NESTE 1000 LAKES RALLY

1996 - 1000 LAKES RALLY
Monday, August 26
COMMUNIQUE 4

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III DOMINATES 1000 LAKES RALLY


Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution III leads the World Rally Championship after a triumphant 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, on which Team Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Tommi Makinen completed a hat-trick of victories on his home event.

Makinen extended his lead in the World Championship to a near-impregnable 33 points after a magisterial display in which he overpowered fellow-Finn and four-times World Champion Juha Kankkunen in front of vast crowds of enthusiastic spectators.

"I am very happy. This was the most difficult win - three days driving at maximum speed. It's a very good moment," said a delighted Makinen.

The Finnish star, who comes from the village of Puuppola, near the 1000 Lakes headquarters in Jyvaskyla, started the third and final just 12 seconds in front of Kankkunen. He shattered the former World Champion's challenge with blistering times on the first two stages of the morning that doubled his lead, then eased off to make sure of an emphatic victory. Makinen has won four of the six rounds of this year's World Championship.

Strong support from Team Mitsubishi Ralliart test driver Lasse Lampi, who finished eighth in his Group A Lancer Evolution III on his first rally for three years, has helped Mitsubishi take the lead in the World Championship for Manufacturers.

Michelin set fastest time on all of the 1,452-kilometre rally's 29 stages, the latest Z90 rubber playing a decisive role in Makinen's victory in exceptionally hot conditions that made the roads unusually slippery and tested driving skills to the limit.

"It's been a fantastic rally - absolutely brilliant," declared Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's Director, Andrew Cowan. "Saturday was the important thing: Tommi didn't get upset when Kankkunen took the lead. He worked away at it and he was very patient. The whole package is good. He's become a real superstar. In spite of the pressure he's under, the car's immaculate and it hasn't missed a beat."

Mitsubishi driver Olli Harkki led the Group N production class before the last stage but, while he had to give best to Pasi Hagstrom, Lancer Evolution IIIs took second, third and fourth places, underlining the worth of the standard car.

Mitsubishi also clinched the Ladies' prize, thanks to the former World Ladies Champions, Minna Sillankorva of Finland and Italy's Michela Maranngoni.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's next appearance, when both Makinen and Richard Burns will drive Group A Lancer Evolution IIIs will be on the Rally Australia, which is a round of both the World and Asia-Pacific Championships. It starts in Perth on September 13th.

FINAL CLASSIFICATION

                                         
1.T. Makinen-S. Harjanne FIN/FIN Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III 4.04.13
2.J. Kankkunen-N. Grist FIN/GB Toyota Celica GT-Four + 0.46
3.J. Kytolehto-A. Kapanen FIN/FINFord Escort RS Cosworth + 2.37
4.M. Gronholm-T. Rautlainen FIN/FINToyota Celica GT-Four + 2.42
5.K. Eriksson-S. Parmander S/S Subaru Impreza 555 + 3.22
6.T. Radstrom-L. Backman S/SToyota Celica GT-Four + 4.09
7.S. Lindholm-T. Hantunen FIN/FINFord Escort RS Cosworth + 5.17
8.L. Lampi-J. Stenroos FIN/FINMitsubishi Lancer Evolution III +12.01
9.R. Madeira-N.da Silva P/PTOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR + 16.34
10.A. Madeghini-B. Madeghini I/ISUBARU IMPREZA 555 + 18.28
11.B. Thiry-S. Prevot B/BFORD ESCORT RS COSWORTH + 19.11
12.A. Navarra-R. Casazza I/ISUBARU IMPREZA 555 + 20.02
13.P. Hagstrom-T. Gardemeister FIN/FINTOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR +21.49 1st Gr N
14.O. Harkki-K. Mustalahti FIN/FINMITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III +21.54 2nd Gr N
15.A. Dallavilla-D. Fappani I/ITOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR + 22.26
16.U. Nittel-T. Thorner D/SMITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III + 23.56 3rd Gr N

Carlos Sainz was forced to retire during ss29



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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

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