Makinen used the power and performance of his Lancer to the full over the final, six-stage leg from Kamena Vourla to Athens to launch an attack on rally leader Colin McRae, closing to within 24 seconds of the Subaru driver on stage 18 before being delayed slightly by worn rear tyres on stage 19, finishing the event 50 seconds adrift in second place. Once again the Lancer never faltered over the 153 km of hot, dusty and extremely rough Gred very well in these conditions and even though it was very rough and very hot, it only needed normal routine servicing, and my Michelin tyres were very well suited to these conditions. I attacked for the lead on the last day and I thought I could catch Colin, but in the end it was better not to take any risks. Overall, I am very pleased with my result."
Mitsubishi was also able to celebrate another astonishing victory in Group N, the class for standard production cars, with Uwe Nittel heading a dominant 1-2-3 for Mitsubishi in his Ralliart Germany Lancer Evolution III. Nittel, co-driven by Swede Tina Thorner, also secured 14th overall and together with Makinen's result helped Mitsubishi maintain second place in the FIA World Rally Champor Manufacturers. Uruguay's Gustavo Trelles was second, followed by Belgian Pascal Smets who was delighted with his superb result on his first ever gravel rally.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan commented: "We are very satisfied with this result. The Lancer ran perfectly throughout the three days of this very rough and challenging event, and Tommi drove superbly, never putting himself at risk, but always putting pressure on McRae. Second place on this event allows Tommi to increase his lead in the World Championship, which was our target here in Greece, so we are very pleased."
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is now preparing for the next round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, which takes place in Malaysia on June 15 - 17 where Richard Burns and Kenjiro Shinozuka will drive a pair of Lancer Evolution IIIs, while the next round of the World Rally Championship will be the Rally of Argentina on July 4-6.
|1.C. McRae / D. Ringer||GB/GB||Subaru Impreza 555||5.33.12|
|FIN/FIN||Mitsubishi Lancer Evol. III||+ 0.50|
|3.C. Sainz-L. Moya||E/E||>Ford Escort RS Cosworth||+ 3.21|
|4.P. Liatti-F. Ponz||I/I||Subaru Impreza 555||+ 4.50|
|5.K. Eriksson-S. Parmander||S/S||Subaru Impreza 555||+ 7.05|
|6.B. Thiry-S. Prevot||GB/GB||Ford Escort RS Cosworth||+ 8.36|
|7.F. Loix-S. Smeets||B/B||Toyota Celica GT Four||+10.01|
|8.G. Pianezzola-L. Roggia||I/I||Toyota Celica GT Four||+15.34|
|D/S||Mitsubishi Lancer Evol. III||1st Gr N +38.51|
|ROU/ROU||Mitsubishi Lancer Evol. III||2 Gr N +41.48|
|B/B||Mitsubishi Lancer Evol. III||3 Gr N +43.14|
08:30 Start from KAMENA VOURLA
13:59/14:14 Regrouping at Aspra Spitia
18:30 Arrival in piraeus,Peace and Friendship Stadium