"I've done quite enogh practice, because we could do every stage four times, which helps a lot, compared to three times. It is a very difficult rally, because there are so many long comers that tighten and open in the forest," said 32-year-old Finn Makinen, who leads the World Championsjip for Drivers by eight points. "We have made only small changes to the suspention since the Acropolis Rally and our Michelin tyres are excellent. "As usual, Makinen will be co-driven by fellow Finn Seppo Harjanne.
Michelin will provide tyres ideally adapted to exceptionally varied conditions, utilising the well-proven FB and Z patterns.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is also new to the event, but confident after a satisfactory three-day test with British driver Richard burns, who drives the second Group A Lancer Evolution III : We've prepared well We've got all the right information, we've got the engine set for the altitude. Tommi's quite relaxed, and with the experience of our Team Manager Phil Short and Co-ordinator Alistair Roberts here in recent years, it hasn't been a problem,"declared Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan.
Number two driver Burns and co-driver Robert Reid are looking forward to a fantastic opportunity to gain extra World Championship experience. Their confidence has been boosted following their excellent second place on the Rally of Malaysia. the last round of the Asia-Pacific Championship : "There's history of big accidents in this rally and I can see why. There are several really nice stages and they put a real effort into the super-specials. I'm looking forwerd to putting on a show for the crowd, because the people are so enthusiastic," said Burns.
All the drivers report tough conditions during the race, with snow - which is practically unheard of in this part of Argentina - affecting the highest stages. Dry, dusty conditions are expected for the rally.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart can also rely on strong support from the Group N, production class Lancer Evolution III of rising German star Uwe Nittel and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner, who drive for Ralliart Germany.
More than 100 cars are expected to start the tough, 1,311-kilometer rally in Cordoba tommorow morning. They face 13 stages on rough, fast roads at high altitude, totalling 198 kilometres, before returning to Cordoba at 17.50.