The 2002 Network Q Rally of Great Britain, which takes place this week (14th – 17th November), sees Mitsubishi Evolutions dominate the entry list, the Japanese marquee being represented by no less than 20 of the 90 cars entered – more than any other single manufacturer.
Outside of the three official Mitsubishi WRC works cars, the production Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution model is once again the favourite of the privateers. 15 of the 17 independent teams will be running Group N examples in the fiercely contested Production Class for near standard specification cars.
All over the world, from club to international status events, the Lancer Evolution has become the most successful car in the category, its outstanding performance, reliability and handling characteristics making it first choice for Group N competitors.
Leading the privateer Mitsubishi entries on the UK's round of the World Rally Championship is young Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala, the 17 year old destined to be a star of the future and will be a driver to watch on this, his first WRC event.
At the other end of the experience spectrum is the evergreen Swede and former World Champion Stig Blomqvist, who is the highest seeded Mitsubishi Group N entry.
He is followed by British Rally Championship regulars: Coleford's Nick Elsmore and Chesterfield's Gavin Cox, together with a number of National Rally Championship campaigners such as; Welshpool's Mick Jones and York's James Thompson, the British Touring Car driver trying his hand at rallying this year and making his WRC debut on this event.
Most notable of the National Championship runners is this year's Group N Champion and winner of the 2002 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, Greetham's Jeremy Easson. Having won this series for Group N Lancer Evolutions, Easson's prize is his entry into the Rally GB, awarded by Mitsubishi Motors UK.
The final round of the World Rally Championship gets underway from Cardiff on Thursday evening with the Superspecial spectator stage in the City's docklands. The event then heads into the forests of South Wales for a further three days and 16 stages of arduous competition before crews head back to the finish in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon.Published 14 November 2002