From Mitsubishi Press [ 22/09/2002 ].
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The Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart crew of François Delecour and Daniel Grataloup arrived back in Sanremo at the conclusion of the second leg of the 11th round of the FIA World Rally Championship in 10th position. The Lancer Evolution WRC2 pairing are however sixth of the registered cars and on course to score a point for Mitsubishi in the final asphalt rally of the 2002 season.
The second day of Rallye Sanremo started early this morning, 44 of the original 53 competitors leaving the Mediterranean resort at 06:00 hrs for another six stages and 150.57 competitive kilometres. Despite forecasts of thunderstorms, the day dawned bright for the longest leg of the event, which included two runs at the awesome 42.31 kilometre Colle Langan stage, however weather conditions deteriorated as the afternoon wore on and tyre choice for the final two stages proved difficult. Rainstorms in the mountains suggested the need for wet weather tyres, however with the choice having to be made in the service park over an hour beforehand, many were caught out as the rain stopped, roads dried out and cut tyres proved to be the wrong decision.
Following the withdrawal of Alister McRae/David Senior by Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart earlier today, hopes now rest with the team's French crew. A loss of boost in the opening stage dropped precious time and two positions, which were swiftly made up in the following stage with a ninth fastest time. "A clip on the turbo pipe came loose and we lost boost about halfway through stage nine," commented François. "It was obviously something we could repair at the end of the stage, but we were still a bit stressed going into Colle Langan and lost a bit of time as a result.
"We had a couple of vibrations in the last stage which developed towards the second half of the stage, but apart from the time loss this morning, the day's been okay. There's quite a gap between us and Colin (McRae) now, so it'll be difficult to do anything about that, but obviously it's good to be in the manufacturer points for Mitsubishi so we'll continue pushing as hard as we can."
Adding to his comments, Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart team manager Derek Dauncey said: It was frustrating for François to lose 30 seconds this morning with the loose turbo pipe, but we're pleased with the time he did on the first long stage and happy to end the day in the points again. Tomorrow is still going to be quite a difficult day with two loops of 44 kilometres. But, as we've seen on the last stage today, anything can happen so it's always worth pushing."
The final leg of Rallye Sanremo returns to the north of the coastal resort for the concluding four stages, each of which is a repetition of those run previously. It is the shortest leg of the event covering just 88.02 competitive kilometres and brings the crews back to Sanremo for the finish at 15:00 hrs (local).
Rallye Sanremo - Leg 2 results
1. Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi Peugeot 3hr 16min 17.8sec
2. Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 3hr 16min 39.9sec
3. Petter Solberg/Phil Mills Subaru 3hr 17min 17.5sec
4. Richard Burns/Robert Reid Peugeot 3hr 17min 38.6sec
5. Markko Martin/Michael Park Ford 3hr 17min 44.6sec
6. Jesus Puras/Carlos Del Barrio Citroen 3hr 18min 09.8sec
7. Cedric Robert/Gerald Bedon Peugeot 3hr 18min 41.6sec
8. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist Ford 3hr 20min 02.1sec
9. Harri Rovanpera/Voitto Silander Peugeot 3hr 21min 35.0sec
10. François Delecour/Daniel Grataloup Mitsubishi 3hr 22min 21.7sec