WRC

Swedish Rally Notes/Standings

International Swedish Rally Excerts from the press releases of the WRC teams: 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers Final Top 10 Results Further Information ...

International Swedish Rally

Excerts from the press releases of the WRC teams: 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers 1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers Final Top 10 Results Further Information Sources

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Mitsubishi http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/98swedish/

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart scored its fourth victory on the Swedish Rally thanks to a briliant performance from double World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen, driving a Lancer Evolution. Makinen’s victory on the second round of the 1998 World Rally Championship has re-asserted his claim for a record third successive world title for Mitsubishi and was backed up by another crushing success in the Group N production car class, with Carisma GTs and Lancer Evolutions sweeping the top places.

Conditions changed dramatically on the final day of this action-packed event. Freezing temperatures ensured a good covering of ice and snow on the first stages of the morning, but the roads began to thaw as the sun rose and drivers had to make some difficult tyre choices as gravel began to place a lot of strain on the studs.

“It was quite hard work yesterday afternoon, but this new Michelin is very good and we had such good grip that I think we could have caught Thomas Radstrom even if he had not retired. It is important to win these days, because there is such a difference in the points for first and second, so this is a big help,” said Makinen.

Germany’s Uwe Nittel delivered a highly impressive performance to take seventh place with Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner in their Carisma GT. Nittel fought a thrilling battle with former World Rally Champion Didier Auriol in the closing stages and was delighted to have achieved an encouraging result against fierce opposition.

British crew Richard Burns and Robert Reid played a starring role in their Carisma GT and their 15th place hardly did them justice, for they set a series of fastest times in one of the most remarkable performances ever seen from a Swedish Rally newcomer. But for an unfortunate accident on the first day of the rally.

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Toyota http://www.tte.de

A superb last day drive by Carlos Sainz ensured that he and the Toyota Castrol Team maintained the lead in both the World Rally Championships for Drivers and Manufacturers. The Spaniard and co-driver Luis Moya took their Corolla WRC to a second place finish, setting the fastest time on four of the last day's five stages as they overhauled Juha Kankkunen's Ford.

Didier Auriol overcame late problems and fought back to finish in sixth position, just behind Marcus Grönholm's Celica GT-Four. However, the third Corolla WRC of Thomas Radström and Lars Bäckman was forced to retire from the lead of the event on the second day when accident damage ended its rally.

Sainz was happy with the result, his third consecutive second place in Sweden. "We had some difficult times during this rally - the conditions changed from normal snow to melting snow, and there was also gravel on the roads. It was often hard to make the right tyre choice. What is important is that we kept trying to the maximum and got a reward for our work. It was good to have a battle with Juha and, although we couldn't do anything about Tommi, this result will be very important for the championship."

Ove Andersson, President of Toyota Team Europe, reflected on the team's strong showing in the event. "It is very nice to leave Sweden with the lead in both world championships. Both Carlos and Didier refused to give up despite losing some time during the rally, and that is encouraging for everybody in the team. Thomas Radstrom also proved his speed, but he was unlucky to retire yesterday. I hope that he will continue to go well in the Teams' Cup in the future. It is also nice to see that Marcus Grönholm's result in fifth place puts a Toyota team in the lead of that category. Now that he switches to a Corolla, I'm sure that Toyota will continue to find success."

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Ford http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Juha Kankkunen finished a fine third on the Swedish International Rally today at the wheel of his Valvoline-backed Ford Escort World Rally Car to consolidate second place in the FIA World Rally Championship. It was a second consecutive podium finish of the season for the Ford World Rally team driver after finishing runner -up on the opening event of the 14-round series in Monte Carlo last month.

Team-mate Bruno Thiry brought the second Escort World Rally Car to the finish in eighth, ensuring that both Ford World Rally team cars have finished each of the opening two rounds. Ford is the only manufacturer that can boast a 100 per cent record.

"Third keeps me in second position in the world championship but I'm a little disappointed not to have taken second on this rally," said Kankkunen. "However, we'll look forward to the next round for which we start work tomorrow. The season is long and I'm confident of more good results in the future with the Escort. It's very tight in the championship but this makes it that much more interesting for everyone, from spectators to competitors."

