1997 World Rally Championship season

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1997 World Rally Championship season
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The 1997 World Rally Championship season was the 25th season of the FIA World Rally Championship. The season saw many changes in the championship. Most notably, Group A was partially replaced by the World Rally Car with manufacturers given the option which regulations to construct to. One inherent benefit to manufacturers by adopting WRC regulations was removing the need to mass produce road-going versions of the cars that they competed with, under the previous rules for homologation. This meant that vehicles such as the Escort RS Cosworth and Subaru Impreza Turbo no longer had to be mass produced for general sale in order to compete at World Championship level, and thus acting as a means of attracting increased competition and involvement by manufacturers. In the few years that follow, the Championship saw the added presence of WRC cars from companies such as Hyundai, Seat, Citroen, and Peugeot, who would all compete under WRC regulations without having to manufacture equivalent specialised road cars for public sale. Both Ford and Subaru switched to WRC in 1997, except Mitsubishi who stayed with Group A to maintain the links to their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution road cars. Subaru's transition was much more gradual for similar reasons with the early Subaru Impreza WRCs still largely Group A in nature.

Events also became shorter and more compact, event rotation system used in previous three seasons was dropped and registered manufacturers were required to contest the expanded 14 event calendar for the first time. In due course the World Rally Car rules would bring new manufactures into the sport, but at the start of 1997 it was still Subaru versus Mitsubishi versus Ford as before, although, by mid season Toyota Team Europe were back with a Corolla World Rally Car. The Drivers' championship was very tightly contested and in the end Tommi Mäkinen won his second drivers' world championship in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV by a single point ahead of Subaru Impreza WRC driver Colin McRae after the final round in Great Britain. Carlos Sainz was third in the leading Ford Escort WRC. The Manufacturers' title was won by Subaru.

One major flaw in the new class system was exposed by the increasing speed of the naturally aspirated front-wheel-drive FIA 2-Litre World Rally Cup cars. The tarmac specification cars built by Peugeot and Renault that competed in the all-tarmac French and Spanish championships became major threats on WRC tarmac events Rallye Catalunya and the Tour de Corse with Gilles Panizzi defeating all bar two of the WRC four-wheel-drive turbos in his Peugeot 306 Maxi, taking third place in both events.

Calendar[edit]

Round Dates Race
1 19–22 January Monaco Monte Carlo Rally
2 7–10 February Sweden Swedish Rally
3 1–3 March Kenya Safari Rally
4 23–26 March Portugal Rally Portugal
5 14–16 April Spain Rally Catalunya
6 5–7 May France Tour de Corse
7 22–24 May Argentina Rally Argentina
8 8–10 June Greece Acropolis Rally
9 2–5 August New Zealand Rally New Zealand
10 29–31 August Finland Rally Finland
11 19–21 September Indonesia Rally Indonesia
12 12–15 October Italy Rally Sanremo
13 30 October-2 November Australia Rally Australia
14 23–25 November United Kingdom Network Q RAC Rally

Teams and drivers[edit]

