WRC

Monte Carlo: The End.

67th Rally of Monte Carlo Round 1 of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship 17 January - 20 January 1999 Next World Championship event is Sweden, 12-14 Feb, http://www.swerally.se/ More than anything, the Monte Carlo demonstrated just how ...

67th Rally of Monte Carlo Round 1 of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship 17 January - 20 January 1999

Next World Championship event is Sweden, 12-14 Feb, http://www.swerally.se/

More than anything, the Monte Carlo demonstrated just how competitive the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship will be - more competitive cars with equally impressive drivers. Personally I look forward to the rest of the season and hope you all enjoyed the Monte...

----------------------------------------------------------- Comments from top drivers after the event:

Makinen: "I am really happy. It is one of the most difficult events I have ever won. Conditions were extreme. The toughest moment was on the first day when my disc bracket broke down. But fortunately this was solved the next day."

Kankkunen: "We have obtained a very good result, considering the time lost on the first day because of various problems, among them the tyres dilemma. I still need to learn the car's and its tyres' specifics."

McRae: "I am really satisfied. This has been a great Rally. The car was better than we could hope. We've experienced some mechanical trouble, but nothing surprising for such a new car. I think we will improve in the future."

Delecour: "We could not do anything more, as we asked everything from our car. Colignon's team was really great and we did not have any trouble with the car. Well done! Besides the 206 program, we will try to do one or two short stints like this one."

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MITSUBISHI WINS MONTE CARLO RALLY OUTRIGHT AND GROUP N:

Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart has won the Monte Carlo Rally, the first round of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship, thanks to an outstanding performance from World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen of Finland, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It is the first time that Mitsubishi has won the Monte Carlo Rally.

It was a momentous victory. everyone at Mitsubishi has dreamed of winning the Monte Carlo Rally - the oldest and perhaps the most famous rally of all - from the moment they started rallying and it was a great day for Makinen too, for no Finnish driver had won this event since 1986. It was also Mitsubishi's fifth consecutive victory on a World Championship rally.

"It's one of the best victories for me. I have led the rally for the past two years and both times something went wrong, so it is nice to win it finally. It's an excellent feeling," said a delighted Makinen.

It was a dramatic day for the Group N production class drivers too, but there was never any doubt that Mitsubishi would triumph. Belgian ace Marc Duez skidded off on the same Col de Turini bend that eliminated Panizzi, but still made sure of victory in his Mitsubishi Carisma GT, co-driven by Philippe Dupuy, beating Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles with MItsubishi Lancer Evolution, the Group N World Champion for the last three years for Mitsubishi.

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SUBARU WORLD RALLY TEAM:

Four times World Champion, Juha Kankkunen, finished second on his maiden outing in the Subaru Impreza WRC99, after quickly finding the car's potential. Setting a fastest time yesterday, he gave notice of his intent, but his vast experience has taught him to combine attacking with a degree of reserve. "Yesterday I was learning the user's manual of the car. Today, I think the Subaru is the Rolls-Royce of rallying", said the Finn this afternoon.

Bruno Thiry's event began convincingly, scoring a fastest time on the second stage of the rally, and returning times consistently in the top five. The second day was however a different matter, with the crew reporting worsening conditions, and the inevitable problems in adapting the handling of the car to suit. Going into the final day, Thiry suffered a set-back with a puncture which cost him fifth place, but re-focused on ensuring a points placing for the Driver's Championship, and finished in sixth. "I had some bad luck again this morning with the puncture - without it the day would have been better, but overall I am happy with my start with Subaru," he said.

Britain's Richard Burns endured a torrid start to the rally, dropping over four minutes with an excursion from the road when he encountered black ice on the very first stage. His confidence returned quickly, but as he started to recover the time yesterday, his efforts were undone by a misfire on the ascent to the notorious Col de Turini - at 1500m and capped in snow, the worst possible time to be denied full engine power. Dropping a further handful of minutes on day two effectively meant that Burns could only play out a watching brief today - in case those ahead of him ran into trouble. Running quickly and confidently on the final leg, the summary for Burns in Monte Carlo can only be 'what might have been.

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PODIUM FINISH FOR FORD FOCUS ON WORLD RALLY DEBUT: The debut of the Ford Focus World Rally Car ended in success when Colin McRae and Nicky Grist finished a tremendous third on the Monte Carlo Rally which ended in Monaco this afternoon. The pairing set fastest time on four speed tests during the four-day asphalt event in the southern French mountains, the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship - more than winner Tommi Mäkinen.

"Now I've learned a great deal more about the feel of the Focus and how it works so my confidence has grown as the event has gone on. And the really encouraging factor is that there's much more performance still to come," added McRae.

Jean-Joseph produced a performance of great maturity. "My target was to finish the rally and learn more about the car, the team, my co-driver and the world championship, which are all so new to me. I've achieved that and I'm delighted," he said. Experienced co-driver Gallagher was full of praise for his driver. "He's coped extremely well with a massive learning curve during the last four days. Not many drivers have set a top six time on only their second ever world rally."

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TOYOTA TEAM CASTROL:

AURIOL FLIES TO FOURTH IN THE TOYOTA COROLLA WRC:

Flying through his favourite stages, Didier Auriol and the Toyota Castrol Team were at the heart of a monumental battle for fourth position on today's closing leg of the Rallye Monte Carlo. With less than four seconds separating Thiry, Auriol and Delecour at the start of the final competitive section, the Frenchman and co-driver Denis Giraudet took total control to snatch fourth in a nail-biting duel to the end.

