Rally Japan / FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship - Round 4 of 6
Communique 2 5 September 2004 Leg 2

ARGYLE CLAIMS THIRD OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC CONTENDERS
Lancer Evolution drivers claim four of the top eight positions in Japan

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Katsuhiko Taguchi / Mark Stacey
(Leg 2 - 5 September 2004)

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Geoff Argyle claimed third position at the end of the Japan Rally, the fourth round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The New Zealander climbed from an overnight fifth to finish 42.9 seconds ahead of fellow Lancer Evolution driver Armin Kremer.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Geof Argyle / Steve Smith
(Leg 2 - 5 September 2004)
New Zealand’s Brian Green claimed seventh of the contenders and on a good day for the Kiwi’s, Dermott Malley finished eighth giving Mitsubishi four of the top eight slots.

"I’m very happy", said Geoff Argyle, "we have finished third in APRC which is quite a reasonable result considering that I made some bad tyres choices on the first part of the rally. On the last part of the event we finally got the combination right and we know now we’ve got the package - we just got make sure we come to these events earlier and do more testing in each country. It was different from last year - this year the WRC cars made the roads that much more difficult to pick".

The Japanese event, which also made its debut in the FIA World Rally Championship this year, took place amid the forests and rolling hills of Hokkaido, the most northerly of the country’s main islands, in perfect summer conditions.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Armin Kremer / Timo Gottschalk
(Leg 2 - 5 September 2004)
There was never a hint of the wet conditions that often affect rallies in Hokkaido and vast crowds of fans were treated to a thrilling spectacle, the cars trailing long plumes of dust as they raced along narrow, sinuous forest tracks.

Visiting drivers were amazed at the welcome they received, with enthusiasts thronging every vantage point, or simply standing at the roadside to wave or take photographs.

Former Asia-Pacific Rally Champion Katsuhiko Taguchi was very much in contention to claim Asia-Pacific honors in his Lancer Evolution.

The Japanese driver set two fastest stage times in the opening leg to figure in second position overnight, but then suffered bitter disappointment today when he encountered an engine problem in the penultimate stage and was forced to retire.

The fifth round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship keeps the crews in Asia, but takes them to China (October 22-24) for the penultimate round of the series.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Diff.
 Karamjit Singh  Allen Oh MAL  Proton Pert N/4 2:26:15.7   
 Christopher Atkinson  Benjamin Atkinson AUS  Suzuki IGNIS Super 1600 A/6 2:27:24.3  + 1:08.6 
3   Geof Argyle  Steve Smith NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:30:56.8  + 4:41.1 
4   Armin Kremer  Timo Gottschalk D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:31:39.7  + 5:24.0 
 Vesa Mikkola  Risto Niukkanen FIN  Suzuki IGNIS Super 1600 A/6 2:32:08.8  + 5:53.1 
 Nicola Caldarola  Paolo Cecchini I  Subaru Impreza WRX STI N/4 2:33:37.8  + 7:22.1 
 Brian Green  Fleur Pedersen NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:47:34.8  + 21:19.1 
 Dermott Malley  Patrick Malley NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:48:37.5  + 22:21.8 
Nationalities: AUS=Australia / D=Germany / F=France / I=Italy / MAL=Malaysia / NZ=New Zealand /