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1997 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 14
NETWORK Q RAC RALLY (22-25 NOV)


MITSUBISHI LANCER DRIVER MAKINEN AIMS FOR
WORLD TITLE ON NETWORK Q RAC RALLY


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is poised to crown another highly successful season on the final round of the 1997 World Rally Championship, Britain's Network Q RAC Rally, from November 22 to November 25, as Finn Tommi Makinen is the odds-on favourite to become World Rally Champion for the second year in a row. Makinen and the Michelin-equipped Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution have been the pacesetters for most of the season, as the Finn proved with a sensational performance on the last round of the World Rally Championship in Australia. He has four wins already this year and a near - unbeatable points lead as he prepares for the RAC. He will be World Champion provided he finishes in the top six and scores just one point, but if Colin McRae fails to win the rally, Makinen is automatically champion - a tribute to his Mitsubishi's consistently strong performance in 1997.

While Makinen concentrates on securing the world title, the RAC provides a golden opportunity for Carisma GT driver Richard Burns to shine in front of his home crowd.

The RAC is not merely one of the oldest and most prestigious rounds of the World Rally Championship, but the biggest spectator event in Britain. Around two million fans watch the rally and their numbers are sure to be swelled this year with the prospect of British drivers doing well. The entry is invariably superb, for the RAC has a worldwide reputation. It is impossible to predict the weather in Britain in late November, beyond the fact that it will almost certainly be bad. Competitors may encounter anything from rain and fog, to hail, ice and snow, with only the slimmest possibility of sunshine. The weather is an integral part of the rally's unique challenge. The famous forest stages are bound to be slippery and treacherous - a test of nerve, skill and even luck. While many major rallies are crammed into a small area, the RAC still ranges over a considerable expanse of countryside. The route visits Cheltenham, located 140 km west of London, and its famous racecourse, Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Churchill family, and Donington Park race track, as well as the renowned Welsh forests far to the west.

"Of course it's going to be difficult, because the RAC is a tough rally, but I don't think it is going to be a problem. It is just a question of concentrating and making sure that we finish," said Makinen. "I have driven a lot in Britain, so I know what to expect in the forests and, although I haven't had good results on the RAC in the past, this year is going to be different!"

Richard Burns, the 1993 British Rally Champion, has his best chance of the season to make his mark. The 26-year-old knows exactly what to expect and his performances this year in the Carisma have been highly impressive. Growing confidence and experience will make him a formidable adversary.

"It's always nice to be competing at home - this year's RAC goes within 10 kilometres of my house - so I'm naturally looking forward to the RAC. The Carisma GT will be really good in the sort of conditions that we're expecting on the RAC and it's my job to make life as difficult for Tommi's rivals as possible. It's a great opportunity," declared Burns.

"Tommi has already stated that he will be driving for a finish somewhere in the first six to make sure of the title," said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. "As far as Richard is concerned, he is free to drive as fast as he can to put pressure on the leader. We don't want Colin McRae to cruise around without any pressure, so Richard is there to liven things up.

"We have already conducted a useful test for the RAC, but we may carry out a further confirmation run with our test driver Lasse Lampi just before the start. Obviously the weather can make the RAC particularly difficult and the fact that the last leg will be run on largely unfamiliar roads will pose some problems for the drivers."

This year's RAC Rally has indeed undergone a major transformation. It is based in Cheltenham in western England for the first time, which means that the stages are further south than usual, omitting Scotland and the notorious Kielder Forest in northern England. Instead, after the traditional tour of race tracks and stately homes in the first leg, with 11 stages totalling a modest 59 kilometres, it is concentrated in the forests of south and central Wales. The second leg includes seven stages for 158 competitive kilometres, visiting classic stages such as Dyfi, Hafren, and Myherin. The last returns to south Wales, to Resolfen, Rheola and Margam, for the first time since 1986, when the RAC still had a secret route. Its eight stages cover 169 kilometres before the ceremonial finish at Cheltenham Racecourse.





