Gudang Garam International Rally Indonesia / FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship - Round 6 of 8
9 - 11 September 2005

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVER JUSSI VALIMAKI WINS
RALLY INDONESIA & FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Katsuhiko Taguchi 2nd in Indonesia to give Mitsubishi MRF Tyre Team 1-2 finish

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Jussi Välimäki / Jarkko Kalliolepo

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Jussi Välimäki took his third win of the season on the Gudang Garam International Rally Indonesia, the sixth round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, and in doing so claimed one of the most coveted titles in international rallying. Välimäki’s FIA APRC victory is the first for a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver since Armin Kremer won the title in 2003. MRF Tyre Team team-mate Katsuhiko Taguchi finished Rally Indonesia in second position, giving Mitsubishi an emphatic one-two finish.

The event was held on the island of Sulawesi and centered around the city of Makassar and included 235.92 kilometers of competition over 13 special stages . Run in temperatures of 38° C, the 11-strong field of APRC crews - five in Lancer Evolutions - battled against extreme heat and in-car temperatures of 50° C. As well as the heat there was the dry choking dust - rain has not fallen in the area for six months. The stages, run through vast sugar plantations, provided a real test of skill and endurance with smooth, soft and rough conditions adding to the challenge. The event marked the return of international rallying to Indonesia, as an FIA sanctioned event has not been run in the country since 2000.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Katsuhiko Taguchi / Mark Stacey
Rising Finnish star Jussi Välimäki, co-driven by Jarkko Kalliolepo, has been on top form throughout the year and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver claimed his third win of the season in Indonesia, taking the title with two rounds remaining. He posted fastest times in the opening six stages (SS 1-SS 6), as well as being quickest on SS 9 and SS 10 in the second leg.

"I’m happy to win the rally and get the championship", said the newly-crowned champion*. "The car and the team have been working very well, but it wasn’t so easy. For example, this rally was so hot and it takes everything out my body - it’s not always a question of the speed - for sure we have the speed but sometimes it’s not necessary to push at maximum. I spared the car in the rougher parts and that’s the way to finish in a good position. This was definitely the hardest event to win, because of the heat. We Scandinavians are not used to these temperatures - it’s a bit too hot! But the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution performed impeccably and I was able to achieve this victory with the help of the whole team. For the next event in Thailand we have nothing to lose and can challenge Arai".

Team-mates Katsuhiko Taguchi and Australian Mark Stacey finished the event in second position, 38 seconds adrift, despite engine problems in the opening leg. The Japanese driver, who took his first victory of the season on the fourth round at Rally Hokkaido, now holds third overall in the series, a great boost ahead of his Group N entry into Rally Japan, round 13 of the FIA World Rally Championship later this month. Taguchi’s second position gives the MRF Tyre Team and Mitsubishi its second one-two finish, after Japan’s Rally Hokkaido.

"We had an engine problem in the first leg; overheating is quite a serious issue here, especially on the long stages, and sometimes the car was misfiring and when I pressed the throttle there was nothing", said Taguchi, one of a number of drivers to experience the same problem. "But we pushed hard in the second leg, setting three fastest stage time (SS 11-13), when the car was running much better. But, the temperature is so hot; like hell!"

New Zealander Geof Argyle rounded off a top event for Mitsubishi with third position. "We’re very happy to be on the podium, but we did have some problems in the event", said Argyle. "The suspension worked loose which lost us some time and then I made the mistake of running mud tires - I thought the soft conditions would have suited them. I took the risk and unfortunately it didn’t pay off. In the afternoon we got the right tires and things were a lot better, but then in the last stage we lost a lot of time with the car jumping out of gear. In the second leg, the engine started to over-heat and to combat that we had to put the heater on!".

Round seven of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship takes the crews to the Rally of Thailand (October 21-23).

* Official Championship standings will be announced in December at the FIA Awards Ceremony.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Jussi Välimäki A / Jarkko Kalliolepo FIN  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:23:40   
 Katsuhiko Taguchi A / Mark Stacey J/AUS  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:24:28  48 
 Geoffrey Argyle A / Jane Black NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:32:09  8:29 
 Agung Hery / Mboi Hade RI  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:35:04  11:24 
 Aksa Subhan / NS Heru RI  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:36:53  13:13 
 Rifat Sungkar / Harilatu Karel RI  Proton Pert N/4 3:42:03  18:23 
 Dermott Malley A / Jagdev Singh NZ/MAL  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:42:35  18:55 
 Brian Green A / Fleur Pedersen NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 3:42:35  21:22 
Nationalities: AUS=Australia / FIN=Finland / J=Japan / MAL=Malaysia / NZ=New Zealand / RI=Indonesia /
A: drivers eligible for FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship points