MITSUBISHI MOTORS PRESENT
1997 RALLYE SANREMO - RALLYE D'ITALIA Home Page

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Monday 6th October


MAKINEN TO STAY WITH MITSUBISHI FOR 1998

1996 World Rally Champion and current Championship leader Tommi Makinen will remain with Mitsubishi Ralliart for 1998, with an option for 1999. Tommi has always shown a preference for the Rugby-based Ralliart Europe team and its highly developed Lancer Evolution models, and is delighted to continue with the team through 1998 and beyond. He commented, "Mitsubishi Ralliart took me when I was a relatively unproven driver and I am very happy that I can reward their faith in me with an extension of our already successful relationship. I look forward to many more championship victories with the team.

Team Director Andrew Cowan was equally buoyant about the team's prospects. "With Tommi, we know we have a talented and accomplished driver who will, I am sure, bring us further success in 1998 and beyond. We are very much a 'family' team, so it's very good that we have been able to keep the combination together. I think 1998 will be a good year for all of us", he stated.

It is through this combination of World Champion Tommi Makinen, and the successful Ralliart Europe team, that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation hopes to contribute to the World Rally Championship and believes that their participation will strengthen the popularity and image of the Sport of Rallying.

The 1998 World Rally Championship begins in Monte Carlo in January.

[Tommi Makinen Profile]
        





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

MITSUBISHI AIMS FOR SANREMO RALLY VICTORY

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart stands its best chance ever of winning Italy's Sanremo Rally, the 12th round of the World Rally Championship. It has entered a powerful two-car team of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, to be driven by 1996 World Champions, and this year's World Championship leaders Tommi Makinen/Seppo Harjanne and Uwe Nittel/Tina Thorner.

First run in 1928, the Sanremo Rally is one of the most prestigious, as well as one of the oldest, of the major rallies. Based in the Riviera resort famous for its music festival, this year's rally will be a particularly momentous occasion, as it is not only taking place as the World Championship heads for a thrilling climax, but features a significantly modified route that is held exclusively on asphalt for the first time since 1993. It will be exceptionally demanding, but also particularly compact, as it is concentrated within the mountain region lying north of the Italian Riviera, between Sanremo and Savona. It therefore gives the drivers no respite. In mid-October, the weather is thoroughly unpredictable and, as if the winding asphalt roads weren't unforgiving enough, they are liable to be covered in water, mud and fallen leaves, which can suddenly give dangerously little grip to wide, racing-type tyres. But no matter what the weather, the mountains will be thronged with people. The Italians love motorsport with a passion and vast crowds will line the stages, cheering on their heroes, waving banners and sounding klaxons.

It is a great contrast to the previous round of the series on the opposite side of the globe, in Indonesia. The weather will be cooler and possibly drier, the roads are much more twisty and with a completely different surface. Indeed, the nature of the two rallies could hardly be more different. It is precisely the sort of challenge that inspires Mitsubishi to take part in this most exacting motorsport discipline in the first place.

In spite of his disappointment in Indonesia, Finn Makinen is brimming with confidence at his chances of retaining the World Championship he won with Mitsubishi a year ago. He is thrilled with the latest Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution after a highly satisfactory test in Italy. "It really goes well. I am looking forward to Sanremo. It feels really like a go-kart now and the acceleration from the hairpins is fantastic," he enthused. Although he is not especially familiar with the Sanremo Rally, he believes that the inclusion of four new stages, which are run twice in the second leg, makes the rally wide open.

He has already proved the worth of the Lancer in all conditions, including tarmac, by winning the Catalunya and leading the Tour de Corse and, armed with the latest Michelin tyres, is ready to take on a fresh challenge.

German star Nittel is setting out to strengthen Mitsubishi's position in the World Championship for Manufacturers, making the most of his Lancer's performance and reliability, in the face of tough opposition from factory teams and privateers alike.

"These are difficult stages and there are many quick local drivers too, but we will aim to score as many points as we can," Nittel declared.

"We've made good progress on asphalt in testing. Tommi has pronounced himself truly delighted with the car. That said, at that time of year, the area is subject to sudden downpours, but that's part of the rally," said Phil Short, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's Team Manager. "Legs one and three are the classic Sanremo stages, which will be mostly new to Tommi. Leg two will be new to everybody, which will make the contest even. I gather the character of the new stages is quite different. They are very tight and twisty, the asphalt is quite poor and there is a pronounced lip on the edge of the road. I'm sure we will have to watch out for the quickest two-wheel-drive F2 cars as well on stages like these."

"Sanremo is one of the classic rallies and a real test of a driver and car. I am sure that Uwe will respond to the challenge and we are hoping for a good result," stated team boss Ingolf Raiss.

The rally starts on October 12th with a spectator stage at Poggio, on a road made famous by the Giro Italia cycle race. In other respects, the first and third legs are identical, with the start, finish and main service point all in Sanremo itself. There are nine stages in the first leg, and eight in the second and third. The second leg is the longest, with 154 kilometres of stages in a double loop north of Savona, while the first and third legs both include 120 stage kilometres. There are just three rounds of the 1997 World Rally Championship left and that guarantees that the tension will reach fever pitch.




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)


POINTS STANDING(After Rally Finland)

  For Drivers    
1. T.Makinen 52 Mitsubishi
2. C.Sainz 44 Ford
3. C.McRae 32 Subaru
4. K.Eriksson 28 Subaru
5. J.Kankkunen 22 Ford
6. P.Liatti 18 Subaru
7. R.Burns 12 Mitsubishi
8. A.Schwarz 11 Ford


  For Manufacturers  
1. Subaru 78
2. Ford 77
3. Mitsubishi 69


  Cup for Drivers of Production Cars    
1. G.Trelles 84 Mitsubishi
2. M.Stohl 23 Mitsubishi
3. K.Backlund 13 Mitsubishi






1997 RALLY SANREMO

ITINERARY
1st LEG - Sunday 12 October
14:52Start from Sanremo
SS1 Cancelled Poggio
Monday 13 October
SS2 S. Romolo
SS3 Baiardo
SS4 Monte Ceppo
SS5 Colle d'Oggia
SS6 S. Bernardo
SS7 Upega
SS8 Ponte dei Passi
SS9 Langan
18:14Arrival in Sanremo
2nd LEG - Tuesday 14 October
07.50Start from Sanremo
SS10 Porri
SS11 Spigno
SS12 Cessole
SS13 Roccaverano
SS14 Cessole
SS15 Roccaverano
SS16 Spigno
SS17 Porri
19:21Arrival in Sanremo
3rd LEG - Wednesday 15 October
07:40Start from Sanremo
SS18 S. Romolo
SS19 Baiardo
SS20 Monte Ceppo
SS21 Colle d'Oggia
SS22 S. Bernardo
SS23 Upega
SS24 Ponte dei Passi
SS25 Langan
16:29Final of the rally


Copyright 1997 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.