1996 ACROPOLIS RALLY
Saturday 1 June
MITSUBISHI CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS IN GREECE WITH THREE LANCER EVOLUTION III
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer Evolution III driver and FIA World Rally Championship leader Tommi Makinen announced today that he was more confident than ever of increasing his five point advantage on the fourth round of the series, the Acropolis Rally, whichi starts from the Greek capital Athens tomorow.
After five days testing in the Lancer over the notoriously rough and slippery Greek tracks north of Athens, Makinen said that he was delighted with the Mitsubishi, which features new suspension settings and the latest Michelin Z tyres for the first time.
"The roads are very, very twisty and very difficult," said Makinen as the Lancer passed thrught pre-event scrutineering at the Peace and Friendship Studium in Athens. "It is also very slippery worse than Indonesia - because of heavy rain for the past few days, but the car feels superb. I feel very confident,"
Makinen co-driven as usual by fellow Finn Seppo Harjanne, enjoys a five point lead in the World Championship, but faces three day of one of the toughest rounds in the series which combines a high-speed European-style format with the rough and testing conditions of the Safari Rally which Tommi and Seppo won two month ago. Makinen and his rivals will tackle 21 special stages totaling 454km in length in an overall route of 1204 km.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Manager Phil Short commented: "We are quietly confident. Although the conditions will be difficult, we know that Tommi will be very fast here. And after five days testing on these conditions - it is fast, yet very reliable. We have also made some minor improvements to the suspention setting that Tommi is very happy with. There has been heavy rain here over the past few days and the roads are extremely slippery and many large rocks have been exposed, so this is going to be a tough event, but we're ready for it."
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's efforts to regain the lead in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufactures will be suppoted by two new and exceptionally talented Group N drivers, both in standard Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IIIs. German driver Uwe Nittel, co-driven by Tina Thorner, will drive a Ralliart Germany-prepared Lancer, while Belgian pair Pascal Smets and Jean-Paul S'heeren will compete in a similar Moorkens Car Division Mitsubishi Lancer Dealer Team version.
Around 96 cars are expected to start from the famous Acropolis in the centre of Athens tomorrow at 08:30, from where they will compete over eight stages covering 149 km before the first of two overnight halts at the northerm seaside resort of Kamena Vourla at around 18:30.
Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
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