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1997 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 13
1997 API RALLY AUSTRALIA

1997 API RALLY AUSTRALIA
Sunday, November 2, 1997
LEG 3 - 353,51km - 4 special stages - 111,01 km
COMMUNIQUE N 4


MITSUBISHI DRIVER MAKINEN EXTENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD ON RALLY AUSTRALIA


Team Winfield Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Tommi Makinen tightened his grip on the 1997 World Rally Championship by taking a brilliant second place in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution on the 13th of the 14 rounds, the API Rally Australia. Team Winfield Mitsubishi Ralliart was the only major team to finish intact, as British driver Richard Burns backed up Makinen with a strong fourth place in the Carisma GT and top Australian Ed Ordynski made it three Mitsubishis in the top six.

The final leg was settled in Bunnings Forest, south-west of Perth. It has become a traditional feature of the rally and as usual, large crowds packed the stages, especially in the natural amphitheatre in which all four stages start or finish. With typical thoroughness, the organisers even provide a commentary to keep the fans informed of the latest developments. They were treated to one of the most exciting finishes ever to a World Championship rally, with fewer than 40 seconds spanning the top four and immediate drama when leader Carlos Sainz retired his Ford with engine trouble.

Makinen and fellow Finn Seppo Harjanne were the stars of the show, making full use of their Lancer’s devastating performance to set fastest times on all four of Sunday’s stages to climb from fourth place to second. Makinen stunned his opponents by completing one of his favourite stages, Bunnings West, 20 seconds quicker than anyone else. He had cut Colin McRae’s lead to just 13 seconds with a stage to run, but there wasn’t quite enough distance left to allow him to make up for leaving the road in the first leg. It was nevertheless a stunning demonstration of Mitsubishi’s and Michelin’s capabilities. Makinen need only finish in the top six on the last round, Britain’s RAC Rally, to make sure of the world title for the second year running.

“The car was really fantastic, but I made a few small mistakes in the last stage. Without that, I am sure we could have won. This is one of my favourite rallies and we have made it very difficult now for anyone else to win the championship,” Makinen said.

Burns, co-driven by Robert Reid, swapped times and places with vastly more experienced drivers - all of them former or current World Champions - throughout the rally.
A good fourth place in the ultra-reliable Carisma GT has improved Mitsubishi’s position in the World Championship for Manufacturers and confirmed that Burns is one of the most promising of the next generation of drivers.

“I’m naturally a bit disappointed not to have beaten Didier Auriol, but I feel we’ve put in a good showing and the car has been really good to drive. I’m now looking forward to the RAC,” Burns declared.

“What a finish ! Tommi is a very special guy. To do what he’s done today is quite incredible, considering the people he was trying to beat. We’re coming to expect that sort of performance from him. Richard has also put in a great performance. To be in there with such strong opposition is just brilliant, because this must be one of the most difficult rallies in these conditions, with the ‘ball bearing’ surface here which makes it so hard to judge the braking. It’s been a fine rally for Mitsubishi and no one can say we settled for second. The RAC is going to be a fantasic finish to the season. I think Tommi knows how much is at stake and I think we’re going to have three dramatic days from November 24th,” stated Team Winfield Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan.

Ed Ordynski and Mark Stacey made sure that all three Winfield Mitsubishis finished in the top six
and were the top Australian crew after a beautifully judged performance in their Lancer Evolution.

“We’ve had a good run and we’re pleased with this result against such strong opposition. The car has run very well all through,” said Ordynski, while Australian Team Manager Bob Riley added, “We’re delighted to have been part of another successful rally for Mitsubishi Ralliart”.

Yoshihiro Kataoka of Japan confirmed the worth of the standard Lancer Evolution by taking a good second place in the Group N production category,
bringing the Advan PIAA Ralliart team’s Asia-Pacific Championship campaign to a satisfying conclusion after one of the toughest events in the series.


 

 

 

 

 

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

1.C.MCRAE/N.GRIST GB/GB SUBARU IMPREZA 4.05.31 Gr-A
2.T.MAKINEN/S.HARJANNE FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.05.37 Gr-A
3. D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 4.05.52 Gr-A
4.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 4.06.10 Gr-A
5.P.BOURNE/C.VINCENT NZ/NZ SUBARU IMPREZA 4.13.23 Gr-A
6.E.ORDYNSKI/M.STACEY AUS/AUS MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.14.55 Gr-A
7.F.LOIX/S.SMEETS B/B TOYOTA CELICA 4.15.26 Gr-A
8.N.BATES/C.TAYLOR AUS/AUS TOYOTA COROLLA 4.16.39 Gr-A
9.R.SUFAN/M.CHRISTIE RA/RA TOYOTA CELICA 4.24.34 Gr-A
10.H.ROVENPERA/V.SILANDER FIN/FIN SEAT IBIZA 4.30.27 Gr-A
14.Y.KATAOKA/S.HAYASHI J/J MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.41 2nd Gr-N

 

1997 API RALLY AUSTRALIA
STATISTICS

Dates : 30 0ctober-2 November 1997
Length : 1526,89 kms
Total SS: 421,42 kms on 24 SS

Starters : 87 (45 Group A + 42 Group N)

Manufacturers : Mitsubishi 23, Subaru 17, Toyota 12, Hyundai 9, Daihatsu 7, Proton 3, Suzuki 3, Ford 2, Kia 2, Seat 2, Skoda 2, Rover 2, Honda 1, Mazda 1, Nissan 1, Volkswagen 1

Nations (first drivers) : AUS 40, J 19, GB 7, NZ 5, E 3, FIN 3, CN 2, CZ 2, B 1, F 1, I 1, IND 1, MAL 1,
RA 1, ROK 1, S 1

Overall winners :

1.C.MCRAE/N.GRIST GB/GB SUBARU IMPREZA 4.05.31 Gr-A
2.T.MAKINEN/S.HARJANNE FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.05.37 Gr-A
3. D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 4.05.52 Gr-A
4.R.BURNS/R.REID GB/GB MITSUBISHI CARISMA GT 4.06.10 Gr-A
5.P.BOURNE/C.VINCENT NZ/NZ SUBARU IMPREZA 4.13.23 Gr-A
6.E.ORDYNSKI/M.STACEY AUS/AUS MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.14.55 Gr-A
7.F.LOIX/S.SMEETS B/B TOYOTA CELICA 4.15.26 Gr-A
8.N.BATES/C.TAYLOR AUS/AUS TOYOTA COROLLA 4.16.39 Gr-A
9.R.SUFAN/M.CHRISTIE RA/RA TOYOTA CELICA 4.24.34 Gr-A
10.H.ROVENPERA/V.SILANDER FIN/FIN SEAT IBIZA 4.30.27 Gr-A
14.Y.KATAOKA/S.HAYASHI J/J MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.41 Gr-A

Stages winners : Makinen 8, Sainz 7, Auriol 5, Kankkunen 4, McRae 3, Burns 1

Rally leaders : 1 Auriol & Sainz, 2-3 Auriol, 4-7 Burns, 8-9 Erikson, 10-19 McRae, 20 Sainz, 21-24 McRae

World Championship for Drivers : Makinen 62, McRae 52, Sainz 47, Eriksson 28, Liatti 24, Kankkunen 23, Burns 18, Schwarz 11.

World Championship for Manufacturers: Subaru 104, Mitsubishi 82, Ford 81,

WINFIELD - MITSUBISHI OIL - ENKEI - NGK - OHLINS - OMP -
PIAA - PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND - SABELT

-Communique 3-

-Communique 2-

-Communique 1-

 


Copyright 1997 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.