COMMUNIQUE 6
22 August 2004 Leg 3 Release

2004 FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 4

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVER XAVIER PONS CLAIMS
FIRST MAJOR INTERNATIONAL VICTORY
Lancer Evolutions win five out of five PWRC rounds
Ten Lancer Evolutions in the top 15

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Xavier Pons / Oriol Julià
(Leg 3 - 22 August 2004)

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions have now claimed five wins from five starts in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, Xavier Pons’ victory in Rallye Deutschland today underlining the superiority of the Lancer Evolution in this highly-competitive category. The Spaniard drove the rally of his life to claim his first PWRC victory in one of the most treacherous rounds of the series. Championship leader Jani Paasonen (OMV World Rally Team) finished fifth of the contenders, in similar machinery, extending his lead to nine points with two rounds remaining.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Xavier Pons / Oriol Julià
(Leg 3 - 22 August 2004)
Although the torrential rain that blighted the second leg had finally given way firstly to fog, then to high cloud and occasional sunshine, the seven closing stages were far from easy. Set in the undulating hills and forests of the Saarland, the fast, narrow lanes were often affected by patches of mud and maximum concentration was needed to avoid a mistake. Large numbers of fans appreciated the sunshine, sounding horns and waving flags in a noisy display of appreciation for the drivers’ efforts on the stages and in the service area.

The final leg was a real test of Xavier Pons’ character, for while his earlier performance meant that he wasn’t under intense pressure, even a slight error would have been unforgivable after such an impressive drive in his Lancer Evolution.

"It’s fantastic", said the young Spaniard of his first major international victory. "I’m a bit surprised, because I know I can be fast on Tarmac but I wasn’t sure that I could win here. The car has been very good and everything has gone well for us in very difficult conditions. I hope we can do as well in Corsica too".

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Jani Paasonen / Jani Vainikka
(Leg 3 - 22 August 2004)
Finn Jani Paasonen was fifth in his Lancer Evolution after a well-judged drive, despite leaving the road briefly in the second leg. The Finn kept his World Championship lead and will be a tough man to beat in his final round in Australia.

Germany’s Sandro Wallenwein was the fourth Mitsubishi driver in the overall Group N leaderboard, finishing just 30 seconds behind Paasonen after a fine performance in the first outing of the newly-developed and prepared Ralliart GmbH Lancer Evolution VIII MR.

"This is a fantastic car", said Wallenwein. "It gives you a lot of confidence to drive it and I think this is a very good result for our first rally in it. I am sure we can do better in future".

The sixth round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship takes the crews to the island of Corsica for the Rallye de France - Tour de Corse (October 15-17), another challenging asphalt event.

News from our rivals...

The final leg of Rallye Deutschland was a comparatively quiet affair and Sébastien Loeb cruised to his third consecutive victory in this rally and his fifth win of the season. His points tally ensures he extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with Citroën doing the same with Carlos Sainz finishing third. François Duval put in another fine drive to hold second while team-mate Markko Märtin drove safety to fourth, such were the gaps ahead and behind him. The two Peugeot 307 WRCs of Cédric Robert and Freddy Loix finished fifth and sixth respectively, Robert taking four points for the team.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Sébastien Loeb M / Daniel Elena F/MC  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8 4.01.57.4   
 François Duval M / Stéphane Prevot B  Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A/8 4.02.26.5  + 29.1 
 Carlos Sainz M / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8 4.03.06.9  + 1.09.5 
 Markko Märtin M / Michael Park EE/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A/8 4.04.37.8  + 2.40.4 
 Cédric Robert M / Gérald Bedon F  Peugeot 307 WRC A/8 4.05.27.5  + 3.30.1 
 Freddy Loix / Sven Smeets B  Peugeot 307 WRC A/8 4.06.03.4  + 4.06.0 
 Toni Gardemeister / Paavo Lukander FIN  Škoda Fabia WRC A/8 4.07.41.6  + 5.44.2 
 Mikko Hirvonen M / Jarmo Lehtinen FIN  Subaru Impreza WRC 04 A/8 4.08.38.5  + 6.41.1 
 Stéphane Sarrazin / Patrick Pivato F  Subaru Impreza WRC A/8 4.08.56.3  + 6.58.9 
10   Alexandre Bengué / Caroline Escudero F  Peugeot 206 WRC A/8 4.12.24.1  + 10.26.7 
11   Armin Schwarz / Manfred Hiemer D  Škoda Fabia WRC A/8 4.15.22.3  + 13.24.9 
12   Nicolas Vouilloz / Denis Giraudet F  Peugeot 206 WRC A/8 4.15.38.9  + 13.41.5 
13   Antony Warmbold / Gemma Price D/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 A/8 4.15.57.8  + 14.00.4 
14   Jussi Välimäki / Jakke Honkanen FIN  Ford Focus RS WRC 03 A/8 4.23.44.5  + 21.47.1 
15   Xavier Pons P / Oriol Julià E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.24.11.4  + 22.14.0 
16   Niall McShea P / Michael Orr GB  Subaru Impreza N/4 4.24.41.8  + 22.44.4 
17   Alister McRae P / David Senior GB  Subaru Impreza N/4 4.25.57.0  + 23.59.6 
18   Toshihiro Arai P / Tony Sircombe J/NZ  Subaru Impreza N/4 4.26.03.4  + 24.06.0 
19   Daniel Sordo / Carlos del Barrio E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.27.55.6  + 25.58.2 
20   Jani Paasonen P / Jani Vainikka FIN  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.28.29.3  + 26.31.9 
21   Sandro Wallenwein / Pauli Zeitlhofer D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.28.52.0  + 26.54.6 
22   Karamjit Singh P / Allen Oh MAL  Proton Pert N/4 4.30.34.6  + 28.37.2 
23   Hermann Gaßner / Karin Thannhäuser D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.32.08.3  + 30.10.9 
24   Bob Colsoul / Tom Colsoul B  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.33.34.1  + 31.36.7 
25   Sebastian Vollak P / Michael Kölbach D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.34.22.3  + 32.24.9 
26   Stefan Karnabal / Bartlomiej Boba PL  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.37.26.5  + 35.29.1 
.../...
28   Henk Vossen / Johan Findhammer NL  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.42.02.3  + 40.04.9 
29   Georgi Geradzhiev P / Nikola Popov BG  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.45.47.9  + 43.50.5 
31   Ricardo Triviño P / Jordi Barrabès MEX/E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.50.28.5  + 48.31.1 
32   Manfred Stohl P / Ilka Minor A  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.52.16.7  + 50.19.3 
34   Janina Depping / Claudia Güttler D  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.54.00.3  + 52.02.9 
Nationalities: A=Austria/ B=Belgium/ BG=Bulgaria/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ EE=Estonia/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ J=Japan/ MAL=Malaysia/ MC=Monte Carlo/ MEX=Mexico/ NL=The Netherlands/ NZ=New Zealand/ PL=Poland/
Names underlined followed by M indicate drivers nominated in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers
Names underlined followed by P indicate drivers eligible for FIA Production Car World Rally Championship points