The three day lberian event (4-6 November)is going to be a real test of Burns' current good form. It's Richard's first attempt at Spain's mountain-ous all-asphalt event and the first European round of the World Championship he has contested this season. It is also the first Tarmac road rally Richard which has started for three years.
"I'm under no illusions, all I want to do is drive and Lean," says Burns."This is just my fourth World Championship round of the year but Mitsubishi is planning to give me an expanded programme in 1997, so competing in new event like this giving me some invaluable extra experience."
Despite the numerous international successes achieved by Mitsubishi in 1996, neither Burns nor Makinen are expected to reigh in Spain. The multi-victorious Mitsubishi Evolution III is better suited to loose surface rallies and rivals Subaru and Ford are more fancied to shine in Catalunya...
Burns believes the season finale be a great battle between fellow Briton Colin McRae (Subaru)and local Spanish hero Carlos Sainz(Ford)-the pair dominated the rally twelve months ago.Other recognised Tarmac specialists likely to be to the fore include Bruno Thiry (Ford) , Piero Liatti(Subaru)and Freddy Loix(Toyota). Even so, no one is likely to discount either Burns or Makinen, what's more the pair have a big incentive.
"In theory Mitsubishi can still pip Subaru to the World Championship for Manufacturers crown but, in reality, we've got a mountain to climb. Obviously it world be great to win another title after last week's success in China but we're going to need a huge slice of luck. Subaru already has a large points advantage, it has the car which is best suited to the event plus three drivers with experience on the event ,"admits Burns.
"With next month's RAC Rally no longer part of the major championship,Spain brings the year to an close. it would be nice to finish what'been encouraging season on a high note... and for me that would be a steady top five finish."
Richard Burns Report 2
Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.