Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is aiming to conclude its most successful season ever with a victory on the Rally of Great Britain that could clinch the 1998 World Rally Championship for Drivers and Manufacturers. It is entering a formidable team of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Mitsubishi Carisma GT for Tommi Makinen, who is aiming for his third successive World Rally Championship with Mitsubishi, and British driver Richard Burns.

Britain's round of the World Rally Championship, still popularly known by its old name as the RAC Rally, is renowned as one of the worlds oldest, most difficult and most prestigious rallies. It is the 13th and final round of the World Rally Championship. The weather is always unpredictable in late November, but rain, fog, ice, snow and mud are all possible. The mixture of stages in forests and stately homes are therefore both slippery and unpredictable - and often deceptively fast. There is no question of the rally's popularity. Up to 2,000,000 people are reckoned to watch the RAC; crowds often begin to gather on stages the night before they are held and it has become Britain's best-attended sports event. People gather in the smallest towns and villages to catch a glimpse of the cars passing through.

Tommi Makinen and fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki start the rally as favourites for the World Championship, which is a tribute to the remarkable quality of Mitsubishi engineering and the abilities of the crew in the most competitive season in rallying history. Makinen has five wins this season, but no longer needs to win the rally, as beating his only rival Carlos Sainz will secure the championship. However, he is in no danger of underestimating the challenge ahead. "The RAC Rally is always difficult. If it is held in bad weather like last year, anything can happen. It is not necessary to win, but you never know what Carlos will do and we need to keep close to him", Makinen said. Team-mates Richard Burns and co-driver Robert Reid are running on home ground and could play a key role in making Mitsubishi world champion. Recent testing and careful work with Michelin has made the Carisma GT highly competitive and Burns is anxious to achieve a victory that would greatly reduce Sainz's chances of beating Makinen for the world title. "I'm really confident after Mitsubishi's win in Australia. The car is really quick and reliable at the moment, and I want to win my home rally more than ever. There is a lot of competition, but I think we have an extremely good chance", Burns predicted.

"The Rally of Britain will be difficult, but a little easier than expected after our win in Australia. Clearly, we want to give Richard his head and let him go for a victory, because that improves our chances in the manufacturers' championship and makes it more difficult for Toyota's Carlos Sainz to be the champion driver. Carlos would win the championship if he wins the rally, so if Richard finished ahead of him that would clearly help. Tommi knows what he has to do and he's proved he is more than capable of winning the championship. We did a good test in Wales, where most of the stages are held, at the beginning of October, and we are planning a confirmation test just before the rally as well. You can never be sure of anything on this rally, but we expect the second leg, which is the longest, to be the most difficult" , said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short.
The Rally of Britain is divided into three legs, with 400 kilometers of special stages. Traditionally, it begins with a short day in central England, visiting race tracks and stately homes, with around 50 kilometers of stages before it returns to Cheltenham. The second and third legs are much tougher, taking the rally deep into the Welsh forests, to long, exceptionally demanding stages. While the second leg visits mid-Wales, the final leg is concentrated in south Wales, on some of the highest stages in Britain.

54th NETWORK Q Rally of Great Britain


LEG 1 - Cheltenham-Cheltenham (570.35 km)
Sunday 22, November
07.27 Start from from Cheltenham
  SS1 Cheltenham 1 1.75 km
  SS2 Cornbury 4.15 km
  SS3 Silverstone 1 8.69 km
  SS4 Silverstone 2 8.69 km
  SS5 Millbrook 7.13 km
  SS6 Millbrook 7.13 km
  SS7 Silverstone Super 1.96 km
  SS8 Silverstone 3 6.98 km
  SS9 Silverstone 4 6.98 km
  SS10 Towcester 3.23 km
  SS11 Donington 1 6.29 km
  SS12 Donington 2 6.29 km
  SS13 Cheltenham 2 1.61 km
19.51 Arrival in Cheltenham
LEG 2 - Cheltenham-Cheltenham (732.08 km)
Monday 23, November
05.00 Start from from Cheltenham
  SS14 Radnor 23.85 km
  SS15 Myherin 1 16.86 km
  SS16 Tywi 19.87 km
  SS17 Esgair Dafydd 8.70 km
  SS18 Crychan 21.98 km
  SS19 Cefn 9.16 km
  SS20 Sweet Lamb 25.70 km
  SS21 Myherin 2 16.86 km
21.48 Arrival in Cheltenham
LEG 3 - Cheltenham-Cheltenham (589.95 km)
Tuesday 24, November
05.00 Start from Cheltenham  
  SS22 St Gwynno 13.81 km
  SS23 Tyle 10.65 km
  SS24 Rhondda 36.28 km
  SS25 Resolfen 44.58 km
  SS26 Rheola 24.89 km
  SS27 Argoed 9.04 km
  SS28 Margam 27.08 km
16.58 Finish of the rally in Cheltenham






Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.