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  Home > Seasons > Season 1998
A Thaw
In 1998, championship finally awoke from post-recession hibernation and got into full swing again. Toyota was back in force, often fielding third official car for various crews (Radstrom, Loix, Gronholm et al). Mitsubishi employed two full-time drivers for a first time and Seat introduced their new Cordoba WRC later in the season.

Calendar had been expanded to 14 events in the previous season. Unfortunately, event in Indonesia had to be cancelled due to political unstability in the country and reserve event could not be brought in in such a short notice, cutting number of events to 13.

Tommi makes it three
First five events of the season were all won by different drivers. By mid-season it looked like title race would be between Sainz and McRae with reigning champion Makinen distant fourth. But in final four events of the season Tommi scored three wins and after drama in UK, retained his title for a third consecutive time

In makes championship, Toyota had thrown away valuable points in Catalunya where Freddy Loix was nominated for manufacturer points instead of regular driver Didier Auriol. And when frenchman went on to win the event before Loix, Toyota scored only six points. Mitsubishi scored seven wins out of thirteen events and won the manufacturers title ahead of Toyota.

New Cars
All teams except Mitsubishi had gone World Rally Car route and new formula seemed to be a success, attracting new manufacturers to the sport. However, even under older Group A rules car was competitive as proven by newest of Lancer Evolutions, Evo V which was introduced in Catalunya.

Subaru Impreza WRC98, new version of Corolla introduced in New Zealand and Lancer Evo V were all more or less updates with only little revolutionary. The only really new car of the season was Seat Cordoba WRC but it soon proved to be half-finished product.

tommi 1998 champ
Tommi Makinen and Risto Mannisenmaki, 1998 FIA World Rally Champions
Drivers scoring their
first win
  R. Burns (Safari)
first drivers' point
  H. Rovanpera (Safari)
first stage win
  J. Puras (Catalunya)
  P. Bugalski (Catalunya)
  A. McRae (Great Britain)