International Rally of Thailand / FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship - Round 7 of 8
21 - 23 October 2005

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVER VALIMAKI TAKES VICTORY

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Jussi Välimäki / Jarkko Kalliolepo

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Jussi Välimäki claimed his fourth win of the season in the Rally of Thailand, the seventh round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Team-mate and FIA APRC veteran, Katsuhiko Taguchi, was forced into a disappointing retirement after going off the road in the opening leg.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Jussi Välimäki / Jarkko Kalliolepo
The event, which took place between Friday October 21st and Sunday October 23rd, was based out of the harbor city of Rayong in Rayong prefecture, 180 kilometers southeast of the Thai capital, Bangkok. The route covered 249.80 competitive kilometers in a total distance of 657.04 kilometers and took the crews over a variety of forestry stages. Run in extremely dry conditions, dust made visibility difficult over the high speed stages that topped 100 kph.

The MRF Tyre team of Finland’s Jussi Välimäki /Jarkko Kalliolepo led in their Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and claimed an impressive victory, their second consecutive win and fourth of the season.

After the ceremony start on Friday 21st October, the real action got underway on Saturday when the crews contested the opening 10 stages and 160.70 competitive kilometers. Välimäki set the pace from the outset, inching out an impressive advantage over his rivals as Taguchi and Subaru rival Toshihiro Arai battled for second position. Fastest time in SS 4 secured the position for Taguchi, but the two Japanese drivers traded position throughout the leg until the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver went off the road, causing too much damage to the car to continue. After setting six fastest times, Välimäki took the overnight lead with Arai more than a minute adrift in second.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Geoffrey Argyle / Jane Black
Eight stages lay in way in the second leg, on Saturday, and Välimäki continued his impressive performance with fastest times in every stage, extending his lead over Arai in the process.

Behind the leading duo, Malaysian Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Kan Chee Hong finished third overall, claiming the final podium position, while New Zealander Geoffrey Argyle finished fifth in similar machinery. In total, 10 of the 14 starters finished the grueling event, six of which were Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions. Välimäki has already claimed the series title this year (subject to FIA confirmation), however Arai’s second position in Thailand moves him into second in the series rankings, with Argyle slipping to third.

The eighth and final round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship takes the crews to the China Rally (November 25-27). Katsuhiko Taguchi is not scheduled to take part and looks set to finish the season fourth in the series.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Jussi Välimäki A / Jarkko Kalliolepo FIN  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:04:20   
 Toshihiro Arai A / Tony Sircombe J/NZ  Subaru Impreza WRX N/4 2:05:43  1:23 
 Chee Hong Kan A / Bernard Chin CN  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:08:28  4:08 
 Saladin Mazlan / Arish Qutb Ahmad Khan MAL  Subaru Impreza WRX N/4 2:09:47  5:27 
 Geoffrey Argyle A / Jane Black NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:11:39  7:19 
 Kasikham Suphot / Chommalee Chaiya TH  Subaru Impreza WRX N/4 2:12:13  7:53 
 Dermott Malley A / Jagdev Singh NZ/MAL  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:12:15  7:55 
 Brian Green A / Fleur Pedersen NZ  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:15:06  10:46 
 Mitsuhiro Kunisawa A / Anne GigneyJ/AUS Subaru Impreza WRXN/42:15:49 11:29 
10   Atsushi Yamanaka / Simarux Itthipon J/TH  Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N/4 2:22:07  17:47 
Nationalities: AUS=Australia / CN=China / FIN=Finland / J=Japan / MAL=Malaysia / NZ=New Zealand / TH=Thailand /
A: drivers eligible for FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship points