WRC 1997

WRC 1997

1997 World Rally Championship

That year, the World Rally Championship (WRC) adopted a new format that remains in force to date. The series included a total of 14 rallies. Competitors were eligible to score points in both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' championships in all of them. The total special stages distance per rally was shortened to 400 km, and the schedule was based on a 3-leg scheme over three days. There were also major changes in the vehicle’s specs. The World Rally car (WR car) regulations were introduced. They allowed manufacturers to enter a car meant for rally purpose only. It could be fitted with a 2.0-liter turbo engine and a 4WD system, even if the base was a front-wheel drive car. The minimum weight of the vehicle increased from 1200 kg to 1230 kg for both Group A and WR cars.
Rd. name Country
1 Rallye Monte Carlo Europe, France, Africa and Monaco
2 Swedish Rally Sweden
3 Safari Rally Kenya
4 Rallye de Portugal Portugal
5 Rally Catalunya Spain
6 Tour de Corse France
7 Rally Argentina Argentina
8 Acropolis Rally Greece
9 Rally New Zealand New Zealand
10 Rally Finland Finland
11 Rally Indonesia Indonesia
12 Rallye Sanremo Italy
13 Rally Australia Australia
14 RAC Rally United Kingdom
The three works teams that went into the season were MITSUBISHI MOTORS, Subaru and Ford, the last two fielding WR cars. They had a 4WD Group A rally car with a 2.0-liter turbo engine, but they used the freedom in development stipulated in the WR car regulations in order to increase the performance level. On the other hand, MITSUBISHI MOTORS ' car was a sheer Group A. It was not based on the LANCER EVOLUTION III, which was crowned champion the previous year, but on the LANCER EVOLUTION IV, which was released in August 1996 as an all-new model. The biggest structural change was the 180° rotation of the 4G63 DOHC turbo engine, and, along with that, the components that form the 4WD system featured an all-new design. The car was still fitted with a multi-link type rear suspension, but the trailing arm type left place to a double wishbone type. In addition, a sequential gearbox was implemented on the rally cars ahead of their rivals. With these modifications, MITSUBISHI MOTORS’ innovative advancements made an impression.

The MITSUBISHI MOTORS team's structure this year was similar to that of the previous year, with Tommi Mäkinen entering every round and Richard Burns’ participation increasing to eight rallies. In the remaining six rallies, Uwe Nittel (Germany), who finished second in the previous year's Group N Cup with a RALLIART Germany Group A spec LANCER EVOLUTION III, was designated to score Manufacturers points. Mäkinen, who was crowned world champion for the first time the previous year, took a total of four wins in the following rallies: Rally Portugal, Rally Catalunya (Spain), Rally Argentina and the 1,000 Lakes Rally (Finland). He actually won the championship in Rally Catalunya, which was held as an all-tarmac rally for the first time. This was the first MITSUBISHI MOTORS' victory in an asphalt (paved roads) rally. This clearly showed the appeal of the LANCER EVOLUTION and its progress to the status of an all-round contender that was able to perform on all road surfaces. In the final RAC rally, Mäkinen came down with the flu and was in his worst condition. But he managed to fight wholeheartedly through the rally and ended up defending his title. For the second year in a row, MITSUBISHI MOTORS grabbed the number one spot in the world.


Rd. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
T. Mäkinen 3rd 3rd R 1st 1st R 1st 3rd R 1st R 3rd 2nd 6th
S. Harjanne
R. Burns 2nd R R 4th 4th 4th 4th 4th
R. Reid
U. Nittel 5th R 8th 8th 6th 7th R
C. Thörner
Driver Co-driver R - Retired D - Disqualified
Rd. 1 2 3 4
T. Mäkinen 3rd 3rd R 1st
S. Harjanne
R. Burns 2nd R
R. Reid
U. Nittel 5th R
C. Thörner
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1st R 1st 3rd R 1st R
R 4th 4th 4th
8th 8th 6th 7th
12 13 14
3rd 2nd 6th
4th 4th



R - Retired

D - Disqualified


LANCER Evolution Ⅳ

Overall length 4,330 mm
Overall width 1,690 mm
Engine model 4G63 4-cylinder DOHC turbo
Displacement 1,997 cc
Maximum output 290 ps
Maximum torque 50 kg-m