1997 NETWORK Q RAC RALLY

TIMETABLE
LEG 1 - Sunday 23 November
07:25CheltenhamStart
SS1 Racecourse 12.00 miles
SS2 Blenheim3.50 miles
SS3 Silverstone 15.50 miles
SS4 Silverstone 25.50 miles
SS5 Millbrook 13.50 miles
SS6 Millbrook 23.50 miles
SS7 Woburn3.00 miles
SS8 Silverstone1.50 miles
SS9 Donington 13.80 miles
SS10 Donington 23.80 miles
SS11 Racecourse 22.00 miles
19:41CheltenhamIn
LEG 2 - Monday 24 November
05:00CheltenhamStart
SS12 Radnor12.00 miles
SS13 Hafren25.00 miles
SS14 Pantperthog 19.50 miles
SS15 Dyfi 14.50 miles
SS16 Gartheiniog 9.00 miles
SS17 Pantperthog 2 9.50 miles
SS18 Taliesin5.00 miles
SS19 Myherin 12.50 miles
21:18Cheltenham In
LEG 3 - Tuesday 25 November
05:00CheltenhamStart
SS20 Cwmparc 22.00 miles
SS21 Tyle 6.00 miles
SS22 St Gwynno 8.50 miles
SS23 Rheola 1 11.50 miles
SS24 Resolfen 24.00 miles
SS25 Rheola 2 11.50 miles
SS26 Argoed 7.50 miles
SS27 Margam 17.00 miles
SS28 Racecourse 3 2.00 miles
17:03CheltenhamFinish




1997 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
TEAM MITSUBISHI RALLIART RESULTS

  1997 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP Gr A Gr N
Round 1 MONTE CARLO RALLY
19-22 January
T.Makinen 3rd
U.Nittel 5th
G.Trelles 1st
(9th overall)
Round 2 INTERNATIONAL SWEDISH RALLY
7-10 February
T.Makinen 3rd

K.Backlund 1st
(11th overall)
Round 3 555 SAFARI RALLY
1-3 March
R.Burns 2nd

S.Zasada 2nd
(12th overall)
Round 4 TAP RALLY PORTUGAL
23-26 March
T.Makinen 1st

G.Trelles 1st
(7th overall)
Round 5 RALLY CATALUNYA COSTA BRAVA
14-16 April
T.Makinen 1st
U.Nittel 8th
G.Trelles 1st
(13th overall)
Round 6 TOUR DE CORSE
5-7 May
U.Nittel 8th

J.Andreani 2nd
(15th overall)
Round 7 RALLY CHEVRON ARGENTINA
22-24 May
T.Makinen 1st

G.Trelles 1st
(8th overall)
Round 8 ACROPOLIS RALLY
8-10 June
T.Makinen 3rd
R.Burns 4th
G.Trelles 1st
(14th overall)
Round 9 SMOKEFREE RALLY NEW ZEALAND
2-5 August
R.Burns 4th

G.Trelles 1st
(7th overall)
Round 10 NESTE RALLY FINLAND
28-31 August
T.Makinen 1st
U.Nittel 7th
J.Puhakka 1st
(9th overall)
Round 11 RALLY OF INDONESIA
19-21 September
R.Burns 4th M.Akaba 5th
(15th overall)
Round 12 RALLYE SANREMO
12-15 October
T.Makinen 3rd M.Staguni 1st
(14th overall)
Round 13 API RALLY AUSTRALIA
30 October-2 November
T.Makinen 2nd
R.Burns 4th
Y.Kataoka 2nd
(12th overall)


POINTS STANDING(After Rally Australia)

  For Drivers    
1. T.Makinen 62 Mitsubishi
2. C.McRae 52 Subaru
3. C.Sainz 47 Ford
4. K.Eriksson 28 Subaru
5. P.Liatti 24 Subaru
6. J.Kankkunen 23 Ford
7. R.Burns 18 Mitsubishi
8. A.Schwarz 11 Ford


  For Manufacturers  
1. Subaru 104
2. Mitsubishi 82
3. Ford 81


  Cup for Drivers of Production Cars    
1. G.Trelles 84 Mitsubishi
2. M.Stohl 28 Mitsubishi
3. S.Konishi 21 Subaru
4. K.Singh 18 Proton
5. K.Backlund 13 Mitsubishi
5. J.Puhakka 13 Mitsubishi
5. M.Stagni 13 Mitsubishi


Copyright 1997 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.