RALLY SANREMO - Rally d'Italia (12-14 October)


1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 11



 


1998 RALLYE SANREMO
Sunday 11 October
COMMUNIQUE 1


MITSUBISHI BIDS FOR VICTORY ON SANREMO RALLY WITH
LANCER AND CARISMA GT

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has its best ever chance of winning Italy’s Sanremo Rally, the 11th round of the 1998 World Rally Championship. Thorough preparation of its Lancer Evolution and Carisma GT models has boosted the team’s confidence as the World Rally Championship enters its decisive phase.

The Sanremo Rally, which celebrates its 40th anniversary, is one of the most popular rounds of the World Championship. The twisty asphalt roads winding through the mountains and tiny hilltop villages of northern Italy along the Mediterranean coast are a stern test for drivers, and a firm favourite with the vast crowds that line the route. This year’s rally has the strongest entry in its history.

World Champion Tommi Makinen and fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki will be going flat out in their Lancer Evolution in a bid to gain their first Sanremo victory – a win that could give Makinen the drivers’ championship lead.

“We have done a lot of testing and the car feels really good. It will be a big fight, because this rally always has some surprises and you never know what can happen with the weather here,” Makinen predicted.

British team-mates Richard Burns and Robert Reid are contesting the Sanremo Rally for the first time, but the Carisma GT crew believe that they can strengthen Mitsubishi’s strong position in the manufacturers’ championship.

“I’m going to approach the rally the same way as Finland and Monte Carlo. It won’t be easy the first time and it’s very slippery in places, but I hope we can score points,” said Burns.

“The roads are pretty dirty after the recce, because the weather has been bad and I think the second leg in particular will be very demanding. It will be easy to make a mistake,” said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. “From our testing, I’m sure our cars will be good. We’ve got a particularly good chance to win if it rains, because the car works well and we’ve got a new Michelin wet tyre. We’ve definitely got a good chance, but this rally is very unpredictable and a lot will depend on what the
weather does.”

Mitsubishi is also hoping for further success in the Group N production category, in which the Lancer Evolution customarily excels. Uruguay’s Gustavo Trelles is nearing his third successive Group N world title for Mitsubishi, but faces a stiff challenge from talented Austrian Manfred Stohl with a Carisma GT.

The 1494-kilometre rally starts from Sanremo’s harbour on October 12. The first leg is compact loop into the mountains north of the Riviera resort, with eight stages totalling 120 kilometres.

 

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Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.