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FIA World Rally Championship 24 - 27 July 1998 28th Rally New Zealand Monday 27 July 1998 _________________________________________________________________ Spaniard Carlos...

FIA World Rally Championship 24 - 27 July 1998 28th Rally New Zealand Monday 27 July 1998 _________________________________________________________________ Spaniard Carlos Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya of the Toyota Castrol Team, won today in Manukau, near Auckland, the 28th Rally New Zealand, after three days and 1466.12 km, of which 360.58 km were on 23 special stages.

It was Sainz's 22nd WRC win and moved him to the top of the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers. In a thrilling battle to the finish the Spanish crew just edged out French team-mates Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet by 4.1 seconds.

The two Toyota crew swapped the lead twice as they dominated the event, after a short burst from Subaru's Colin McRae. The one-two finish, Toyota's second of the year, also moved the Germany based team to the head of the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.

Third, after a cautious run, was reigning world champion Tommi Makinen, the Finn gaining precious points to remain in contention for the championship.

The last day of the rally was the longest and toughest, with no fewer than 182 kilometres of stages, concentrated in the farmland close to the west coast of Raglan, south of Auckland.

After early rain, bright sunshine and a strong wind dried the stages, posing a very different challenge for the drivers. From New Zealand, the FIA World Rally Championship crews head back to Europe to the fastest rally in the calendar, the Neste Rally Finland, which will run from 20 to 23 of August. Toyota "I'm delighted for myself, for Didier (Auriol) and for the whole team," said a beaming Sainz on the finish podium. "To set a new record of WRC wins is very important, but it is just as nice to score victory at this point in the championship after some less fortunate results. The fight was fantastic all the time and a fair one." Auriol second place moved him up to fourth in the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers.

"Being the first car on the road when the stages became dry was definitely a disadvantage," said the Frenchman, but I tried my best to the very end and I'm pleased to be back in the fight for the title." Mitsubishi Tommi Makinen climbed from sixth place to third in the two long stages that started the day.

"This was a very important result for us," said the Finn. "We have scored useful points, we have revived our hopes in the championship and we have some good rallies for us coming soon."

British team-mate Richard Burns looked to have a good chance of a top score, but rolled his Carisma GT on the first stage of the morning and, despite winning three of the remaining six stages, could not get higher than ninth.

"I'm pleased that we were up there setting good times," said Burns, "but I'm also disappointed not to get the result the team deserved." Subaru Fastest time in the first stage of the day, the 47 km long Te Koraha, elevated McRae to third place, only 18 seconds adrift of new leader Sainz. But, on the second pass through the same section, a puncture forced the Scot to drive on a flat tyre for more than 25 kilometres and wiped out any hope of success.

"We had a great run through (the stage) the first time and we decided to lighten the car taking away the spare wheel," said McRae. "Unluckily we got a puncture and lost three minutes, but it was worth the risk."

