Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is aiming for a place in the record books with its powerful team of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Carisma GTs on the Rally Finland, the 10th round of the 1998 World Rally Championship. Mitsubishi could take its fourth consecutive victory on the rally - a feat no other manufacturer has achieved in the event's 47-years history - while World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen aims for an equally unprecedented fifth consecutive triumph.

The Rally Finland is the event the drivers most want to win. It is the fastest, most hotly fought rally in the World Rally Championship, thanks to the unique nature of the stages and the legendary determination of the Finns. High speeds and the hundreds of jumps that can pitch cars into the air for metres at a time mean that absolute commitment and intimate knowledge of the roads are vital. The rally is a national institution, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators to central Finland, a region of lakes and vast forests. The weather makes no difference to the fans, who have come to expect Finnish success: foreigners have won the event just seven times.

Makinen, co-driven by fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki, is the favourite. Born and bred close to the rally's host town, Jyvaskyla, he knows just what success demands on home ground and the latest developments to his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution have filled him with confidence.Of course there is a lot of pressure to keep winning and the opposition is very strong, but it is my home event and I think we can win again. The car is really good now and Michelin has been working well on the tyres, so I think we can be confident," said Makinen.

British team-mates Richard Burns and Robert Reid, driving a Mitsubishi Carisma GT, are contesting the rally for the first time and know that it will be one of their most difficult tests this year. Previous experience is considered essential for this highly specialised rally and Burns intends to treat the rally as a learning exercise. He will be well prepared though, with a special two-day test session of his own to refine the car and his own technique for the Finnish roads.I'd expect to finish in the top 10. You've got to have a very good idea of the road ahead and although I did practise the rally last year, there's no substitute for doing it at high speed. I'll be lucky if I score get a point, but that's what I'm aiming for," Burns stated.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart can also depend on rising German star Uwe Nittel and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner, who also drive a Mitsubishi Carisma GT. Nittel has previous experience of the rally and will be aiming to challenge the local stars strongly.These are fantastic roads to drive and Tommi has proved how good the Mitsubishi is here. This is always a special rally and I hope this year our result will be special too!" declared Nittel.
"For the jumps, you need suspension that will not only soak up the landings, but launch the car in the correct way. The springs and shock absorbers are important, but so are aerodynamics. The FIA has given us permission to set our cars' rear wings at a different angle for this event, because the high speeds can affect stability. Tommi is going to have to fight very hard, because most of his rivals have good experience of the event and know what it takes to win. It would be nice to make history and win five in a row, but Tommi will have to be at his best. " explained Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short.The nature of the roads is like no other rally: they are very fast, flowing and they take a lot of commitment from the driver to get full speed," concluded German Team manager Ingolf Raiss.

Mitsubishi will also be strongly represented in the Group N production class, where double World Rally Group N Champion Gustavo Trelles of Uruguay, co-driven by Argentina's Martin Christie, faces daunting opposition from other Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Carisma GT drivers.

The rally starts on August 21 and features 24 stages, totalling 384 kilometres, in a route of 1,269 kilometres. All three legs start and finish in Jyvaskyla, with the bulk of the distance crammed into the second leg, which includes 194 kilometres of stages, with three particularly demanding stages of more than 30 kilometres.

48th NESTE Rally Finland


LEG 1 - Jyvaskyla-Laajavuori (90,08 km)
21 August
13:00 Start from Jyvaskyla  
  SS1 Kuohu 1 6,34 km
  SS2 Mokkipera 13,43 km
  SS3 Valkola 8,46 km
  SS4 Lankamaa 26,20 km
  SS5 Ruuhimaki 1 7,34 km
  SS6 Harju 2,57 km
  SS7 Kuohu 2 7,74 km
  SS8 Parkkola 16,31 km
  SS9 Hippos 1 1,69 km
21:28 Arrival in Laajavuori  
LEG 2 - Laajavuori-Laajavuori (194,58 km)
22 August
07:00 Start from Laajavuori    
  SS10 Leustu 23,57 km
  SS11 Vaheri 31,32 km
  SS12 Juupajoki 30,94
  SS13 Sahalahti 20,50 km
  SS14 Siitama 14,70 km
  SS15 Vatila 12,42 km
  SS16 Ouninpohja 34,55 km
  SS17 Surkee 24,89 km
  SS18 Hippos 2 1,69 km
20:04 Arrival in Laajavuori    
LEG 3 - Laajavuori-Jyvaskyla (99,44 km)
23 August
07:00 Start from Laajavuori  
  SS19 Ruuhimaki 7,34 km
  SS20 Hauhanpohja 11,34 km
  SS21 Lempaa 1 28,47 km
  SS22 Ylemmainen 1 11,91 km
  SS23 Lempaa 2 28,47 km
  SS24 Ylemmainen 2 11,91 km
16:10 Arrival in Jyvaskyla  






Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.