Mitsubishi have today announced that they have signed Francois Delecour and Brit Alister McRae to drive for the team in 2002 and 2003.

Ralliart Inc. released the following statement:

"The Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe World Rally Team driver line-up for 2002 and 2003 will consist of France's Fran?ois Delecour, partnered by Daniel Grataloup, and Britain's Alister McRae, co-driven by David Senior."

"The combination of Delecour and McRae should produce one of the strongest pairings in the championship. In an era of specialist drivers for different surfaces, the Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe team is delighted to have secured the services of two genuine all-rounders, who both have proven speed and ability on all the surfaces which make up the modern World Rally Championship."

"In addition to outright speed and ability on the stages, both Fran?ois and Alister have demonstrated the necessary skills required to develop a new car, which will prove useful as the team moves forward with the Lancer Evolution WRC, Mitsubishi's first world rally car."

"As is standard practice within Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe, both drivers will receive equal status, ensuring equal resource and equal opportunity to prove their own abilities and those of the Lancer Evolution WRC. Fran?ois and Alister will be the permanently nominated Mitsubishi manufacturer entries on every round of the 2002 FIA World Rally Championship."

Delecour spent the 2001 season competing with Ford in the third works Focus' and it was a year he enjoyed. However, the opportunity to join Mitsubishi Ralliart Europe was one that he could not pass up.

He said: "It will be very good to drive for Mitsubishi, a team that has produced a four-times world champion - it's a fantastic opportunity for me. I have been extremely impressed with the car during 2001, particularly on the Safari, where Tommi (Makinen) was so fast and the car was so strong on a very difficult rally. I realise there is a new car but with Mitsubishi's history, I'm positive it will be successful and I'm very pleased to be part of the team."

Complimenting Delecour's vast experience and flamboyant nature is Alister McRae's more reserved and calculating style. Two years in the Hyundai Accent World Rally Car, developing it alongside achieving laudable results, means he brings an excellent combination of skills to Mitsubishi.

"For me, this is a very exciting time and I'm very much looking forward to working with Mitsubishi," said Alister McRae. "The team clearly is one that knows how to succeed, as four drivers' and one manufacturers' championship demonstrates. And for next year, I'm sure we can help develop the car further and win rallies and more championships in the future."

Ralliart Europe Chairman, Andrew Cowan, added: "We are delighted to have been able to secure the services of these two very experienced drivers, Fran?ois (Delecour) and Alister (McRae)."

"Fran?ois, with the pace and commitment he demonstrates on each and every rally, along with his vast experience, will be a tremendous asset to the team, as well as the development of the new car."

"Alister has an enormous amount of experience and has already demonstrated his ability and determination. We are looking forward to seeing him help develop the car but also achieve the success that we believe he is capable of, as part of a proven championship-winning team."

"I personally feel that the combination of Fran?ois and Alister, and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution WRC, will help the team and Mitsubishi move forward into a new era of success in the World Rally Championship."


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