SWEDISH Rally Entry

555 SAFARI RALLY '96
Thursday, 4th April 1996
Communique 1


MITSUBISHI READY FOR MUDDY SAFARI CHALLENGE



Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is today preparing for its biggest challenge yet this year as Finn Tommi Makinen and Japanese diver Kenjiro Shinozuka set their sights on victory in the 1996 Safari Rally which starts tomorrow , April 5 from Nairobi, Kenya.

Driving a pair of specially-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IIIs, Makinen,co-driven Seppo Harjanne and Shinozuka, co-driven by Pennti Kuukkala, will face around 3000 km of tough African roads,littered with deep mud holes and flooded sections after recent heavy rains.

Shinozuka,who has many years of experience of the Safari with Mitsubishi,notably finishing second last year in his Lancer Evolution III,commented: "The rains stopped a few days ago, so I think that many sections will be dry by the time we sart. I hope it will not rain again because I much prefer a dry Safari."

His Mitsubishi team mate, Makinen, will depend heavily on the experience of his Japanese partner as this is his first visit to the African classic.He said: " I will have to be careful and learn very quickly, because I have never driven on this event before and it is very different to a normal world championship rally.Here it is not outright speed that counts,but a good pace and avoiding problems.I think with this Lancer Evolution III we have a good reliable car which will help me.I am very confident of a good result."

Both the Lancers are almost identical in specification, although Shinozuka's car will be run under the Mitsubishi Lancer Dealer Team banner.Each car has been fitted with much larger fuel tanks, to cope with the long distances, and special air ducts from the engine to the roof to allow the cars to cross deep water.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short said: "Everything is ready and both Kenjiro and Tommi had a good recce although, like everyone else, they got stuck in the mud on a few sections.I think the organisers may cut the more difficult sections for the rally itself.The Lancers are in good condition and very well prepared for this event, so I am confident that everything will work well."

The three day event sarts from the Kenyatta Centre in Nairobi tomorrow, and the first leg heads south, close to the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, covering 784 km in a loop back to Nairobi.527 km will be driven competitively,although some changes to the route may be announced before the start at 09:30 depending on the weather and road conditions.



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Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

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