his overnight lead, setting fastest times on three of today's six stages; his Spanish rival has won two and his Italian team-mate, after struggling all day with his car set-up, eventually won the last stage.
Frenchman François Delecour dropped from second to fourth place, as the stages changed from yesterday's entirely wet to a mix of dry and damp which, according to the Peugeot's driver, are the worst conditions for the his 2-Litre racer.
Briton Richard Burns in the remaining Mitsubishi, withdrew between stage 10 and stage 11 with broken suspension, leaving the Japanese manufacturer short of any points score in the championship.
The second leg, from Ajaccio up into the Corsican mountains around Corte, produced generally drier conditions, although wet sections of road again placed a premium on the correct tyre choice, especially on the final stage where some rain fell.
The third and final leg of the 42nd Tour de Corse-Rallye de France starts tomorrow at 07h00 for the concluding six stages (134.65 kilometres) all of which are a repetition of Leg One. The remaining competitors will reach the finish ramp in Ajaccio at 16h00. Mitsubishi
When Carisma GT driver Richard Burns retired after leaving the road and damaging the front of his car, the team was left without any hope of scoring points in the FIA World Rally Championship. "It has been a good learning experience," said Burns. "I have seen all the stages and we were pretty close to the pace, closer than I thought."
The only consolation for the Manufacturer came from Production Cars category, where leader Manfred Stohl from Austria and second placed Uruguayan Gustavo Trelles both drive Mitsubishis. Subaru
Colin McRae set fastest times on the opening two stages, as the damper conditions suited well his Pirelli tyres. "I don't know why we are that much quicker," said the Scot, "although our softer suspension can account for some of it." As the day progressed conditions became drier, but McRae continued to push hard and concluded the day with a confortable 47,1 seconds over Carlos Sainz. "I would be happy if tomorrow's stage will be as wet as the first day," concluded McRae" but, even if we have to see what tomorrow brings, I'm happy with our gap and with the fact that the others don't seem to be catching us, even on drier roads."
Team-mate Piero Liatti was initially in a different mood, as his car's suspension setting didn't meet his expectations: "I don't feel as happy as last night," said the Italian. "The car is moving around a lot more." But after a further change he recovered his smile, when he won the last stage of the day. Ford
Although running without major problems, both Fords dropped time today, with less than ideal choices of rubber. "Yes, today was unfortunate," said Thiry who lies tonight sixth, "but tomorrow we'll continue to attack, with the aim to overhaul Auriol and Delecour." Thiry was lucky between stage 10 and 11, when he had no time to change a punctured tyre and had to complete the some 32 km on the Michelin anti-puncture mousse, returning a creditable time within 10 seconds of stage winner.
Finn Juha Kankkunen was frustrated by his performance on an event where he lacks experience, having contested it only twice. "We have had no problems today," said Kankkunen. "My problem is that the last time I started this rally was 1995." Toyota
Carlos Sainz was happy of his day, as improving weather conditions saw an increase of his form: "Yes we did a good job today," said Sainz. "We were a bit worried this morning, when the engine cut out on the way to the first stage, but we soon sorted it out. We'll do all we can tomorrow to close the gap to Colin (McRae), but is difficult to guess how the weather will affect the battle for victory."
Didier Auriol suffered a misfire and some gearshift problem and lies tonight in fifth. "When the car has been running well we have set some competitive times," said the Frenchman.
"The only thing I don't like is when the conditions are uncertain and it is difficult to get a good feeling with the car." Other Teams
François Delecour is still mixing it with the four-wheel drive cars and lies in fourth, while his Peugeot team-mate Gilles Panizzi is seventh. Citroen's Philippe Bugalski is next in eighth, while the sister cars od Fabien Doenlen Patrick Magaud are tenth and eleventh. TODAY STATISTICS
Leg 2 covered 486.79 km, including 129.88 km on 6 special stages. Starters: 69 cars (38 Group A + 31 Group N), re-started the rally. Leading retirements (French unless stated): Burns (GB) SS7 Gare de Carbuccia (11.11 km) 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 07m59s00 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 08m04s00 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 08m06s01 Leaders after SS7 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 1h39m45s03 2 Liatti (I), Subaru 1h40m16s00 3 Delecour (F), Peugeot 1h40m21s00 SS8 Muracciole (16.48 km) 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 10m30s06 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 10m39s00 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 10m39s04 Leaders after SS8 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 1h50m15s09 2 Liatti (I), Subaru 1h50m55s04 3 Sainz (E), Toyota 1h51m02s01 SS9 Feo (26.27km) 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 13m13s07 2 McRae (GB), Subaru 13m17s04 3 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 13m18s04 Leaders after SS9 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 2h03m33s03 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 2h04m15s08 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 2h04m16s01 SS10 Pont St. Laurent (17.84 km) 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 11m24s07 2 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 11m26s04 3 Bugalski (F), Citroën 11m26s07 = Delecour (F), Peugeot 11m26s07 Leaders after SS10 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 2h15m03s03 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 2h15m40s05 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 2h15m52s04 SS11 Morosaglia (31.91 km) 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 20m40s04 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 20m42s04 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 20m44s08 Leaders after SS11 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 2h35m43s07 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 2h36m22s09 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 2h36m37s02 SS12 Feo (26.27km) 1 Liatti (I), Subaru 13m36s01 2 McRae (GB), Subaru 13m37s08 3 Auriol (F), Toyota 13m43s07 Leaders after SS12 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 2h49m21s05 2 Sainz (E), Ford 2h50m08s06 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 2h50m13s03 TOMORROW Wednesday 6 May The third and final leg starts from Ajaccio, Margonajo Harbour, at 07h00 and covers 329.45 km, including 134.65 km on 6 special stages. The first car is expected on the finish podium of Ajaccio, Margonajo Harbour, at 16h00. Weather forecast Variable, with showers in the mountains.