COMMUNIQUE 5
17 July 2005 LEG 3 RELEASE

HARRI ROVANPERA FIFTH FOR MITSUBISHI IN ARGENTINA
“Gigi” Galli retires with gearbox problems three stages from the finish

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05
Harri Rovanperä / Risto Pietiläinen

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports claimed more points on the Rally of Argentina, the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen battled to the end and finished in a fighting fifth position in the Lancer WRC05, claiming points for themselves and the team. "Gigi" Galli and Guido D’Amore set a blistering pace early this morning but were forced into retirement with gearbox problems after stage 19.

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05
Harri Rovanperä / Risto Pietiläinen
"Overall we have showed good performance with both the car and crews", said Roger Estrada, Principal Rally Engineer. "Harri drove very well and was, overall, fastest over today three mountain stages; it was good to be fighting hard. It’s a shame about Gigi’s problems on Friday and today, but in general we have had good pace".

The final leg of Rally Argentina took in two of the Championship’s most famous stages high in the Traslasierra Mountains to the south-west of Villa Carlos Paz. Giulio Césare split two runs through El Cóndor, both narrow and rocky 2,000 meter altitude stages in spectacular lunar-like landscape. The route then returned to Villa Carlos Paz, where the event reached its climax with two runs around the Pro Racing Super Special stage.

Harri Rovanperä started the leg - where the predicted ice and snow was seen - 11 seconds adrift of Toni Gardemeister and the pair jostled for position throughout the morning. On stages that Harri won last year, the Finn set fourth and two second-fastest stage times to close to within 7.8 seconds of his fellow countryman. However, with just the super special stages remaining, the Finn was unable to overall Gardemeister and claimed fifth overall, 5.6 seconds away from fourth position.

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05
"Gigi" Galli / Guido D’Amore
"It’s been good to be fighting with top teams and the car has been so good all weekend", said Rovanperä. "Friday was good for us but we lost too much time on Saturday morning when the set-up wasn’t right for the conditions. Yesterday afternoon it all came together very well though and the feeling returned and today has obviously been good too, fighting with Toni all the way to the finish. I think we probably lost the fight in the second stage, where there was ice and mud and we had very little grip. If the conditions had been drier throughout, it could have been a different story".

Team-mate Gigi Galli was third fastest through this morning’s opening stage, but the Italian then hit gearbox problems in the early part of SS19. Although he reached the finish of the stage, he then retired.

"It’s obviously a shame not to reach the finish, but the important thing is that we drove each of the different stages", said Galli. "Generally I have to be very happy because the stages we drove without problems we set good times, especially for only our second time here. The car is very much improved but the next step will come in Finland; then there will be more performance".

Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05
"Gigi" Galli / Guido D’Amore
The tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes the contenders back to Europe for one of the fastest and most spectacular events on the calendar. Rally Finland (August 4-7) - in the perceived home of rallying - is renowned for its high-speed jumps and Gigi Galli will once again partner Harri Rovanperä in the second Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05.

News from our rivals

Sébastien Loeb racked up a record-breaking sixth consecutive victory, his seventh of the season and romps further ahead in the Drivers’ Championship. Marcus Grönholm pushed the Frenchman hard but ultimately claimed second in the lead Peugeot 307 WRC. Petter Solberg, after problems yesterday, finished on the podium in third after a trouble-free leg. Behind Gardemeister and Rovanperä, Markko Märtin remained in sixth and François Duval achieved his returning objective of finishing and claiming points for Citroën.


2005 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship (Round 5/8)

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVER MEDEGHINI CLAIMS SECOND ON RALLY ARGENTINA

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Angelo Medeghini / Barbara Capoferri
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Angelo Medeghini put in a spirited drive to take second place in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship on Rally Argentina, the fifth round of the 2005 series. The Italian was elevated up the leaderboard following two exclusions at the end of the rally.

The last leg was the shortest of the rally, but its 62 kilometers of stages were undeniably tough, for the route was concentrated on the rally’s most famous and arguably most demanding stages, El Cóndor and Mina Clavero, in the rugged, 2,000-meter mountains south-west of Córdoba. The temperature had plummeted to -4 degrees Celsius at dawn, making the roads treacherously slippery. Narrow and unforgiving for the drivers, the numerous vantage points and wonderful views make the area a spectator’s delight and the crowds had begun to assemble the previous afternoon.

Second place has considerably improved Angelo Medeghini’s World Championship position, but the Italian was unlucky not to do better still, if it wasn’t for a steering problem on his Lancer Evolution on the morning’s first stage.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Gr. N
Luis Rosselot / Ricardo Rojas
"We had to stop and fix the steering on the stage, which cost us quite a lot of time. It was a shame, but at least we have got to the end of the rally and in quite a good position. It’s a very tough event", Medeghini said.

Chilean Lancer Evolution driver Luis Rosselot achieved his best result of the season, taking a solid third place after a trouble-free final leg.

"I’m very pleased with this result", said Rosselot. "It’s been a tough rally the whole way. You don’t expect rain like this here in July and it was really slippery. It’s good to have some points though".

