Press Release

Press Release

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MITSUBISHI WINS ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP


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Team Singha Mitsubishi Ralliart won the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Cup for Manufacturers (subject to FIA confirmation) in style when Tommi Makinen and Kenneth Eriksson, driving a pair of Michelin-shod Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IIIs, finished first and second in a thrilling Rally of Thailand which finished in Phrae on Monday, December 4, 1995.

Just five seconds separated the first three cars home as Mitsubishi drivers Eriksson and Makinen fought off a late challenge from Subaru's Richard Burns who finished third on the extremely hot, dusty event. Mitsubishi was able to celebrate a year of domination in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship adding a fourth victory out of six rounds scoring a maximum possible score of 140 points to second-placed Subaru's 124.

A delighted Makinen, who ended up second in the Drivers' series, said on winning his first Asia-Pacific Rally: "Everyone had to drive very hard on this rally, it was so close. On the first day I was very careful because this was my first time in Thailand, but once I learned the stages I could attack from the second day on."

Eriksson agreed that it had been a very hard-fought event, stating at the finish after beating Burns' Subaru into third by just one second: "Phew, that was close! But it is fantastic to finish my last rally with Mitsubishi with such a wonderful result for the team and winning the Asia- Pacific Rally Championships for Manufacturers and Drivers. It has been a very good year for Mitsubishi in Asia; the team has worked very hard and I thank them all for a great year."

Phil Short , Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager, added: "I'm very delighted we have won the Asia - Pacific Rally Championship which was our major objective for 1995. To finish with a maximum score was an excellent effort by the whole team and shows clearly that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III has been the dominant car in both Group A and Group N in this series."

Eriksson snatched the lead from Burns on the final stage of the first leg after a very difficult day on the dry, dusty stages through farmland and mountains north of Phrae in Northern Thailand. However, it was his team mate Tommi Makinen who took command of the event as the rally entered its second day. The Finn stepped up his pace to gradually extend his winning margin throughout leg two, while Eriksson, who dropped to third initially, fought to pass Burns for second on stage 17.

While Italian Pierro Liatti struggled on unfamiliar territory in his Subaru to finish fourth, his team mate Possum Bourne almost met with disaster on stage eight when he swerved off the road to avoid cattle on the route, damaging his car's suspension. He recovered to finish fifth.

Just 25 cars out of 50 starters made it to the finish in Phrae after one of the toughest and fastest events in the series. A number of stages were cancelled or shortened for safety reasons, reducing the stage distance in the 1537 km route down from 411km to 269km. A total of six stages were cancelled and five were shortened.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart now returns home to prepare for the new season in both the 1996 Asia-Pacific and World Rally Championships, and celebrate what has been a very successful year for the whole team in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.



Results:

1. Tommi Makinen / Seppo Harjanne Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIII 2:18:30
2. Kenneth Eriksson / Staffan Parmander Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIII 2:18:34
3. Richard Burns / Robert Reid Subaru 2:18:35
4. Piero Liatti / Alessandro Alessandrini Subaru 2: 21:22
5. Possum Bourne / Tony Sircombe Subaru 2:21:30
6. Pornsawan Siriwattanakul / Tull Suwannarat Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIII 2:38:37
7. Kraivut Lengsakul / Visut Sukosi Mitsubishi Galant VR4 2:47:05
8. Chawal Sinthukiow / Somchai Srimora Mitsubishi Lancer 2:48:04
9. Jakkit Pookpiboon / Wutthichai Mitsubishi Lancer 2:51:52
10. Andy McTighe/J. Nontimuk Subaru 2:52:37


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Copyright 1995 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

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