WRC

Rally NZ Toyota Castrol Leg 1 Report

Toyota Castrol Team drivers Auriol and Sainz take early advantage Toyota Castrol Team duo Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet, and Spanish team-mates Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya, brightened-up a wet and windy day in New Zealand with their driving...

Toyota Castrol Team drivers Auriol and Sainz take early advantage

Toyota Castrol Team duo Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet, and Spanish team-mates Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya, brightened-up a wet and windy day in New Zealand with their driving in the opening leg of the 1998 Rally New Zealand. With a total of six fastest stage times between them, they claimed first and second places respectively at the overnight halt in Manukau, south of Auckland. Completing a strong day for Toyota Corolla WRC drivers, Marcus Gronholm held down seventh place (leading the FIA Teams' Cup section), Thomas Radstrom was eighth and Yoshio Fujimoto 11th.

Heavy rain and high winds turned the six forest stages around Maramarua, south east of Auckland, into tricky tracks. Even the two-kilometre spectator special stage in Manukau City became a mudbath in the wet conditions. However, Auriol's pace on the last stage of the day elevated him into the lead of the rally, just 2.2 seconds ahead of team-mate Sainz.

"Of course it is good to be leading but, perhaps for the first time in my career, I would prefer not to be at the front of the field!" said Auriol. "Here in New Zealand, if the roads are dry, it is usually a disadvantage to be the first car on the road, clearing the loose gravel for the other cars. But if it stays wet tomorrow, then I am not too worried about it. Anyway, we know that the car is strong in these conditions and I have a good feeling and rhythm now. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's stages."

Former double World Champion Sainz made the early running as he swapped the lead with chief rival Colin McRae. "A lot of it depended on making the right tyre choice. We switched to narrower Michelins during the day and the performance was strong because they could cut through the muddy conditions a lot better. Being in second place is fine for me but it is still very early in the rally and I am sure that there will be a big fight right until the finish on Monday," said the Spaniard.

Results

SS 8 Manukau Super 2: 2,10 km - 15:15 h (top 30 cars in reverse order)

Times on SS 8 Overall position after SS 8

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        1:40,7        1        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        27:02,7
2        Burns        Mitsubishi        1:41,6        2        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        27:04,9
3        Kataoka        Mitsubishi        1:41,9        3        McRae        Subaru                27:07,1
4        Makinen        Mitsubishi        1:42,3        4        Burns        Mitsubishi        27:15,7
5        Kankkun        Ford                1:42,4        5        Kankkun        Ford                27:18,8
6        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        1:42,5        6        Makinen        Mitsubishi        27:25,8
7        Liatti        Subaru                1:43,9        7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        27:27,2
7        Kamioka        Subaru                1:43,9        8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        27:49,8
9        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        1:44,2        9        Liatti        Subaru                27:50,4
10        Kangas        Subaru                1:44,3        10        Bourne        Subaru                27:59,5
16        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        1:47,4        11        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        28:49,0
17        FujimotoToyota Corolla        1:48,6

Remarks: Weather: hard rain. Road conditions: wet and slushy - worse than last night. Sainz: "These stages are very short and slippery, so we had to wait and see a bit tomorrow. Today is like the RAC." Auriol: "It's been good. It's nice when you do the stages a second time, but I don't really want to start first." Radstrom: "I start very carefully. I want absolutely to go to the finish. He (Gronholm) is a little bit another position to me." McRae: slowed on purpose on ss 8. "For a few seconds, it's worth being third on the road tomorrow." Thiry: Malcolm Wilson: "He (Bruno Thiry) just went wide, apparently, hit the right rear wheel and rolled quite badly." Burns: "We've been going quite a good pace. We didn't get the tyre choice wrong, but perhaps we should have gone on the narrow one earlier. We had a centre differential problem on the last one - probably just a sensor - but it kept locking up. It's just a mudbath in there." Liatti: on his Pirelli M40 mud tyres: "When I put this tyre, it is not good for the time. The last three stages are not so good." Bourne: Received cracked windscreen from rock thrown up by car 15 (Kangas) while running side-by-side at start of super stage. "Talk about the heart going: I thought it was going to cave in on us."