Federico Villagra looked to be out of the running after the first leg, but the Córdoba driver refused to give up, gradually climbing the leaderboard in his Lancer Evolution. Undeterred by the conditions, he rose to third place with the finish almost in sight and was then elevated to second following the exclusion of Mark Higgins for a technical infringement. He too was then excluded, also for a technical infringement.

The FIA Production Car World Rally Championship now resumes in the middle of September with Wales Rally GB.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Sébastien LOEB / Daniel Elena F/MC  CITROEN Xsara WRC A8 M 3.55.36.4   
 Marcus GRONHOLM / Timo Rautiainen FIN  PEUGEOT 307 WRC A8 M 3.56.02.5  26.1 
 Petter SOLBERG / Phil Mills N/GB  SUBARU Impreza WRC 05 A8 M 3.56.41.7  1.05.3 
 Toni GARDEMEISTER / Jakke Honkanen FIN  FORD Focus RS WRC 04 A8 M 3.58.14.4  2.38.0 
 Harri ROVANPERA / Risto Pietiläinen FIN  MITSUBISHI Lancer WRC05 A8 M 3.58.20.0  2.43.6 
 Markko MARTIN / Michael Park EE/GB  PEUGEOT 307 WRC A8 M 3.59.58.6  4.22.2 
 François DUVAL / Sven Smeets B  CITROEN Xsara WRC A8 M 4.01.05.5  5.29.1 
 Manfred STOHL / Ilka Minor A  CITROEN Xsara WRC A8 4.01.19.3  5.42.9 
 Christopher ATKINSON / Glenn Macneall AUS  SUBARU Impreza WRC 05 A8 M 4.01.35.6  5.59.2 
10   Xavier PONS / Carlos del Barrio E  CITROEN Xsara WRC A8 4.04.01.5  8.25.1 
11   Roman KRESTA / Jan Možný CZ  FORD Focus RS WRC 04 A8 M 4.04.14.6  8.38.2 
12   Antony WARMBOLD / Michael Orr D/GB  FORD Focus RS WRC 04 A8 4.04.34.6  8.58.2 
13   Marcos LIGATO / Ruben Garcia RA  PEUGEOT 206 WRC A8 4.09.29.5  13.53.1 
14   Luis PEREZ-COMPANC / José-Maria Volta RA  FORD Focus RS WRC 04 A8 4.10.48.1  15.11.7 
15   Daniel CARLSSON / Mattias Andersson S  PEUGEOT 206 WRC A8 4.13.57.0  18.20.6 
16   Armin SCHWARZ / Klaus Wicha D  SKODA Fabia WRC A8 M 4.17.25.4  21.49.0 
17   Nasser-S. AL-ATTIYAH / Chris Patterson QA/GB  SUBARU Impreza N4 P 4.21.41.6  26.05.2 
18   Ricardo TRIVINO / Claudio Bustos MEX/RA  PEUGEOT 206 WRC A8 4.28.42.5  33.06.1 
19   Angelo MEDEGHINI / Barbara Capoferri I  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 P 4.35.10.4  39.34.0 
20   Luis ROSSELOT / Ricardo Rojas RCH  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 P 4.35.29.8  39.53.4 
21   Matías SAS / Rubén Quiróz RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 4.37.05.7  41.29.3 
22   Fabio FRISIERO / Giovanni Agnese I  SUBARU Impreza N4 P 4.46.50.3  51.13.9 
23   Gabriel POZZO / Daniel Stillo RA  SUBARU Impreza N4 P 4.47.15.3  51.38.9 
24   Sebastián BELTRAN / Edgardo Galindo RA  SUBARU Impreza N4 P 4.51.34.0  55.57.6 
25   Nicolás MADERO / Guillermo Piazzano RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 4.56.39.5  1.01.03.1 
26   Esteban GOLDENHERSCH / Diego Cagnotti RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 4.59.01.4  1.03.25.0 
27   Javier FERNANDEZ / Alberto Fernandez ROU  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 4.59.14.7  1.03.38.3 
.../...
31   Juan ODRIOZOLA / Carlos Chioli RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 5.12.25.7  1.16.49.3 
32   Ariel PECCI / Alejandro Elvira RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 5.17.34.3  1.21.57.9 
33   Carlos LUACES / Mariano Maggi RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 5.20.48.6  1.25.12.2 
36   Arturo ABELLA-NAZAR / Alfredo Alvarez RA  MITSUBISHI Lancer Evolution N4 5.44.57.5  1.49.21.1 
Nationalities: A=Austria/ AUS=Australia/ B=Belgium/ CZ=Czech Republic/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ EE=Estonia/ F=France/ FIN=Finland/ GB=Great Britain/ I=Italy/ MC=Monte Carlo/ MEX=Mexico/ N=Norway/ QA=Qatar/ RA=Argentina/ RCH=Chile/ ROU=Uruguay/ S=Sweden/
M: drivers nominated in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers
P: drivers eligible for FIA Production Car World Rally Championship points