MITSUBISHI MOTORS

HOME

2006
FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship

Report

FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 6: RALLY INDONESIA
MRF MITSUBISHI ON THE PODIUM AGAIN IN APRC  
17 SEPTEMBER 2006 LEG 2 RELEASE
FINAL RESULTS

Jarkko Miettinen / Tuomo Nikkola
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
 

Jarkko Miettinen / Tuomo Nikkola
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
 

Katsuhiko Taguchi / Mark Stacey
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
 
Hot and hard fought battle, rallying in extreme heat and choking dust the MRF Mitsubishi team finished 2nd and 4th in the 6th round of the 2006 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, the Gudang Garam Rally of Indonesia. Held on the island of Sulawesi and based in the ancient port city of Makassar the Rally of Indonesia is one of the toughest events in world rallying with ambient temperatures exceeding 40 degrees, thick dust that makes breathing and visibility difficult and roads that are soft, slippery and often rough.

Since setting the pace in Malaysia and a 1st and 2nd in Indonesia in 2005, the MRF Mitsubishi team was expecting nothing less than a podium finish. In the APRC drivers championship race, MRF driver Katsu Taguchi needed to win here to have any chance of taking the title and his previous knowledge of the event would be valuable data for the team. Team-mate Jarkko Miettinen from Finland has proved in the last two events he has the potential to win events in the new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and after a recent win in the very competitive Chinese National Championship he was hungry for success.

After the ceremonial start in down-town Makassar it was Miettinen who set the early pace and after 5 stages the top three drivers were separated by only 1 second. After some slight alterations to the car set-up at mid-day service and the faster flowing roads in the afternoon section, Miettinen raced into an 11 second lead on the 6th stage. By the end of the leg he had increased the margin to 23 seconds to his nearest APRC rival Subura Cody Crocker. Back at the evening service and as the mechanics worked on his car Miettinen said "We are very happy to be leading APRC, the roads suited us today and we could push really hard with no mistakes. However tomorrow could be difficult as the roads are tighter and twisty". Winning the leg netted the Finn three valuable bonus for the drivers championship.

While Miettien was all smiles his team-mate Taguchi was having a terrible time. A puncture near the start of Stage 5 meant stopping and replacing the tyre in the stage, loosing the Japanese driver over three minutes. In the afternoon Taguchi pushed his Mitsubishi to the limit, to make up the time deficit but could get no higher than 4th. Any chance of taking the APRC drivers title were effectively over for Taguchi, "Its OK to have a puncture 5 K from the finish, but when its near the start that’s bad luck - we had to stop and change the tyre, then we waited for Jarkko to come and then followed in his dust and now because of that loss of time I think the championship is over, but we will push hard again tomorrow, anything can happen. I don’t mind the hot conditions and tomorrow is expected to be over 40degrees".

With a new set of stages for Leg 2 near the town of Billi Billi and first car on the road, Miettinen gave his all to try and extend his slender lead. However niggling problems and the twistier and tighter roads didn’t suit the Finn’s flat-out driving style and gradually the gap narrowed. At the lunchtime service Miettinen had lost the lead, but only by 2 seconds. There was still plenty to go for in the final two afternoon stages but on Stage 12 Miettinen hit a small rock, pending the suspension and with very high temperatures inside and outside the car, the team backed off to preserve their second place.

For Taguchi his troubles continued, but he held onto his 4th position. "For me this has been a very tough event, the temperature was hot, but not as much as last year, yet we had so many silly problems and very frustrating to get a puncture when we were in such a good position. The car is good and next event we gonna go for it -nothing to loose". Miettinen had similar thoughts, " We’re so close to winning now and with the next event in China this will give us a real opportunity - I am doing the Chinese National Championship so I am very familiar with the conditions".

Other Mitsubishi drivers on the event include top Indonesian Rifat Sungkar who was 5th in APRC and won the Indonesian Rally Championship section. He was followed home by fellow Indonesia Subhan Aksa who was 6th in APRC.

 FINAL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza N
1
3:20:14.6 **:**.*
2
AP
Cody Crocker
Ben Atkinson
Subaru Impreza WRX N
2
3:21:07.0 +52.4
3
AP
Jarkko Miettinen
Mikko Markkula
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
3
3:21:37.4 +1:22.8
4
AP
Hiroshi Yanagisawa
Yoshimasa Nakahara
Subaru Impreza WRX N
4
3:24:30.0 +4:15.4
5
AP
Katsuhiko Taguchi
Mark Stacey
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
5
3:28:16.9 +8:02.3
6
AP
Rifat Sungkar
M Herkusuma
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
6
3:30:21.1 +10:06.5
7 Ricardo Gelael
Hervian Soejono
Subaru Impreza WRX N
7
3:36:37.6 +16:23.0
8
AP
Subhan Aksa
Hade Mboi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
8
3:49:26.4 +29:11.8
9 Rizal Sungkar
Anthony Sarwono
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
9
4:01:12.7 +40:58.1



Photo Library
 

(c) 2006 Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. All rights reserved.