"It was always our plan to beat Bruno (Thiry) and Francois (Delecour) so this is not so bad eh!" said a delighted Didier. "I know these stages very well and I just tried to push hard all the time, but without taking risks and being cautious in the right places. When sections of the road were dry, I went completely flat out. For sure this rally was not so easy; we fought hard, but this result is good for us and I am pleased."

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SEAT MAKES HISTORY IN MONTE CARLO:

Monaco (20.1.99) SEAT Sport's first ever World rally special stage win, achieved on rallying's most famous stage - the Col de Turini, was one of the many high points as the SEAT WRC demonstrated its potential as a top-class World Championship challenger on the opening round of the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship.

SEAT WRC drivers Piero Liatti (Italy) and Harri Rovanperä (Finland) drove exceptionally well, and between them set top 10 times on 13 out of the 14 stages and a total of six top three stage times. The speed of the SEAT WRC was matched by its reliability - highlighted by the fact that SEAT was the only manufacturer to complete the gruelling Monte Carlo Rally with both its cars scoring points.

Jaime Puig, SEAT Sport Director, said: "This has been a wonderful performance by the SEAT Sport team, and are delighted that all our objectives on the Monte Carlo Rally have been achieved. We proved that the SEAT WRC is competitive by scoring our first fastest stage time on the the Col de Turini - World rallying's most famous stage - and SEAT is the only manufacturer to have both cars finish in the points, which highlight how reliable the car is. We are ready to challenge for the lead on all rallies now."

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Final Results (all): MAKINEN Tommi FIN Mitsubishi Lancer Evo A8 5h16m50,6s KANKKUNEN Juha FIN Subaru Impreza WRC99 A8 5h18m35,3s MC RAE Colin GB Ford Focus WRC A8 5h20m07,4s AURIOL Didier F Toyota Corolla WRC A8 5h20m43,4s DELECOUR François F Ford Escort WRC A8 5h20m51,8s THIRY Bruno B Subaru Impreza WRC 99 A8 5h20m53,1s LIATTI Piero I Seat WRC 98 A8 5h23m48,7s ROVANPERA Harri FIN Seat WRC 98 A8 5h23m52,9s BURNS Richard GB Subaru Impreza WRC99 A8 5h26m15,2s LUNDGAARD Henrik DK Toyota Corolla WRC A8 5h30m56,8s JEAN-JOSEPH Simon F Ford Focus WRC A8 5h33m53,9s DUEZ Marc B Mitsubishi Carisma Evo5 N4 5h43m31,2s PEDERSOLI Luca I Toyota Celica A8 5h46m49,1s TRELLES Gustavo U Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5 N4 5h51m07,7s HOLDERIED Isolde D Toyota Corolla WRC A8 5h53m09,9s GARDEMEISTER T. FIN Seat Ibiza Kit Car A7 5h53m50,3s SPILIOTIS Chris. F Subaru Impreza WRX N4 5h54m59,7s ARNAUD Christophe F Subaru Impreza N4 5h55m41,5s MASELLI Andréa I Renault Clio Williams A7 5h58m30,9s FRAU Richard F Mazda 323 GTR A8 6h02m23,9s FONT Ferran AND Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5 N4 6h03m22,8s TRUPHEMUS David F Peugeot 306 S16 N3 6h13m16,3s ROTTER Horst D Opel Astra N3 6h14m36,0s ROUIT Patrice F Citroën ZX 16S A7 6h14m43,1s BASSO G. I Fiat 600 Sporting A5 6h15m43,2s MANICCIA Frédéric F Renault Clio Williams N3 6h20m30,4s ZEHETMAIER Peter D Fiat 600 Sporting A5 6h21m30,0s KONSTANTINE M. GR Fiat 600 Sporting A5 6h21m59,7s FIDANZA Raffaello I Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5 N4 6h26m00,7s BARTH Jûrgen D Subaru Vivio N1 6h26m11,3s TSJOEN Pieter B Mitsubishi Lancer Evo4 N4 6h26m18,3s VAGNINI Jader RSM Fiat 600 Sporting A5 6h27m22,8s GRILLERER C. F Honda Intégra Type R N3 6h27m35,9s MENEGATTO Marco MC Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5 N4 6h31m28,1s JAUSSAUD Bernard F Renault Clio Williams A7 6h34m21,7s FASSBENDER Roel NL Fiat 600 Sporting A5 6h35m08,6s VERGERPION Jérome F Citroën Saxo VTS A6 6h35m10,8s COLSOUL Bob F Mitsubishi Lancer Evo5 N4 6h38m19,7s CECCATO Massimo I Fiat 600 Sporting A5 6h38m22,9s ROCHE Jean-Pierre F Renault Clio 1.8L N3 6h43m46,9s BOSSE Peter D Opel Astra A7 6h48m07,5s MOLBERT Jacques F Peugeot 205 GTI N3 6h53m46,9s MOSSON Gérard F Renault Clio Williams N3 6h54m11,9s ALLEMAND Pascal F Citroën AX GTI N1 6h58m31,4s TOCCO Guiseppa I Fiat 600 Sporting A5 7h01m56,7s DE CASTELLI M. F Peugeot 205 GTI A7 7h04m53,6s CADRINGHER G. I Subaru Vivio N1 7h41m04,5s ROBERT Patrick F Peugeot 106 XSI A5 7h41m13,7s

"Cynan 'Dusty' Rhodes" <cynan@harvestroad.com.au> http://www.dusty.com.au

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Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Didier Auriol , Juha Kankkunen , Gustavo Trelles , Nicky Grist , Denis Giraudet , Piero Liatti , Philippe Dupuy , Jaime Puig
Teams Williams , Citroën World Rally Team
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