Thiry gained valuable experience of driving on snow and ice on only his second attempt at the championship's only true winter event. The Swedish is a rally that has been dominated by Nordic drivers and only after several visits here can a driver claim to feel at home on one of the fastest rallies in the championship.

Ford World Rally team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on the performance. "It's a shame that Juha was unable to hold on to second but this result keeps him in a strong position in the drivers' championship. Carlos had to drive right on the limit to keep Juha behind him and that shows just how well the Escort was performing today. "We've had no problems with either car during the event and the reliability record of the Escorts is second to none this season. That gives us great pleasure but we know we can't afford to sit back. We must keep pushing to try to make the car go faster but at the same time ensure that it doesn't jeopardise our reliability," added Wilson.

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Subaru

On their last outing for the 555 Subaru World Rally Team the all-Swedish pairing of Kenneth Eriksson and Staffan Parmander finished their home event in 4th position, picking up valuable points for the team in the all-important Manufacturers’ Championship. Team-mate Piero Liatti and co-driver Fabrizia Pons, in the third non-registered Subaru Impreza 555 WRC98, finished 9th overall after a frustrating three days.

Over the last three days, Kenneth Eriksson has battled to find the form that netted him victory on last year’s rally, but the Swede has continued to push hard to the end, holding off stiff opposition from Didier Auriol yesterday and early this morning. "It would obviously have been fantastic to have won the rally for the third time, and especially as this is my last event with the 555 Subaru World Rally Team, but it wasn’t to be this year.

Commenting on the team’s performance in Sweden, David Lapworth, Technical Director said: "This is obviously not the result we were hoping for but it seems that the unseasonably warm conditions don’t suit us quite so well. We have to remember it’s a fourteen round Championship and this rally is unique, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that in other conditions we will be as competitive as ever."

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Drivers http://www.fia.com

Carlos Sainz                16
Juha Kankkunen                10
Tommi Makinen                10
Colin McRae                4
Piero Liatti                3
Kenneth Eriksson        3
Richard Burns                2
Marcus Gronholm           2
Bruno Thiry                1
Didier Auriol                1

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1998 FIA World Rally Championship Standings for Manufacturers http://www.fia.com

Toyota                        16
Mitsubishi                12
Ford                        11
Subaru                        10

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Final Top 10 Results www.swerally.se/

Pos | Driver | Car | Total Time

1 T.Makinen/R.Mannisenmaki FIN/FI        Mitsubishi Lancer        3:32:51,6
2 C.Sainz/L.Moya E/E                    Toyota Corolla          3:33:43,2
3 J.Kankkunen/J.Repo FIN/FIN            Ford Escort                 3:33:50,4
4 K.Eriksson/S.Parmander S/S                Subaru Impreza                3:35:23,3
5 M.Gronholm/T.Rautiainen                Toyota Celcia GT4         3:36:21,5
6 D.Auriol/D.Giraudet F/F               Toyota Corolla                3:36:49,8
7 U.Nittel/T.Thörner D/S                Mit Carisma                3:37:35,2
8 B.Thiry/S.Prevot B/B                  Ford Escort                3:38:59,1
9 P.Liatti/F.Pons I/I                        Subaru Impreza                3:40:38,5
10 M.Jonsson/J.Johansson S/S                Ford Escort Cos.        3:41:05,5

Reference Sites and further information:

Rallysport: coverage of the entire WRC  http://www.rallysport.com
Team Toyota Europe  http://www.tte.de
Mitsubishi Ralliart  http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/
Ford Motorsport press releases  http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html
Mobil 1 British Rally Championship  http://www.motorsport.co.uk
Federation Internationale De L'Automobile (FIA)  http://www.fia.com

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , Marcus Gronholm , Thomas Radstrom , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Robert Reid , Luis Moya , Fabrizia Pons , Tina Thorner , Piero Liatti , Malcolm Wilson , Lars Backman , Uwe Nittel , Staffan Parmander