Rallye de France - 42nd Tour de Corse (4-6 May)
1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 6

 



MITSUBISHI AIMS TO EXTEND WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD ON
TOUR DE CORSE WITH LANCER AND CARISMA GT


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is making a strong entry of Lancer Evolution and Carisma GT for the sixth round of the 1998 World Rally Championship, the Tour de Corse. The team already leads the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers and in World Champion Tommi Makinen and British star Richard Burns, it has the ideal driver pairing to defend its lead.

The Tour de Corse is the French round of the World Rally Championship and it is held in wonderful countryside - Corsica is rightly known as the Ile de Beaute - but the drivers know only too well that while the terrain may be beautiful, it is also punishing. The stages, which are renowned as the most twisty in the world, have tricky up-down and the asphalt surface is not only abrasive and bumpy, but imposes quite a strain on the crew, because of the high cornering forces. The event has been part of the World Rally Championship from the start and the islanders are fiercely proud of their rally. Competitors and spectators are assured of a warm welcome wherever they go, from the larger towns to tiny mountain villages, perched on steep mountainsides carpeted in dense vegetation.

The Tour de Corse will be the just second rally for the new Lancer Evolution and Carisma GT, but Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has high hopes given the cars' strong showing on the Catalunya Rally last week, when both the Lancer and the Carisma finished in the top four. The wide-track suspension and more responsive engine provided a useful performance increase and even though they were brand new, the cars were impressively reliable. World Champion Makinen, co-driven by fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki, is more likely to win in Corsica, as he is contesting the rally for the third time and therefore understands the demands it makes. He will be keeping a close watch on local animals though: he was on the brink of taking the lead last year when he crashed after hitting a cow! The opposition will be formidable. In addition to the four-wheel-drive cars from Toyota, Subaru and Ford, asphalt means that the best two-wheel-drive cars are also a force to be reckoned with, so the presence of Citroen and Peugeot means the competition is more open than usual.

" Corsica is quite different to Catalunya, but there is really no time to do any testing, which would be nice, because the car is very new. Still, I think we showed it can be good in Spain and I think we can hope to score a good result again." the Finn declared.


Burns and co-driver Robert Reid are in a very different position. They have never been to Corsica before and, as the drivers are allowed to do a reconnaissance of the stages only three times, they will find the rally exceptionally tough, even though they have performed well on every other event this year. Experience is more important on the Tour de Corse than on almost any other rally and Burns knows that finishing is his priority.

" I've been to Corsica once before to see the stages and make gravel notes for another driver, and I'm looking forward to this rally. It's going to be fairly new to me though and I know this is going to be one of hardest rallies this year. I hope we can still give the team a good result." Burns said.

" Corsica is more twisty and more bumpy than Catalunya. It's also less predictable in terms of the weather. It will be even harder this year, because time is short between Catalunya and the Tour de Corse and our mechanics have to re-prepare the same two cars. We learnt a lot about the car in Catalunya though and we can make a few small improvements for the next event." said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short.


" Tommi has some experience of the event, although it hasn't always been good. He was eighth in 1995 and driving very well before he had the incident with the cow last year. Richard is of course there for the first time and I'm sure he'll find it difficult against the Corsican experts."


Like most World Championship rallies, the Tour de Corse lasts three days, but there are significant changes to this year's route. The first and third legs are once again concentrated in the mountains south-east of Ajaccio, the island's capital, but the second leg makes a welcome return to Haute-Corse and the demanding roads of the Castagniccia region around Corte, on the eastern side of the island.

The first leg covers 329 kilometres and has six special stages, totalling 134 kilometres. The second leg has a further six stages which total 129 kilometres, while the third and final leg is identical to the first day, giving a total of 397 kilometres of stages.




1998 Rallye de France - 42nd Tour de Corse

ITINERARY

LEG 1 : Monday May 4  
08.30 Start from Ajaccio  
  SS1 Vero-Pont d'Azzana  
  SS2 Lopigna-Sarrola  
  SS3 Verghia-Pietra Rossa  
  SS4 Filitosa-Bicchisano  
  SS5 Pont d'Acoravo-Zerubia  
  SS6 Aullene-Petreto  
18.25 Arrival in Ajaccio  
LEG 2 : Tuesday May 5  
07.00 Start from Ajaccio  
  SS7 G. de Carbuccia-G. d'Ucciani  
  SS8 Muracciole-Noceta  
  SS9 Feo-Pancheraccia  
  SS10 Pt St Laurent-Morosaglia  
  SS11 Morosaglia-Campile  
  SS12 Feo-Pancheraccia  
20.10 Arrival in Ajaccio  
LEG 3 : : Wednesday May 6  
07.00 Start from Ajaccio    
  SS13 Vero-Pont d'Azzana  
  SS14 Lopigna-Sarrola  
  SS15 Verghia-Pietra Rossa  
  SS16 Filitosa-Bicchisano  
  SS17 Pt d'Acoravo-Zerubia  
  SS18 Aullene-Petreto  
16.00 Final in Ajaccio    


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

 

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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.