Press Release


[POST EVENT]


MITSUBISHI LANCER DOMINATES RALLYING
ACROSS THE GLOBE




The 1996 Rally season will go down in history as the Year of the Mighty Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III - the car which swept all before it in five FIA World and three Asia-Pacific Championship rallies. It was in this car that Finnish pair Tommi Makinen and Seppo Harjanne rode to victory in five World Championship rallies from nine starts which handed Tommi the title of World Champion.

In Asia, British pair Richard Burns and Robert Reid spearheaded Mitsubishi's assault on the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The Lancer performed so superbly and reliably that with an incredible 1-2-3 victory on the final round - the Hong Kong - Beijing Rally - Mitsubishi was able to claim the Manufacturers' title for the second year in succession. Richard only just missed out on securing the Drivers' Championship, finishing second.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IIIs amazing run of success started in the icy cold snow-covered countryside of Sweden where the superb traction and handling of the Lancer and Makinen's driving skills came into their own. It resulted in a tremendous victory and provided the perfect start to the season.

While Mitsubishi, a previous winner of Sweden, surprised few with the Lancer's victory on icy roads, the following win shocked the world of motor sport. Team Mitsubishi Ralliart had never contested the Safari Rally before at this level and Tommi Makinen was also new to Africa. The Safari is well-known as an event that demands high levels of experience from teams that wish to do well. Yet, after a cautious start, Makinen powered through the treacherous Kenyan bushlands to record an historic victory putting both himself and his team into a clear lead in both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships.

Mitsubishi's success with Makinen on the team's maiden Safari was repeated again later in the season when Team Mitsubishi Ralliart contested the Rally of Argentina for the first time. The Lancer's strength, reliability and superior performance shone through for the second time, and when combined with Makinen's skill was more than a match for experienced rivals with Tommi racing up yet another victory with Mitsubishi.

The season had its low points, of course, with both Makinen and Burns retiring in Indonesia. However, there were more high points than low, and in the World series Makinen was never out of the reckoning. A worthy second place on the Acropolis Rally in Greece helped Makinen to increase his championship lead, and he soon found winning form again with victories in Australia and on his home event, the 1000 Lakes Rally of Finland. With two rounds remaining - Sanremo and Catalunya - Makinen's world title was secure. An accident in Sanremo for Makinen did little to detract from his successful season and guest driver Didier Auriol's hard work in getting the Lancer up to speed on unfamiliar asphalt stages. But on the all-tarmac Rally of Catalunya, Makinen was able to finish fifth thanks in part to Auriol's work and the result was made all the more remarkable as he had been joined by a new co-driver, Juha Repo, on this occasion, a situation that always requires a good deal of adjustment.

The Mitsubishi Lancer's success in the World Championship was mirrored in the Asia-Pacific series during this time where, after a slow start to the season with Makinen and Burns both retiring on the Rally of Thailand and Indonesia, Burns returned to form with a fine victory on the Rally of New Zealand - his first major international win. Burns also finished second in very difficult circumstances in Malaysia where many of the stages were cancelled for safety reason denying the Mitsubishi driver an opportunity to attack, but the crowning moment came on the most challenging and exciting rally of all - the Hong Kong - Beijing Rally.

With Burns, Japanese star Kenjiro Shinozuka, and old friend Ari Vatanen, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart knew it had a winning combination. However, after seven days of hard driving through China the Mitsubishi trio achieved a level of domination of which they would never have dared dreamed, Ari taking victory with Burns second and Shinozuka third to record an historic victory after the opposition simply crumbled under the pressure during the first few days. It was that result that brought Mitsubishi the Manufacturers' crown, and with Tommi Makinen already celebrating his World Championship title win with the Lancer, it rounded off a near perfect season for the team.

Mitsubishi's domination of world rallying was not just confined to top level Group A rallying however. Perhaps the sternest test of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III was in Group N, the class for standard cars, where ordinary production versions of the world-beating machines, with only a few safety modifications, were expected to compete in extremely challenging conditions. Once again, Mitsubishi's domination was total, taking both the World and Asia-Pacific Championships with ease. It was Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles who managed to take the title in the World series after a frantic last-minute battle with fellow Lancer Driver Uwe Nittel, and in the Asia-Pacific Championship, Japanese driver Yoshihiro Kataoka became champion in his standard Lancer Evolution III.

