FIA World Rally Championship 3 - 6 May 1998 42nd Tour de Corse - Rallye de France Wednesday 6 May 1998 _________________________________________________________________ FIA...
FIA World Rally Championship 3 - 6 May 1998 42nd Tour de Corse - Rallye de France Wednesday 6 May 1998 _________________________________________________________________ FIA President Max Mosley welcomed today, on the final podium of Ajaccio, the British crew of Colin McRae and Co-driver Nicky Grist. The pair dominated the final Leg of the 42nd Tour de Corse - Rallye de France and brought home its Subaru Impreza 555 in first place, after three days and 400 km of special stages, with a winning margin of 27 seconds.
The finish of the three days event, sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, was thrilled by the charge of Peugeot 306 Maxi's driver, Frenchman François Delecour, who profited of the dry conditions of the final stages to grab second place from Subaru's Italian Piero Liatti. Also Delecour team-mate and fellow-countrymate, Gilles Panizzi, succeeded in the very last stage in overhauling Belgian Bruno Thiry of Ford, While Toyota's Frenchman Didier Auriol completed the top six after dropping some time for a turbo failure.
The event has been marked by fairly different weather conditions over the three legs: completely wet the first, damp with sudden storm the second, while a warm sun shone over third day, the all of it making tyre choice a drivers' nightmare.
The Rally de France which, as Tour de Corse has been in the FIA World Rally Championship from the start and it is renowned as one of the hardest rallies of hall. The stages are among the most twisty in the world and the asphalt surface is greasy, abrasive and bumpy. This year edition had the first and third legs run on the very same roads in the mountains around Ajaccio, the island's capital, while the second leg made a welcome return to Haute-Corse and the demanding stages of the Castagniccia region around Corte, on the Eastern side of the island.
The FIA World Rally Championship moves now to the Americas, where Argentina will host from 20 to 23 of May the seventh round, marking the midway of the series. So far the battle has been so fierce and the forces so well-balanced that only 10 points divide the drivers' new leader McRae from the sixth placed Makinen, while four manufactures are comprised in only 10 points. Mitsubishi
With both its drivers retired, Finn Tommi Makinen with an electric problem and Briton Richard Burns with a suspension broken, the Japanese manufacturer found consolation in the victory in Production Cars category of Manfred Stohl from Austria, followed by team-mate Uruguayan Gustavo Trelles. Subaru
With the team highly satisfied for the double podium of Corsica, the valuable points has moved McRae to first place in the drivers' championship, while in the all-important manufacturers' championship Subaru has taken the lead by three points. "This puts us exactly were we wanted to be and Subaru back on course for the world title," said McRae.
"Today has been tougher, thanks to the drier conditions, but we had a good lead and we didn't have to push like mad." Team-mate Piero Liatti, despite pushing as hard as he could, was unable to hold off the final challenge of Delecour light-weight Peugeot, and ended just two seconds behind.
"There was no way we could have gone faster," said the Italian. "It is disappointing, but it is still a good result for the team." Ford
Only a high-speed spin on the final stage denied 35-year-old Thiry a higher finish, after scoring three fastest times during a final leg attack in his Escort WRC. "We lost maybe 10 seconds on the stage with a very high-speed spin, which left me a little shaken," explained the Belgian. "We were driving as hard as possible, because we were so close to second position and, on dry roads, it was possible for us to get it."
Team-mate Juha Kankkunen enjoyed a troublefree day, the Finn testing tyres to help Thiry to select the best possible compound for his chase." Toyota
Carlos Sainz seemed all set to maintain his championship lead, while battling with Piero Liatti as they went into SS15. "The battle was so close that we had to take a gamble and we tried to run without the ATS mousse," explained the Spaniard. "Unfortunately we damaged a wheel in a drain and we had to change the tyre, losing three minutes and all our chances."
Team-mate Didier Auriol suffered a broken clip on an intercooler pipe in the first stage of the day. "It was difficult to repair the problem which was down low in the engine, where it was very hot and we lost a lot of time," said Auriol. "Now we have to look forward to Argentina and Greece." Other Teams
François Delecour declared very satisfied with his second place, although admitting that only an all dry event could have permitted victory and congratulated his Peugeot team-mate Gilles Panizzi on being only nine seconds behind him, in fourth. Citroen's Fabien Doenlen is seventh, while the sister cars of Patrick Magaud completes the top ten.
