MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 8: WALES RALLY GB
30 NOVEMBER 2007
LEG 1
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVERS ONE-TWO-THREE DESPITE DIFFICULT OPENING DAY IN WALES PWRC CLASSIFICATION
LEG 1 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

GUY WILKS / PHIL PUGH
 

GWYNDAF EVANS / HUW LEWIS
 

MARK HIGGINS / SCOTT MARTIN
 
Despite an exceptionally difficult opening day on the Wales Rally Great Britain, the final round of 2007 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers dominated proceedings to lock-out the early podium positions when the drivers completed leg one in Swansea this evening.

Guy Wilks (United Kingdom) led the event, moving ahead of Mark Higgins (United Kingdom) on the fourth stage of the day. Higgins dropped to third after suffering three punctures. Wilks’ team-mate Gwyndaf Evans (Unted Kingdom) ended Friday second.

The weather which greeted the crews on this final round of the Production Car World Rally Championship was as challenging as anything they had been confronted with this season. The first stage was shrouded in fog, with heavy rain replacing the mist for the second test and even worse rain through the afternoon. Despite the weather, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was the class of the field in Wales.

Wales Rally Great has greater significance than ever for many of the drivers, as the event is a qualifying round of the British Rally Championship as well as the global Group N series. The leading trio of Mitsubishis are all registered for both championships. Beyond the podium places, however, there was more domination from the Lancer Evolution – only two of the top eight places was held by any other car than a Mitsubishi.

Wilks was delighted with his performance through the day, saying: "I felt the differential setting was wrong on the car this morning, the handling didn’t feel right. We changed that at service and after that, everything has been great. We got past Mark Higgins and then pushed on in the middle stage. That last stage of the day was incredibly difficult. To make matters worse, our lamp pod fell off in the stage, meaning we did most of it with hardly any lights. The car has been perfect all day, though."

Evans was equally pleased with his second place, despite the weather. He said: "I’m from Wales, but I have never liked – and never will like – driving in the fog. It was horrible on the first and last stages today."

After losing his early lead in the Group N/Production and British Rally Championship standings, Higgins was disappointed: "Getting three punctures in six stages means this isn’t going to be my day," he said. "It’s been really hard work. We ended stage five with two flat tires. Terrible. And then that last stage – that was one of the worst of my career for the conditions. Incredible!"

There was bad news for Gabriel Pozzo (Argentina). His chances of lifting this year’s Production Car title took a knock when he retired from the opening leg of the event, having gone off the road and damaged the suspension on his Lancer Evolution in stage five. Only a win would have been enough for Pozzo to win this year’s title and the South American was understandably disappointed at his problem on the second run through stage five, Resolfen.

"It was always going to be very difficult to win the championship," he said. "But the weather and the conditions have been so tough here. Okay, we have some fog in Argentina, but the difficulty for me has been to get the notes right. In the fog, when you can’t see where you are going, it is really hard. When we drive in the recce, there was no fog. So you are able to see there is a jump here or something in the road there, but then on the rally it is impossible to see this. This rally has been a very difficult challenge for me in my first time here."

Alessandro Bettega (Italy) was fifth in the Production standings, with Armindo Araujo (Portugal) and Andreas Aigner (Austria) seventh and eighth respectively.

Tomorrow’s six forest stages are likely to be just as challenging as today. The rally heads north out of Swansea to the run over the unforgiving Epynt military ranges. After the afternoon run through Crychan, Epynt and Halfway, the drivers turn east to return to Cardiff for the superspecial stage in the Millennium stadium.

Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) leads the event at the end of the opening leg, with Marcus Gronholm (Ford, Finland) in second place, while Sebastien Loeb (France) claims an overnight third.


 PWRC CLASSIFICATION AFTER LEG 1
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Guy Wilks
Phil Pugh
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:27:18.8 **:**.*
2 Gwyndaf Evans
Huw Lewis
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:27:22.0 +3.2
3 Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:28:16.7 +57.9
4 Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:28:17.9 +59.1
5 David Higgins
Leuan Thomas
GB
GB
Subaru Impreza 1:29:36.1 +2:17.3
6 Alessandro Bettega
Simone Scattolin
I
I
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:29:46.9 +2:28.1
7 Patrik Flodin
Maria Andersson
S
S
Subaru Impreza 1:30:00.9 +2:42.1
8 Armindo Araujo
Miguel Ramalho
P
P
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:30:50.8 +3:32.0
9 Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
A
D
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:30:51.6 +3:32.8
10 Stuart Jones
Andy Bull
GB
GB
MG S2000 Sport 1:31:39.9 +4:21.1
11 Evgeniy Vertunov
Georgy Troshkin
RUS
RUS
Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 1:33:04.9 +5:46.1
12 Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
RSM
I
Subaru Impreza 1:33:36.1 +6:17.3
13 Leszek Kuzaj
Craig Parry
POL
GB
Subaru Impreza 1:34:47.9 +7:29.1
14 Stepan Vojtech
Michal Ernst
CZ
CZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:35:30.4 +8:11.6
15 Travis Pastrana
Bjorn Edstrom
USA
USA
Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 1:35:44.8 +8:26.0
16 Michal Solowow
Maciek Baran
POL
POL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:38:16.4 +10:57.6
17 Gabriel Pozzo
Mario Stillo
RA
RA
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:38:17.4 +10:58.6
18 Spyros Pavlides
Denis Giraudet
CYP
F
Subaru Impreza WRX Sti 1:44:43.9 +17:25.1
19 Claudiu David
Mihaela Beldie
ROU
ROU
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:44:48.4 +17:29.6
20 Loris Baldacci
Rudy Pollet
RSM
I
Subaru Impreza 1:46:31.8 +19:13.0
21 Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
EE
EE
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:46:46.4 +19:27.6
22 Hayden Paddon
John Kennard
NZ
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 1:52:57.3 +25:38.5


