COMMUNIQUE 3
3 October 2004 Leg 3 Release

EXCEPTIONAL SIXTH PLACE FOR GALLI IN THE GROUP N MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION
FIA World Rally Championship points and best-ever result for "Gigi" Galli

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Gianluigi Galli / Guido D’Amore
(Podium - 3 October 2004)

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports driver "Gigi" Galli claimed his first-ever FIA World Rally Championship points today by finishing sixth overall in the Rallye d’Italia - Sardinia, the 13th round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The Italian finished ahead of former double World Champion Marcus Grönholm and his feat is all the more impressive being that he was competing in Mitsubishi’s Group N production car machinery.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Gianluigi Galli / Guido D’Amore
(Leg 3 - 3 October 2004)
This year, Italy’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship moved to Sardinia, swapping the Mediterranean town of Sanremo and its asphalt stages - which have played host to the event since 1961 - for the gravel roads on its diverse south-westerly island. For the third time this year it was a new event for everyone, although some crews will undoubtedly have contested Rallye Costa Smeralda, run in the same region and formerly a round of the European Championship. However, the 1181.10 kilometer route was totally different and the event’s 389.74 competitive kilometers, run over 19 special stages, proved tricky for all. The fast, narrow and technically challenging stages had a wide variety of surfaces, ranging from sandy tracks to rough, rocky and smooth roads on a hard-packed surface. There was absolutely no margin for error from start to finish.

While the event was a qualifying round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, a host of Group N contenders entered their production car machinery in a bid to take honors in what was clearly a very open event. In the top Group N category, no fewer than 12 of the 18 contenders were competing in Mitsubishis, once again demonstrating the popularity of the Lancer Evolution.

Mitsubishi’s Gigi Galli was the Group N star from the outset. The Italian drove faultless, utterly dominating the class from start to finish in an extraordinary display behind the wheel of a near-standard car.

"I am very happy because we did the whole rally without making a mistake", said Gigi of his best-ever WRC result. "We only had some little gearbox problems today and then just drove cautiously as there was no reason to push. I am very happy to score my first drivers’ championship points; it gives me real hope for the future. The stages have been very difficult, but it has been a good experience for us and we have been able to correct our pace notes".

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Francesco Marrone / Alberto Arru
(Leg 3 - 3 October 2004)
Local man Francesco Marrone was another driver to take the best result of his career, clinching fourth in class in his Lancer Evolution.

"This was great for us", said his fellow Italian. "It was a hard rally, with many rocks next to the road, and always dust. You had to be so careful all the time and concentrate not to make a mistake".

Davide Catania was delighted with fourth in class, the Olbia man driving superbly in his home rally.

"The rally has been very good for us. These stages are so difficult and narrow. The car has been very good too, only some little problems with the brakes in the second leg on the long stages. It has been very tough", Catania said.

Reigning World Rally Champion Petter Solberg claimed his third consecutive victory of the season, the Norwegian having won 13 of the Rallye d’Italia - Sardinia stages. However, series leader Sébastien Loeb strengthened his position in the title battle with a solid second for Citroën. The French team was also the only manufacturer to bring both its cars to the finish, Carlos Sainz claiming third in the second Xsara. In the Championship standings, Loeb has a 26 point advantage over Solberg, and Citroën leads Ford by 47 points with three rounds remaining.

The FIA World Rally Championship hugs the Mediterranean this month and there is no respite for the crews as they head off to another island for the 14th round of the series and the penultimate round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship. The Rallye de France - Tour de Corse takes place between October 15-17 on the island of Corsica and, as PWRC series leader and Lancer Evolution driver Jani Paasonen has elected to drop this round, his main rivals are sure to want to take the opportunity of closing the nine-point gap to the Finn.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr
Cl
Total Time Difference
 Petter Solberg M / Phil Mills N/GB  Subaru Impreza WRC 04 A/8 4.43.47.9   
 Sébastien Loeb M / Daniel Elena F/MC  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8 4.45.55.8  + 2.07.9 
 Carlos Sainz M / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8 4.47.08.8  + 3.20.9 
 Andrea Navarra / Simona Fedeli I  Subaru Impreza WRC A/8 4.54.04.0  + 10.16.1 
 François Duval M / Stéphane Prevot B  Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A/8 4.54.35.9  + 10.48.0 
 Gianluigi Galli / Guido D’Amore I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 1st N N/4 5.08.59.5  + 25.11.6 
 Marcus Grönholm M / Timo Rautiainen FIN  Peugeot 307 WRC A/8 5.10.27.1  + 26.39.2 
 Antony Warmbold / Gemma Price D/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 A/8 5.11.51.1  + 28.03.2 
 Per-Gunnar Andersson J / J. Andersson S  Suzuki Ignis A/6 5.12.51.5  + 29.03.6 
10   Paolo Andreucci / Anna Andreussi I  Fiat Punto Super 1600 A/6 5.14.49.8  + 31.01.9 
11   Guy Wilks J / Phil Pugh GB  Suzuki Ignis A/6 5.15.05.7  + 31.17.8 
12   Mirco Baldacci J / Giovanni Bernacchini RSM/I  Suzuki Ignis A/6 5.15.41.7  + 31.53.8 
13   Kosti Katajamäki J / Timo Alanne FIN  Suzuki Ignis A/6 5.16.31.1  + 32.43.2 
14   Larry Cols J / Filip Godde B  Renault Clio A/6 5.17.12.2  + 33.24.3 
15   Nicolas Bernardi J / Jean-Marc Fortin F  Renault Clio A/6 5.18.47.7  + 34.59.8 
16   Kris Meeke J / David Senior GB  Opel Corsa A/6 5.26.22.3  + 42.34.4 
17   Aki Teiskonen / Miika Teiskonen FIN  Fiat Punto Super 1600 A/6 5.32.02.3  + 48.14.4 
18   Alessandro Broccoli J / Giovanni Agnese RSM/I  Fiat Punto A/6 5.32.03.9  + 48.16.0 
19   Giacomo Ogliari / Gabriele Falzone I  Subaru Impreza 2nd N N/4 5.41.12.3  + 57.24.4 
20   Robert Butor / Attila Taborszki H  Citroën Saxo Super 1600 A/6 5.42.26.0  + 58.38.1 
21   Toni Klemets / Panu Plosila FIN  Subaru Impreza 3rd N N/4 5.43.53.5  + 1.00.05.6 
22   Francesco Marrone / Alberto Arru I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 4th N N/4 5.43.55.8  + 1.00.07.9 
.../...
26   Davide Catania / Federico Vescarelli I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6th N N/4 5.59.16.0  + 1.15.28.1 
Nationalities: B=Belgium/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ H=Hungary/ I=Italy/ MC=Monte Carlo/ N=Norway/ RSM=San Marino/ S=Sweden/
Names underlined followed by M indicate drivers nominated in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers
Names followed by J indicate drivers eligible for FIA Junior World Rally Championship points