2003 ASIA PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

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2 November 2003
2003 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship / Round 4
International Rally of Thailand

KREMER WINS GROUP N AND FINISHES SECOND FOR MITSUBISHI IN THAILAND

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
A. KREMER / F. BERSSEN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
G. ARGYLE / S. SMITH
The Mitsubishi crew of Armin Kremer and Fred Berssen powered their Lancer Evolution to second position in the Rally of Thailand, also claiming honors and maximum points in the Group N production car category. Mitsubishi drivers were a dominant force in the event, the fourth round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, and Lancer Evolution drivers were placed third, fourth, fifth and sixth overall.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
K. TAGUCHI / M. STACEY
"Because we can lose a lot of time on the fast sections in a Group N car, we are very happy to be able to achieve such quick times against Group A machinery", commented Kremer at the end of the event". The German now has an enviable lead in the Group N series with just one round remaining. "I hope to be able to go to India and win the Championship. We will be going maximum attack there!" he warned.

It was a close-fought battle for honors from the outset, with Mitsubishi driver Geof Argyle taking the early lead in Group A machinery. One fastest stage time (SS2) and a string of top three times aided his charge and he claimed the overnight lead after leg one, despite damaging the front suspension from landing heavily after a jump.

At the end of the second leg however, arch rival Karamjit Singh had powered into the lead in his Proton, the Malaysian going on to win the event by more than a minute.

Argyle ultimately finished third overall, a mere three seconds adrift of Kremer. The New Zealander was frustrated to have lost time in the final leg when he slid off the road, losing 20 seconds and second position in the process. "We were disappointed to have lost time on the last stage, but happy to be going to India with a points advantage in the Championship", he said.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
F. NUTAHARA / S. HAYASHI
Katsuhiko Taguchi claimed fourth position in his Group N Lancer Evolution, the Japanese driver enjoying a trouble-free run and setting fastest time in SS5, and a string of top stage positions throughout the event. "I am very pleased to have finished the Rally of Thailand", he said. "I tried very hard and am happy with the result".

Fumio Nutahara, driving another of Mitsubishi’s Group N cars, claimed fifth overall, third of the Group N contenders. The Japanese enjoyed a trouble-free run in the opening leg but struggled to maintain the pace during the second day when his charge was thwarted by throttle problems. He too got caught out on a jump, also damaging his front suspension. P. Tawatchai rounded off the top six in another Lancer Evolution.

After the Rally of Thailand, Mitsubishi has an unassailable lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, Geof Argyle has held on to this lead in the Drivers’ Championship and Armin Kremer jumps ahead of Nutahara in the Group N series with just one round remaining (Rally of India, December 5-7).

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
 Karamjit Singh / Allen Oh MAL  Proton Pert 2.07.57   
 Armin Kremer / Fred Berssen D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (1st Gr.N) 2.08.52  + 55 
 Geof Argyle / Steve Smith NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.08.55  + 58 
 Katsuhiko Taguchi / Mark Stacey J/AUS  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (2nd Gr.N) 2.09.13  + 1.16 
 Fumio Nutahara / Satoshi Hayashi J  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (3rd Gr.N) 2.09.41  + 1.44 
 P. Tawatchai / S. Wongsakorn TH  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.13.09  + 5.12 
 Christopher Atkinson / Benjamin Atkinson AUS  Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 2.14.09  + 6.12 
 I. Narasak / S. Peerapong TH  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (4th Gr.N) 2.15.44  + 7.47 
 P. Jirapat / M. Panlop TH  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.15.57  + 8.00 
10   Norberto Cangani / Cristina Castorina I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (5th Gr.N) 2.16.00  + 8.03 
11   Kan Chee Hong / Ding Jianping MAL/CN  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (6th Gr.N) 2.17.33  + 9.36 
12   P. Chaichan / N. Tawee TH  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (7th Gr.N) 2.17.38  + 9.41 
13   Hua Qingxian / Zhang Jian CN  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (8th Gr.N) 2.20.37  + 12.40 
14   Xu Lang / Fang Junwai CN  Volkswagen Polo GTi (9th Gr.N) 2.26.46  + 18.49 
15   Haruo Takakuwa / Paul Flintoft J/AUS  Subaru Impreza WRX (10th Gr.N) 2.29.23  + 21.26 
16   Brian Green / Fleur Pedersen NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.32.46  + 24.49 
17   Funaki Ryo / Hiroyasu Sonada J  Subaru Impreza (11th Gr.N) 2.34.50  + 26.53 
18   S, Maram / O. Pornchai TH  Honda Civic 2.35.36  + 27.39 
19   N. Siripong / N. Pisit TH  Honda Civic 3.27.52  + 1.19.55 
Nationalities: AUS=Australia/ CN=China/ D=Germany/ I=Italy/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ NZ=New Zealand/ TH=Thailand/
Names underlined indicate drivers registered for Asia Pacific Rally Championship points.
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