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FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 5: RALLY JAPAN
NUTAHARA WINS AS MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION TAKES ONE-TWO-THREE ON RALLY JAPAN  
3 SEPTEMBER 2006 FINAL LEG 3 RELEASE
 
PWRC FINAL RESULTS
OVERALL FINAL RESULTS

Fumio Nutahara / Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
 

Fumio Nutahara / Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
 

Fumio Nutahara / Daniel Barritt
Gabriel Pozzo / Daniel Stillo
Marcos Ligato / Ruben Garcia
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
 

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
Rally Japan
 
Fumio Nutahara celebrated his second win in this year’s FIA Production Car World Rally Championship and scoring his first point in the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers in Obihiro, Japan this evening. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver didn’t put a foot wrong for the entirety of this tricky fifth round of the 2006 Production car World Championship, crossing the finish line of the final stage with 27.4 seconds in hand over fellow Mitsubishi driver Gabriel Pozzo.

Rally Japan was a highly successful event for Mitsubishi, with the Lancer Evolutions locking out the podium places, with Pozzo’s fellow Tango Rally Team driver Marcos Ligato finishing third. Nutahara, and British co-driver Daniel Barritt, had been at the sharp end of Rally Japan for all three days. The pair, who also won the PWRC element in Monte Carlo, dropped out of the lead on leg one when they suffered three punctures. Nutahara’s home win moves him into second position in the championship.

The winner said: "Being Japanese, this victory is very important for me. It was a very good rally. I have to admit, after the three punctures on the first day, I didn’t know what was possible for me I wasn’t sure about winning. Jari-Matti Latvala in his Subaru was driving very well and fast. I had to think about the championship and I didn’t want to risk the points. I was happy on the roads today, they were very good. The road was running near a river, which meant it was on some strong surfaces. It’s not so nice for Jari-Matti Latvala to crash, but it’s good for us and for the championship especially as we have three rallies to score on and he only has two."

There was a tremendous fight between the two Tango Rally Team Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions for the runners-up spot behind Nutahara. Pozzo held the position at the start of a final day, which included six stages in cloudy conditions, but came under intense pressure from countryman and team-mate Ligato. The latter raced through the first two stages of the leg, faster than any of the other Group N drivers, only to suffer a puncture when he had just taken the gap between himself and Pozzo to less than 20 seconds.

The disappointed Ligato, who ended the rally in third place, said: "It was seven kilometers into the Penke test. I turned into a left-hand corner and felt the car start to spin. I knew the right-rear tyre was going down. I don’t remember hitting anything. I think we actually lost more time with the spin than with the puncture. It was in a really narrow place, which meant we had to do a lot of reversing to get the car in the right direction again. This has been a disappointing rally for me, because I wanted to win. Then again, it’s been good to get three Tango Rally Team cars on the podium and today the Mitsubishi has been great: no problems at all."

Pozzo was equally pleased with his and the team’s position. The second-placed driver said: "The stages have been nice today, but at the same time there has been a lot of water in some areas, which has made things difficult. Coming out of the corners is where we have had to be very careful, it’s easy to get on the power, let the car slide and then hit something in the outside of the corner. We have avoided that and scored good points here in Japan."

Another Mitsubishi driver, Stefano Marrini finished sixth with San Marino man Mirco Baldacci seventh. That result drops Baldacci from second to third in the Production World Rally Championship standings, after a difficult rally in Japan. He reported no problems on the final day and made it to the finish to collect two more valuable points in his challenge for this year’s title.

Frenchman Sebastien Loeb made history on Rally Japan. His 27th outright victory is now the most scored by any one driver, with the Citroen man eclipsing the 26 Carlos Sainz achieved. Loeb just edged out Ford’s Marcus Gronholm in a tense final day, with Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) third.


 PWRC FINAL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Fumio Nutahara
Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:45:17.8 **:**.*
2 Gabriel Pozzo
Daniel Stillo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:45:45.2 +27.4
3 Marcos Ligato
Ruben Garcia
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:46:19.0 +1:01.2
4 Aki Teiskonen
Miika Teiskonen
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 3:49:20.4 +4:02.6
5 Leszek Kuzaj
Maciek Szczepaniak
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 3:56:37.7 +11:19.9
6 Stefano Marrini
Tiziana Sandroni
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII 4:19:56.1 +34:38.3
7 Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:24:14.7 +38:56.9
8 Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 5:04:49.4 +1:19:31.6
9 Sebastian Beltran
Ricardo Rojas
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 5:30:01.7 +1:44:43.9


