27 June 2004 Leg 3 Release

Panizzi improves rough gravel set-up and posts top five stage times
’SUPERally’ regulations aid Mitsubishi testing in competitive environment

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04
Gianluigi Galli / Guido D’Amore
(Leg 3 - 27 June 2004)

The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports crew of "Gigi" Galli and Guido D’Amore scored points for Mitsubishi in the Rally of Turkey, round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship. The Italian pair overcame turbo problems in the second leg to power back up the leaderboard to 10th position, taking two points in only their second outing with the team. Gilles Panizzi and Hervé Panizzi, running under ’SUPERally’ regulations during the second and third legs, used the opportunity to further improve the Lancer WRC04 and the French crew progressed development, finding a new rough gravel rally set-up that improved the handling.

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04
Gilles Panizzi / Hervé Panizzi
(Leg 3 - 27 June 2004)
"It was really bad luck that Gilles retired with a broken ECU (electronic control unit); we have never had such a problem before", commented Sven Quandt, Head of Motor Sport. "On the second day we tried some things to modify the suspension set-up and, as you can see from Gilles’ times on Sunday, it was a great improvement for rough gravel conditions. So, thanks to the ’SUPERally’ concept, we have the possibility to develop the car in a competitive environment".

Adding to his comments, the team’s Technical Director, Mario Fornaris, said: "Gilles did a great job, especially during the second and third legs. Gigi had an unfavorable road position, but he drove consistently throughout the rally to bring the car to the finish and score points for Mitsubishi".

During the final leg, Gigi Galli and Guido D’Amore remained focused on maintaining position and finishing the rally. "I am very happy to have scored points for the team and to have improved my driving style day by day", commented Gigi. "My personal strategy before the start was to get through the event without making a mistake and I think we achieved that. This is the longest time I have driven the car, and I think our result and Gilles’ test work means it has been a good result for everyone".

Team-mates Gilles and Hervé Panizzi were mixing with the leading pack in the opening two stages and, despite a loss of tire pressure, set fifth fastest time in both sections ahead of Subaru, Citroën and Ford machinery. They maintained the same form in the third stage, but a transmission problem then slowed them in the final stage of the rally.

"It has been a crazy rally for me!" said the Frenchman. "We were unlucky to retire on Friday but then had a successful test day on Saturday. What we found in the improvement to the set-up makes me feel very happy. Today, it was like a real rally for me; the stage times were very good and we are looking confidently towards Argentina".

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Vedat Diker / Erdal Oral
(Leg 3 - 27 June 2004)
The third leg of the Rally of Turkey once again dawned bright and clear and with early morning 30 degree temperatures, the final day of competition was as grueling as ever, despite being the shortest. Just 37 of the original 65 contenders started the leg, with all but two classified in the overall leaderboard as the crews headed to the mountains west of Kemer for two loops of two stages totaling 77.90 competitive kilometers. While the Rally of Turkey was not a round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, group N competitors were nevertheless vying for honors. Turk Vedat Diker finished third in the category with his Lancer Evolution.

The eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes the contenders to South America for the highly-popular Rally Argentina (July 15-18). Hosted in the middle of the continent’s winter, temperatures will be a stark contrast to this trilogy of Mediterranean events, but the gravel roads always provide fast and furious battles. Finland’s Kristian Sohlberg and Kaj Lindström will be piloting the second Lancer WRC04 alongside team-mates Gilles and Hervé Panizzi, and the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship contenders will also be back in action for the first time since Rally New Zealand (April).

News from our rivals...

Sébastien Loeb won the Rally of Turkey, notched up his fourth victory from seven starts and extends his and Citroën’s lead in both Championships. He was not however without his own dramas as he had a wheel bearing failure in the last stage which resulted in him losing the right rear wheel on the road section to the finish. After seriously challenging the Frenchman yesterday, Marcus Grönholm was forced to settle for second position after last minute gear selection problems in the final two stages. Despite closing the gap to Grönholm, Petter Solberg ultimately finished third when rising temperatures affected tire performance, although the Norwegian still set three of the four fastest times. Carlos Sainz overcame yesterday’s heat exhaustion to claim fourth position and François Duval claimed points for the fourth time this season by bringing his Focus to the finish in fifth. Mikko Hirvonen also scored points for sixth position, despite spinning twice in stage 15. Henning Solberg was the only major retiree of the day, the Norwegian forced out with broken transmission.


  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Sébastien Loeb M / Daniel Elena F/MC  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8   
 Marcus Grönholm M / Timo Rautiainen FIN  Peugeot 307 WRC A/8  + 26.2 
 Petter Solberg M / Phil Mills N/GB  Subaru Impreza WRC 04 A/8  + 36.7 
 Carlos Sainz M / Marc Marti E  Citroën Xsara WRC A/8  + 2.49.3 
 François Duval M / Stéphane Prevot B  Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A/8  + 4.26.8 
 Mikko Hirvonen M / Jarmo Lehtinen FIN  Subaru Impreza WRC 04 A/8  + 6.01.1 
 Janne Tuohino / Jukka Aho FIN  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 A/8  + 11.44.9 
 Antony Warmbold / Gemma Price D/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 02 A/8  + 21.15.3 
 Serkan Yazici / Can Okan TR  Ford Focus RS WRC A/8  + 21.40.8 
10   Gianluigi Galli M / Guido D’Amore I  Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04 A/8  + 32.08.9 
11   Per-Gunnar Andersson J / Jonas Andersson S  Suzuki Ignis A/6  + 36.29.4 
12   Kosti Katajamäki J / Timo Alanne FIN  Suzuki Ignis A/6  + 36.35.8 
13   Guy Wilks J / Phil Pugh GB  Suzuki Ignis A/6  + 37.27.0 
14   Guerlain Chicherit J / Matthieu Baumel F  Citroën Saxo A/6  + 39.28.1 
15   Hakan Dinç / Okan Avci TR  Subaru Impreza N/4  + 39.34.6 
16   Urmo Aava J / Kuldar Sikk EE  Suzuki Ignis A/6  + 40.06.1 
17   Mirco Baldacci J / Giovanni Bernacchini RSM/I  Suzuki Ignis A/6  + 42.05.1 
18   Ali Ersin / Ahmet Yörük TR  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution A/8  + 48.44.0 
19   Hamdi Ünal / Kaan Özşenler TR  Fiat Palio Super 1600 A/6  + 48.52.8 
20   Burak Çukurova / Baran Alpay TR  Renault Clio Super 1600 A/6  + 48.53.5 
24   Markko Märtin M / Michael Park EE/GB  Ford Focus RS WRC 04 A/8  + 56.31.9 
26   Mustafa Bayraktar / Ufuk Uluocak TR  Subaru Impreza N/4  + 
27   Vedat Diker / Erdal Oral TR  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4  + 
30   Ricardo Errani / Stefano Casadio I  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4  + 
Nationalities: B=Belgium/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ EE=Estonia/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ I=Italy/ MC=Monte Carlo/ N=Norway/ RSM=San Marino/ S=Sweden/ TR=Turkey/
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