SS 7 Quarry 2 (Maramarua): 8,88 km - 12:45 h

Times on SS 7 Overall position after SS 7

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        5:15,2        1        McRae        Subaru                25:20,7
2        Burns        Mitsubishi        5:17,1        2        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        25:22,0
3        Makinen        Mitsubishi        5:17,8        3        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        25:22,4
4        Kankkun        Ford                5:19,3        4        Burns        Mitsubishi        25:34,1
5        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        5:19,7        5        Kankkun        Ford                25:36,4
6        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        5:20,3        6        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        25:43,0
7        McRae        Subaru                5:20,4        7        Makinen        Mitsubishi        25:43,5
8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        5:24,3        8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        26:02,4
9        Liatti        Subaru                5:24,4        9        Liatti        Subaru                26:06,5
10        Bourne        Subaru                5:25,7        10        Bourne        Subaru                26:14,4
12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        5:35,9        11        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        27:00,4

Remarks: Weather: light rain towards end of filed. Road conditions: damp, slippery. Auriol: "Lots of fun - almost enjoyable." Thiry: car on roof near start of stage; forced to retire.

SS 6 Quarry 1 (Maramarua): 8,88 km - 12:26 h

Times on SS 6 Overall position after SS 6

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        McRae        Subaru                5:17,1        1        McRae        Subaru                20:00,3
2        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        5:19,6        2        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        20:02,7
3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        5:20,3        3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        20:06,8
4        Kankkun        Ford                5:21,9        4        Burns        Mitsubishi        20:17,0
5        Burns        Mitsubishi        5:22,4        5        Kankkun        Ford                20:17,1
6        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        5:23,4        6        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        20:22,7
7        Thiry        Ford                5:26,1        7        Makinen        Mitsubishi        20:25,7
8        Liatti        Subaru                5:28,3        8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        20:38,1
9        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        5:28,9        9        Liatti        Subaru                20:42,1
10        Makinen        Mitsubishi        5:29,8        10        Thiry        Ford                20:46,9
13        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        5:42,6        12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        21:24,5

Remarks: Weather: cold, overcast. Road conditions: muddy. Auriol: "Good stage, quite fast." McRae: Hit a spectator on stage - spectator suffered a broken leg and was taken to hospital. Thiry: "OK stage but very fast. Makinen: "Had a big spin, lots of spectators."

SS 5 Fyfe 2 (Maramarua): 6,81 km - 11:23 h

Times on SS 5 Overall position after SS 5

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        3:00,4        1        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        14:43,1
2        Makinen        Mitsubishi        3:02,6        2        McRae        Subaru                14:43,2
2=        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        3:02,6        3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        14:46,5
4        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        3:02,8        4        Burns        Mitsubishi        14:54,6
5        McRae        Subaru                3:03,5        5        Kankkun        Ford                14:55,2
6        Burns        Mitsubishi        3:03,7        6        Makinen        Mitsubishi        14:55,9
7        Kankkun        Ford                3:04,3        7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        14:59,3
8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        3:05,9        8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        15:09,2
9        Liatti        Subaru                3:07,3        9        Liatti        Subaru                15:13,8
10        Bourne        Subaru                3:08,5        10        Bourne        Subaru                15:15,4
12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        3:15,7        12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        15:41,9

Remarks: Weather: cold, wet. Road conditions: slippery. Sainz: front differential sensor changed at service after ss 5. Moya agitated with differences in time. McRae: Slight damage to left of car but no comment. Burns: "It's not too slippery unless you get off-line. The car is very predictable, but we should look at cutting the tyres more." Thiry: "I have not 100 % confidence in the car. I have to adapt suspension a bit. It is the first time I drive the car in the rain since Swedish Rally."

SS 4 West 2 (Maramarua): 6,26 km - 11:10 h

Times on SS 4 Overall position after SS 4

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        3:26,9        1        McRae        Subaru                11:39,7
2        McRae        Subaru                3:28,6        2        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        11:40,3
3        Kankkun        Ford                3:30,1        3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        11:46,1
4        Burns        Mitsubishi        3:30,2        4        Kankkun        Ford                11:50,9
4=        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        3:30,2        5        Burns        Mitsubishi        11:50,9
6        Makinen        Mitsubishi        3:30,4        6        Makinen        Mitsubishi        11:53,3
7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        3:31,2        7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        11:56,7
8        Liatti        Subaru                3:32,7        8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        12:03,3
9        Bourne        Subaru                3:33,1        9        Liatti        Subaru                12:06,5
10        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        3:34,0        10        Bourne        Subaru                12:06,9
12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        3:38,4        12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        12:26,2

Remarks: Weather: beginning to rain again - very cold, wet. Road conditions: slippery. Auriol: "They were pretty close. The 2nd lap was better. I've got a good feeling and I can attack more." Sainz: "The second time was quite slippery. The car is OK." Kankkunen: "It feels a little bit heavy on the throttle. I don't know if it's the weather - it's a bit like the first day last year. Maybe we lose 15bhp to the others." Makinen: "I was a little bit steady because of the last three years. I try to find my normal driving style and the go on." McRae: "It's very good, not quite as slippery and muddy as we thought it might be. We're pushing as hard as we can, but tomorrow and the last day, it'll still be better hanging back." Eriksson: Car has throttle problems - "We'll drive the next stage before service on full throttle. Just using brakes and gears !" Bourne: "Car felt better this time through."