 OVERALL FINAL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M1
Sebastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroen Xsara WRC A
1
3:22:20.4 **:**.*
2
M1
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
2
3:22:26.0 +5.6
3
M1
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
3
3:25:06.9 +2:46.5
4
M1
Chris Atkinson
Glenn Macneall
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
4
3:28:28.2 +6:07.8
5 Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
Peugeot 307 WRC A
5
3:29:31.1 +7:10.7
6 Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
6
3:31:25.5 +9:05.1
7
M1
Petter Solberg
Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
7
3:34:04.1 +11:43.7
8
P
Fumio Nutahara
Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
1
3:45:17.8 +22:57.4
9
P
Gabriel Pozzo
Daniel Stillo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
2
3:45:45.2 +23:24.8
10
P
Marcos Ligato
Ruben Garcia
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
3
3:46:19.0 +23:58.6
11
M2
Luis Perez Companc
Jose Maria Volta
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
8
3:47:41.3 +25:20.9
12 Hiroshi Yanagisawa
Tadashi Misaizu
Subaru Impreza WRX STI N
4
3:48:00.9 +25:40.5
13
P
Aki Teiskonen
Miika Teiskonen
Subaru Impreza WRX STI N
5
3:49:20.4 +27:00.0
14 Dean Herridge
William Hayes
Subaru Impreza WRX STI N
6
3:51:33.4 +29:13.0
15 Seisuke Ohba
Hiroko Takahashi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
7
3:55:49.6 +33:29.2
16 Osamu Fukunaga
Hisatsugu Okumura
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
8
3:56:24.7 +34:04.3
17
P
Leszek Kuzaj
Maciek Szczepaniak
Subaru Impreza WRX STI N
9
3:56:37.7 +34:17.3
18 Haruo Oshima
Tatsuya Ideue
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
3:59:21.2 +37:00.8
19 Kazuhiro Kitamura
Mitsuhiko Hiruta
Subaru Impreza WRX STI N
11
4:01:07.4 +38:47.0
20 Masayuki Ishida
Sadatoshi Andou
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
12
4:02:27.6 +40:07.2
../
21 Atushi Masumura
Kouji Watanabe
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
13
4:03:00.4 +40:40.0
22 Hiromichi Niwa
Teruaki Yasue
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
14
4:03:13.9 +40:53.5
23 Shinsuke Arai
Hiroyuki Sakaki
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
15
4:03:48.1 +41:27.7
24 Shinya Yamauchi
Kouhei Kusaka
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
16
4:04:49.4 +42:29.0
25 Gento Nagayoshi
Tatsuro Yoshimochi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
17
4:05:05.3 +42:44.9
26 Hisatoshi Yoshitani
Kenji Yamakita
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
18
4:05:32.9 +43:12.5
28 Hideaki Miyoshi
Satoshi Hayashi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
20
4:07:11.5 +44:51.1
30 Keisuke Amou
Hideki Takeyabu
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
22
4:08:45.7 +46:25.3
31 Yukihiro Kudo
Sanae Otsuka
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
23
4:12:04.0 +49:43.6
32 Daisuke Yamada
Takumi Takahashi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
24
4:12:15.7 +49:55.3
33 Dosskoi Mizuno
Naoko Satake
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
25
4:13:34.6 +51:14.2
34 Seiichiro Taguchi
Sachiko Hirota
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
26
4:13:36.2 +51:15.8
35 Yuji Nakata
Masayoshi Kikuchi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
27
4:14:37.6 +52:17.2
36 Kyosuke Kamata
Chieko Kamata
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
28
4:15:50.1 +53:29.7
39 Aritoshi Mitsukuri
Michiko hasegawa
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
30
4:18:40.7 +56:20.3
41 Koji Baba
Mitsuhiro Onaya
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
31
4:19:52.3 +57:31.9
42
P
Stefano Marrini
Tiziana Sandroni
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
32
4:19:56.1 +57:35.7
43 Yozo Watanabe
Shigeru Ikeda
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
33
4:19:58.8 +57:38.4
46
P
Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
35
4:24:14.7 +1:01:54.3
47 Tatsuru Saito
Akira Endo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
36
4:25:00.7 +1:02:40.3
49 Tamotsu Minamino
Paulanthony Santo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
38
4:25:36.1 +1:03:15.7
50 Yoshikazu Mitani
Masakazu Arai
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
39
4:26:08.6 +1:03:48.2
53 Eiichi Iwashita
Akihiko Takahashi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
42
4:31:08.6 +1:08:48.2
56 Yukihiro Taguchi
Tadayoshi Sato
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
45
4:33:58.5 +1:11:38.1
61 Mitsuhiro Aoki
Fumika Aoki
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
49
4:37:39.0 +1:15:18.6
62 Hideaki Namba
Takashi Sekiguchi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
50
4:39:03.8 +1:16:43.4
63 Ryuji Horikawa
Tsuyoshi Kajiyama
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
51
4:39:27.6 +1:17:07.2
70 Mitsugu Nakamura
Yoshitaka Fujishima
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
55
5:10:25.8 +1:48:05.4
72 Masamichi Fukumoto
Hideki Umeno
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
56
5:12:36.8 +1:50:16.4
75
P
Sebastian Beltran
Ricardo Rojas
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
59
5:30:01.7 +2:07:41.3
76 Yoko Fukuzawa
Takako Akaba
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
60
5:39:34.1 +2:17:13.7



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