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Mitsubishi is brimming with confidence following its 1996 victory on the onlyWorld Championship rally in the Americas at the first attempt. This tremendous performance put Makinen on track for the 1996 World Rally Championship Drivers' title. As the 1997 series nears the halfway point, Makinen is once more theleader, after his tremendous victories in Portugal and Catalunya.
"After last year's result, I am looking forward to the event very much. I think it will be very good for our car," enthused Makinen.
"It's a really good opportunity for me. I found out what the event is like last year, when I came fourth even though I wasn't feeling too well throughout the week and I had a chance to learn about the Carisma in Portugal. I'm aiming to go quicker and finish higher up this time," declared Burns.
"It should be a good event for us. Tommi adapted to it very well last year on his first visit and we're quite happy with our gravel set-up that worked so well in Portugal. Richard did very well last year and I believe that he can improve on that," said Andrew Cowan, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's Team Director. "Probably the hardest thing to get right for this rally is the engine management system,because of the altitude. It will also be warmer this year than usual, because the date of the rally has been brought forward, but we have plenty of experience of warmer rallies with Michelin and we don't see this as a problem."
The event is one of the most demanding but also one of the most popular rounds of the World Rally Championship. It will be held from May 22nd until May 24th.Based in central Argentina in the city of Cordoba (north-west of Buenos Aires),it is fought out on the dusty roads to the north and west of the town.Competitors face roads whose character changes ceaselessly, from largely flat countryside close to Cordoba, but rising above 2,000 metres in the mountains -the foot hills of the Andes - to the west. Indeed, stages like Giulio Cesare and El Condor reach greater altitudes than any World Championship rally aside from the Safari. The stages are sandy yet rocky, very twisty in some places, but exceptionally fast in others, with numerous deceptive corners.
In winter, it is invariably dry and sunny in the mountains and the cars trail long plumes of dust as they race across the parched countryside. However, this year's event is being held in May for the first time, which means that it will be noticeably warmer than usual, which will make tyre choice more difficult. As usual, Mitsubishi will profit from its close relationship with Michelin. The event is divided into three legs, with a total distance of 1.162.31 km, and 23 special stages totalling 413.37 km. All the special stages are on gravel surfaces. The first strikes north, towards Dean Funes and includes 8 stages that cover 151.34 kilometres. The second takes place to the west, with 10 stages totalling 180.83 kilometres. The third and final leg heads south-west, covering 5 stages that comprise 81.20 kilometres.
|Thursday 22 May - 1st LEG|
|08:30||Start from Cordoba|
|SS1 Camping General San Martin|
|SS2 Canada De Rio Pinto / Villa Albertina|
|SS3 Villa Albertina / Ischilin|
|SS4 Ischilin Viejo / Ongamira|
|SS5 Todos Los Santos / La Pampa|
|SS6 Ascochinga / La Cumbre|
|SS7 La Cumbre / Agua De Oro|
|SS8 Super Special Colonia Caroya|
|17:46||Arrival in Cordoba|
|Friday 23 May - 2nd LEG|
|08:00||Start from Cordoba|
|SS9 Camping General San Martin|
|SS10 Mataderos / El Mirador|
|SS11 Agua Fria / Tala Canada|
|SS12 Tala Canada / Taninga|
|SS13 Chamico / Ambul|
|SS14 El Mirador / San Lorenzo|
|SS15 Mina Clavero (La Toma) / Giulio Cesare|
|SS16 El Condor / Copina|
|SS17 Tanti / Cosquin|
|SS18 Villa Giardino / La Falda|
|18:42||Arrival in Cordoba|
|Saturday 24 May- 3rd LEG|
|09:00||Start from Cordoba|
|SS19 Camping General San Martin|
|SS20 Villa Ciudad De America / Jose De La Quintana|
|SS21 Las Bajadas / Villa Del Dique|
|SS22 Amboy / Santa Rosa De Calamuchita|
|SS23 Santa Rosa De Calamuchita / San Agustin|
|05:50||Arrival in Cordoba|