Team Mitsubishi Ralliart goes to the API Rally Australia on the crest of a wave, following two successive victories, Finland and Italy - Sanremo. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Tommi Makinen, Mitsubishi Carisma GT of British team-mate Richard Burns will contest the event. Australian Lancer Evolution driver Ed Ordynski will also entry this event as last year. They all will be supported by Winfield Racing team. Makinen is the hot favourite for the 12th round of the 1998 World Rally Championship as Mitsubishi aims for the double - the World Rally Championship for Drivers and Manufacturers.

The Rally Australia is one of the newest events in the World Rally Championship, but also one of the most popular. Slick organisation of the event, based in Perth in Western Australia, means that the drivers and fans always look forward to its testing mixture of narrow, high-speed forest roads and spectator stages such as the renowned Langley Park super special in the middle of Perth. It is a demanding, unforgiving event, as a fine layer of gravel makes the stages particularly slippery and in many places, the trees grow to the very edge of the road. It is a tough test for the tyre companies. Temperatures can climb into the low 30 degree at the beginning of the southern hemisphere's summer and the road surface requires unique hnd-cut tread patterns.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has an excellent record in Australia, with two victories in the past three years. Makinen is brimming with confidence after taking his fourth victory of the season in Italy. Recent advances have made the Michelin-equipped Lancer Evolution the car to beat as the World Rally Championship enters the closing rounds. "We're in an excellent situation. Australia has always been my favourite event and the car is working very well in all kinds of conditions. I feel very confident," said Makinen. British crew Richard Burns and Robert Reid have showed their excellent ability this year and should perform strongly on a rally that they know well, especially in view of their Carisma's impressive reliability. "I'm really looking forward to Australia. It's a good rally for the team and last year I led on the first day. I want to make sure I'm at the front to mess it up for Tommi's championship rivals," Burns declared.

The 1997 Rally Australia saw the impressive 6th overall finish by Australia's best and well-respected rally driver, Ed Ordynski. He is expected to match his performance again this year. "I am very proud to drive in the same team as Makinen and Burns in Australia again. It's a difficult rally from the drivers' point of view, because it's fast and narrow, and the stages are covered in a tricky, ball bearing-type surface. But I will try to get a better position than last year," said Ordynski.

"We have had two victories in a row, which is very good, Tommi is in good form, the car is working well and thus we go to Australia with a great deal of confidence. It's a rally that's been kind to Mitsubishi in the past and last year, Tommi would have won it on stage times. It's very important for us that if at all possible, we get a win and both Makinen and Burns' cars in the points for the manufacturers' championship. We have a test session planned just before the recce, which I imagine will concentrate on suspension fine-tuning and tyre cutting, which is vital on these roads," stated Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short. Mitsubishi is also confident of success in the Group N production class. Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles, co-driven by Martin Christie of Argentina, has already clinched his third successive Group N World Rally Championship - a fitting tribute to the enormous capabilities of the Lancer Evolution - but faces plenty of competition from other Lancer drivers on his last appearance of the season.

The 1,408 kilometre rally includes 24 stages, all on loose surfaces, totalling 404km. It commences with the first of three runs at the spectacular Langley Park stage in the heart of Perth in the evening of November 5, before a loop to the east that comprises a further 10 stages ; all told the first leg offers 134km of stages. The second leg heads south and promises to be the toughest, with eight stages covering 160km, including the longest of the rally, Wellington Dam, at 45km. The final leg is centred on Bunnings Forest, south-east of Perth, with an additional 108 competitive kilometres.

11th API Rally Australia


LEG 1 - Perth-Perth (512.86 km)
5 November
18:30 Start from Perth  
  SS1 Langley Park Super1 2.20 km
18:57 Arrival in Perth  

6 November
7:00 Start from Perth  
  SS2 York railway 5.30 km
  SS3 Muresk 1 6.81 km
  SS4 Muresk 2 6.81 km
  SS5 Beraking 28.59 km
  SS6 Atkins 1 4.42 km
  SS7 Kevs 10.18 km
  SS8 Flynns 34.01 km
  SS9 Helena 30.05 km
  SS10 Atkins 2 4.42 km
  SS11 Langley Park Super2 12.20 km
20:02 Arrival in Perth  
LEG 2 - Perth-Perth (657.92 km)
7 November
06.00 Start from Perth    
  SS12 Murray Pines1 18.53 km
  SS13 Harvey Weir 8.19 km
  SS14 Stirling West 35.48 km
  SS15 Stirling East 35.48 km
  SS16 Wellington Dam 45.00 km
  SS17 TBrunswick 16.63 km
  SS18 Murray Pines 2 18.53 km
  SS19 Langley Park Super3 2.20 km
20:12 Arrival in Perth    
LEG 3 - Perth-Perth(237.32 km)
8 November
05:30 Start from Perth  
  SS20 Bunnings East 13.77 km
  SS21 Bunnings West 35.29 km
  SS22 Bunnings North 31.92 km
  SS23 Bunnings South 25.22 km
  SS24 API TV Stage 2.73 km
13:44 Finish of the rally in Perth  






Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.