RALLY SANREMO - Rally d'Italia (12-14 October)




Team Mitsubishi Ralliart has put a formidable pair of cars; a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and a Mitsubishi Carisma GT, together with a formidable pair of drivers; World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen and British team-mate Richard Burns. Thanks to this great couple of pairings the team has its best-ever chance of victory in Italy's Sanremo Rally, the 11th round of the 1998 World Rally Championship.

The Sanremo Rally is renowned as one of the supreme tests of man and machine. Unpredictable weather and twisty stages in the wooded mountains near the elegant Riviera resort make tactics as important as driving skill. The presence of no fewer than eight works teams will make this year's rally tougher still, and guarantees an enthusiastic reception from the crowds. Few nations can rival the Italian love of motorsport, and the hillsides and little mountain villages are sure to be thronged with hundreds of thousands of chanting fans, waving banners and sounding klaxons as they cheer the drivers on.

Although there are some rivals who are specialists at this rally, Makinen is full of confidence after an encouraging test session in two different locations in Italy. Co-driven by fellow Finn Risto Mannisenmaki, he believes that the latest version of the Lancer Evolution is just the car to give him a victory that would not only boost his chances of an unprecedented third consecutive drivers title, but also Mitsubishi's hopes of winning the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.

"We have prepared very well and tried some new things on the car. It feels quite good. Ofcourse, to take a first place will be very hard, but the most important thing for me now is to win. I have to win all the rest of the rallies this year," Makinen said.

Richard Burns and Robert Reid are contesting the rally for the first time, which could prove a handicap on stages that some of their rivals know by heart. However, Team Mitsubishi Ralliart shrewdly gave them the chance to practice the route last year to increase their knowledge and this could prove to be crucial experience. In any event, Burns is sure that the Carisma GT is up to the task."The car seemed pretty good in the test. Although it's my first time here, I'll try to get a point. I'll approach it the same way as I did the Rally Finland," Burns declared.

"Sanremo is a tough rally. It's especially hard on brakes and tyres, and everyone will find that is a problem. Last year, Tommi found he was having to nurse the tyres to make sure they lasted the distance, and it is inevitable that everyone will have to take greater care of their tyres now that the rules oblige us to run comparatively narrow ones. We can also expect changeable weather in Italy at this time of year, which is always a challenge," said Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Manager Phil Short.

"Testing for the rally has been very satisfactory. We got ideal weather conditions, because we found both wet and dry roads. Michelin has worked very hard, with encouraging results, and also has a new wet weather tyre. Last year Tommi performed very well and with the latest improvements to the car, we have nothing to fear on asphalt."

Mitsubishi also has high hopes of further success in the Group N production class, where the performance and reliability of the Lancer Evolution and the Carisma GT all but guarantee success. Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles, co-driven by Martin Christie of Argentina, is bound to be one of the favourites in his Lancer Evolution as he bids for a third consecutive Group N series champion title. After finishing first in Group N last year, Austrian Manfred Stohl is also confident of his second Group N victory.

The 1,494 km rally includes 24 stages, all on asphalt, totalling 401 km. The event begins with an eight-stage loop over traditional terrain in the mountains above Sanremo itself, with 102 km of flat-out driving. The toughest leg of the rally should be the second, however, for the 10 stages total 173 km around Acqui Terme, north-east of Sanremo. The third and final leg comprises another 106 stage kilometres close to Sanremo, repeating some stages from the first leg.

40th Rally Sanremo -Rally d'Italia


LEG 1 - Sanremo-Sanremo (408.08 km)
12 October
8:00 Start from Sanremo  
  SS1 Coldirodi 10.12 km
  SS2 Baiardo 16.86 km
  SS3 Langan 18.29 km
  SS4 Pantasina 9.28 km
  SS5 Colle d'Oggia 20.35 km
  SS6 Coldirodi 10.12 km
  SS7 Bajardo 16.86 km
  SS8 Langan 18.29 km
19:15 Arrival in Sanremo  
LEG 2 - Sanremo-Sanremo (757.56 km)
13 October
05:30 Start from Sanremo    
  SS9 Loazzolo 10.80 km
  SS10 Madona della Neve 14.10 km
  SS11 Torre del Vegore 14.83 km
  SS12 Turpino 24.45 km
  SS13 Ponzone 22.68 km
  SS14 Loazzolo 10.80 km
  SS15 Madona della Neve 14.10 km
  SS16 Torre del Vengore 14.83 km
  SS17 Turpino 24.45 km
  SS18 Ponzone 22.68 km
22:47 Arrival in Sanremo    
LEG 3 - Sanremo-Sanremo(329.16 km)
14 October
07:00 Start from Laajavuori  
  SS19 Bignone 10.31 km
  SS20 Monte Ceppo 28.08 km
  SS21 Pantasia 9.28 km
  SS22 Colle d'Oggia 20.35 km
  SS23 Bignone 10.31 km
  SS24 Monte Ceppo 28.08 km
16:04 Arrival in Sanremo  






Copyright 1998 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.