Rough Challenge for Mitsubishi Motors WRC Team -Round 5: Cyprus Rally (May 13-16)- Tokyo, May 11, 2004 -- Round five of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship takes the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC team to the island of Cyprus for the...
Rough Challenge for Mitsubishi Motors WRC Team
-Round 5: Cyprus Rally (May 13-16)-
Tokyo, May 11, 2004 -- Round five of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship takes the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC team to the island of Cyprus for the fourth of eight consecutive loose surface events. Here, the all-French crew of Gilles and Herve Panizzi will be joined by Finnish team-mates Kristian Sohlberg and Kaj Lindstrom in the second Lancer WRC04 for the first of three events hosted in the eastern Mediterranean. The Cyprus Rally (May 13-16) is one of just two events in the 2004 calendar that qualifies solely for points in the FIA World Rally Championship; neither the Production Car nor Junior World Rally Championship contenders will be in attendance, although a host of Mitsubishi Group N crews make up the provisional entry list of 50 competitors ensuring thrilling action throughout the field.
"For the team this will be another completely different rally and maybe one of the most difficult for us," commented Gilles. "We are working a lot on many parts of the car and there is progress with the engine, gearbox, brakes and controlling the temperatures, but we still need to make some big improvements to the dampers for this event. We will see; it is going to be a very hard one I think especially on such a rough and slow event. Physically it is tough with the heat, but if we can get the car to the same level as my fitness, then I will be very happy!"
Team-mate Kristian Sohlberg added: "This is going to be a special rally and we have to approach it a bit differently to all the other events we have done. Maybe we won't try to go flat out all the time; I think we will try to be a bit more cautious and look after the car as I think many will retire as it is so rough. By being careful we have a good chance to get many points. For me, the car was a big improvement in New Zealand and I was very confident. Although we didn't get many kilometers and the rally is totally different, hopefully it will feel the same."
The 2004 Cyprus Rally is based in the coastal holiday resort of Limassol with the service park for all three legs located in the citrus groves near the port on the western edge of town. After a ceremonial start on the promenade on Thursday evening, the first leg will prove to be crucial as it includes more stage kilometers than any other as well as two runs at the longest stage of the rally. Six stages and 121.78 competitive kilometers directly north of Limassol will provide a tough opening day. The second leg takes the crews to the north and northwest for two loops of three stages covering 109.56 competitive kilometers, while the final leg heads northeast for the closing six stages and 93.34 competitive kilometers. In total, the Cyprus Rally covers 18 stages and 326.68 competitive kilometers in a total distance of 1,136.72 kilometers.