ACROPOLIS RALLY (7-9 June)
1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 8

 


MITSUBISHI LANCER AND CARISMA GT AIM FOR
ACROPOLIS RALLY SUCCESS


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is bidding to extend its lead in the 1998 World Rally Championship for Manufacturers on the Acropolis Rally. A powerful team of Lancer Evolution and Carisma GTs make drivers Tommi Makinen, Richard Burns and Uwe Nittel amongst the favourites for the eighth round of the championship.

The Acropolis is one of the most prestigious and demanding rallies in the world. It is rough, hot and dusty, making it the toughest rally in Europe. The mountain roads of central Greece are rocky and punishing, ensuring that only the strongest cars survive. The heat places strain on the cooling system on such tough events as the Safari Rally, while the average speed on the African event may be faster, much more strain is also put on the tyres and suspension on this event than any other. Few rallies make tougher demands of the tyres, but thorough preparation by the team's partner, Michelin, reduces the risk of punctures or excessive wear to a minimum.

Double World Champion Makinen and fellow-Finn Risto Mannisenmaki are one of only two crews to have won two World Rally Championship rallies this year and on past form, Makinen, who has now won 10 major rallies in Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, is overdue for his first victory on the Acropolis after playing a leading role for the past two years. He is now third in the World Rally Championship, only four points behind the leader.

"The Acropolis is a very difficult rally and you need some luck to do well. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a strong car though and I am sure we have a good chance of victory. Winning in Argentina makes me confident, because it showed the car is good on rough roads and we learnt some important things about it, so it should be possible to make it even better for Greece. It will not be easy of course: this is the hardest championship season I have ever seen," said Makinen.


Burns and co-driver Robert Reid were most impressive on their first Acropolis appearance last year, demonstrating their ability to make the most of the Carisma GT and challenge far more experienced drivers. The fact that some of the stages are new should give the British crew an even better chance and Burns has earned a considerable reputation for consistency.

"We were competitive last year, we've got more experience now and the Carisma GT is even faster, so I don't see why we shouldn't be in the reckoning," Burns stated.

German star Nittel and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner have shown a fine turn of speed on recent rallies in their Mitsubishi Carisma GT and they have high hopes of doing well on what is traditionally one of the most open rallies in the World Rally Championship.

"It is a hard event, but I think a good one if you have a strong car like a Mitsubishi. We know the opposition will be very tough, but I think we can do well," said Nittel.

"The car looks to be strong, which is vital. Car reliability and the drivers' ability to drive fast and keep the car in good shape will be paramount.," commented Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. "Tommi is naturally very confident after his victory in Argentina and Richard drove very well last year, so we believe that both are potential winners."

"There are quite a lot of new stages, but in terms of the characteristics of the event, we expect it to be much the same. We're told it's not as rough as before, but even so, it will be a hard rally," predicted Team Manager Ingolf Raiss. "Uwe knows the Acropolis and I feel sure that he can do well."

This year's Acropolis Rally has a new look, for while it starts in the middle of Athens, at the foot of the rock that gives it its name, it is based well to the north in Delphi, the site of the oracle in ancient times. This enables the organisers to run a more compact route, as Delphi is close to many of the renowned stages that gave the rally its formidable reputation. The rally will include a total of 386 kilometres of stages. The first leg is on June 7 and includes seven stages, totalling 130 kilometres, while the second and third legs are identical. Both start and finish in Delphi, and include five stages. However, the stages are long and competitors face 128 kilometres of hard driving each day, before the finish on June 9.


45th Acropolis Rally


ITINERARY

LEG 1 : Sunday June 7 ATHENS-DELPHI I
8.30 Start from Athens  
  SS1 Pateras 22.29 km
  SS2 Skourta 18.94 km
  SS3 Pili 20.11 km
  SS4 Thiva 18.29 km
  SS5 Evangelistria 22.74 km
  SS6 Livadia 11.40 km
  SS7 Karakolithos 16.60 km
19.30 Arrival in Delphi I in  
LEG 2 : Monday June 8 DELPHI I - DELPHI II
08.00 Start from Delphi I out  
  SS8 Bauxites-Karoutes I 28.46 km
  SS9 Stromi-Inohori I 22.49 km
  SS10 Drimea I 25.14 km
  SS11 Pavilani I 24.83 km
  SS12 Gravia I 27.22 km
17.23 Arrival in Delphi II in  
LEG 3 : Tuesday June 9 DELPHI II - DELPHI III  
08.00 Start from Delphi II out    
  SS13 Bauxites-Karoutes II 28.46 km
  SS14 Stromi-Inohori II 22.49 km
  SS15 Drimea II 25.14 km
  SS16 Pavilani II 24.83 km
  SS17 Gravia II 27.22 km
17.10 Arrival in Delphi III in    



MICHELIN - MITSUBISHI OIL - ENKEI - NGK - OHLINS - OMP -
PIAA - PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND - SABELT

 

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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.