Piero Liatti scored one point for the team, although struggling to match the leading times. "I believe our position on the road was a bit of a disadvantage," said the Italian. "After my results here in the past years, I was confident that I could be more competitive." Ford Finn Juha Kankkunen finished, for the third consecutive event, in the points, keeping alive his hopes of a record fifth world title. "As the day went on the roads dried out more and more," said Kankkunen. "So the first couple of cars through the stages were sweeping the loose gravel from the road, giving us a much cleaner run." Other Teams In the 2-Litre category, the Spanish manufacturer Seat, has added 16 points to its lead in the World Cup, thanks to the first place and second in the category of Finns Harri Rovanpera and Toni Gardemeister. Australian Michael Guest won Group N, with reigning champion and championship leader, Uruguayan Gustavo Trelles, a strong second after suffering brake problems. Swede Thomas Radström finished seventh to win the FIA Teams' Cup class for HF Grifone in his Corolla WRC, increasing the Italian team's advantage over second placed, Uruguay en Carrera, to a confortable 29 points. TODAY'S STATISTICS Leg 3 covered 631.86 km, including 182.38 km, on 6 special stages. Starters: 58 cars (36 Group A + 22 Group N), re-started the rally. Leading retirements (New Zealander unless stated): Bell (AUS) SS19 Te Koraha 1 (47.43 km) 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 34m16.1 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 34m21.6 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 34m31.1 Leaders after SS19 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 02h18m15.6 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 02h18m26.4 3 McRae (GB), Subaru 02h18m34.1 SS20 Te Koraha 2 (47.43 km) 1 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 35m09.0 2 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 35m18.0 3 Auriol (F), Toyota 35m18.6 = Kankkunen (FIN), Ford 35m18.6 Leaders after SS20 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 02h53m43.6 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 02h53m45.0 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 02h54m38.8 SS21 Pekanui (16.50 km) 1 Auriol (F), Toyota 10m18.5 2 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 10m19.8 3 Sainz (E), Toyota 10m24.4 Leaders after SS21 1 Auriol (F), Toyota 03h04m03.5 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 03h04m08.0 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 03h05m04.0 SS22 Bridal Veil (22.48 km) 1 Sainz (E), Ford 16m45.8 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 16m49.4 3 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 16m55.3 Leaders after SS22 1 Auriol (F), Toyota 03h20m52.9 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 03h20m53.8 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 03h22m02.4 SS23 Mangatawhiri (6.63 km) 1 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 03m51.4 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 03m51.7 3 Auriol (F), Toyota 03m53.2 Leaders after SS23 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 03h24m45.5 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 03h24m46.1 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 03h25m57.1 SS24 Whaanga Coast (29.52 km) 1 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 21m49.9 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 21m52.3 3 Auriol (F), Toyota 21m53.8 Leaders after SS24 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 03h46m37.8 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 03h46m39.9 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 03h48m14.1 SS25 Te Huteway (11.39 km) 1 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 08m18.0 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 08m19.3 3 Auriol (F), Toyota 08m21.3 Leaders in Brookby after SS25 1 Sainz (E), Toyota 03h54m57.1 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 03h55m01.2 3 Mäkinen (FIN), Mitsubishi 03h56m40.8 4 Kankkunen (FIN), Ford 03h57m03.8 5 McRae (GB), Subaru 03h58m47.5 6 Liatti (I), Subaru 03h59m25.2 7 Radström (S), Toyota 04h02m28.6 8 Kataoka (J), Mitsubishi 04h10m11.7 9 Burns (GB), Mitsubishi 04h10m26.6 10 Fujimoto (J), Toyota 04h10m27.6 2-Litre leaders in Brookby after SS25 1 Rovanpera (FIN), Seat 04h16m13.6 2 Gardemeister (FIN),Seat 04h18m30.1 3 Eriksson (S), Hyundai 04h20m43.5 4 Rosenberger (A), VW 04h26m48.3 5 Tajima (J), Suzuki 04h29m04.6 6 Avci (TR), Renault 04h39m37.2 Gr. N leaders in Brookby after SS25 1 Guest (AUS), Subaru 04h15m10.0 2 Trelles (ROU), Mitsubishi 04h16m51.5 3 Stohl (A), Mitsubishi 04h18m27.9 4 Meekings (NZ), Mitsubishi 04h20m23.7 5 Al Wahaibi(OM),Mitsubishi 04h21m22.4 6 Miyoshi (J), Subaru 04h24m18.2 RALLY STATISTICS

The rally covered 1466.12 kms, including 360.58 kms on 23 special stages ( six run twice). All stages were on gravel public roads closed to other traffic. Starters: 79 cars (50 Group A + 29 Group N), started the rally Finishers: 50 (32 Group A + 18 Group N) Special Stage winners (some shared): Sainz (E) (SS1-3-9-13-15-22) McRae (GB) (SS2-6-19) Burns (GB) (SS13-23-24-25) Makinen (FIN) (SS20) Auriol (F) (SS4-5-7-8-12-14-16-17-18-21) Rally leaders: SS1 Sainz (E), Toyota SS2 McRae (GB), Subaru SS3 Sainz (E), Toyota SS4 McRae (GB), Subaru SS5 Sainz (E), Toyota SS6-SS7 McRae (GB), Subaru SS8-SS18 Auriol (F), Toyota SS19-SS20 Sainz (E), Toyota SS21-SS22 Auriol (F), Toyota SS23-SS25 Sainz (E), Toyota WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers (unofficial positions after 9 of 13 rounds): Sainz (E) 41, McRae (GB) 38, Mäkinen (FIN) 28, Kankkunen (FIN)27, Auriol (F) 27, Burns (GB) 21, others. FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers (unofficial positions after 9 of 13 rounds): Toyota 63, Subaru 52, Mitsubishi 49, Ford 36. . FIA Cup for Drivers of Production Cars (unofficial positions after 9 of 13 rounds): Trelles (ROU) 68, Stohl (A) 55, Climent (E) 29, Al Wahaibi (OM) 19, Walfridson (S) 13, Guest (AUS) 13, Backlund (S) 8, others. FIA 2-Litre World Cup for Manufacturers (unofficial positions after 9 of 13 rounds): Seat 75, Peugeot 55, Volkswagen 26, Renault 12, Hyundai 12. FIA Teams' Cup (unofficial positions after 9 of 13 rounds): Grifone HF (I) 50, Uruguay en Carrera (ROU) 21, Mobil 1 Stomil Olsztyn (PL) 20, Toyota Turkey (TR) 15, Sawfish Racing Team (A) 15, others NEXT EVENT August 20 - 23 : Neste Rally Finland, Jyvaskyla (Finland). Round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championships.

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Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Didier Auriol , Thomas Radstrom , Juha Kankkunen , Gustavo Trelles , Luis Moya , Toni Gardemeister , Denis Giraudet , Piero Liatti , Michael Guest