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1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 2
THE INTERNATIONAL SWEDISH RALLY (5-8 FEB)


Sunday 8th February
LEG 3 - 415,77 km - 5 SS - 94,24 km
COMMUNIQUE N 4


MITSUBISHI LANCER WINS SWEDISH RALLY


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart scored its fourth victory on the Swedish Rally thanks to a briliant performance from double World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen, driving a Lancer Evolution. Makinen’s victory on the second round of the 1998 World Rally Championship has re-asserted his claim for a record third successive world title for Mitsubishi and was backed up by another crushing success in the Group N production car class, with Carisma GTs and Lancer Evolutions sweeping the top places.

Conditions changed dramatically on the final day of this action-packed event. Freezing temperatures ensured a good covering of ice and snow on the first stages of the morning, but the roads began to thaw as the sun rose and drivers had to make some difficult tyre choices as gravel began to place a lot of strain on the studs.
The Swedish has always been a drivers’ event and the crowds were treated to a breathtaking spectacle as the competitors fought for seconds at average speeds of up to 120 km/h on narrow, tree-lined forest roads, before returning to a heroes’ welcome in Karlstad.

Makinen and fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki grabbed the lead during the second leg with a superb time on the longest stage of the rally. They exploited the latest Michelin winter tyres to such good effect that the opposition had no chance of catching the Lancer Evolution crew during the final leg. Makinen was therefore able to cruise through the last few tricky stages to give Mitsubishi its third Swedish win in four years.

“It was quite hard work yesterday afternoon, but this new Michelin is very good and we had such good grip that I think we could have caught Thomas Radstrom even if he had not retired. It is important to win these days, because there is such a difference in the points for first and second, so this is a big help,” said Makinen.

Germany’s Uwe Nittel delivered a highly impressive performance to take seventh place with Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner in their Carisma GT. Nittel fought a thrilling battle with former World Rally Champion Didier Auriol in the closing stages and was delighted to have achieved an encouraging result against fierce opposition.

“We are improving all the time: last year it was much harder to go the same speed as the leaders. I like these roads, but there is so much to learn here. It is very important to stay on the right line and not hit the snowbanks too much. This result gives me confidence for the future,” Nittel stated.

British crew Richard Burns and Robert Reid played a starring role in their Carisma GT and their 15th place hardly did them justice, for they set a series of fastest times in one of the most remarkable performances ever seen from a Swedish Rally newcomer. But for an unfortunate accident on the first day of the rally
.
The result itself isn’t so important, but we had some good stages and we learnt a huge amount. I’m happy, but of course not completely satisfied: the accident was my fault and it showed that this rally isn’t easy. It’s very fast and it takes a while to get used to the surface,” Burns commented.

“Tommi has felt fairly comfortable from the start and he was quite sure that he could have taken some time back even if Thomas Radstrom had come out of the long stage in the second leg. The car’s run faultlessly and the Michelin tyres have been excellent,” stated Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan.


This is a great result for us. Uwe has driven an absolutely excellent rally. The Carisma GT is fantastic and I am sure we can exploit the potential he has shown here,” stated Team Manager Ingolf Raiss.

A furious battle for Group N was one of the highlights of the rally. There was never any doubt that Mitsubishi would win, as the Carismas and Lancers seem far too strong for the opposition in the showroom category, but Stig-Olv Walfridsson’s triumph over fellow Swede Kenneth Backlund was far from certain until the very last stage.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart will be in action once more in fewer than three weeks, when it contests the third round of the World Rally Championship, the Safari Rally.


FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

1.T.MAKINEN/R.MANNISENMAKI FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.32.51.6 Gr-A
2.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E TOYOTA COROLLA 3.33.43.2 Gr-A
3.J.KANKKUNEN /J.REPO FIN/FIN FORD ESCORT 3.33.50.4 Gr-A
4.K.ERIKSSON/S.PARMANDER S/S SUBARU IMPREZA 3.35.23.3 Gr-A
5.M.GRONHOLM/T.RAUTIAINEN FIN/FIN TOYOTA CELICA 3.36.21.5 Gr-A
6.D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 3.37.09.8 Gr-A
7.U.NITTEL/T.THORNER D/S MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.37.35.2 Gr-A
8.B.THIRY/S.PREVOT B/B FORD ESCORT 3.38.59.1 Gr-A
9.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 3.40.38.5 Gr-A
10.M.JONSSON/J.JOHANSSON S/S FORD ESCORT 3.41.05.5 Gr-A
13.S.WALFRIDSON/G.BARTH S/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.43.29.8 1stGr-N
14.K.BACKLUND/T.ANDERSSON S/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.43.39.8 2ndGr-N
15.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.43.53.1 Gr-A
17.J.KANGAS/J.LAKKSONEN FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.48.28.8 3rdGr-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/

THE INTERNATIONAL SWEDISH RALLY 1998

STATISTICS



Dates
: 6-8 February 1998
Length : 1430.31 kms
Total SS: 381.34 kms on 18 SS

Entries : 81 (45 Group A + 36 Group N)

Starters : 81 (45 Group A + 36 Group N)


Makes : Mitsubishi 18, Opel 12, Ford 11, Toyota 11, Subaru 6, Nissan 4, Suzuki 4, Volkswagen 2, Seat 3, Renault 2, Skoda 2, Citroen 1, Honda 1, Mazda 1, Peugeot 1.

Nations (first drivers) : 44 S, 12 FIN, 4 I, 3 E, 3 F, 3 GB, 3 N, 1 A, 1 B, 1 D, 1 DK, 1 EE, 1 LV, 1 MC, 1 ROU, 1 RUS.

Overall winners :

1.T.MAKINEN/R.MANNISENMAKI FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.32.51.6 Gr-A
2.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E TOYOTA COROLLA 3.33.43.2 Gr-A
3.J.KANKKUNEN /J.REPO FIN/FIN FORD ESCORT 3.33.50.4 Gr-A
4.K.ERIKSSON/S.PARMANDER S/S SUBARU IMPREZA 3.35.23.3 Gr-A
5.M.GRONHOLM/T.RAUTIAINEN FIN/FIN TOYOTA CELICA 3.36.21.5 Gr-A
6.D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 3.37.09.8 Gr-A
7.U.NITTEL/T.THORNER D/S MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.37.35.2 Gr-A
8.B.THIRY/S.PREVOT B/B FORD ESCORT 3.38.59.1 Gr-A
9.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 3.40.38.5 Gr-A
10.M.JONSSON/J.JOHANSSON S/S FORD ESCORT 3.41.05.5 Gr-A
13.S.WALFRIDSON/G.BARTH S/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.43.29.8 1stGr-N
14.K.BACKLUND/T.ANDERSSON S/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.43.39.8 2ndGr-N
15.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.43.53.1 Gr-A
17.J.KANGAS/J.LAKKSONEN FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.48.28.8 3rdGr-N


Group N winners
:

13.S.WALFRIDSON/G.BARTH S/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.43.29.8 1stGr-N
14.K.BACKLUND/T.ANDERSSON S/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 3.43.39.8 2ndGr-N
17.J.KANGAS/J.LAKKSONEN FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 3.48.28.8 3rdGr-N



Stages winners
: Radstrom 6, Sainz 5, Makinen 4, Burns 3, Kankkunen 1.

Rally leaders
: 1 Sainz, 2-11 Radstrom, 12-19 Makinen.

World Championship for Drivers
: Sainz 16, Makinen 10, Kankkunen 10, McRae 4, Eriksson 3, Liatti 3, Burns 2, Gronholm 2, Thiry 1,Auriol 1,

World Championship for Manufacturers
: Toyota 16, Mitsubishi 12, Ford 11, Subaru 10.



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

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Copyright 1997 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.