Mitsubishi Motors Presents Catalunya Rally Home Page
Rally Time

Press Release/ Entry List/ Daily Communique/On-Line Photo/97WRC Top Page






1997 CATALUNYA RALLY
Wednesday April 16
COMMUNIQUE 4


MITSUBISHI WINS CATALUNYA RALLY WITH TOMMI MAKINEN AND GROUP N WITH GUSTAVO TRELLES



A brilliant performance from Tommi Makinen gave Team Mitsubishi Ralliart its first-ever victory on an asphalt round of the World Rally Championship on the Catalunya Rally and enhanced the World Champion's impressive points lead in this year's series. Once again, Mitsubishi also dominated the Group N production category, Group N World Champions Gustavo Trelles/Jorge Del Buono taking a commanding victory.

Makinen and co-driver Seppo Harjanne faced a daunting task. The final leg, which included 101 kilometres of special stages, was held in hot, sunny conditions that tested cars and tyres to the limit. The weather and the route may have been almost the same as the first leg, but the roads were liberally strewn with small rocks and gravel, making driving conditions still more treacherous.The eyes of most of Spain were on the Finnish crew as they battled with Subaru driver Piero Liatti. Carlos Sainz is one of Spain's greatest sporting heroes and, on the most popular stages, spectators' cars were parked for a distance of over four kilometres as they crammed every vantage point to catch a glimpse of one of the most hotly fought World Championship rallies of all. The pressure was cranked up to fever pitch on the decisive loop through the wooded mountains north of Lloret de Mar and the Costa Brava, but Makinen's resolve - and smile - never faltered.

Making full use of the latest Mitsubishi Lancer's power and new Michelin rubber, Makinen stretched his lead over Liatti to nine seconds on the day's opening stages, before the Italian cut his lead to four seconds. However, Makinen blasted to a superb fastest time on the final stage to win by seven seconds, underlining the Mitsubishi's versatility in all conditions. His second consecutive victory (just after Portugal) running has increased his World Championship lead to 12 points.

"It's a little bit like winning the Rally Australia last year. Winning the first time on tarmac is an unbelievable feeling it's really like winning the world title," he said. "The car is really good now on tarmac and I am looking forward to the Tour of Corsica."

"We're absolutely delighted. Tommi has driven superbly and the whole team has worked really hard to achieve this. The car has never missed a beat and I think this shows we can win anywhere," declared Andrew Cowan, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's Director.

Uwe Nittel was unlucky to slide off the road only seven kilometres from the end of the last, 36-kilometre stage and he was forced to drive the last 50 kilometres on three wheels - which proved the strength of his Mitsubishi Lancer - yet still finished in eighth place.

"We were pushing very hard on the last stage. We had the chance to finish in sixth place and get some points for Mitsubishi. Then we went off on a right-hand bend. That's rallying. I tried my best," said the German driver.

Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles dominated the Group N category leading from start to finish to repeat the category win that gave him the world title last November. Once again, his virtually standard Mitsubishi Lancer ran perfectly to give another telling demonstration of Mitsubishi's rugged engineering.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has seized the initiative, but there is no time to draw breath. It is already hard at work preparing for its next World Championship event.

FINAL CLASSIFICATION

1.T. MAKINEN/S. HARJANNE FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.08.46 Gr-A
2.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU 555 4.08.53 Gr-A
3.G.PANIZZI/H.PANIZZI F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.11.55 Gr-A
4.C.MCRAE/N. GRIST GB/GB SUBARU 555 4.12.20 Gr-A
5.A.MEDEGHINI/"MEDEGHINI" I/I SUBARU IMPRESA 4.13.51 Gr-A
6.R.MADEIRA/N.DA SILVA P/P SUBARU 555 4.15.12 Gr-A
7.J.AZCONA/J.BILLMAIER E/D PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.16.28 Gr-A
8.U.NITTEL/T.THORNER D/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.17.25 Gr-A
9.R.SPERRER/P.CARLSSON A/S RENAULT MEGANE 4.18.32 Gr-A
10.C. SAINZ/L. MOYA E/E FORD ESCORT 4.18.43 Gr-A
14.G.TRELLES/J. Del BUONO ROU/RA MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.15 1st in Gr-N




STATISTICS/STATISTIQUES

1997 CATALUNYA RALLY



Dates : 13-16 April 1997
Length : 1359,30 kms
Total SS : 387,72 kms



Entrants : 99 (52 Group A + 47 Group N)
Starters : 94
Cars : Peugeot 34, Renault 16, Fiat 14, Seat 7, Ford 6, Mitsubishi 6, Subaru 5,Citroen 4, Toyota 3, Skoda 2, Honda 1, Opel 1.
Nations (first drivers) : 72 Spain, 5 Italy, 4 France, 3 Germany, 2 Finland, 2 Portugal, 2 Austria, 2 Czech Republic, 1 Great Britain, 1 Belgium, 1 Argentina, 1 Uruguay, 1 Netherlands, 1 Andorra, 1 Venezuela.


Overall winners :

FINAL CLASSIFICATION

1.T. MAKINEN/S. HARJANNE FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.08.46 Gr-A
2.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU 555 4.08.53 Gr-A
3.G.PANIZZI/H.PANIZZI F/F PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.11.55 Gr-A
4.C.MCRAE/N. GRIST GB/GB SUBARU 555 4.12.20 Gr-A
5.A.MEDEGHINI/"MEDEGHINI" I/I SUBARU IMPRESA 4.13.51 Gr-A
6.R.MADEIRA/N.DA SILVA P/P SUBARU 555 4.15.12 Gr-A
7.J.AZCONA/J.BILLMAIER E/D PEUGEOT 306 MAXI 4.16.28 Gr-A
8.U.NITTEL/T.THORNER D/S MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.17.25 Gr-A
9.R.SPERRER/P.CARLSSON A/S RENAULT MEGANE 4.18.32 Gr-A
10.C. SAINZ/L. MOYA E/E FORD ESCORT 4.18.43 Gr-A
14.G.TRELLES/J. Del BUONO ROU/RA MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.15 1st in Gr-N





Stages winners : Panizzi 6, Makinen 5, Liatti 4, Delecour 3, McRae 3, Sainz 1.
Rally leaders : 1 - Delecour & Panizzi, 2-5 Panizzi, 6 - McRae, 7 - McRae & Liatti, 8-9 McRae, 10 Liatti,11 Makinen & Liatti, 12 Liatti, 13-Makinen & Liatti, 14-18 Makinen .
World Championship for Drivers : Makinen 28, McRae & Liatti16, Sainz 12, Schwarz 11, Eriksson 10, Burns 6.
World Championship for Manufacturers : Subaru 42, Mitsubishi 36 , Ford 23.

-Communique3-
-Communique2-
-Communique1-








Copyright 1997 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.