After such a remarkable season, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III has now become a legend in rallying - one of the most successful cars of all time - and is now clearly and justifiably regarded as the fastest and most reliable car in the world both in Group A form and in the standard Group N category. All eyes will now turn to 1997 with the newest version of the Mitsubishi soon to make its first appearance, and Mitsubishi hopes that it will be as successful as the Evolution III and that Team Mitsubishi Ralliart can look forward to another tremendously successful season in rallying.





FINAL CLASSIFICATION


                                         
1.C. McRAE/D.RINGER GB/GBSUBARU IMPREZA 5554.14.20
2.P. LIATTI/F. PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 555 +0.07
3.B. THIRY/S.PREVOT B/BFORD ESCORT COSWORTH+ 1.18
4.F. LOIX/S. SMEET B/BTOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR +1.35
5.T. MAKINEN/J. REPO FIN/FINMITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III +1.52
6.P. BERNARDINI/D. SAVIGNONI F/FFORD ESCORT RS COSWORTH + 3.10
7.K. ERIKSSON/S. PARMANDER S/SSUBARU IMPREZA 555 + 3.41
8.O. GOMEZ/M. MARTI E/ERENAULT MAXI MEGANE + 4.02
9.R. MADEIRA/N. DA SILVA P/PTOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR + 4.59
10.A. MEDEGHINI/"MEDEGHINI" I/ISUBARU IMPREZA 555 + 6.38
........................................................ ........................................................ .................
14.G. TRELLES/J. DEL BUONO ROU/RAMITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III + 19.28(1stN)
16.U. NITTEL/T. THORNER D/SMITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III +20.01(2ndN)

*Richard Burns was forced to retire during ss18
*Carlos Sainz was forced to retire during ss2







1996 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP A RESULTS


Round 1

THE INTERNATIONAL SWEDISH RALLY

1st Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Calros Sainz Ford Escort
3rd Colin Mcrae Subaru Impreza
4th Juha Kankkunen Toyota Celica
5th Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza

Round 2

555 SAFARI RALLY

1st Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
3rd Ian Duncan Toyota Celica
4th Colin McRae Subaru Impreza
5th Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza


Round 3

BANK UTAMA RALLY INDONESIA

1st Calros Sainz Ford Escort
2nd Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza
3rd Juha Kankkunen Toyota Celica
4th Yoshio Fujimoto Toyota Celica
5th Reza Pribadi Toyota Celica



Round 4

ACROPOLIS RALLY

1st Colin Mcrae Subaru Impreza
2nd Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
3rd Calros Sainz Ford Escort
4th Pierro Liatti Subaru Impreza
5th Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza



Round 5

RALLY ARGENTINA

1st Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Calros Sainz Ford Escort
3rd Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
4th Richard Burns Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
5th Burno Thiry Ford Escort




Round 6

NESTE1000 LAKES RALLY


1st Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Juha Kankkunen Toyota Celica
3rd Jarmo Kytolehto Ford Escort
4th Marcus Gronholm Toyota Celica
5th Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza




Round 7

RALLY AUSTRALIA


1st Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
3rd Carlos Sainz Ford Escort
4th Colin McRae Subaru Impreza
5th Richard Burns Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII




Round 8

RALLY SANREMO


1st Colin McRae Subaru Impreza
2nd Carlos Sainz Ford Escort
3rd Burno Thiry Ford Escort
4th Freddy Loix Toyota Celica
5th Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza




Round 9

RALLY CATALUNYA - COSTA BRAVA


1st Colin McRae Subaru Impreza
2nd Pierro Liatti Subaru Impreza
3rd Burno Thiry Ford Escort
4th Freddy Loix Toyota Celica
5th Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII




1996 FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP A RESULTS


Round 1

SHINGA INTERNATIONAL RALLY OF THAILAND

1st Colin Mcrae Subaru Impreza
2nd Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
3rd Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza
4th Karamjit Singh Proton Wira
5th Yoshihiro Kataoka Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII


Round 2

BANK UTAMA RALLY INDONESIA

1st Calros Sainz Ford Escort
2nd Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza
3rd Juha Kankkunen Toyota Celica
4th Yoshio Fujimoto Toyota Celica
5th Reza Pribadi Toyota Celica


