Mitsubishi is not only interested in recruiting Gilles Panizzi for its 2004 WRC campaign, but also Tommi Makinen – the driver who has won four world championship titles for the Japanese team.

Mitsubishi is not only interested in recruiting Gilles Panizzi for its 2004 WRC campaign, but also Tommi Makinen – the driver who has won four world championship titles for the Japanese team.


Last month, CARtoday.com reported Mitsubishi was keen to hire Peugeot’s asphalt-rally specialist Panizzi for the team’s return to the WRC next year. Peugeot was thought to have offered Panizzi a contract for 2004 (but not for the entire championship season) and a Mitsubishi deal would probably include every round.


Makinen, meanwhile, recently held talks with Mitsubishi team boss Andrew Cowan at the Rally of Germany. The Finn may well be out of a drive in 2004, as Subaru earlier this year attempted to sign Citroën’s Sebastien Loeb in his place (but failed). Mitsubishi insists that its driver line-up is far from finalised and Cowan further refused to deny the possibility of Makinen returning to the team.


"We've not signed any drivers so far, because our strategy hasn't yet been decided," said Cowan. "We're committed to bringing on young drivers, but it stands to reason that if we have a young driver we might need somebody experienced alongside him. We've enjoyed a lot of success with Tommi in the past, but everything has to be seen in context."


Mitsubishi has taken a year out from the championship, redevolping the Lancer WRC for a return in 2004. The team has also evaluated a handful of potential young drivers for next year - including Jani Paasonen, Kristian Sohlberg and Dani Sola.

Original article from Car