NESTE RALLY FINLAND (21-23 AUGUST)
RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 10
1998 NESTE RALLY FINLAND
Thursday 20 August
COMMUNIQUE N° 1
MITSUBISHI RALLIART AIMS FOR RALLY FINLAND RECORD
LANCER AND CARISMA GT
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is aiming for two unique records
on the Rally Finland, the 10th round of the 1998 World
Rally Championship, with a strong team of Lancer
Evolutions and Carisma GTs. The team is hoping to become
the first manufacturer to win the rally four times in a
row, while lead driver Tommi Makinen is bidding for a
fifth successive victory.
Mitsubishi faces daunting opposition on the fastest, most
hotly fought rally in the world. Average speeds of up to
120 km/h and the innumerable jumps that pitch the cars
into the air for metres at a time as they race through
Finlands lakeland mean that previous knowledge and
absolute commitment are vital. As a result, the Rally
Finland is the success that the drivers prize the most.
Double World Champion Makinen, co-driven by fellow Finn
Risto Mannisenmaki, is quietly confident in his
Michelin-equipped Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in spite of
the intense pressure.
I need a fifth win, not because its nice to
win here, but for the championship. I think it will be
good, because we did three days testing here and we are
better prepared than in the past, Makinen said.
British crew Richard Burns/Robert Reid face a searching
test, as it is their first attempt at this exceptionally
demanding rally. Burns is counting on the proven speed
and reliability of his Mitsubishi Carisma GT.
Testing helps of course, but you really have to
learn the stages here. Its just so quick, with a
lot of fifth and sixth-gear crests and corners, and
sometimes you dont know where the car will take
off, Burns stated.
Germanys Uwe Nittel, co-driven by Swede Tina
Thorner, is attempting the rally for the third time, but
the Carisma GT driver knows that success will not come
The opposition is incredible, but last year I
finished seventh, so it would be nice to do even better
this time, Nittel said.
We have prepared thoroughly for the event, but
its hard to plan tactics, because we arent
sure about the weather, although rain is forecast.
Clearly, the second leg is going to be the critical one,
because of the length and difficulty of the stages,
commented Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil
Short. Nothing is predictable in rallying, but we
can say our car is one of the best, added Team
Manager Ingolf Raiss.
Mitsubishi has high hopes in Group N, the production car
class. Both championship leader Gustavo Trelles of
Uruguay and nearest rival Manfred Stohl of Austria are
present, and the Lancer Evolution drivers are supported
by a host of top Scandinavian drivers in Lancers and
Carisma GTs. The formidable performance of
Mitsubishis showroom cars makes success more than
The 1271-kilometre rally starts on Friday at 13.00 for a
loop of nine stages, totalling 90 kilometres, north of