Manufacturer teams
Team Constructor Car Tyre No Drivers Rounds
Japan Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV
Lancer Evo III
M 1 Finland Tommi Mäkinen All
2 Germany Uwe Nittel 1–2, 5–6, 10, 12
United Kingdom Richard Burns 3–4, 7–9, 11, 13–14
10 Germany Uwe Nittel 8
11 Australia Ed Ordynski 13
13 Japan Kenjiro Shinozuka 13
Japan 555 Subaru World Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRC 97 P 3 United Kingdom Colin McRae All
4 Italy Piero Liatti 1, 5–6, 12
Sweden Kenneth Eriksson 2–4, 7–11, 13–14
8 Italy Piero Liatti 14
United Kingdom Ford Motor Company Ford Escort WRC M 5 Spain Carlos Sainz All
6 Germany Armin Schwarz 1–6
Finland Juha Kankkunen 7–14
16 Italy Angelo Medeghini 14
Japan Toyota Castrol Team Toyota Corolla WRC M 7 France Didier Auriol 10–14
8 Australia Neal Bates 11, 13
9 Finland Marcus Grönholm 10, 14
10 Belgium Freddy Loix 12
France Peugeot Sport Peugeot 306 Maxi M 7 France Gilles Panizzi 5–6
9 France François Delecour 5–6
16 Portugal Adruzilo Lopes 4
Spain Jaime Azcona 5
France Société Diac Renault Mégane Maxi M 8 France Philippe Bugalski 6
10 France Serge Jordan 6
22 France Claude Balesi 6
Major entries not registered as manufacturers
Team Constructor Car Drivers Rounds
Belgium R.A.S. Sport Ford Escort RS Cosworth France Didier Auriol 1
Monaco Jean-Pierre Richelmi 4, 8
Sweden Mobil Ford Motorsport Sweden Stig Blomqvist 2
Finland Blue Rose Team Finland Jarmo Kytölehto 2
Sweden Bo-Be Plastindustri AB Sweden Mats Jonsson 2
Russia Gazprom Rally Team Russia Alexander Zheludov 14
Escort WRC Belgium Bruno Thiry 14
Portugal Totta Peres Competicao Portugal Fernando Peres 4
Belgium Belgacom Turbo Team Belgium Gregoire de Mevius 4, 8, 12, 14
Greece Ford Motor Hellas Greece Leonídas Kyrkos 8
Finland Blue Rose Team Finland Jarmo Kytölehto 10
Finland Ford Team Finland Finland Sebastian Lindholm 10
Italy Jolly Club Italy Gianfranco Cunico 12
United Kingdom Motorsport Consultancy Finland Ari Vatanen 14
Japan Toyota Castrol Team Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Belgium Freddy Loix 1, 4, 8, 10, 13
Germany Isolde Holderied 1
Denmark Henrik Lundgaard 1
Sweden Thomas Rådström 2, 8
Sweden Tomas Jansson 2, 10
Finland Marcus Grönholm 2, 4
Sweden Mats Thorszelius 2
Kenya Ian Duncan 3
Australia Neal Bates 9
Japan Fujimoto Yoshio 11, 13
Italy H.F. Grifone SRL Argentina Raúl Sufan 4–5, 7–13
France Didier Auriol 7
Finland Marcus Grönholm 7
Italy Andrea Aghini 12
Italy Pierlorenzo Zanchi 12
Germany Mitsubishi Ralliart Germany Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III
Lancer Evo IV
Uruguay Gustavo Trelles 1–2, 4–5, 7–10, 12
Austria Manfred Stohl 1–2, 4–5, 7, 10, 12
Spain Luis Climent 4–6, 8, 10, 13–14
Austria Kris Rosenberger 12, 14
Sweden Mitsubishi Ralliart Sweden Sweden Kenneth Bäcklund 2
Sweden Stig-Olov Walfridson 2
Finland Mitsubishi Ralliart Finland Finland Juha Kangas 2, 10
Finland Jouko Puhakka 10
New Zealand Ralliart New Zealand New Zealand Geoff Argyle 9
New Zealand Reece Jones 9
New Zealand Marty Roestenburg 9
New Zealand Craig Marshall 9
Japan Subaru Allstars Subaru Impreza 555 Portugal Rui Madeira 4–5
Japan Yukihiko Sakurai 4, 8, 14
Italy A.R.T. Engineering Italy Angelo Medeghini 5, 10
Italy Andrea Navarra 8, 12, 14
San Marino Massimo Ercolani 12
Australia Subaru Rally Team Australia Australia Peter 'Possum' Bourne 9, 13
Australia Greg Graham 9, 13
Japan Subaru Rally Team Japan Japan Yoshihiro Kataoka 9
Japan Hideaki Miyoshi 9, 11, 13
Japan Toshihiro Arai 13

Results and standings[edit]

Drivers' championship[edit]