 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
FIN
FIN
Ford Focus RS WRC 07 A
1
1:17:21.3 **:**.*
2
M
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
FIN
FIN
Ford Focus RS WRC 07 A
2
1:18:00.9 +39.6
3
M
Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
F
MC
Citroen C4 WRC A
3
1:18:19.2 +57.9
4
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
N
GB
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
4
1:18:55.3 +1:34.0
5
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
Citroen C4 WRC A
5
1:19:59.2 +2:37.9
6 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
GB
GB
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
6
1:22:22.6 +5:01.3
7
M
Chris Atkinson
Stephane Prevot
AUS
B
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
7
1:22:23.6 +5:02.3
8
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
A
A
Citroen Xsara WRC A
8
1:22:59.2 +5:37.9
9 Xavier Pons
Xavier Amigo
E
E
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
9
1:23:18.8 +5:57.5
10 Andreas Mikkelsen
Ola Floene
N
N
Ford Focus RS WRC A
10
1:24:03.1 +6:41.8
11 Jan Kopecky
Filip Schovanek
CZ
CZ
Skoda Fabia WRC A
11
1:25:00.7 +7:39.4
12 Mads Ostberg
Ole Kristian Unnerud
N
N
Subaru Impreza WRC A
12
1:25:32.7 +8:11.4
13
P
Guy Wilks
Phil Pugh
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
1
1:27:18.8 +9:57.5
14
P
Gwyndaf Evans
Huw Lewis
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
2
1:27:22.0 +10:00.7
15
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
FIN
FIN
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
13
1:28:07.6 +10:46.3
16
P
Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
3
1:28:16.7 +10:55.4
17
P
Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
4
1:28:17.9 +10:56.6
18
MT
Luis Perez Companc
Jose Maria Volta
RA
RA
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
14
1:28:29.5 +11:08.2
19
P
David Higgins
Leuan Thomas
GB
GB
Subaru Impreza N
5
1:29:36.1 +12:14.8
20
P
Alessandro Bettega
Simone Scattolin
I
I
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
6
1:29:46.9 +12:25.6
../
23
P
Armindo Araujo
Miguel Ramalho
P
P
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
9
1:30:50.8 +13:29.5
24
P
Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
A
D
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
1:30:51.6 +13:30.3
26 Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
CZ
CZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
12
1:32:05.7 +14:44.4
34
P
Stepan Vojtech
Michal Ernst
CZ
CZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
18
1:35:30.4 +18:09.1
40
P
Michal Solowow
Maciek Baran
POL
POL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
22
1:38:16.4 +20:55.1
41
P
Gabriel Pozzo
Mario Stillo
RA
RA
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
23
1:38:17.4 +20:56.1
42 Jonathan Greer
Jonny Hart
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
24
1:38:56.5 +21:35.2
43 Gavin Cox
Tim Hobbs
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
25
1:39:33.2 +22:11.9
46 Peter Van Merksteijn Jr
Eddy Chevaillier
NL
B
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
27
1:40:33.5 +23:12.2
48 Subhan Aksa
Hendrik Mboi
RI
RI
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
29
1:42:00.4 +24:39.1
50 Wout Hazeleger
Bert Bloemendaal
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
31
1:44:01.9 +26:40.6
52
P
Claudiu David
Mihaela Beldie
ROU
ROU
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
33
1:44:48.4 +27:27.1
53 Hans Weijs jr
Hans Van Goor
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
34
1:44:49.7 +27:28.4
62
P
Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
EE
EE
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
40
1:46:46.4 +29:25.1
65 Peter Stephenson
I Windress
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
43
1:49:55.0 +32:33.7
68
P
Hayden Paddon
John Kennard
NZ
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
45
1:52:57.3 +35:36.0
69 Brian Green
Fleur Pedersen
NZ
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
46
1:53:03.2 +35:41.9
70 Reijo Muhonen
Jorma Kopsa
FIN
FIN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
47
1:53:19.5 +35:58.2
71 Stephen Petch
Michael Wilkinson
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
48
1:54:22.5 +37:01.2
83 Rob Gill
Neil Dashfield
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
56
1:59:58.8 +42:37.5
85 Jaap Sinke
Pascal Meijs
NL
NL
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V N
58
2:00:46.5 +43:25.2
88 Miles Johnston
Ian Bevan
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
60
2:01:23.5 +44:02.2
90 David Meredith
David Roberts
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
62
2:03:39.6 +46:18.3
93 Mandy Bowman
Kenneth Bowman
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V N
63
2:04:18.3 +46:57.0
104 Hugh Evans
Iestyn Williams
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
71
2:12:29.6 +55:08.3
105 Wayne Radford
Paul Drew
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
72
2:14:41.9 +57:20.6


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