Round 3

PETRONAS RALLY MALAYSIA

1st Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
2nd Richard Burns Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
3rd Kenjiro Shinozuka Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
4th Possum Bourne Subaru Impreza
5th Michel Guest Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII


Round 4

SMOKEFREE RALLY NEW ZEALAND

1st Richard Burns Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
3rd P. Liatti SUBARU IMPREZA
4th J. McAndrew Subaru Legacy
5th M. Guest Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII




Round 5

RALLY AUSTRALIA


1st Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza
3rd Carlos Sainz Ford Escort
4th Colin McRae Subaru Impreza
5th Richard Burns Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII




Round 6

555 HONG KONG-BEIJING RALLY


1st Ari Vatanen Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
2nd Richard Burns Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
3rd Kenjiro Shinozuka Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
4th Karamjit Singh Proton Wira
5th Yoshio Kataoka Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII




1996 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP N RESULTS

Winner

                           

THE INTERNATIONAL SWEDISH RALLY K.Backlund Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
555 SAFARI RALLY H.Miyoshi Subaru
BANK UTAMA RALLY INDONESIA M.Lieu Subaru
ACROPOLIS RALLY U.Nittel Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
RALLY ARGENTINA U.Nittel Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
NESTE 1000 LAKES RALLY P.Hagstrom Toyota
RALLY AUSTRALIA E.Ordynski Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
RALLY SANREMO G.TrellesMitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
RALLY CATALUNYA-COSTA BRAVA G.TrellesMitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII


1996 FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

GROUP N RESULTS

Winner

             

SIGHA PTT INTERNATIONAL RALLY OF THAILAND K.Singh Proton
BANK UTAMA RALLY INDONESIA M.Lieu Subaru
PETRONAS RALLY MALAYSIA Y.Kataoka Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
SMOKEFREE RALLY NEW ZEALAND M.Guest Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
RALLY AUSTRALIA E.Ordynski Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionIII
555 HONG KONG-BEIJING RALLY K.SinghProton


1996 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DRIVERS



DRIVER SWEDEN SAFARI INDONESIA ACROPOLIS ARGENTINA 1000 LAKES AUSTRALIA SANREMO CATALUNYA TOTAL
Makinen(Fin) 20 20 - 15 20 20 20 - 8 123
McRae(GB) 12 10 - 20 - - 10 20 20 92
Sainz(E) 15 - 20 12 15 - 12 15 - 89
Erikson(S) 8 15 - 8 12 8 15 8 4 78
Liatti(I) - 8 15 10 4 - 4 - 15 56
Thiry(B) - - - 6 8 - - 12 12 44
Kanlunen 10 - 12 - - 15 - - - 37
Burns(GB) - - - - 10 - 8 - - 18


1996 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MANUFACTURERS



MANUFACTURERS SWEDEN SAFARI INDONESIA ACROPOLIS ARGENTINA 1000 LAKES AUSTRALIA SANREMO CATALUNYA TOTAL
Subaru 43 50 29 56 38 18 50 53 64 401
Mitsubishi 47 50 - 41 56 46 53 11 18 322
Ford 40 13 35 40 47 5 40 54 25 299


1996 FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DRIVERS



DRIVER THAILAND INDONESIA MALAYSIA NEW ZEALAND AUSTRALIA HONG KONG-BEIJING TOTAL
Eriksson 15 - 20 15 15 - 65
Burns - - 15 20 8 15 58
Liatti 12 15 - 12 4 - 43
Sainz - 20 - - 12 - 32
McRae(GB) 20 - - - 10 - 30
Singh 10 - 4 - - 10 24
Shinozaka - - 12 - - 12 24
Kataoka 8 - 6 - - 8 22
Makinen - - - - 20 - 20


1996 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MANUFACTURERS



MANUFACTURERS THAILAND INDONESIA MALAYSIA NEW ZEALAND AUSTRALIA HONG KONG-BEIJING TOTAL BEST 4 RESULT
Mitsubishi 24 15 29 35 35 35 138 134
Subaru 35 29 35 29 29 15 157 128
Ford - 35 - - 25 - 60 60








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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.