COMMUNIQUE 5
31 October 2004 Leg 3 Release

MITSUBISHI LANCER WRC04 SHOWS PACE AND POTENTIAL
All three Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04s enjoy a trouble-free run in Spain

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04
Daniel Solà / Xavier Amigo
(Leg 3 - 31 October 2004)

The Mitsubishi Motors WRC team demonstrated the pace and potential of the Lancer WRC04 during Rally Catalunya - Rally de España, the team’s first World Championship outing since Germany in August. Between them, Gilles Panizzi, "Dani" Solà and "Gigi" Galli claimed no fewer than 19 top six fastest stage times, with both Gilles and Dani also placed inside the top three and Gigi in the top four. At the end of the 20 stage, 384.08 competitive kilometer event, Solà claimed sixth overall with Galli hot on his heels in seventh. Both were rewarded with World Championship points.

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04
Gianluigi Galli / Guido D’Amore
(Leg 3 - 31 October 2004)
"I have to say thank you to the whole team; the mechanics, engineers, drivers, everyone", said Isao Torii, President of Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports. "Rally Catalunya was a test event for us, but the big effort that has been made over the past weeks has resulted in a great team success. All three cars finished the rally, the reliability of the Lancer WRC04 is proved and we are closer to our rivals than before. We have showed the potential of the team and car, so we will continue this way to prepare for the 2005 season".

Adding to his comments, the team’s Technical Director Mario Fornaris said: "We have all worked very hard over the last two years and this rally was a good payback. The new suspension worked well and this event was proof of the development progress we have made. Our young drivers have performed well; fast, consistent and with no mistakes. I also have to say thank you to Gilles who has worked so hard during recent months and it is him who provided the platform for us. After a very good start to the event, when he was third overall, he was not able to capitalize on what he has achieved during the test and development work. Without him though, it would not have been possible to show our performance. Finally, Ralliart Italy has also helped us to prepare and run Gigi’s car, enabling us to gather even more data".

Dani Solà and Xavier Amigo continued their fine run today, the Spaniards sixth in the opening stage and then third fastest in SS16, just four-tenths of a second adrift of stage victor and former double World Champion Carlos Sainz. After a heavy impact with a stone in SS17, Solà eased the pace and cruised to the finish in a fine sixth overall, his best-ever result in a full World Championship rally. The Spaniard did however have to contend with a small under-bonnet fire which meant he and Xavier had to push the car into final service in Vic. Repairs and a replaced fuel injection line incurred a 10 second penalty for being late out of service, but the crew retained their position back in Lloret de Mar this afternoon.

"Despite this last-minute scare, this is still a special moment for me", said Dani. "I really enjoyed the support from my home spectators and didn’t want to let them down, but I had to mix this feeling with doing my job, finishing the rally, being fast and consistent during this important competitive test for the team".

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04

Gilles Panizzi / Hervé Panizzi
(Leg 3 - 31 October 2004)
Team-mates Gigi Galli and Guido D’Amore have also been on the pace again, setting fifth fastest time in SS17 and closing the gap to Solà to 21.6 seconds. In the final stage, the Italians were equal fifth and ended the last stage just 10.2 seconds adrift of Solà in seventh position. With Solà’s penalty, Mitsubishi’s young drivers were split by two-tenths of a second in the final classification.

"I’m very, very happy", said Gigi. "Our goal was to finish, but we have also done so in a good position. It’s not so much of a surprise as the car and my confidence has improved a lot. We have helped the team, not fought with Dani and made any mistakes, so for this I am happy".

Gilles and Hervé Panizzi failed to reap the rewards of their efforts, but once again gained useful data for the on-going development of the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04.

Sunday’s final leg of Rally Catalunya - Rally de España was the shortest but still took in six stages and 106.16 competitive kilometers. The route covered two identical loops of three stages before the finish back in Lloret de Mar at 15:26 hrs (GMT+1).

The final round of the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship takes the contenders to Perth, Western Australia (November 12-14). While both main championship titles have already been settled, the slippery gravel roads will play host to the final round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, in which Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Jani Paasonen will be vying for outright honors.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Mattias Ekström / Stefan Bergman
(Leg 3 - 31 October 2004)
News from our rivals...