SS 3 Fyfe 1 (Maramarua): 6,81 km - 10:56 h

Times on SS 3 Overall position after SS 3

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        3:02,4        1        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        8:10,1
2        McRae        Subaru                3:04,4        2        McRae        Subaru                8:11,1
3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        3:06,4        3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        8:19,2
4        Burns        Mitsubishi        3:06,8        4        Burns        Mitsubishi        8:20,7
5        Makinen        Mitsubishi        3:07,4        5        Kankkun        Ford                8:20,8
5=        Kankkun        Ford                3:07,4        6        Makinen        Mitsubishi        8:22,9
7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        3:09,0        7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        8:25,5
8        Liatti        Subaru                3:10,4        8        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        8:29,3
9        Thiry        Ford                3:10,5        9        Liatti        Subaru                8:33,8
10        Bourne        Subaru                3:12,8        9=        Bourne        Subaru                8:33,8
10=        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        3:12,8        11        Thiry        Ford                8:36,0
12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        3:18,8        12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        8:47,8

Remarks: Weather: cold, windy, wet. Road conditions: slippery. Burns: "Not very nice, we've got not so much grip as we had expected." Bourne: "Slippery but only in places. Very unpredictable - we're just taking it easy for now." Thiry: "Slippery - not enjoying the stages for far."

SS 2 West 1 (Maramarua): 6,26 km - 10:43  h

Times on SS 2 Overall position after SS 2

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        McRae        Subaru                3:26,2        1        McRae        Subaru                5:06,7
2        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        3:28,1        2        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        5:07,7
3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        3:30,3        3        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        5:12,8
4        Makinen        Mitsubishi        3:30,4        4        Kankkun        Ford                5:13,4
5        Burns        Mitsubishi        3:30,6        5        Burns        Mitsubishi        5:13,9
6        Kankkun        Ford                3:31,0        6        Makinen        Mitsubishi        5:15,5
7        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        3:32,2        7        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        5:16,5
8        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        3:34,6        7=        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        5:16,5
9        Bourne        Subaru                3:35,9        9        Bourne        Subaru                5:21,0
10        Thiry        Ford                3:37,6        10        Liatti        Subaru                5:23,4
12        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        3:40,8        13        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        5:29,0

Remarks: Weather: heavy rain, wind, cold. Road conditions: very good, but clay exposed and slippery at finish of stage. Burns: "Very fast but not too bad for the first stage of the day." Gronholm: "Driving not so good this morning - roads very slippery."

Friday 24 July - LEG ONE - SECTION ONE (SUPER SPECIAL STAGE 1)

SSS 1 Manukau Super 1: 2,10 km - 18:30 h (reverse order)

Times on SSS 1 Overall position after SSS 1

Pos.        Driver        Car                Time        Pos.        Driver        Car                Time
1        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        1:39,6        1        Sainz        Toyota Corolla        1:39,6
2        McRae        Subaru                1:40,5        2        McRae        Subaru                1:40,5
3        Taguchi        Mitsubishi        1:41,2        3        Taguchi        Mitsubishi        1:41,2
4        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        1:41,9        4        Grnholm        Toyota Corolla        1:41,9
5        Arai        Subaru                1:42,        5        Arai        Subaru                1:42,3
6        Kankkun        Ford                1:42,4        6        Kankkun        Ford                1:42,4
7        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        1:42,5        7        Auriol        Toyota Corolla        1:42,5
8        Kataoka        Mitsubishi        1:42,6        8        Kataoka        Mitsubishi        1:42,6
9        Burns        Mitsubishi        1:43,3        9        Burns        Mitsubishi        1:43,3
10        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        1:44,3        10        Radstrm        Toyota Corolla        1:44,3
13        Liatti        Subaru                1:44,9        13        Liatti        Subaru                1:44,9
16        Makinen        Mitsubishi        1:45,1        16        Makinen        Mitsubishi        1:45,1
23        Thiry        Ford                1:47,9        23        Thiry        Ford                1:47,9
24        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        1:48,2        24        Fujimot        Toyota Corolla        1:48,2

Remarks: Weather: heavy rain, about 12 C.

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Didier Auriol , Marcus Gronholm , Thomas Radstrom , Luis Moya , Denis Giraudet , Malcolm Wilson