Freddy Loix to join Mitsubishi Ralliart

Rising Belgian rally star Freddy Loix is to join Team Mitsubishi Ralliart for the 1999 World Rally Championship season on a two-year contract.

Rated by many as a future champion, the 27-year-old will contest all 14 rounds of the World Rally Championship in 1999 with a similar commitment for 2000.

Co-driven by fellow Belgian Sven Smeets, Loix will drive the highly successful Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution / Carisma GT and will be team-mate to double World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen.

"I think Mitsubishi is the right team for me to attain success at the highest level. The car is very competitive and the team is very professional. I'm very much looking forward to achieving success for them in the World Rally Championship," said Loix. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me to prove myself."

Although he has yet to win a World Championship rally, Loix has become the dominant force in his native Belgium, winning the country's most prestigious rally, the Ypres-Westhoek Rally, three times in succession. After making his name in less powerful two-wheel-drive cars, he has gained a string of excellent results at World Rally Championship level, including top-three finishes in Catalunya and Portugal. He is particularly highly rated on asphalt.

As of the end of the 1998 Rally Finland, 10th round of the 13 round World Rally Championship series, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's Lancer Evolutions and Carisma GTs have won four World Championship rallies, which is more than any other manufacturer. This pairing of a young rising star Loix, with a double World Champion, Tommi Makinen, means that Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is set to continue on its winning way into the new millennium.

Driver / Co-drivers' Profile

Driver: Freddy Loix
Born: 10th November, 1970 / Tongres (Belgium)
Nationality: Belgium
Family: Single

Co-driver: Sven Smeets
Born: 12th May, 1972 / Hasselt (Belgium)
Nationality: Belgium
Family: Single

Widely regarded as the most promising Belgian, Freddy Loix progressed from domestic events to top four finishes on World Rally Championship in just three years, before taking on the majority of the test driving for Toyota team in 1997.

Very much at home on tarmac, he came to prominence in the F2 arena in Opel Astras, making himself hot property with a string of brilliant drivers at home and abroad in 1995. Nicknamed "Fast Freddy" by his fans at home, the young Belgian made the switch to a 4WD (four wheel drive) cars in '96 and immediately impressed. His program, backed by Marlboro and Toyota produced a fine second overall on Rally of Portugal, 7th place in Greece and fourth places on Sanremo and Catalunya. In Italy he was the fastest man on the final, all tarmac stages. He also won two National Belgian events - 24 Hours Ypres and Condroz Rally and finished second in Spa.

He achieved his "A" seed with a storming drive to second in Portugal in '97 and was fast from the outset in the Toyota Corolla which made its debut at 1000 Lakes.

For 1998 he has a program of three Belgian events, plus Portugal, as he works towards his objective of a full 14 round World Rally Championship program in 1999.

Major results :

1994Belgian Champion
1995Rally Sanremo1st F2 (Formula 2 litter)
24 Hours Ypres4th overall / 1st F2 (Formula 2 litter)
199624 Hours Ypres1st overall
Rally Sanremo5th overall
Rally Catalunya4th overall
199724 Hours Ypres1st overall
Rally Sanremo5th overall
Rally Portugal2nd overall
1998Rally Portugal3rd overall
Rally Catalunya2nd overall
24 Hours Ypres1st overall
Hautes Fagnes1st overall
Bianchi Rally1st overall



Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.