WRC 1996

WRC 1996

1996 World Rally Competition

The mid-90s was a period in which the World Rally Championship (WRC) was about to undergo major changes. In 1995, a new technical regulation that would allow a company to participate in the WRC with a 4WD turbo rally car even if it didn't have a standard production car with such features in its range began to be considered. In September of the same year, it was announced that the name of the new vehicle would be World Rally Car (WR car) and, in October of the following year, it was decided to introduce it from 1997. The event rotation system, which received negative feedback, was abolished as of 1996. The number of championship rounds was expanded to 14 rallies from 1997 and the use of slick tires was prohibited from 1996.
Rd. name Country
1 Swedish Rally Sweden
2 Safari Rally Kenya
3 Rally Indonesia Indonesia
4 Acropolis Rally Greece
5 Rally Argentina Argentina
6 1000 Lakes Rally Finland
7 Rally Australia Australia
8 Rallye Sanremo Italy
9 Rally Catalunya Spain
Under these circumstances, MITSUBISHI MOTORS decided to participate in the entire WRC series for the first time, with Tommi Mäkinen as its spearhead. Richard Burns (UK) was newly appointed as his teammate. Mäkinen was to target the WRC title and Burns was aiming at winning the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) title. The 1996 WRC, which consisted of a total of nine rallies, kicked off with Rally Sweden that was won by Mäkinen. MITSUBISHI MOTORS had a wealth of experience for the next event, the Safari Rally, but it was the first time the works team operated by RALLIART Europe participated in it. The total distance was about 2,400 km, including nearly 1,500 km of timed sections on rough gravel roads, which was three times that of the European rounds at that time. The MITSUBISHI MOTORS team decided to replace main parts at each service in order to preemptively avoid problems. This strategy paid off, resulting in Mäkinen winning his first Safari Rally after a full-on attack as if it was a sprint rally.
Mäkinen, who gained momentum, finished second in the fourth round, the Acropolis Rally (Greece). He then won two consecutive rallies, the fifth round Argentina Rally and the sixth round, the 1000 Lakes Rally (Finland). He went on to deliver a flawless performance in the seventh round, Rally Australia, which earned him his third victory in a row. He was rewarded with his first World Drivers' champion title, exactly 30 years after MITSUBISHI MOTORS started out at the 1967 Southern Cross Rally with the 977cc COLT 1000F, and more than 20 years after they tackled the 1975 RAC Rally with their LANCER 1600GSR that won the Safari Rally. MITSUBISHI MOTORS had vowed to "one day taking control of the European rally and then the world". Their wish was finally fulfilled that year. The WRC Group N Cup was also won by a LANCER EVOLUTION driver, Gustavo Trelles (Uruguay).
Meanwhile, Burns, who competed fulltime in the APRC, won his first world-class competition at the Rally New Zealand, in which the 2-Litre WRC title was also at stake. Although missing out on the Drivers' title, MITSUBISHI MOTORS won a second consecutive Manufacturers' title. In the Group N Cup, which the APRC added from the same year, Yoshihiro Kataoka won the first title at the wheel of a LANCER EVOLUTION prepared by TASK Engineering in Japan.


Rd. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
T. Mäkinen 1st 1st R 2nd 1st 1st 1st R 5th
S. Harjanne
R. Burns R 4th 5th R
R. Reid
D. Auriol 8th
D. Giraudet
K. Shinozuka 6th
P. Kuukkala
Driver Co-driver R - Retired D - Disqualified
Rd. 1 2 3 4
T. Mäkinen 1st 1st R 2nd
S. Harjanne
R. Burns R
R. Reid
D. Auriol
D. Giraudet
K. Shinozuka 6th
P. Kuukkala
5 6 7 8 9
1st 1st 1st R 5th
4th 5th R



R - Retired

D - Disqualified


LANCER Evolution Ⅲ

Overall length 4,310 mm
Overall width 1,695 mm
Engine model 4G63 4-cylinder DOHC turbo
Displacement 1,997 cc
Maximum output 270 ps
Maximum torque 45.0 kg-m