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Old 11-10-2000, 08:18 AM   #1
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 949
Join Date: Feb 2000
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: NJ
06 F2000
Speed Triple

Post Rally Australia: end of leg 1

Telstra Rally Australia http://www.rallyaustralia.com/
Round 12 of the FIA World Rally Championship
9 - 12th November

Live rally coverage: http://www.rallyaustralia.com !!!

End of Leg 1

Friday, 10 November 2000
Extract from Official FIA Press Release http://www.fia.com

The importance of start positions into tomorrow's second leg was
proved today when many of the leading crews slowed or stopped on the
final forest stage in a desperate bid to enhance their advantage for
the southern loop of stages. The manoeuvres turned the leaderboard
upside down with Marcus Gronholm slipping from first to fourth but
potentially still not as well placed as title rival Richard Burns.
It highlighted the drivers' comments before the event when they were
angry that last year's seeding system, where the leading drivers were
able to take first pick of their chosen start slots for the following
day, has been abandoned for this year's event. A similar situation
can reasonably be expected tomorrow on SS16.

Markko Martin became the event's first retirement when his Subaru
lost drive during today's opening stage, leaving the Estonian no
choice but to withdraw from his first rally with the team and begin
his 25th birthday celebrations rather earlier than scheduled. An
underbody fire (probably caused either by hydraulic fluid or gearbox
oil) had caused the eventual transmission failure by damaging the
propshaft. Richard Burns' slow times over the first few stages can be
attributed to a mysterious brake problem that could not be fixed at
service after SS3 although the Englishman has also been playing a
tactical game to ensure he is not running at the head of the field
tomorrow. “The brakes have been a bit spongy all morning,” he said. “
It's not very easy to give full commitment when you're not sure if
you can stop the car for the corners. Overall though I'm not too unhappy
with tenth place although sixth would have been better.” Team mate Juha
Kankkunen said that his two event lay-off had given him a chance to
recharge his batteries but had also taken the edge off his ultimate
performance. “It dulls your reactions a bit at first,” he admitted.
On the final forest stage several crews stopped to deliberately gain
time penalties that would determine their start positions for tomorrow.
Neither Burns nor Kankkunen did this and Burns was furious that the
scrapping of last year's seeding arrangements had forced such tactics.
If this is what we have to do to win the championship then I don't
want to win it,” he said. Petter Solberg's second drive for the team
ended on the Atkins stage when he slid off the road and beached the
car a few metres from the track but unable to regain the road.

The perceived wisdom is that the first car on the road is going to
suffer badly from the road conditions here but Marcus Gronholm clearly
hadn't read the script. “I can't believe that I was fastest on the
first stage,” he admitted. “It felt very slow. I'm pushing hard and
I'll decide later if I can start to play tactics. I need a bigger
lead than 10 seconds to be comfortable leading into tomorrow.” Winner
of the last two events, Gilles Panizzi, was nowhere after the first
handful of stages today. “I'm so slow and I can't understand why,” he
said. “I have no feeling for the car or the road. It can't go on like
this, it's not acceptable.” By contrast team mate Francois Delecour
was much happier to be ahead of his team mate after their controversial
San Remo Rally.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Freddy Loix found himself celebrating his
30th birthday in much the same fashion as Markko Martin, sidelined
with transmission failure on today's second stage. Tommi Makinen had
to steer a careful path round a tree stump amid a series of hairpins
on SS6, but has otherwise had a fairly uneventful day. “As far as
tactics are concerned we'd like to be as far back as possible but
still in touch with the leaders,” he said. However, with Marcus Gronholm
able to set fast times from the front there has been some concern in
Makinen's mind. “It seems to be easier for the first car this year,”
he added. “Last year there was no chance for the first car on the
road to make fast times. I know I've got to win here to have a chance
of the title again.”

Didier Auriol needed a switch of gearbox after today's second stage.
I can't drive the car,” he said after completing Helena South. “There
is understeer and oversteer and also clutch trouble so I had to drive
fairly steadily.” The mechanics switched the gearbox inside the time
permitted, but the 1984 World Champion could still not get the car to
his liking over then next trio of stages. Meanwhile Toni Gardemeister
was able to run consistently in the top 10 on only his second visit
to this event with a four-wheel drive car.