Pos Driver MON
Monaco
SWE
Sweden
KEN
Kenya
POR
Portugal
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
ARG
Argentina
GRC
Greece
NZL
New Zealand
FIN
Finland
INA
Indonesia
ITA
Italy
AUS
Australia
GBR
United Kingdom
 Pts 
1 Finland Tommi Mäkinen 3 3 Ret 1 1 Ret 1 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 2 6 63
2 United Kingdom Colin McRae Ret 4 1 Ret 4 1 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret 1 1 1 62
3 Spain Carlos Sainz 2 2 Ret Ret 10 2 Ret 1 2 Ret 1 4 Ret 3 51
4 Finland Juha Kankkunen Ret 2 3 2 2 6 Ret 2 29
5 Sweden Kenneth Eriksson 1 Ret Ret 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 Ret Ret 28
6 Italy Piero Liatti 1 2 5 2 7 24
7 United Kingdom Richard Burns 2 Ret Ret 4 4 4 4 4 21
8 Germany Armin Schwarz 4 6 4 3 Ret 9 11
9 Belgium Freddy Loix 16 2 Ret 37 5 7 8
10 France Gilles Panizzi 3 3 8
11 France Didier Auriol Ret 5 8 Ret 8 3 Ret 6
12 Finland Marcus Grönholm 8 Ret 4 Ret 5 5
13 Kenya Ian Duncan 3 4
14 Finland Jarmo Kytölehto Ret 3 4
15 Sweden Thomas Rådström 5 5 4
16 New Zealand Possum Bourne 5 5 4
17 Belgium Grégoire De Mévius 4 7 Ret Ret 3
18 France François Delecour DSQ 4 3
19 Finland Sebastian Lindholm 4 3
20 Germany Uwe Nittel 5 Ret 8 8 6 7 Ret 3
21 Kenya Jonathan Toroitich 5 2
22 Monaco Jean-Pierre Richelmi 5 Ret 2
23 Italy Angelo Medeghini 5 Ret 10 2
24 Sweden Tomas Jansson 7 5 2
25 Japan Yoshio Fujimoto 5 Ret 2
26 Denmark Henrik Lundgaard 6 1
27 France Frédéric Dor 6 17 11 23 29 15 1
28 Japan Masao Kamioka 6 Ret 14 1
29 Portugal Rui Madeira 15 6 1
30 France Philippe Bugalski 6 1
31 Uruguay Gustavo Trelles 9 16 7 13 6 13 7 17 Ret 1
32 Australia Neal Bates 6 Ret 8 1
33 Finland Pasi Hagström 6 1
34 Malaysia Karamjit Singh 11 6 Ret 17 1
35 Australia Ed Ordynski 6 1
Pos Driver MON
Monaco
SWE
Sweden
KEN
Kenya
POR
Portugal
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
ARG
Argentina
GRC
Greece
NZL
New Zealand
FIN
Finland
INA
Indonesia
ITA
Italy
AUS
Australia
GBR
United Kingdom
 Pts 
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Black Excluded (EX)
White Did not start (DNS)
Blank Withdrew entry before the event (WD)

Manufacturers' championship[edit]

Pos. Manufacturer No. MON
Monaco
SWE
Sweden
KEN
Kenya
POR
Portugal
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
ARG
Argentina
GRE
Greece
NZL
New Zealand
FIN
Finland
INA
Indonesia
ITA
Italy
AUS
Australia
GBR
United Kingdom
Points
1 Japan 555 Subaru World Rally Team 3 Ret 4 1 Ret 4 1 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret 1 1 1 114
4 1 1 Ret Ret 2 5 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 2 Ret Ret
2 United Kingdom Ford Motor Co 5 2 2 Ret Ret 10 2 Ret 1 2 Ret 1 4 Ret 3 90
6 4 6 4 3 Ret 9 Ret 2 3 2 2 6 Ret 2
3 Japan Team Mitsubishi Ralliart 1 3 3 Ret 1 1 Ret 1 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 2 6 86
2 5 Ret 2 Ret 8 8 Ret 4 4 7 4 Ret 4 4
Pos. Manufacturer No. MON
Monaco
SWE
Sweden
KEN
Kenya
POR
Portugal
ESP
Spain
FRA
France
ARG
Argentina
GRE
Greece
NZL
New Zealand
FIN
Finland
INA
Indonesia
ITA
Italy
AUS
Australia
GBR
United Kingdom
Points
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Black Excluded (EX)
White Did not start (DNS)
Blank Withdrew entry before the event (WD)

