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1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3
SAFARI RALLY KENYA (27 FEB.-2 MARCH)


MITSUBISHI LANCER AND CARISMA GT GO
FOR FOURTH SAFARI RALLY WIN


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is gearing up for one of the greatest challenges in motorsport, the third round of the 1998 World Rally Championship, the Safari Rally. It will enter two cars for the only World Championship event in Africa, a Lancer Evolution for Tommi Makinen/Risto Mannisenmaki and a Carisma GT for Richard Burns/Robert Reid.

The Safari is an event like no other in the calendar - a direct link to motorsport's origins a century ago. It is the longest, roughest, toughest and even the hottest rally in the World Rally Championship, and the only round still held on open roads. It places enormous demands on car, team and driver, with as many kilometres of hard driving in a day as most events provide in total. Although it is shorter than it was, it remains a test of endurance and it is one event where the driver cannot simply go flat out. At one moment, he can be driving at 200 km/h, the next slowing to 10km/h for a dry river bed. The Safari is a Kenyan institution. The country all but comes to a halt for the rally and it is front-page news in all the papers. Huge crowds throng the route, applauding their heroes and seizing on every scrap of information concerning the rally. It is no exaggeration to talk of Safari fever.

Mitsubishi has a fine Safari record, with three past victories. In 1974, 76 Joginder Singh won with a Lancer GSR and in 1996 double World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen took a superb victory in his Lancer Evolution. In addition, Tommi's British team-mate Richard Burns took second overall in 1997. Makinen's morale has soared after his crushing victory on the Swedish Rally earlier this month and he is eager to get to grips with the Safari once more. "I am very confident for the Safari at the moment, because Mitsubishi always has a reliable car," said the 33-year-old Finn. "You never know what can happen on the Safari, but Michelin has done a lot of work with the tyres and I am sure we can win again."

Richard Burns has been one of the stars of the season so far and the Safari is one of the rallies he knows best. On current form, his first World Championship rally win can only be a matter of time and, following his excellent 1997 showing, he will be one of the favourites this year. "I feel I've got a really good chance to win. It's a good rally for the team and experience helps a lot in Africa. It's a very tough event and I think it could be decided well before the finish. It sounds as though it's going to be rougher than ever," Burns declared.

"The Safari is a very special rally in many ways: the preparation of the car, the way the drivers practice, the way they drive on the event itself," stated Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. "We haven't tested in Kenya this year, so the specification is very similar to last year's. But, because we can use fully prepared Group A cars, the race is a bit of a test in itself. "This year looks as though it will be exceptionally rough. The problem is this El Nino effect, which has disrupted weather around the world. The rains continued until the beginning of February, and both the organizers and our local contacts say the roads are in a very bad state as a result. However, the last two years have been good for Mitsubishi and both drivers know how to bring the car to the finish. This rally isn't just about performance. It's a question of reliability and driving according to the conditions."

The Safari starts on February 28 and consists of three legs, all starting and finishing in Nairobi. It covers a total of 2,340 kilometres, of which 1,107 will be competitive. Apart from a super special to open the event, the first and last legs are identical, looping south of Nairobi towards Mount Kilimanjaro and the Tanzanian border, then westwards into the Kedong Hills. The second leg is the longest, heading north-west and using classic Safari roads around Marigat and Eldama Ravine. It may well prove decisive - but the Safari has a habit of throwing up surprises at any stage.







1998 46th SAFARI RALLY

ITINERARY
Saturday 28th February
LEG 1 : NAIROBI-NAIROBI
09:00Start from Nairobi KICC
SS1Super Competitive
SS2Oltepesi - Ngong
SS3Hunter's Lookout - Timbuctoo
SS4Isinya - II Bisel
SS5Kajiado - Corner Baridi
SS6Super Competitive
19:03Arrival in Nairobi KICC
Sunday 1st March
2nd LEG : NAIROBI-NAIROBI
05:00Start from Nairobi KICC
SS7Langjohanstorp
SS8Solai-Gari la Moshi
SS9Nyaru-Eldama Ravine
SS10Marigat-Mogotio
SS11Elmenteita-Kongoni
19:56Arrival in Nairobi KICC
Monday 2nd March
3rd LEG : NAIROBI-NAIROBI
05:10Start from Nairobi KICC
SS12Oltepesi-Ngong
SS13Hunter's Lookout-Timbuctoo
SS14Isinya-ll Bisel
SS15Kajadio-Corner Baridi
SS16Super Competitive
15:30Final of the Rally in Nairobi



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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.