WRC

Rally of Argentina: Notes, Standings

Toyota Carlos Sainz's last day charge secured second place in the Rally of Argentina by a mere 7 tenths of a second in front of Juha Kankkunen's Ford. Sainz and Moya started the final day of event 10 seconds adrift of Kankkunen. However, over...

Toyota

Carlos Sainz's last day charge secured second place in the Rally of Argentina by a mere 7 tenths of a second in front of Juha Kankkunen's Ford. Sainz and Moya started the final day of event 10 seconds adrift of Kankkunen. However, over the day's six stages they cut away at the Finn's advantage. One special stage from the end, they moved ahead. However, on the last stage Kankkunen fought back, and the pair finished the event just 0.7 seconds apart.

"It was an incredible fight. Although we weren't able to win today, we really wanted this result" said Sainz. "We knew that Juha would be very tough but, after the last two rallies where we didn't score so well, it is good to be in the lead of the championship again. The whole team never gave up and, from fifth place on the first day, we worked hard to gain this finish. Our aim this year is to win the championship and, after half of the season, we are on course. But, everybody can see how competitive it is this year so we know that it will be a big fight all the way to the end of the series."

Sainz's team-mates Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet had also been highly competitive in their first entry in Argentina with the Corolla WRC. They were lying in a strong second position when they suffered a rare engine failure in the 13th special stage.

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Mitsubishi

Tommi Makinen and Richard Burns' excellent finishes in the Rally of Argentina have put Team Mitsubishi Ralliart in the lead of the 1998 World Rally Championship for Manufacturers. This was Makinens third successive victory in Argentina.

Makinen cruised through the final stages to take a second victory of the season and the 100th win at World Championship level for a Finnish driver. "I am so pleased to win this rally. It has been very rough and even though we have not had to drive so fast today, it has been hard for the car. This puts us in a good position for the World Championship," Makinen declared.

Burns showed great resolve to hold off the fast finishing Colin McRae "I'm happy to have held off Colin today. I was trying very hard and in the end, he wasn't that close, so that should help Tommi for the World Rally Championship," said Burns.

This is the first win for the new Mitsubishi Evo 5 and Mitsubishi also dominated the Group N production category with Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles winning comfortably.

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Subaru

Colin McRae and Nicky Grist dominated the 1998 Rally ofArgentina, winning 15 of the 23 competitive special stages. Despite this, they finished 5th after road penalties were imposed due to an un -scheduled stop to fix damaged suspension

Although they made much of this ground up, it was impossible to peg back the leaders. McRae's placing still leaves him second in the drivers championship. Team-mates Piero Liatti and Fabrizia Pons, in only their second visit to the continent together, finished in a point-scoring sixth.

McRae's position in the rally fails to reflect his speed and command of the rock-strewn gravel roads; the Scot took control of the field from the outset and was the man to beat on more than half of the competitive sections.

"It's been a great fight today as we pushed Richard harder and harder," said Colin. "Obviously there was a chance that we could have forced him into a mistake but he's driven well and we just ran out of time. What is heartening is that we have been very competitive here and the Subaru and Pirelli tyres have worked well. We have picked up points and that's what's important and the situation in the World Championship has not gone against us too badly. I think we have a lot to feel confident about as we go to Greece in a couple of weeks."

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Ford

Juha Kankkunen started day 3 just 10 second ahead of Carlos Sainz and finished and agonisingly close 0.7 seconds behind. This is the first time the new 10th of a second timing of events has decided a major placing. It will be interesting to calculate who would have won if the old timing system was still in place.

Juha was driving well and maintained an attacking pace over the rock-strewn gravel roads. After leg 2 Kankkunen was quietly confident about his victory chances but also wary about the charging Sainz.

"It's been a very tough day for the car today but the Escort has dealt with everything that has been thrown at it," said 39-year-old Kankkunen. "On some sections huge rocks were lying in the road, kicked up by the cars ahead of us. Sometimes you can try to drive around them but there's not always the space or the time to avoid them so we have to drive over them. "On one stage we had the Escort on two wheels going through a corner so that shows just how hard we've been trying. Tomorrow's stages are smoother and very, very fast so we must drive flat out all the way to try to fight off Carlos," he added.

The third and final leg south of Cordoba saw all teams tackle two loops of three stages around the town of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. Juha lost 2 seconds on SS18, 4 seconds on SS19, regained 1 second on SS20, lost a further 3 seconds on SS21, and surrendered second place after dropping 3 more seconds to Carlos on SS22. Juha beat Carlos in the final stage, SS23 by 1.1 seconds but it proved not enough in the end.

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers

Carlos Sainz    28
Colin McRae     26
Tommi Makinen   24
Richard Burns   21
Juha Kankkunen  20
Didier Auriol   15
Freddy Loix                10
Liatti           9
Delecour         6
Vatanen          6
Thiry            5

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers

Mitsubishi                45
Subaru                        38
Toyota                        38
Ford                        29

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Freddy Loix , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , Juha Kankkunen , Nicky Grist , Fabrizia Pons , Denis Giraudet , Piero Liatti