Tour de Corse: News - Standings 98-05-08

----------------------------------------------------------- Subaru Victory on the 42nd Tour de Corse for the 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist has reaped rich rewards and turned the FIA World Rally Championship...



Victory on the 42nd Tour de Corse for the 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist has reaped rich rewards and turned the FIA World Rally Championship leaderboard on its head.

"This is brilliant result and puts us exactly where we want to be and Subaru back on course for their fourth consecutive World title," said Colin. "Today has been tougher because the conditions have been much drier, but we were lucky to have established a good lead and didn’t have to push like mad. Historically our Pirellis have been good here, especially in the wetter conditions, so I don’t think we could have asked for more. We knew we’d be competitive in Corsica because the majority of our tarmac testing was done here and the win is even sweeter after our disappointments in Spain."

Piero Liatti was unable to hold off the final challenge from Delecour as the light-weight Peugeot’s advantage took hold and the Frenchman nipped ahead by just two seconds.

"Everyone was very very fast today and there was a big battle for second position between five drivers," said Piero. "There was no way we could have gone faster and we tried our best. Obviously it is a bit disappointing not to be second, but it is still a good result for us and for the team."



Ford world Rally team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on an event in which Thiry won four of the 17 stages with a superb driving performance on the first and third legs, offset by a frustrating second day in which valuable seconds were lost due to less than ideal tyre choice on the rapidly drying roads.

"A clear indication of the Escort's strengths can be seen from tho fact that Bruno set fastest time on almost 25% of the stages in this rally, but obviously I'm disappointed with the end result," he said. 'The times in Corsica have shown how competitive World Championship rallying has become, especially when you see Carlos Sainz and Juha Kankkunen, the two most successful drivers of all time, finishing eighth and ninth.

"Both Escorts have run faultlessly with only routine maintenance required and we've again proved that the car is a dominant force in the championship. Juha is now looking forward to returning to gravel roads on the Rally of Argentina later this month- We've made some exciting engine modifications and are confident we can get back in front of the other manufacturers in the championship standings," added Wilson.



The sixth round of the World Championship saw Toyota maintain second place in the Manufacturers' series. However, Toyota Motorsports' President Ove Andersson admitted that it was a disappointing finish to the rally. "We had to take our chances today but, unfortunately, it didn't work out. Now we have to look forward to Argentina and Greece, gravel events where the Corolla should work well" he admitted.

Team-mate Sainz and co-driver Luis Moya seemed all set to maintain their championship lead, and were engaged in a fantastic battle with the Subaru of Piero Liatti. The duo were running head-to-head as they went into SS15. "The battle was so close that we had to take a gamble. Running without the ATS mousse in Michelin's tyres meant slightly less weight, plus other benefits, but no insurance in case of tyre damage. Unfortunately we damaged a wheel in a drain and the air came out, causing the tyre to go down. We had to stop and change it, losing three minutes. After that our chances were over" said the Spaniard.

Auriol suffered a broken clip on an intercooler pipe in the first stage of the final day, and immediately lost time. "It was difficult to repair the problem which was down low in the engine where it was very hot. We tried but it was impossible, so we had to go through the next stage like that as well"



Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs scored another outstanding result on the Tour de Corse, the sixth round of the 1998 World Rally Championship, taking the first eight places in the Group N category for near-standard cars. Austria’s Manfred Stohl has extended his lead in the Group N championship over reigning champion and fellow Mitsubishi driver Gustavo Trelles.


1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers

Colin McRae                        24
Carlos Sainz                        22
Richard Burns                        18
Juha Kankkunen                16
Didier Auriol                        15
Tommi Makinen                        14
Freddy Loix                        10
Piero Liatti                        8
Ari Vatanen                        6
Francois Delecour                6
Bruno Thiry                        5


1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers

Subaru                  35
Mitsubishi              32
Toyota                  32
Ford                    25

This list is provided by Dusty Rallying http://dusty.vianet.net.au

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Freddy Loix , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , François Delecour , Juha Kankkunen , Gustavo Trelles , Luis Moya , Nicky Grist , Manfred Stohl , Ari Vatanen , Piero Liatti , Malcolm Wilson