NETWORK Q RALLY OF GREAT BRITAIN
(21-24 NOVEMBER)

1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 13


 


1998 Network Q Rally of Great Britain
Saturday 21 November
COMMUNIQUE 1

TEAM MITSUBISHI RALLIART AIMS FOR
WORLD RALLY DOUBLE IN BRITAIN


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is bidding to win both the World Rally Championships – for Manufacturers and Drivers – for the first time on the 13th and final round of the 1998 series, the Rally of Great Britain. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Tommi Makinen is on the brink of taking a record-breaking third drivers’ crown, while Mitsubishi Carisma GT man Richard Burns aims for his first home win.

Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship (formerly known as the RAC Rally) is one of the biggest spectator attractions in motorsport. Up to 2,000,000 people watch the drivers and cars as they tackle race tracks, stately homes and the renowned forest stages. Dry weather promises a fast rally, but the event is rarely predictable and fog, rain, frost and mud are all possible.

Finn Tommi Makinen and Risto Mannisenmaki face the event with confidence. Carlos Sainz on Toyota must finish no lower than fourth against tough opposition to beat the Mitsubishi crew and Makinen can afford to finish one place behind and still become champion – unless Sainz wins.

"Everything seems very good at the moment – our car, the Michelin tyres – even the weather! I am quite confident", Makinen declared.

Burns and fellow Briton Robert Reid are hungry for a win that could make Mitsubishi champion manufacturer and would also prove that Burns is a match for arch-rival Subaru’s Colin McRae on home soil. Victory would almost certainly ensure that team-mate Makinen retained his world title.

"The fact that it’s dry doesn’t make it any easier. It’s nice to drive and you can attack more, but there’s still mud at the sides of the road. It’ll be fast", Burns said.

"Good weather takes away the lottery aspect you get if there’s ice or fog. It allows the drivers to get stuck in and drive as fast as they can. We’ve prepared thoroughly and we’re looking forward to it", said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan.

Mitsubishi also has high hopes in the Group N production car category, in which Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs customarily excel. Austria’s Manfred Stohl will be one of the favourites in his Carisma GT, but no fewer than 22 drivers have chosen Group N Mitsubishis in a field of 170 cars.

The 1,892.38 km rally starts on Sunday, the 310.33 km first leg including 13 short stages in central Britain, which cover 77.94 km, or 19% of the competitive distance. The bulk of the rally is concentrated in Wales, with the decisive stages taking place on Monday and Tuesday.


 

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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.