Paasonen and Sohlberg tested at German round of WRC
2003 ADAC RALLY GERMANY
FIA World Rally Championship, round 8
For immediate release
Thursday, July 17th, 2003
PAASONEN AND SOLHBERG TESTED AT THE GERMAN ROUND OF FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP BY MITSUBISHI MOTORS
TRIER (Germany): Mitsubishi Motors has entered the Finnish drivers Jani Paasonen and Kristian Sohlberg in the ADAC Rally Germany, as part of its preparations for next season. This will be the eighth round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship, which starts in Trier next Friday (July 25th).
The three-day event is a crucial round of the championship and Mitsubishi is keen to see both drivers' abilities on asphalt, before its final 2004 drivers are announced, prior to its return to the full World Rally Championship in 2004.
Both Finnish drivers have been entered in a pair of 2002-specification Mitsubishi Lancer WRCs, purely to gain additional experience of asphalt rallying. They will be co-driven by Arto Kapanen and Jakke Honkanen, respectively.
~It was always our plan to enter Jani Paasonen in Rally Germany,~ said Sven Quandt, Head of Mitsubishi Motor Sports. ~But we decided it would also be a good idea to enter Kristian too. He has limited experience in tarmac rallies and this was an ideal opportunity for him to gain more competitive mileage behind the wheel. We will see how they perform.~
Organised by the ADAC, Rally Germany entered the WRC for the first time in 2002 and switched to a July date at the start of this season. Based in Trier, the competitive action begins with a traditional shakedown on Thursday (July 24th), before the first of seven special stages on Friday.
A further nine special stages, including two runs through a 34 kms competitive section at Panzerplatte, complete Saturday's timetable and the event draws to a conclusion in Trier on Sunday after an additional six timed specials.
Mitsubishi pulled out of the FIA World Rally Championship at the end of 2002 to develop a new car in time for the 2004 season. The Japanese manufacturer has one of the most impressive records in recent WRC history, winning the Manufacturers' title in 1998 and four consecutive Drivers' titles between 1996 and 1999.
Britain's Richard Burns is the current leader of the FIA World Drivers' Championship. The former World Champion has a solitary point lead over Spain's Carlos Sainz, with defending champion Marcus Grönholm in third place.
FIA World Rally Championship, after round 7 of 14:
1. Richard Burns (GB) 37
2. Carlos Sainz (E) 36
3. Marcus Grönholm (SF) 30
4. Petter Solberg (N) 29
5. Sebastian Loeb (F), Colin McRae (GB) and Markko Martin (EST) 23, etc