MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 12: RALLYE DE ESPANA
7 OCTOBER 2007
LEG 3
 
MITSUBISHI LANCER DRIVERS DOMINATE GROUP N RESULTS IN CATALUNYA FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

ANDREAS AIGNER / KLAUS WICHA
 

JUHO HANNINEN / MIKKO MARKKULA
 

EYVIND BRYNILDSEN / DENIS GIRAUDET
 
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Andreas Aigner (Austria) turned in a controlled and dominant performance to win Group N on the Catalunya Rally, which ended in Salou, Spain this afternoon. In an exceptional demonstration of the Mitsubishi’s speed and reliability, nine of the top 10 finishers in the Production car class were Lancer Evolutions.

Aigner was never troubled as he set a blistering pace on the ultra fast, wide roads which thread their way through the stunning Tarragona hills in the north-eastern corner of the country. It was only Aigner’s fellow Mitsubishi drivers who were able to live with his pace throughout the event, but even they struggled to catch their breath as Aigner romped away to extend a lead of more than one minute with fastest time on the first five stages of the rally.

It was only when the rain replaced the bright sunshine for the sixth and final test of the opening day that he was beaten, with fellow Mitsubishi man Juho Hanninen (Finland) quickest on that test.

After two further days filled with fastest times, it was a jubilant Aigner who crossed the line this afternoon. “It’s been a fantastic rally,” he said. “I wanted to push hard to see what we could do at the start, but the times were coming without any problems. The rain at the end of Friday was tough, but with a big lead, there was no need for me to take any risks. After that, it was about controlling the pace from the front. We had a lot of gravel on the road on Saturday, there were quite a few big rocks which had been pulled out into the road by the cars ahead. I think our tire was too hard on the first loop on Saturday as well, it was difficult where we found some damp patches, but in the end it was a great result for me and for Mitsubishi. The car didn’t miss a beat throughout the event. It was great.”

Following overnight rain, there were damp patches to catch out the unwary on the early stages in legs one and two, but the mainstay of the action was played out in sunny conditions, with temperatures in the mid-20s. Catalunya is always one of the most popular rounds of the season with spectators and this year was no different. The rally-mad fans stood aside the asphalt stages in their tens of thousands, with many of them holding flags and banners bearing the name of Colin McRae, the Scottish driver who was killed three weeks ago. All of the cars competing on this event also carried a tribute to the 1995 world champion.

Behind the super-dominant Aigner, Hanninen was pleased with his second place in the Production car category. Like his rival ahead, the Finn’s locally hired Mitsubishi Lancer ran without fault for the duration of the event, allowing him to add to his season-long tally of scratch times. The thing which particularly please Hanninen, however, was the fact that this was his first ever asphalt rally.

“I did a test on the Monday before this event,” said Hanninen, “and that was the first time I had ever driven on slick racing tires and with the car set-up like this. I really didn’t know what to expect. The car handles so differently from the gravel, everything was quite a new sensation for me – and one where I had to make a change of my driving style, not being so aggressive with the tires. Remembering that, I am happy with the times I was able to set here. It’s been a nice rally, I have enjoyed it very much. It was quite tough when the road was wet, but it was good for me to experience this kind of condition as well.”

Unfortunately Hanninen was excluded from the final classification of the event as the body of his locally rented car, did not meet the Group N specification.

There was another asphalt novice in third place, where Eyvind Brynildsen (Norway) ensured Mitsubishi took all of the podium places on this event. Brynildsen’s event was without fault. He said: “It’s been good for me, the car has run well and it’s been another good chance to have Denis Giraudet (France) reading my pace notes for me. I have to say, having a professional like Denis alongside is very good for me. Thinking about how much asphalt Andreas has done ahead of me, I’m quite pleased with my performance.”

Sebastien Loeb (France) won the event outright in his Citroen C4 WRC, with team-mate Dani Sordo (Citroen) in the runners-up spot. World Rally Championship leader Marcus Gronholm was third for Ford.

The next round of the World Rally Championship is this week’s Tour de Corse, which starts from Ajaccio on Thursday (October 11) and finishes on Sunday (October 14).



 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
F
MC
Citroen C4 WRC A
1
3:22:50.5 **:**.*
2
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
Citroen C4 WRC A
2
3:23:04.3 +13.8
3
M
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
FIN
FIN
Ford Focus RS WRC 07 A
3
3:23:30.3 +39.8
4
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
FIN
FIN
Ford Focus RS WRC 07 A
4
3:24:16.3 +1:25.8
5
MT
Francois Duval
Patrick Pivato
B
F
Citroen Xsara WRC A
5
3:25:19.2 +2:28.7
6
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
N
GB
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
6
3:25:44.5 +2:54.0
7
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
FIN
FIN
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
7
3:26:28.7 +3:38.2
8
M
Chris Atkinson
Stephane Prevot
AUS
B
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
8
3:27:12.9 +4:22.4
9 Xavier Pons
Xavier Amigo
E
E
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
9
3:27:54.6 +5:04.1
10
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
N
N
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
10
3:33:22.7 +10:32.2
11 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
GB
GB
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
11
3:35:30.1 +12:39.6
12 Thomas Schie
Goran Bergsten
N
S
Ford Focus RS WRC A
12
3:37:45.7 +14:55.2
13
MT
Federico Villagra
Jorge Perez Companc
RA
RA
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
13
3:39:26.7 +16:36.2
14 Khalid Al Qassimi
Nicky Beech
UAE
GB
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
14
3:41:16.9 +18:26.4
15
J
Per Gunnar Andersson
Jonas Andersson
S
S
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
15
3:44:24.5 +21:34.0
16 Eamonn Boland
Francis Regan
IRL
GB
Ford Focus WRC A
16
3:44:47.6 +21:57.1
17
J
Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
CZ
CZ
Citroen C2 A
17
3:44:58.4 +22:07.9
18
J
Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
EE
EE
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
18
3:45:04.4 +22:13.9
19 Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
A
D
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
1
3:45:30.1 +22:39.6
20 Dani Sola
Carlos Del Barrio
E
E
Honda Civic type R A
19
3:47:32.0 +24:41.5
../
24 Eyvind Brynildsen
Denis Giraudet
N
F
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
2
3:50:39.0 +27:48.5
27 Rui Madeira
Nuno Da Silva
P
P
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
3
3:53:30.7 +30:40.2
31 Hans Weijs
Hans Van Goor
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
4
3:56:33.1 +33:42.6
34 Joan Font
Manel Munoz
E
E
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
5
3:57:59.9 +35:09.4
36 Javier Paz
Jose Seoane
E
E
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
6
3:58:02.0 +35:11.5
39 Alvaro Muniz
Cesar Blanco
E
E
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
8
4:00:07.8 +37:17.3
42 Pedro Font
Xavier Lozano
E
E
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
9
4:04:09.2 +41:18.7
54 Gert Van Den Heuvel
Bert Van Bloemendaal
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
14
4:21:47.1 +58:56.6
56 Michael Eckhaus
Wietske Van Der Koogh
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
15
4:24:05.1 +1:01:14.6
61 Peter Van Merksteijn
Eddy Chevalier
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
19
4:36:19.6 +1:13:29.1
62 Jasper Van Den Heuvel
Martine Kolman
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
20
4:37:36.6 +1:14:46.1
65 Massimo Ferronato
Francesco Cozzula
I
I
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
22
5:13:16.4 +1:50:25.9


TOP
MOTOR SPORTS