PRE EVENT PRESS RELEASE ENTRY LIST MITSUBISHI LANCER/MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT
SPECIAL STAGE RESULT PHOTO LIBRARY DAILY COMMUNIQUE
 

1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 4
TAP RALLYE DE PORTUGAL (22 - 25 MARCH)

TEAM MITSUBISHI RALLIART LANCER AND CARISMA GT READY FOR MORE SUCCESS IN RALLY OF PORTUGAL


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is aiming to make it three wins in the first four rounds of the 1998 World Rally Championship when it contests the Rally of Portugal. The last two months have brought victories for the Lancer Evolution, driven by World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen and the Carisma GT driven by Richard Burns. A powerful team for Portugal is boosted by German driver Uwe Nittel in another Carisma GT.

Portugal is traditionally one of the highlights of the World Rally Championship calendar, as it is one of the classic rallies that has been in the premier series from the start and its array of loose-surface stages offer all kinds of challenges to the driver. Variety is the keynote, with fast, twisty, smooth and rough roads all to be faced in four days of furious action over the green, terraced hillsides and barren mountains of northern Portugal. It is also one of the key events of the season, as it is the first event that conforms to the predominant pattern – a sprint rally on loose surfaces; victory here is a good indication of events to come.
The event is just as memorable for the crowds, for it is a national institution, followed by millions. As it is based in Portugal's second city, Porto, this year, spectators will probably be more numerous than ever.

Makinen won the rally by a crushing margin last year and, as he and fellow-Finn Risto Mannisenmaki have led all three rounds of the 1998 World Rally Championship to date, they are clear favourites for their second victory together after their fine performance in Sweden. The Lancer Evolution's combination of speed and durability has made it a winner five times since its introduction little more than a year ago and it is widely seen as the car to beat.

"I think we have shown that the Lancer can win anywhere and I am very confident for Portugal," said Makinen. "Still it will be difficult to win. There is a lot of opposition and I think it will be flat out from start to finish."

Burns and co-driver Robert Reid go to Portugal on the crest of a wave, having given the Carisma GT its first World Championship victory in Safari – which was also their first win at the highest level. Their result confirmed that Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has one of the strongest driving teams and, after running strongly in Portugal last year, Burns is eager to capitalise on his Safari triumph.

"Naturally the Safari win was a real boost to my confidence. It was the first rally I had a good chance of winning this year, because I had done it a few times before. I think Portugal should suit me and the car," he said.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart can call on a second Carisma GT, driven by Uwe Nittel and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner. Nittel showed an impressive turn of speed on the Swedish Rally and is gaining confidence every time he drives the car.


"I am looking forward to driving on loose-surface stages for the first time in this car but I am very confident after our good result in Sweden. I really hope that Portugal will also be a good rally for me,” said Nittel.

"Even though we won this event last year, we've done a lot of work to improve the car. We did quite a long test at two different test sites in Portugal with Richard Burns and our test driver Lasse Lampi last month and it seemed to work very well," reported Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. "I think we've proved on all three events this year that the car is very competitive and both our drivers are proven winners now. Moving the rally to Oporto is not going to make much difference. Whether it's dry and quite hot like last year or muddy and wet, it's still going to be a tough event. The second leg is probably going to be the most difficult."

"Portugal is going to be an incredibly exciting rally, with really tough competition," said Team Manager Ingolf Raiss. "Thanks to our partnership with Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe, we have a fantastic car and we are looking forward to a good result. We think that Nittel can once more bring a good result to the Team."


Mitsubishi traditionally excels in the Group N production class, where the Lancer Evolution's rally-proven pedigree makes it the pace setter. Portugal could well bring yet more success, for Uruguay's double Group N World Champion, Gustavo Trelles, will be returning to the fray in his Lancer Evolution.

This year's Rally of Portugal has a new look, with most of the tough 1702-kilometres rally centred further north, around Porto. The first leg takes competitors from Porto south-east to Viseu and includes 10 special stages, totaling 134 kilometres. The second returns to Porto via the fiercesome Arganil stages. It promises to be the toughest day of the rally, with another 10 stages covering just short of 145 kilometres. There is more than enough distance left to cause an upset in the final leg, with eight stages and 100 kilometres of flat out driving before the finish. The chances are that the result will remain in doubt until the final hours of the rally.

 

 

 

 

 

 




1998 31st RALLYE DE PORTUGAL

ITINERARY

Sunday March 22  
LEG 1 : MATOSINHOS-LIXA-VISEU  
13.30 Start from Matosinhos  
  SS1 Lousada  
17.05 Arrival in Matosinhos  
Monday March 23  
LEG 1 : MATOSINHOS-LIXA-VISEU  
05:00 Start from Matosinhos  
  SS2 S. Quiteria 1  
  SS3 Fafe/Lameirinha 1  
  SS4 Luilhas 1  
  SS5 Vizo-Celorici de Basto 1  
  SS6 Sever do Vouga  
  SS7 Ladario-Oliveira Frades
  SS8 Viseu
  SS9 Mortazel 1
  SS10 Mortagua 1
20.19 Arrival in Viseu  
Tuesday March 24  
LEG 2 : VISEU-MATOSINHOS  
07.15 Start from Viseu  
  SS11 Bertelhe  
  SS12 Mortazel 2  
  SS13 Mortagua 2  
  SS14 Tabua  
  SS15 Arganil-Secarias  
  SS16 Salgueiro-Lomba
  SS17 Gois
  SS18 Lousa
  SS19 Pedrogao Grande
  SS20 Figueiro dos Vinhos
21.40 Arrival in Matosinhos  
Wednesday March 25  
LEG 3 : MATOSINHOS-MATOSINHOS  
06.45 Start from Matosinhos    
  SS21 Lousada-Campelos  
  SS22 Santa Quitera 2  
  SS23 Fafe-Lameirinha 2  
  SS24 Luilhas 2  
  SS25 Vieira-Canbeceiras  
  SS26 Vizo-Celorico de Basto 2  
  SS27 Seixoso  
  SS28 Amarante  
17.00 Final in Matosinhos    


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

 

PRE EVENT PRESS RELEASE ENTRY LIST MITSUBISHI LANCER/MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT
SPECIAL STAGE RESULT PHOTO LIBRARY DAILY COMMUNIQUE
TOP PAGE

 

--------------------

Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.