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1997 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 12
RALLYE SANREMO - RALLYE D'ITALIA (12-15 OCT.)


1997 RALLYE SANREMO
Wednesday, October 15, 1997
LEG 3 - 362,92 km - 7 special stages - 109,13 kms
COMMUNIQUE N 4


MITSUBISHI DRIVER MAKINEN EXTENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD ON SANREMO RALLY


Team Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Tommi Makinen has reinforced his lead in the 1997 World Rally Championship after taking a hard-fought third place on the Sanremo Rally, the 12th round of the series, in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The 33-year-old Finn now needs only 12 points from the last two rallies to become World Rally Champion for the second year running, even if he does not win. Mitsubishi dominated the Group N production car category once more, taking the top three places in the class.

Tension reached fever pitch during the final leg of Italy’s 1,010-kilometre World Rally Championship event, as mere seconds divided the leading cars. With a stage to run, both third and fifth places looked as though they would be resolved by a tie break – proof the white-hot competitiveness of the World Rally Championship with works cars from Subaru, Ford and Toyota delivering amazingly similar levels of performance. Dry roads meant that speeds were high on the daunting mountain passes were high, although bright sunshine raised temperatures after a cold start. Thousands of fans ascended the narrow, winding roads to catch a glimpse of the cars on the limit, the drivers seeking tenths of a second as the finish neared with no one gaining an advantage.

Makinen fought an amazing duel with Ford driver Carlos Sainz throughout the last leg of the event, eventually beating the Spanish driver by just two seconds to extend his championship lead to 10 points. Makinen had no need to take chances, since four wins this season have given him a useful points advantage, but he needed to make full use of the Lancer Evolution’s excellent performance on asphalt to compensate for his relative lack of experience of the special stages in northern Italy. He judged the final stages brilliantly, after dropping a fraction behind his opponent on the first stages of the morning.

“I am very pleased to take third place. This has been one of the tightest rallies of the season. It has been on of the hardest events this year, but the car has been really good and our Michelin tyres have been excellent,” said Makinen.

“This is another good result and one we really wanted. It will allow Tommi to go into the last two gravel rallies in a more relaxed frame of mind. The first leg was extremely hard for Tommi, because he had no previous experience of these stages at rally speeds and everyone else knew the roads, but even then he was in third place. This is a great result for him and for the team,” stated Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan.

Uwe Nittel produced a highly impressive turn of speed in his Group A Lancer Evolution to challenge the leaders in the second leg, but was unlucky to retire after a minor misjudgement led to an accident. He had nevertheless shown that he is more than capable of matching times with the best cars and drivers in the world as he gains experience and confidence.

Mitsubishi swept the board in the Group N class, where the performance and reliability of the Lancer Evolution count to devastating effect. Mario Stagni and Enrico Brazzoli won the category by a comfortable margin from the similar car of fellow Italian Luca Baldini, with third place going to the Slovenian, Boris Popovic. Gustavo Trelles of Uruguay has been confirmed as World Champion in Group N for the second year running.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart will be back in action in little more than two weeks’ time on the Rally Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINAL CLASSIFICATION


1.C.MCRAE/N.GRIST GB/GB SUBARU IMPREZA 4.08.25 Gr-A
2.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 4.08.31 Gr-A
3.T.MAKINEN/S.HARJANNE FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.08.37 Gr-A
3.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E FORD ESCORT 4.08.39 Gr-A
5.F.LOIX/S.SMEETS B/B TOYOTA COROLLA 4.09.15 Gr-A
6.J.KANKKUNEN/J.REPO FIN/FIN FORD ESCORT 4.09.18 Gr-A
7.A.AGHINI/L.ROGGIA I/I TOYOTA CELICA 4.11.13 Gr-A
8. D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 4.11.58 Gr-A
9.D.OLDRATI/P.LIZZI I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 4.17.44 Gr-A
10. H.ROVANPERA/V.SILANDER FIN/FIN SEAT IBIZA 4.21.57 Gr-A
14.M.STAGNI/E.BRAZZOLI I/I MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.27 1st Gr-N
15.L.BALDINI/M.AGOSTINELLI I/I MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.55 Gr-N
19.B.POPOVIC/R.LELJAK SLO/SLO MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.38.21 Gr-N



1997 RALLYE SANREMO
STATISTICS



Dates : 12 - 15 October 1997
Length : 1377,19 kms
Total SS: 373,63 kms on 22 SS

Starters : 125 (70 Group A + 55 Group N)

Manufacturers : Peugeot 31, Renault 15, Mitsubishi 15, Ford 13, Subaru 12, Opel 11, Toyota 8, Fiat 7, Skoda 5, Seat 3, Lancia 3, Honda 2, Proton 1, Nissan 1, Citroen 1, Mazda 1.

Nations (first drivers) : I 100, F 5, D 4, A 4, FIN 3, B 3, CZ 3, E 3, GB 2, RA 1, SLO 1.

Overall winners :

1.C.MCRAE/N.GRIST GB/GB SUBARU IMPREZA 4.08.25 Gr-A
2.P.LIATTI/F.PONS I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 4.08.31 Gr-A
3.T.MAKINEN/S.HARJANNE FIN/FIN MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.08.37 Gr-A
3.C.SAINZ/L.MOYA E/E FORD ESCORT 4.08.39 Gr-A
5.F.LOIX/S.SMEETS B/B TOYOTA COROLLA 4.09.15 Gr-A
6.J.KANKKUNEN/J.REPO FIN/FIN FORD ESCORT 4.09.18 Gr-A
7.A.AGHINI/L.ROGGIA I/I TOYOTA CELICA 4.11.13 Gr-A
8. D.AURIOL/D.GIRAUDET F/F TOYOTA COROLLA 4.11.58 Gr-A
9.D.OLDRATI/P.LIZZI I/I SUBARU IMPREZA 4.17.44 Gr-A
10. H.ROVANPERA/V.SILANDER FIN/FIN SEAT IBIZA 4.21.57 Gr-A
14.M.STAGNI/E.BRAZZOLI I/I MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.27 1st Gr-N
15.L.BALDINI/M.AGOSTINELLI I/I MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.31.55 Gr-N
19.B.POPOVIC/R.LELJAK SLO/SLO MITSUBISHI LANCER 4.38.21 Gr-N


Gr N winner :
M. STAGNI/E.BRAZZOLI MITSUBISHI LANCER 1st 4H31M27S

Stages winners : McRae 7, Loix 6, Makinen 5, Liatti 4, Andreucci 1.

Rally leaders : 3 Andreucci, Loix 4-8, Liatti 9-18, 21-22, McRae 20, 23-25

World Championship for Drivers : Makinen 56, Sainz 47, McRae 42, Eriksson 28, Liatti 24, Kankkunen 23, Burns 15, Schwarz 11.

World Championship for Manufacturers: Subaru 94, Ford 81, Mitsubishi 73,

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

-Communique 3-

-Communique 2-

-Communique 1-



Copyright 1997 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.