Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution IV reflected four years of Lancer devleopment. Lessons learned in each year of racing were adopted into newer versions. This rapid development was neccessary for Mitsubishi to stay ahead of the competition.
At the 1997 Monte Carlo the Evolution IV made its debut. New, more flexible regulations allowed competition such as Ford Escort, Subaru Impreza and Toyota Corolla to enter the championship. These new WRC regulations were introduced by the FIA. They permitted modification of the suspension, tranmission, intake tract, exhaust and engine position. Mitsubishi embraced these new rules by adding an INVECS sequential gearbox and relocating the engine for better weight ballence.
In 1997 Tommi Makinen again proved his value to Mitsubishi. He took the WRC Drivers Championship for the second time in a row with Misubishi taking 3rd in the WRC Manufacturers Championship.