Events[edit]

1997 World Rally Championship event map
WRC-1997.png
Black = Tarmac Brown = Gravel Blue = Ice/Snow Red = Mixed Surface
1997 World Rally Championship schedule and results
Rally Name Dates Run Podium Drivers (Finishing Time) Podium Cars
65ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo 19 January-22 January
  1. Italy Piero Liatti (4h:26m:58s)
  2. Spain Carlos Sainz (4h:27m:53s)
  3. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (4h:29m:29s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
46th International Swedish Rally 7 February-10 February
  1. Sweden Kenneth Eriksson (3h:51m:49s)
  2. Spain Carlos Sainz (3h:52m:05s)
  3. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (3h:52m:15s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
45th Safari Rally Kenya 1 March-3 March
  1. United Kingdom Colin McRae (11h:29m:00s)
  2. United Kingdom Richard Burns (11h:36m:04s)
  3. Kenya Ian Duncan (11h:40m:18s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evolution IV
  3. Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
31º TAP Rallye de Portugal 23 March-26 March
  1. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (4h:53m:01s)
  2. Belgium Freddy Loix (4h:57m:06s)
  3. Germany Armin Schwarz (4h:59m:34s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
  3. Ford Escort WRC
33º Rallye Catalunya-Costa Brava (Rallye de España) 14 April-16 April
  1. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (4h:08m:46s)
  2. Italy Piero Liatti (4h:08m:53s)
  3. France Gilles Panizzi (4h:11m:55s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  3. Peugeot 306 Maxi
41ème Tour de Corse - Rallye de France 5 May-7 May
  1. United Kingdom Colin McRae (4h:31m:08s)
  2. Spain Carlos Sainz (4h:31m:16s)
  3. France Gilles Panizzi (4h:31m:46s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Peugeot 306 Maxi
17º Rally Argentina 22 May-24 May
  1. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (4h:25m:38s)
  2. United Kingdom Colin McRae (4h:26m:39s)
  3. Sweden Kenneth Eriksson (4h:30m:06s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  3. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
44th Acropolis Rally of Greece 8 June-10 June
  1. Spain Carlos Sainz (4h:56m:24s)
  2. Finland Juha Kankkunen (4h:56m:41s)
  3. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (5h:01m:27s)
  1. Ford Escort WRC
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
27th Smokefree Rally New Zealand 2 August-5 August
  1. Sweden Kenneth Eriksson (4h:14m:11s)
  2. Spain Carlos Sainz (4h:14m:24s)
  3. Finland Juha Kankkunen (4h:14m:30s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Ford Escort WRC
47th Neste Rally Finland 29 August-31 August
  1. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (3h:16m:18s)
  2. Finland Juha Kankkunen (3h:16m:25s)
  3. Finland Jarmo Kytölehto (3h:18m:18s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Ford Escort WRC
22nd Rally Indonesia 19 September-21 September
  1. Spain Carlos Sainz (4h:37m:30s)
  2. Finland Juha Kankkunen (4h:37m:46s)
  3. Sweden Kenneth Eriksson (4h:38m:49s)
  1. Ford Escort WRC
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
39º Rallye Sanremo - Rallye d'Italia 13 October-15 October
  1. United Kingdom Colin McRae (4h:08m:25s)
  2. Italy Piero Liatti (4h:08m:31s)
  3. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (4h:08m:37s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
10th API Rally Australia 30 October-2 November
  1. United Kingdom Colin McRae (4h:05m:31s)
  2. Finland Tommi Mäkinen (4h:05m:37s)
  3. France Didier Auriol (4h:05m:52s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  3. Toyota Corolla WRC
53rd Network Q Rally 23 November-25 November
  1. United Kingdom Colin McRae (3h:54m:31s)
  2. Finland Juha Kankkunen (3h:57m:18s)
  3. Spain Carlos Sainz (3h:58m:24s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Ford Escort WRC

See also[edit]