“The plan today is to keep in touch with Marcus but not to get too
close to the front so that we can enjoy the best of the road conditions
tomorrow,” said Colin McRae after the first couple of stages. However
the plan, and possibly his championship chances, went awry at the end
of SS6 when the Focus completed the stage with oil pouring from the
engine having lost pressure at half distance. Although McRae began
the road section to service, the car ground to a halt soon afterwards
and he was forced to abandon the rally. “The first we knew was when
oil started to appear on Nicky's side of the screen. It was the last
thing we expected,” he said. “Everything was going to plan but now
the championship is out of my hands. We need Marcus not to score here.”
Team mate Carlos Sainz said that he was driving at a pace to suit
himself. “Others prefer to drive quicker or slower but I'm to be doing
what I think is good for me. Obviously it's a shame that Colin has
retired and the engineers have checked my engine to make sure that
the same thing doesn't happen to me.” Team boss Malcolm Wilson said
of McRae's retirement, “Obviously it's disappointing to lose Colin
so early as everything was going to plan. It's still early in the
event and we've got Carlos going strongly at the front so we must
oncentrate all our efforts on him now.” The third Ford, that of Tapio
Laukkanen, was also able to get among the top places with second
fastest on SS6 giving him a top 10 position.

A spin for Alister McRae on SS2 taught the Scot that the roads were
still slippery for some of the later cars but, with a third fastest
time on the next test, he was quickly back into the swing of things.
Team mate Kenneth Eriksson had a lucky escape on SS3. He holed the
sump of the Accent WRC but, as it was close to the end of the stage,
he survived with little time loss. However he gained a 30second
penalty for late arrival at service after plugging the hole with
T-shirts. Co-driver Staffan Parmander's overalls were liberally coated
with oil during the repair and had to change into a spare pair of David
Senior's. Observers will note that Alister McRae's co-driver is not
so slim as his Swedish counterpart… Amid the Atkins stage tactical
driving, Eriksson recorded his first fastest time of the event to
claim a place in the top 10 tonight.

Other teams
Among the early retirements was Australian Group N Champion Cody Crocker.
The Subaru driver lost third gear on last night's Langley Park opener
and then ditched his Impreza on today's first stage. In Group N the
overall battle, and indeed the battle for the FIA Championship, has
swung back and forth between reigning quadruple champion Gustavo
Trelles and the current series leader Manfred Stohl with FIA Teams
Cup entry Toshihiro Arai (Spike Subaru) getting in between the pair.

Tyre Facts
Although we have not been in a situation today where there are as many
marbles” as there will be on Sunday, it has been a question of brushing
clear the top layer of loose gravel to look for grip and traction on
the harder base underneath. To achieve this, Michelin's partners have
used a “ZA-style” pattern throughout the day and, for the record, have
scored 5 fastest stage times from the 8 stages run so far today (one
is still be run.)

An indication of the problems facing tyre companies on this event can
clearly be seen by the fact that Pirelli's 3 fastest times on the first
seven of today's eight stages have been set using very different tyre
options. Juha Kankkunen was fastest on SS3 using the latest evolution
open-pattern KM2 tyre while Petter Solberg then set scratch times using
a heavily hand cut K2 evolution cover. The KM forces the stones to bind
against each other while the K is designed to cut through the loose
surface to the harder ground beneath.

__________________________________________________ ________________

Unofficial Results at the end of Leg 1

1 Kankkunen Subaru Impreza WRC 1:27:17.2
2 Delecour Peugeot 206 WRC 1:27:26.8
3 Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer 1:27:30.9
4 Burns Subaru Impreza WRC 1:27:38.7
5 Gronholm Peugeot 206 WRC 1:27:40.7
6 Laukkanen Ford Focus WRC 1:27:52.2
7 Gardemeister Seat Cordoba WRC 1:28:01.0
8 Sainz Ford Focus WRC 1:28:12.6
9 Bourne Subaru Impreza WRC 1:28:19.1
10 Eriksson Hyundai Accent WRC 1:28:24.7

Group N
3 Trelles Mitsu Lancer Evo VI 1:33:03.7
2 Stohl Mitsu Lancer Evo VI 1:33:21.5
2 Arai Mitsu Lancer Evo VI 1:33:42.3

Teams Cup
1 Yazici Toyota Corolla WRC 1:33:22.1
Team Atakan
2 Arai Toyota Corolla WRC 1:33:42.3
Spike Subaru Team

__________________________________________________ ________________
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Old 11-10-2000, 08:50 AM   #2
Subie Gal
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Join Date: Sep 1999
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Old 11-10-2000, 08:10 PM   #3
Scooby Specialist
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Victoria
95 Rally Turbo
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I couldnt have said it better subie gal!
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