Team SINGHA Mitsubishi Ralliart is setting its sights on the Rally of Thailand, the sixth and final round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, in an attempt to win the prestigious Manufacturers' Cup. The event starts on December 2 from Phrae, 400 km north of Bangkok, and with a 21-point lead in the series a Mitsubishi needs only to score third or better to take the title. SINGHA, a major beer manufacturer of Thailand and the main sponsor of the event, will give a strong support to the team.
Last year's victor in Thailand, Swede Kenneth Eriksson, will again lead the attack for Mitsubishi in a Lancer Evolution lll. Kenneth has already secured the Asia-Pacific Drivers' title with Mitsubishi, winning the Hong Kong - Beijing Rally in style in October this year in addition to his victories in Malaysia and Australia. He will be backed in Thailand by his regular Mitsubishi World Championship partner Tommi Makinen from Finland, who will tackle the event for the first time.
Said Eriksson: "I'm looking forward to Thailand where I won last year. I've had a great season with Mitsubishi this year and I hope that it will continue with another victory in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. My Lancer is perfectly suited to the conditions and we are confident of a good result."
Team SINGHA Mitsubishi Ralliart Manager Andrew Cowan commented: "Kenneth and Tommi know exactly what they have to do. Nothing is guaranteed in Thailand because a sudden rain storm can turn the stages into quagmire and anything can happen. But we have prepared well and with Kenneth's experience over the last two years I am sure we can cope with anything.
Forty-four competitors from 12 countries will attempt 27 special stages totalling 420 km in length over three days, starting and finishing each leg at the Sports Stadium in Phrae, 400 km north of the Thai capital Bangkok. Most of the stages take place on forest tracks new to the rally to the north-east of Phrae in a change from the normal plantation stages in busy agricultural areas.
The rally will be split into three legs with nine stages totalling 114 km on day one, a further 10 covering 186 km on day two, and eight stages totalling 116 km on day three. The rally finishes in Phrae at around 18:00 hours on Wednesday, December 4.
Like many of the six rounds in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, the gravel tracks used in the SINGHA-ptt 7th Rally of Thailand, the final round, will create a special challenge to rally drivers for which the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution lll is ideally suited. Sudden heavy rain showers are a regular hazard, turning normally fast roads into muddy quagmires without notice, when cars can slide off the road even at extremely low speeds.
However, Team SINGHA Mitsubishi Ralliart drivers Kenneth Eriksson and Tommi Makinen will have the advantage of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Ills advanced four-wheel drive traction system to help them through the new forest stages in the mountains north-east of Phrae, 400 km north of the Thai Capital of Bangkok, where the Rally of Thailand will be based.
Twenty-seven special stages covering 420 km in three days will form the challenge for the 44 competitors from 12 countries who are expected to start the event at Phrae's Sports Stadium on Saturday, December 2 at 08:30. Leg One will comprise nine special stages totalling 114 km in length with the longest covering 32 km, with the first overnight halt in Phrae at 20:09. The second day's 10 stages will cover a total of 186 km, repeating part of the previous day's route starting at 06:00 and finishing back in Phrae at 19:26. Starting at 06:00, the final leg will have eight stages totalling 116 km, again using several repeats of the previous two days~ stages. One stage, the 18 km Ban Thung Keaw section, will be used a total of six times, while the 30 km stage at Ang Kep Nam Maetang will be driven five times. The rally is scheduled to finish in Phrae at 18:00 on Monday, December 4.
The rally will use forest tracks in the mountains north-east of Phrae for the first time this year. In previous years, plantation roads in agricultural areas have been used, but the rally has been moved into the forests to take the competing cars away from these increasingly busy areas.
Team SINGHA Mitsubishi Ralliart will be aiming to win the prestigious Asia-Pacific Manufacturers' Cup in Thailand, Swedish driver Kenneth Eriksson already having lifted the Drivers' title with wins in Hong Kong - Beijing, Malaysia and Australia driving the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution lll. Kenneth's impressive points-scoring record in the region this year means that Mitsubishi only has to place a car in the top three at the finish of the final round in Thailand to win the title.
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Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation