2003 WRC

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COMMUNIQUE 4
11 May 2003 LEG 3 - Villa Carlos Paz - Villa Carlos Paz (324.36 km) Special Stages 21 - 25 (105.49 km)
Rally Argentina - 2003 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 5
2003 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship / Round 3

SOLA SECOND FOR MITSUBISHI IN ARGENTINA
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
D. Solà / A. Romani
(Leg 3 - 11 May 2003)

At the conclusion of the 2003 Rally Argentina, Mitsubishi drivers claimed seven of the top 10 positions in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, underlining the strength and durability of the near standard Lancer Evolution. Reigning Junior World Rally Champion Daniel Solà took Mitsubishi honours, claiming second of the Championship contenders, while Italian privateer Giovanni Manfrinato was fourth.


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
D. Solà / A. Romani
(Leg 3 - 11 May 2003)

In a quite unprecedented situation, the third and final leg of Rally Argentina was transformed following yesterday’s stage cancellations and delayed time schedule. In contrast to the published three stages and 59.90 competitive kilometers, the 39 remaining crews re-ran stage 20 and then contested stage 22 - which failed to run last night - before resuming the original schedule of three stages. As a consequence, the leg started nearly two hours earlier and included five special stages and 105.49 competitive kilometers, providing another gruelling test of man and machinery.

The route again took the crews to the north of the rally’s base in Villa Carlos Paz and over classic Argentinean terrain. Long fast sections, interspersed with narrow and twisty roads, conspired to keep the crews on their toes, and the abundance of jumps and watersplashes kept hundreds of thousands of wildly enthusiastic fans entertained.

Daniel Solà judged the pace beautifully on his first attempt at one of the toughest rounds of the World Rally Championship, gathering speed with every stage to set fastest time of the Group N contenders in three of today’s five stages.

"This is a really tough rally and we had to finish after retiring in New Zealand, so I am very happy with this result", said Solà. "Now we can push a bit for the Championship".


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
G. Manfrinato / C. Condotta
(Leg 3 - 11 May 2003)

Italian veteran Giovanni Manfrinato scored one of his best World Championship results, guiding his Lancer Evolution to fourth in class after a fine drive.

"This is such a tough rally, especially when they use the stages twice", he said. "You must look after the car, but it has been very good for us and I am pleased with the result".

One of the biggest casualties of the day was Northern Ireland driver Niall McShea. In his debut competitive outing in Argentina McShea had been one of the pace-setters and was on course to equal his best category result until he was forced into retirement in the penultimate stage. Lying second of the Production Car contenders, the Irishman damaged the underside of his Lancer Evolution having taken a jump in stage 23 too fast and was ultimately forced out in the following stage, so near but yet so far from the finish.

The FIA Production Car World Rally Championship contenders are now not back in action until next month when they contest the Cyprus Rally (June 18-22) - the Acropolis Rally (June 4-8) being a round of the Junior World Rally Championship. Cyprus is another rough gravel event where twisty boulder strewn roads conspire to make it one of the slowest rounds of the series. It is nevertheless a significant challenge for the crews, as searing summer temperatures make cockpit temperatures almost unbearable. Mitsubishi drivers were however a dominant force and claimed seven of the top eight positions in last year’s event.

GROUP N FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
1  Toshihiro Arai* / Tony Sircombe J/NZ  Subaru Impreza 4.34.46.7  
2  Daniel Solà* / Alex Romani E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.36.56.3 +2.09.6
3  Karamjit Singh* / Allen Oh MAL  Proton Pert 4.38.13.4 +3.26.7
4  Giovanni Manfrinato* / Claudio Condotta I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.39.11.9 +4.25.2
5  Federico Villagra / Javier Villagra RA  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.48.16.3 +13.29.6
6  Luis Ignacio Rosselot / Ricardo Rojas RCH  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.52.16.7 +17.30.0
7  Alfredo De Dominicis* / Giovanni Bernacchini I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4.59.51.0 +25.04.3
8  Ferran Font / Miguel Amblas AND/E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5.04.55.1 +30.08.4
9  Roberto Pardo / Raul Velit PE  Subaru Impreza 5.05.44.4 +30.57.7
10  Ricardo Triviño* / Jorge Gonzalez MEX/RA  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5.16.34.3 +41.47.6
11  Juan M. Odriozola / Carlos Chioli RA  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5.30.50.0 +56.03.3
12  Riccardo Errani* / Stefano Casadio I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5.31.12.3 +56.25.6
* Drivers eligible for FIA Production Car World Championship points
Nationalities:
AND=Andorra/ E=Spain/ I=Italy/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ MEX=Mexico/ NZ=New Zealand/ PE=Peru/ RA=Argentina/ RCH=Chile/
 

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
1  Marcus Grönholm / Timo Rautiainen FIN  Peugeot 206 WRC 4.14.45.0  
2  Carlos Sainz / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC 4.15.11.6 +26.6
3  Richard Burns / Robert Reid GB  Peugeot 206 WRC 4.15.57.8 +1.12.8
4  Harri Rovanperä / Risto Pietiläinen FIN  Peugeot 206 WRC 4.17.04.3 +2.19.3
5  Petter Solberg / Phil Mills N/GB  Subaru Impreza WRC 4.17.56.4 +3.11.4
6  Didier Auriol / Denis Giraudet F  Skoda Octavia WRC 4.22.43.5 +7.58.5
7  Toni Gardemeister / Paavo Lukander FIN  Skoda Octavia WRC 4.23.18.7 +8.33.7
8  François Duval / Stéphane Prevot B  Ford Focus WRC 4.26.40.3 +11.55.3
9  Toshihiro Arai / Tony Sircombe J/NZ  Subaru Impreza Gr.N 4.34.46.7 +20.01.7
10  Gabriel Raies / Jorge Pèrez RA  Toyota Corolla WRC 4.34.48.4 +20.03.4
Nationalities:
B=Belgium/ E=Spain/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ J=Japan/ N=Norway/ NZ=New Zealand/ RA=Argentina/
 
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