2003 WRC

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COMMUNIQUE 4
7 September 2003 LEG 3 - Perth - Perth (474.61 km) Special Stages 21 - 24 (117.11 km)
Telstra Rally Australia - 2003 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 10
2003 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship / Round 6

PODIUM FOR MITSUBISHI MAN McSHEA
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
N. McShea / C. Patterson
(Leg 3 - 7 September 2003)
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Niall McShea finished on the podium in third position in Rally Australia, the penultimate round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship. The Ulsterman, co-driven by Chris Patterson, has been on fine form in his first competitive outing in Australia, setting fastest stage times in each of the three legs to rack up points and the best result of his career. Maximum points went to Britain’s Martin Rowe, the Subaru driver establishing his unchallenged lead at the end of the opening day of competition on Friday.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
D. Solà / A. Romani
(Leg 3 - 7 September 2003)

The final leg of Rally Australia took the remaining 34 crews to the south-west of Perth for the shortest leg covering four stages and 117.11 competitive kilometers. Based in the Sotico pine plantation, these world-famous ’Bunnings’ stages provide impressive action and draw crowds in their thousands, all desperate to witness drivers powering machinery over high-speed jumps and through spectacular watersplashes in a natural amphitheatre setting.

As predicted, heavy rain fell during the last two stages, but neither this nor the cooler weather dampened anyone’s enthusiasm as the fight for rally honors and world titles marched on.

McShea was on course for a highly impressive second position in his Lancer Evolution, the Ulsterman holding a 30.4 second lead over reigning Production Car World Rally Champion Karamjit Singh after the opening 24.8 kilometer Bannister North stage.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
M. Lintott / T. Jackson
(Leg 3 - 7 September 2003)

However, McShea hit problems in the following stage, dropping more than two minutes when he had to stop and change a puncture, and although he fought hard in the final two stages and set fastest time in both, the deficit to Singh, who claimed second, was too great to overcome. It was nevertheless a resounding demonstration of both the driver’s and car’s capabilities.

"It’s disappointing we got the puncture of course, but we can’t be too upset", said Niall at the finish. "It’s not easy to do well the first time you come here and I guess third is pretty good. We needed a finish, the car’s gone well and I really like the stages. It can’t be bad".

Fourth position was claimed by veteran Stig Blomqvist and fifth was Junior World Rally Champion Daniel Solà, in another Lancer Evolution. After some early set-backs, the Spaniard was in sparkling form on Saturday and rounded off the event with three second quickest times today.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
J. Roman / R. Spjuth
(Leg 3 - 10 August 2003)

"The objective was to finish here and score some points, so we are quite pleased with the result in the end", commented Solà, who was also competing in Australia for the first time. "It is certainly a hard rally and very important I think to learn the stages. I hope this will be a big help to us in future".

Joakim Roman rounded off the Production Car World Rally Championship finishers, the Swede sixth in his Lancer Evolution.

From Australia, the crews return to Europe for the final round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship. The Tour de Corse - Rallye de France (October 15-19) is another unique event and it is little wonder that the tight and twisty mountain roads on the Mediterranean island of Corsica have earned the event its nick-name of the ’Rally of 10,000 Corners’. With the fight for the Production Car title set to be decided on this event, it is sure to provide yet more fast and furious action.

GROUP N FINAL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
 Martin Rowe* / Trevor Agnew GB  Subaru Impreza WRX 3.54.17.1   
 Dean Herridge / Glen MacNeall AUS  Subaru Impreza WRX 3.54.48.3  + 31.2 
 Karamjit Singh* / Allen Oh MAL  Proton Pert 3.56.14.1  + 1.57.0 
 Niall McShea* / Chris Patterson IRL/GB  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 3.56.56.1  + 2.39.0 
 Stig Blomqvist* / Robert Scott S/NZ  Subaru Impreza WRX 4.03.55.5  + 9.38.4 
 Daniel Solà* / Alex Roman E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.04.27.6  + 10.10.5 
 Martin Lintott / Tony Jackson AUS  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.05.00.7  + 10.43.6 
 Chris West / Gary Cowan NZ  Subaru Impreza WRX 4.05.15.3  + 10.58.2 
 Bradley Markovic / Jon Mortimer AUS  Subaru Impreza WRX 4.19.14.8  + 24.57.7 
10   Michael Thompson / Michael Gentleman AUS  Subaru Impreza WRX STi 4.19.34.5  + 25.17.4 
11   Jim Marden / Gray Marshall AUS  Subaru Impreza WRX STi 4.21.36.3  + 27.19.2 
12   Joakim Roman* / Ragnar Spjuth S  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.21.59.9  + 27.42.8 
13   Mark Haybittle / Nicola Hoey GB  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.25.15.3  + 30.58.2 
14   Michiyasu Endo / Yasuyuki Kano J  Subaru Impreza WRX 4.37.13.2  + 42.56.1 
15   Wakujiro Kobayashi / Hiroaki Otake J  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.47.12.9  + 52.55.8 
* Drivers eligible for FIA Production Car World Championship points
Nationalities:
AUS=Australia/ E=Spain/ GB=Great Britain/ IRL=Ireland/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ NZ=New Zealand/ S=Sweden/

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
 Petter Solberg / Phil Mills N/GB  Subaru Impreza WRC 2003 3.32.07.1   
 Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena F/MC  Citroën Xsara WRC 3.32.33.7  + 26.6 
 Richard Burns / Robert Reid GB  Peugeot 206 WRC 3.34.00.1  + 1.53.0 
 Colin McRae / Derek Ringer GB  Citroën Xsara WRC 3.34.37.8  + 2.30.7 
 Carlos Sainz / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC 3.34.44.3  + 2.37.2 
 Tommi Mäkinen / Kaj Lindström FIN  Subaru Impreza WRC 2003 3.35.08.6  + 3.01.5 
 Harri Rovanperä / Risto Pietiläinen FIN  Peugeot 206 WRC 3.36.11.0  + 4.03.9 
 Freddy Loix / Sven Smeets B  Hyundai Accent WRC³ 3.39.07.8  + 7.00.7 
 Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen FIN  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 3.39.17.7  + 7.10.6 
10   François Duval / Stéphane Prevot B  Ford Focus RS WRC 03 3.39.53.3  + 7.46.2 
11   Toni Gardemeister / Paavo Lukander FIN  Škoda Fabia WRC 3.42.17.3  + 10.10.2 
12   Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet F  Škoda Fabia WRC 3.43.15.2  + 11.08.1 
13   Armin Schwarz / Manfred Hiemer D  Hyundai Accent WRC³ 3.46.21.5  + 14.14.4 
14   Antony Warmbold / Gemma Price D/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 3.50.37.2  + 18.30.1 
Nationalities:
B=Belgium/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ MC=Monte Carlo/ N=Norway/

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