1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 5
Rallye MoviStar Catalunya-Costa Brava
Rallye de Espana (20 - 22 April)

 



1998 RALLYE CATALUNYA-COSTA BRAVA
Wednesday 22nd April
LEG 3 - 367.40 km - 6 SS 106.26 km
COMMUNIQUE N 4


MITSUBISHI LANCER AND CARISMA GT KEEP WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
AND WIN 1-2-3 IN GROUP N IN CATALUNYA RALLY


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart’s new Lancer Evolution and Carisma GT made a fine start to their rally career with third and fourth places on the fifth round of the 1998 World Rally Championship, Spain’s Catalunya Rally. Strong performances from Tommi Makinen, Richard Burns and Uwe Nittel have given Mitsubishi a clear lead in the World Championship for Manufacturers, while Burns holds second place in the drivers’ title race. Mitsubishi not only brought three cars into the top 10 places, but took the top three positions in the Group N production class.


Tension soared on the final day of the 1470-kilometre rally as the drivers battled for fractions of seconds. Although it was once again sunny and dry, as it has been throughout the rally, conditions were much more slippery, as the drivers were cutting corners and bringing dirt onto the road. The pace was hotter than ever, as all the stages in the densely wooded mountains north of Lloret de Mar had already been used in the first leg, which allowed crews to refine their pace notes. The crowds were as large and enthusiastic as ever. In places, the queues of parked cars at special stages stretched for more than four kilometres – telling proof of motorsport’s enormous popularity. Toyota driver Didier Auriol eventually scored his first win for three years, but it was a disappointing rally for Subaru and Ford. Colin McRae retired his Subaru with transmission problems, while Ford lost Juha Kankkunen when he crashed and Bruno Thiry through engine problems. One of the highlights of the rally was the battle for the Two Litre two-wheel-drive class. The Citroens and Peugeots challenged the four-wheel-drive cars on the first day, but finished fifth and sixth.

Makinen and co-driver Risto Mannisenmaki produced a champion’s drive to take third place, charging ahead of Spanish hero Carlos Sainz and putting intense pressure on Freddy Loix, who came second. The Finn got quicker and quicker as he came to terms with the new Lancer Evolution, electrifying the fans with a result that bodes well for the rest of his World Championship campaign.

“I feel much more comfortable now with this car. We have scored some useful points here and I think with a bit of luck, we could have been second. It was a good result, but we could do better!” stated Makinen.

British star Richard Burns, co-driven by Robert Reid, drove superbly considering his comparative lack of experience of asphalt rallies to be one of the leaders throughout. Fourth place promoted him to second in the World Championship and confirmed the potential of the Carisma GT after a faultless performance.

“I know there are a few places where I could have been faster, but I’m very happy to be second in the World Championship. I’m pleased with the new car and this is a very good result for the team,” declared Burns.


Uwe Nittel of Germany and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner underlined Mitsubishi reliability and speed by bringing their Carisma GT into the top 10 – a fine performance against drivers with much more experience.

“I am very pleased with this result. We have driven as hard as we can and against so many good cars, to finish ninth is a very good feeling,” Nittel commented.

“As we had a new car, it is very encouraging to finish as well as we did. It gives us a lot of hope for the future. Tommi took a bit of time to adapt, but he has driven very well and I’m sure that this drive will have done his confidence a lot of good.
Richard put in a storming drive again and he fully deserves his second place in the World Championship. The team has performed well,” said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan. “Uwe has done everything we could have wanted. It’s been a good week for Mitsubishi,” said Team Manager Ingolf Raiss.

Mitsubishi triumphed once more in the Group N category for production cars. The ultimate test of near-standard machinery once again proved the worth of Mitsubishi engineering, as Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs took first, second and third places. Uruguay’s Gustavo Trelles, co-driven by Martin Christie from Argentina, made good use of the experience gained in winning the Group N world title twice for Mitsubishi to take victory by a handsome margin. Austrian Manfred Stohl was a good second, while another Uruguayan, Gabriel Mendez, was an impressive third on his first asphalt rally.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart will be in action again in little more than a week, when it contests the next round of the World Rally Championship, the Tour de Corse, just a few hundred kilometres away on the French island of Corsica.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

