Bank Utama Rally of Indonesia
World Rally Championship Round 3
Asia-Pacific Rally Championship Round 2 10-12 May
MAKINEN LEADS WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN MITSUBISHI LANCER AFTER RALLY OF INDONESIA
Finland's Tommi Makinen has retained his lead in the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers in his Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer Evolution III after the 27 stage third round Rally of Indonesia which finished in Medan on Sunday, May 12, 1996.
Co-driven by Seppo Harjanne, Makinen moved into the lead on the second stage of the 1289 km three day rally which looped south from Medan through oil and rubber plantations near Lake Toba. Frequent heavy rain showers made the dirt tracks extremely slippery, and Makinen's team mate Richard Burns was the first of many to fall foul of the difficult conditions and hit a tree on the first stage in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III, damaging an oil pipe and the oil cooler.
As Makinen stretched his lead using his newly developed Michelin tyres to great advantage in the hazardous conditions, Burns struggled on but was forced to retire when his engine ran out of oil on the third stage as a result of his earlier accident.
On stage seven, all the front runners hit trouble when unexpected standing water on the track caused them to slither into a bridge parapet. Makinen hit the concrete hard and damaged the body shell and suspension, but managed to retain his lead over Subaru's Colin McRae. Kenneth Eriksson was the least fortunate of those who hit the bridge and was forced to retire with a badly damaged Subaru. Makinen then slipped back to second over the final two stages of the first leg, just five seconds behind McRae at the end of the day in the lakeside resort of Parapat.
Makinen challenged hard for the lead at the start of the second day, but unfortunately retired when a heavy landing after a jump broke his Lancer's radiator on stage 11. The problem occurred because the body shell had been bent in his first day incident which meant the radiator was badly positioned.
Makinen's nearest challenger in the World Rally Championship, McRae was then left virtually unchallenged in the lead, but on the final leg from Parapat to the finish in Medan the Subaru crashed heavily on the 19th stage leaving Makinen with a healthy five point series lead from eventual rally winner Carlos Sainz.
Although disappointed not to have finished the event, Makinen was pleased to retain his championship lead, commenting: "Of course I am very disappointed, but we have had two good wins in Sweden and Kenya already this year, and our performance here shows that we are still at the top. I still lead the championship and I am now looking forward to the next round in Greece where I hope to win."
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Director Andrew Cowan added: "It was disappointing because Tommi was driving so well, very intelligently and he was looking very strong. However, with Tommi still leading the championship our morale is very high, and we are now looking forward to the Acropolis Rally in Greece."
In Group N, the class for standard cars, Japan's Yoshihiro Kataoka, who was nominated by Mitsubishi for World Rally Championship Manufacturers' points for this event, performed well to challenge for the lead in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III, but left the road on stage 11 and dropped back down the field before retiring on the third leg after breaking his sump and losing all his engine oil.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart now heads to Greece for the fourth round of the World Rally Championship, the three day Acropolis Rally which starts from Athens on June 2, where Makinen will defend his five point lead in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III.
Overall winners/Vainqueurs :
1. C. Sainz/L. Moya - E/E - FORD ESCORT RS COSWORTH 5.30.00
2. P. Liatti/F. Ponz - I/I - SUBARU IMPREZA 555 5.30.23
3. J. Kankkunen/N. Grist - FIN/GB - TOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR 5.31.02
4. Y. Fujimoto/A. Hertz - J/S - TOYOTA CELICA 5.49.44
5. R. Pribadi/D. Giraudet - RI/F - TOYOTA CELICA GT FOUR 6.05.17
6. M. Lieu/Y. Nakahara - HK/J - SUBARU CG8 IMPREZA 6.07.22
7. K. Singh/S. Sein MAL/MAL - PROTON WIRA 6.13.40
8. S. Konishi/H. Ichino - J/J - SUBARU IMPREZA 6.15.08
9. I. Gading/K. Harilatu - RI/RI - SUBARU IMPREZA 6.15.55
10. B. Hartono/A. Baskoro - RI/RI - MITSUBISHI LANCER EV III 6.21.20
MAKINEN AIMS FOR HAT TRICK IN INDONESIA IN
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION III
FIA World Rally Championship leader after two rounds, Tommi Makinen aims to keep
his 100 per cent win record intact on the third round of the series, the Rally
of Indonesia, which takes place over three days near Medan, Sumatra on May
10-12, driving his Swedish and Safari Rally winning Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
After celebrating a historic victory on the Safari Rally in April, Makinen,
co-driven by Seppo Harjanne, heads to Indonesia with Team Mitsubishi Ralliart,
which also leads the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, with the
support of Richard Burns in the second Lancer Evolution III.
The Rally of Indonesia is also a round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally
Championship of which Burns, co-driven by Robert Reid, is contesting every round
in an effort to repeat Kenneth Eriksson's success last year when he won the
championship with Mitsubishi.
This will be the first time that the Rally of Indonesia forms part of the World
series after earning a reputation in recent years as one of the best rounds in
the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The Michelin-shod Lancers will face three
days of rough roads and stifling humidity, which along with blistering sunshine
and high temperatures give the event its unique and challenging character.
Makinen, who finished third on his first visit to Indonesia last year, comments:
"This is a tough rally, but we've just won the Safari in the Lancer and that is
the toughest rally of all, so I am very confident."
Burns adds: "It's the hottest place we'll go to this year, and it's humid. In a
rally car, the temperatures are unbelievable. But there's no reason why we
shouldn't be on the pace in the Lancer."
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart manager Phil Short concludes: "We went straight to
Indonesia after Thailand to complete the testing with Tommi and Richard, and we
now believe the Lancer is fully ready to cope with the conditions we expect
during the rally. It is very hot and humid there, and that makes it very
difficult for the drivers and our service crews. The roads are mainly through
plantations - very fast with a lot of big jumps which put a lot of strain on the
transmission and suspension. However, we were very pleased with the tests which
went very well indeed. We're very confident of a good result."
Group N, the category for standard production vehicles, will be contested by
Yoshihiro Kataoka and Satoshi Hayashi in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III as a
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart-nominated entry to score World Championship points for
the team should one of the lead cars falter. Kataoka finished second in the
category on the first round of the Asia-Pacific series, the Rally of Thailand.
Twenty-seven special stages are planned in three legs, covering 461 km in a
total route of 1289 km looping from the Sumatran capital of Medan and around
Lake Toba, starting on May 10 at 09:00 from Merdeka Square, spending the first
night in the lake shore resort of Parapat, and finishing back in the capital at
around 19:20 on May 12.
HOT COMPETITION EXPECTED
IN NEW INDONESIA
Although the Rally of Indonesia is familiar to Team Mitsubishi Ralliart, this is
the first time the event takes place as a round of the FIA World Rally
Championship. Traditionally, the rally was the opening round of the Asia-Pacific
series, but this year it qualifies as the third round of the World series, and
second event in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.
Starting in Medan in northern Sumatra, the three day Rally of Indonesia uses the
bush tracks and plantation roads to the east and south east of the city and
around scenic Lake Toba. As well as the extremely high temperatures, last year
reaching over 40 degrees Celsius, the event is renowned for its extreme
humidity, constantly in the high 90s.
The tracks themselves are punishing in nature, with long fast sections, many
blind crests and enormous jumps that can smash a car with one heavy landing. The
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IIIs have undergone extensive testing in the region
recently to help prepare for the conditions, which are extremely harsh on
suspension and transmission components.
The Rally of Indonesia starts from Merdeka Square in central Medan on Friday,
May 10 at 09:00 before heading east and south for nine stages and finishing at
the end of the leg for an overnight halt in Parapat, on the shores of Lake Toba,
at around 19:10 after 140 km of competitive driving in an overall route for the
day of 330 km.
Leg 2 starts from Parapat at 06:00, heading south of Lake Toba for seven stages
covering 117 km in a 461km route, before finishing in the lake-side resort of
Parapat again at approximately 18:05.
The final leg starts again from Parapat, heading north towards Medan once more
for 11 special stages covering 203 km, the longest leg of the rally with a total
distance of 498 km. This leg also includes the longest stage of the rally, Paya
Pinang Mendaris at 31 km. This is a combination of two stages used last year
with fast, flowing roads through rubber and oil plantations, and could be the
place where the rally is decided. The survivors are due back at the finish in
the city of Medan at around 19:20.
Copyright 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
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