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The Tour de Corse is one of the oldest rallies in the World Championship (it is one of the few rally events that has been included since the series began in 1973) and a unique challenge. Corsica is one of the resort islands in the Mediterranean, and has its share of history as well, being the birth place of Napoleon Bonaparte.The passion of the Corsican people can be felt as the start of the event nears.The event is generally considered to be the ultimate tarmac event. It is one of the most compact of the major events but, while the route is crammed into a broad sweep of the western half of the mountainous island close to the capital, Ajaccio, the nature of the roads means that it probably has more corners than any other World Rally Championship event. The drivers are worn down by abrasive, often bumpy lanes that twist and turn constantly, offering not a moment's respite.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart isn't relying on a specialised car. The Lancer is capable of winning anywhere and, following its first-ever victory on an asphalt round of the World Rally Championship in Catalunya, the team is quietly confident of repeating its success in Corsica.
"We had a very good test in Corsica and I think already we have a good car for this rally. I am looking forward to it," stated Finnish star Makinen, delighted to have proved that he is capable of winning in any conditions following his Catalan success.
"Corsica will be tough for us, because I don't know the stages so well, but I feel a lot more confident after finishing the Catalunya Rally and I feel I can make real progress in Corsica," said Nittel.
"Winning for the first time on asphalt was quite a moment for us. We prepared for Catalunya by testing in Corsica and we feel reasonably confident," said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart's Team Manager, Phil Short. "It's a different set of problems though, because it's a different set of stages. We know it's going to be hard on tyres and brakes, but the Lancer is fully competitive on asphalt."
Mitsubishi is usually up against its main contenders, Subaru, Ford and Toyota, but the Corsican event also brings together a lineup of formidable rivals such as entries from Citroen, Renault and Peugeot which proved incredibly quick on the previous asphalt event in Catalunya.
The first leg loops south-east of the capital, into the mountains around Zonza and Quenza. It includes 6 stages totalling 134,20 kilometres. The second leg strikes north to Porto and the famous Calanches - the jagged rocks that tower over the coast road. It includes the longest stage of the rally (a 48-kilometre monster that will test stamina and tyres to the full), with 6 stages comprising 132,33 kilometres. The third leg is no token finale: it has 6 stages, covering 141,49 kilometres. it promises to be a classic confrontation between the world's top teams and drivers.