Ford’s Markko Märtin claimed his third victory of the season and his second consecutive asphalt rally win. After a measured drive today, pacing himself against his rivals’ split times, Märtin arrived back in Lloret de Mar with a 23.2 second advantage over second-placed Marcus Grönholm. The Finn and Spaniard Carlos Sainz battled hard over the closing stages, Sainz ultimately placed a comfortable third, the 96th podium position of his career. One of the revelations of the rally has been Stéphane Sarrazin, driving a privately-run Subaru Impreza WRC. The Frenchman, in only his third world rally, claimed fourth, 16.3 seconds ahead of reigning World Champion Petter Solberg in Subaru’s factory machinery. In Group N, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Mattias Ekström claimed his second category win of the season at World Championship level. The Swede finished ahead of fellow Lancer Evolution drivers Ricardo Triviño and Joan Font, who were second and third. Rally Catalunya - Rally de España was also the final round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, and after a four-way battle for honors, Per-Gunnar Andersson claimed the series title in his Suzuki Ignis.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Markko Märtin M / Michael Park EE/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A/8 3.40.43.8   
 Marcus Grönholm M / Timo Rautiainen FIN  Peugeot 307 WRC A/8 3.41.07.0  + 23.2 
 Carlos Sainz M / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8 3.41.21.5  + 37.7 
 Stéphane Sarrazin / Patrick Pivato F  Subaru Impreza WRC 03 A/8 3.43.34.2  + 2.50.4 
 Petter Solberg M / Phil Mills N/GB  Subaru Impreza WRC 04 A/8 3.43.50.5  + 3.06.7 
 Daniel Solà / Xavier Amigo E  Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04 A/8 3.44.49.5  + 4.05.7 
 Gianluigi Galli / Guido D’Amore I  Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04 A/8 3.44.49.7  + 4.05.9 
 Mikko Hirvonen M / Jarmo Lehtinen FIN  Subaru Impreza WRC 04 A/8 3.45.15.5  + 4.31.7 
 Toni Gardemeister / Paavo Lukander FIN  Škoda Fabia WRC A/8 3.45.21.4  + 4.37.6 
10   Nicolas Vouilloz / Denis Giraudet F  Peugeot 206 WRC A/8 3.45.28.8  + 4.45.0 
11   Armin Schwarz / Manfred Hiemer D  Škoda Fabia WRC A/8 3.46.10.8  + 5.27.0 
12   Gilles Panizzi / Hervé Panizzi F  Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04 A/8 3.47.31.8  + 6.48.0 
13   Antony Warmbold / Gemma Price D/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 A/8 3.49.49.1  + 9.05.3 
14   Nicolas Bernardi J / Jean-Marc Fortin F/B  Renault Clio A/6 3.58.08.7  + 17.24.9 
15   Giandomenico Basso / Mitia Dotta I  Fiat Punto A/6 3.58.54.8  + 18.11.0 
16   Per-Gunnar Andersson J / Jonas Andersson S  Suzuki Ignis A/6 4.01.09.5  + 20.25.7 
17   Mirco Baldacci J / Giovanni Bernacchini RSM/I  Suzuki Ignis A/6 4.02.06.4  + 21.22.6 
18   Donie O’Sullivan / Paul Nagle IRL/IRL  Ford Focus RS WRC 01 A/8 4.02.28.6  + 21.44.8 
19   Larry Cols J / Filip Godde B  Renault Clio A/6 4.02.35.5  + 21.51.7 
20   Daniel Sordo / Carlos del Barrio E  Citroën C2 A/6 4.02.49.0  + 22.05.2 
.../...
25   Mattias Ekström / Stefan Bergman S  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.06.54.4  + 26.10.6 
28   Ricardo Triviño / Alex Noriega MEX/E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.12.10.8  + 31.27.0 
30   Joan Font / Manel Muñoz E  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 4.15.32.2  + 34.48.4 
Nationalities: B=Belgium/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ EE=Estonia/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ I=Italy/ IRL=Ireland/ MEX=Mexico/ 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