1. D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 4.18.36.9 Gr-A
2.F.LOIX/S.SMEETS B/B TOYOTA COROLLA 4.19.30.3 Gr-A
3.T.MAKINEN/R.MANNISENMAKI FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.19.46.3 Gr-A
4.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 4.20.10.4 Gr-A
5.P.BUGALSKI/JP.CHIARONI F/F CITROEN XSARA 4.20.28.3 Gr-A
6.G.PANIZZI/H.PANIZZI F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.20.44.0 Gr-A
7.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E TOYOTA COROLLA 4.21.05.7 Gr-A
8.F.DELECOUR/D.GRATALOUP F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.21.24.6 Gr-A
9.U.NITTEL/T.THORNER D/S MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 4.22.45.6 Gr-A
10.R.MADEIRA/N.DA SILVA P/P TOYOTA COROLLA 4.25.24.5 Gr-A
20.G.TRELLES/M.CHRISTIE ROU/RA MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.41.04.7 Gr-N
23.M.STOHL/P.MULLER A/A MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.50.04.5 Gr-N
24.G.MENDEZ/C.VILLETE ROU/ROU MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.51.03.7 Gr-N
Nationality:
A=Austria/ AUS=Australia/ AND=Andorra/ E=Spain/ CZ=Czech Republic/ D=Germany/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ GR=Greece/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ NZ=New Zealand// RA=Argentine/ RI=Indonesia/ ROU=Uruguay/ S=Sweden/ T=Thailand/

1998 RALLYE CATALUNYA-COSTA BRAVA

STATISTICS


Dates
: 20-22 April 1998
Length
: 1471.74 kms
Total SS
: 400.71 kms on 19 SS

Entries
: 125 (67 Group A + 58 Group N)

Starters
: 115 (61 Group A + 54 Group N)


Makes
: Peugeot 50, Seat 17, Mitsubishi 9, Subaru 9, Toyota 9, Renault 8, Ford 8, Citroen 8, Rover 3, Hyundai 2, Skoda 1, Opel 1

Nations (first drivers)
: 75 Spain, 7 France, 6 Great Britain, 6 Italy, 5 Finland, 4 Belgium, 3 Portugal, 2 Poland, 2 Germany, 2 Uruguay, 2 Sweden, 2 Andorra, 1 Austria, 1 Czech Republic, 1 Turkey, 1 Saudi Arabia, 1 Denmark, 1 Russia, 1 Argentina, 1 Netherlands, 1 Venezuela

Overall winners
:

1. D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 4.18.36.9 Gr-A
2.F.LOIX/S.SMEETS B/B TOYOTA COROLLA 4.19.30.3 Gr-A
3.T.MAKINEN/R.MANNISENMAKI FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.19.46.3 Gr-A
4.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 4.20.10.4 Gr-A
5.P.BUGALSKI/JP.CHIARONI F/F CITROEN XSARA 4.20.28.3 Gr-A
6.G.PANIZZI/H.PANIZZI F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.20.44.0 Gr-A
7.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E TOYOTA COROLLA 4.21.05.7 Gr-A
8.F.DELECOUR/D.GRATALOUP F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.21.24.6 Gr-A
9.U.NITTEL/T.THORNER D/S MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 4.22.45.6 Gr-A
10.R.MADEIRA/N.DA SILVA P/P TOYOTA COROLLA 4.25.24.5 Gr-A
Nationality:
A=Austria/ AUS=Australia/ AND=Andorra/ E=Spain/ CZ=Czech Republic/ D=Germany/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ GR=Greece/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ NZ=New Zealand// RA=Argentine/ RI=Indonesia/ ROU=Uruguay/ S=Sweden/ T=Thailand/


Winners in GrN
:

20.G.TRELLES/M.CHRISTIE ROU/RA MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.41.04.7 Gr-N
23.M.STOHL/P.MULLER A/A MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.50.04.5 Gr-N
24.G.MENDEZ/C.VILLETE ROU/ROU MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.51.03.7 Gr-N


Stages winners
: Auriol 9, Loix 4, Makinen 2, Thiry 1, McRae 1, Puras 1, Panizzi 1, Bugalski 1

Rally leaders
: 1 Thiry, 2-19 Auriol

World Championship for Drivers
: Sainz 22, Burns 18, , Kankkunen 16, Makinen 14, McRae 14, Auriol 14, Loix 10, Vatanen 6, Liatti 4, Eriksson 3.

World Championship for Manufacturers
: Mitsubishi 32, Toyota 31, Ford 23 , Subaru 21.


-Communique 3-

-Communique 2-

-Communique 1-


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

 

 

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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.