2003 WRC

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13 April 2003 LEG 3 - Auckland - Manukau (455.01 km) Special Stages 17 - 22 (118.90 km)
Propecia Rally New Zealand - 2003 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 4
2003 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship / Round 2

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Marcos Ligato / Ruben Garcia
(Leg 3 - 13 April 2003)

At the conclusion of three days of competition in the 2003 Rally New Zealand, Marcos Ligato scored a fine second position in the Production Car World Rally Championship. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver put in a fine performance but was ultimately beaten by Toshihiro Arai after a tough event in which no fewer than 34 of the original 80 competing crews retired.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Hamed Al Wahaibi / Nick Beech
(Leg 3 - 13 April 2003)

The final leg took the crews 75 kilometres south of Auckland for the closing 113.81 kilometres of competition in the Waikato district. Despite being the shortest leg of the event, the route - which ran over more familiar territory - nevertheless kicked off with two long stages totaling 59.71 competitive kilometres. A group of four stages, all run in succession without service, then followed and the day’s competition undoubtedly centred on preservation as just one service was all the crews could look forward during these six stages.

Marcos Ligato has put in a determined and perfectly paced drive, the Argentinean keen to score points in his first outing of the season. He celebrated his third visit to New Zealand with an excellent points-scoring finish in his Lancer Evolution.

"These are tricky stages and very fast, but nice to drive and the car has run very well", said Ligato. "We had to be quite careful to start with, so I am very happy with the result".

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Ramon Ferreyros / Javier Marin
(Leg 3 - 13 April 2003)

After a year’s lay-off, Omani driver Hamed Al Wahaibi has also put in a fine performance and another category stage victory today ensured he clinched a top position. The Lancer Evolution driver, who is competing with a new British co-driver, finished third of the Production Car World Rally Championship contenders in his first outing in the World series in months.

"I felt a bit rusty to start with because I have not rallied much recently, but the team has worked very hard, the car has gone well and I am pleased with this result", Al Wahaibi said.

Peru’s Ramon Ferreyros is one of the world title favourites, but although he was a little disappointed with his result, he still finished fifth in class in his Lancer Evolution.

"I was hoping for a better result here, but the important thing is we have finished. You can only count six scores this year, so you cannot afford to retire too much, so this is very useful for us", Ferreyros stated.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Niall McShea / Chris Patterson
(Leg 3 - 13 April 2003)

Once again, Mitsubishis were the most popular choice for World Championship contenders, 11 of the finishers driving Lancer Evolutions. Ulsterman Niall McShea, who was a last-minute registration in the Championship, claimed seventh, also in a Lancer.

After leaving the Southern Hemisphere, the crews contesting the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship head to Argentina for another popular event in the series. Rally Argentina (7-11 May), based in the tourist resort of Villa Carlos Pas 700 kilometres northwest of Buenos Aires, is the only round hosted in the Americas and plays host to some of the highest stages in the World Rally Championship. Rock-strewn stages can be anything from dry and dusty to wet and muddy, providing another different challenge for some of the world’s finest drivers.


  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
1  Toshihiro Arai / Tony Sircombe* J/NZ  Subaru Impreza  
2  Cody Crocker / Greg Foletta AUS  Subaru Impreza +2.05.8
3  Marcos Ligato / Ruben Garcia* RA  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +2.10.2
4  Hamed Al-Wahaibi / Nick Beech* OM/GB  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +2.47.0
5  Martin Rowe / Chris Wood* GB  Subaru Impreza +2.51.6
6  Ramon Ferreyros / Javier Marin* PE/MEX  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +3.14.5
7  Karamjit Singh / Allen Oh* MAL  Proton Pert +3.46.8
8  Niall McShea / Chris Patterson* IRL  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +5.39.4
9  Stig Blomqvist / Ana Goni* S/YV  Subaru Impreza +11.06.4
10  Ramana Lagemann / Michael Orr USA/GB  Subaru Impreza +11.22.1
11  Giovanni Manfrinato / Claudio Condotta* I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +12.53.8
12  Chris West / Chris Cobham NZ  Subaru Impreza +13.37.2
13  Fabio Frisiero / Loris Roggia* I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +16.59.0
14  Ricardo Trivino / Jordi Barrabes* MEX/E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +18.01.6
15  Joakim Roman / Tina Mitakidou* S  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +18.34.0
16  Sean Gray / David Whitbum NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +18.37.0
17  Alfredo De Dominicis / Giovanni Bernacchini* I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +18.49.2
* Drivers eligible for FIA Production Car World Championship points
AUS=Australia/ E=Spain/ GB=Great Britain/ I=Italy/ IRL=Ireland/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ MEX=Mexico/ NZ=New Zealand/ OM=Oman/ PE=Peru/ RA=Argentina/ S=Sweden/ USA=United States of America/ YV=Venezuela/


  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
1  Marcus Grönholm / Timo Rautiainen FIN  Peugeot 206 WRC  
2  Richard Burns / Robert Reid GB  Peugeot 206 WRC +1.08.7
3  Petter Solberg / Phil Mills N/GB  Subaru Impreza WRC +2.09.8
4  Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena F/MC  Citroën Xsara WRC +4.15.4
5  Toni Gardemeister / Paavo Lukander FIN  Skoda Octavia WRC +8.13.8
6  Alister McRae / David Senior GB  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution WRC2 +9.14.2
7  Tommi Mäkinen / Kaj Lindström FIN  Subaru Impreza WRC +9.50.2
8  Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet F  Skoda Octavia WRC +10.08.6
9  François Duval / Stphane Prevot B  Ford Focus WRC +11.11.7
10  Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen FIN  Ford Focus WRC +13.42.3
11  Toshihiro Arai / Tony Sircombe J/NZ  Subaru Impreza Gr.N +18.09.1
12  Carlos Sainz / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC +18.13.2
13  Geof Argyle / Steve Smith NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution +18.25.4
14  Bruce Herbert / Robert Ryan NZ  Subaru Impreza +18.50.4
B=Belgium/ E=Spain/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ J=Japan/ MC=Monte Carlo/ N=Norway/ NZ=New Zealand/