Saudi Abdullah Bakhashab won the FIA Teams' Cup category for Marlboro Toryota Team Saudi Arabia, eventually beating Turkish Volkan Isik. TODAY STATISTICS
Leg 3 covered 329.45 km, including 134.65 kms on 6 special stages. Starters: 53 cars (28 Group A + 25 Group N), re-started the rally. Leading retirements (French unless stated): Bugalski. SS13 Vero (18.22 km) 1 Thiry (B), Ford 12m58s09 2 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 13m01s02 3 McRae (GB), Subaru 13m04s00 Leaders after SS13 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 3h02m25s05 2 Sainz (E), Toyota 3h03m18s02 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 3h03m21s05 SS14 Lopigna (25.77 km) 1 Thiry (B), Ford 17m01s01 1 Delecour (F), Peugeot 17m01s01 3 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 17m01s09 Leaders after SS14 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 3h19m35s03 2 Liatti (I), Subaru 3h20m31s01 3 Sainz (E), Toyota 3h20m31s04 SS15 Verghia (26.55 km) 1 Delecour (F), Peugeot 16m49s07 2 Auriol (F), Toyota 16m52s00 3 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 16m52s06 Leaders after SS15 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 3h36m38s00 2 Liatti (I), Subaru 3h37m32s04 3 Delecour (F), Peugeot 3h37m43s06 SS16 Filitosa (22.63 km) CANCELLED Leaders after SS16 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 3h36m38s00 2 Liatti (I), Subaru 3h37m32s04 3 Delecour (F), Peugeot 3h37m43s06 SS17 Pont d'Acoravo (20.94 km) 1 Thiry (B), Ford 12m33s05 2 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 12m34s08 3 Magaud (F), Citroën 12m35s07 Leaders after SS17 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 3h49m30s04 2 Liatti (I), Subaru 3h50m14s00 3 Delecour (F), Peugeot 3h50m22s04 SS18 Aullene (20.54 km) 1 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 12m49s05 2 Delecour (F), Peugeot 12m51s07 3 Magaud (F), Citroën 12m51s09 Leaders in Ajaccio after SS18 1 McRae (GB), Subaru 4h02m46s09 2 Delecour (F), Peugeot 4h03m14s01 3 Liatti (I), Subaru 4h03m16s09 4 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 4h03m23s00 5 Thiry (B), Ford 4h03m32s07 6 Auriol (F), Toyota 4h05m26s02 7 Doenlen (F), Citroën 4h06m48s00 8 Sainz (E), Toyota 4h06m50s04 9 Kankkunen (FIN), Ford 4h07m34s05 10 Magaud (F), Citroën 4h10m59s01 2-Litre leaders in Ajaccio after SS18 1 Delecour (F), Peugeot 4h03m14s01 2 Panizzi (F), Peugeot 4h03m23s00 3 Doenlen (F), Citroën 4h06m48s00 4 Magaud (F), Citroën 4h10m59s01 5 Manzagol (F), Peugeot 4h15m31s03 6 Rowe (GB), Renault 4h19m30s07 Gr. N leaders in Ajaccio after SS18 1 Stohl (A), Mitsubishi 4h23m58s04 2 Trelles (ROU), Mitsubishi 4h25m23s00 3 Santoni (F), Mitsubishi 4h25m42s03 4 Albertini (F), Mitsubishi 4h29m36s06 5 Vericel (F), Mitsubishi 4h32m11s09 6 Andreani (F), Mitsubishi. 4h32m21s03 RALLY STATISTICS
The rally covered 1145.69 kms, including 399.18 kms on 18 special stages (7 run twice). All stages were on asphalt public roads, closed to other traffic. Stage9 and 12 have been reduced to 20.59 km. Stage 16 (22.63 km) has been cancelled. Starters: 80 cars (44 Group A + 36 Group N), started the rally Finishers: 45 (25 Group A + 20 Group N) Stage winners (some shared) : McRae (SS1-5-7-8-11 Thiry (SS2-13-14-17) Sainz (SS3-9-10) Liatti (SS4-5-6-12) Delecour (SS14-15) Panizzi (18) Rally leaders: SS1 McRae (GB), SS2 Mäkinen (FIN), SS3-SS4 Sainz (E), SS5-SS18 McRae (GB), WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers (unofficial positions after 6 of 14 rounds): McRae (GB) 24, Sainz (E) 22, Burns (GB) 18, Kankkunen (FIN) 16, Auriol (F) 15, Makinen (FIN) 14, Loix (B) 10, Liatti (I) 8, others FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers (unofficial positions after 6 of 14 rounds): Subaru 35, Mitsubishi 32, Toyota 32, Ford 25. FIA Cup for Drivers of Production Cars (unofficial positions after 6 of 14 rounds): Stohl (A) 37, Trelles (ROU) 26, Climent (E) 24,Walfridson (S) 13, Backlund (S) 8, others. FIA 2-Litre World Cup for Manufacturers (unofficial positions after 6 of 14 rounds): Peugeot 52, Seat 33, Volkswagen 17, Hyundai 8, Renault 3. FIA Teams' Cup (unofficial positions after 6 of 14 rounds): Grifone HF 30, Sawfish Rally Team 10, Mobil 1 Stomil Olsztyn 10, Toyota Saudi Arabia 10, Uruguay en Carrera 9, Toyota Turkey 9, others. NEXT EVENT
May 20-23 : Rally Argentina, Cordoba (Argentina). Round 7 of the FIA World Rally Championships.