MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 4: ACROPOLIS RALLY
3 JUNE 2007
LEG 3
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVERS SURVIVE HEAT AND INTENSE BATTLE TO TAKE TOP PLACES ON ACROPOLIS FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

ANDREAS AIGNER / KLAUS WICHA
 

MARK HIGGINS / SCOTT MARTIN
 

GABRIEL POZZO / MARIO STILLO
 
Andreas Aigner (Austria) guided his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX home to second position in the Production Car World Rally Championship after a stunning run back through the field, after suffering a punctured tire earlier in the event.

Aigner, who led the rally on the opening leg, before dropping back when he was forced to stop and change the deflated front-right tire on his Mitsubishi. At the end of the Agia Sotira test on Friday afternoon, Aigner was languishing in eighth position. Over the next two days, however, he turned in numerous fastest times to blast his way back through the field in one of the most incredible comeback drives, eventually placing his Lancer Evolution in second position.

"It has been a very tough rally," he admitted at the finish. "Everything was looking so good for us while we were in the front, but then it turned badly. It did the same for many of the drivers. My fellow Mitsubishi drivers, Mark Higgins (UK) and Juho Hanninen (Finland) could have won this rally in the same way that I could have won this rally, had we not had punctures. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I’m happy that I have some good points from this event."

Once again, the crews on this Athens-based event faced exceptionally tough conditions. Despite the earlier start, with leading crews leaving the service park at the Olympic Equestrian Centre south of the city centre at just after six o’clock this morning, the sun was soon beating down on the hard, dry and rough roads. The second stage of the day, Assopia, was among the twistiest and most technically demanding of the whole rally. There would be no let-up for the world’s fastest Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers until the end of the final superspecial stage, Hippodrome.

The morning provided more evidence of the pace of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, with fastest times on both of the stages. Martin Rauam (Estonia) was at the front of the Production Car WRC pace for the first time in his car on SS18, while Mark Higgins was quickest on the next test.

Unfortunately, SS18 wasn’t so kind to Hanninen. Having led early on and then held a comfortable second place, Hanninen suffered a puncture on the day’s opening stage. A rock, probably the same one which had caused the punctured tire, had also damaged the steering on his Lancer. He tried to change the wheel and fix the steering, but he was unable to complete the job, forcing him into retirement.

Higgins backed up Aigner’s presence in the leading positions with fourth. "What a day!" said Higgins. "Once again, it was really warm in the car, but this car has dealt with everything we have thrown at it again. It’s been phenomenally reliable and quick. I realize we could have won this event, but we dropped so much time earlier in the rally. This is a good result and we’ve taken some big points home with us."

Gabriel Pozzo (Argentina) and Simone Campedelli (Italy) also took Production Car WRC points in their Lancer Evolution IXs, finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

Ahead of the Group N Lancer Evolutions, Estonian driver Urmo Aava continued to level his learning curve aboard the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05. Aava (Estonia) emphasized that his sole aim on this rally was to gain more experience of the car ahead of his next World Rally Championship outing on the Rally Finland. Despite his measured approach, Aava still moved up to 14th overall.

"It’s been a good rally for me," said Aava. "Okay, it’s been tough, getting to know a World Rally Car when all I have known is the Junior car, but we have made it through. Now I have more of an idea about what driving these cars is about. It’s a fantastic car and the team have been very, very good. I’m looking forward to me next outing in the car in Estonia."

At the head of the field, Ford driver Marcus Gronholm (Finland) collected his second win in as many weeks, with Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb (France) second. Petter Solberg (Norway) collected the final podium place in his Subaru. And Toshi Arai won the PWRC category.

The next round of the Production Car World Rally Championship is Rally New Zealand (August 30-September 2).


 FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza 4:10:08.9 **:**.*
2 Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:13:07.3 +2:58.4
3 Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
Subaru Impreza 4:13:21.8 +3:12.9
4 Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:14:50.8 +4:41.9
5 Nasser Al-Attiyah
Chris Patterson
Subaru Impreza 4:14:59.2 +4:50.3
6 Takuma Kamada
Naoki Kase
Subaru Impreza 4:16:31.5 +6:22.6
7 Gabriel Pozzo
Daniel Stillo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:19:44.2 +9:35.3
8 Simone Campedelli
Danilo Fappani
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:20:51.3 +10:42.4
9 Evgeniy Vertunov
Georgy Troshkin
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 4:24:28.8 +14:19.9
10 Loris Baldacci
Silvio Stefanelli
Subaru Impreza 4:26:24.3 +16:15.4
11 Andrej Jereb
Miran Kacin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:28:38.3 +18:29.4
12 Amjad Farrah
Nicola Arena
Subaru Impreza 4:30:52.2 +20:43.3
13 Fabio Frisiero
Simone Scattolin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:31:00.2 +20:51.3
14 Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:38:01.2 +27:52.3


 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
1
3:49:22.6 **:**.*
2
M
Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroen C4 WRC A
2
3:50:01.0 +38.4
3
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
3
3:50:56.7 +1:34.1
4
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
4
3:52:03.9 +2:41.3
5
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
5
3:54:15.3 +4:52.7
6
M
Chris Atkinson
Glenn MacNeall
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
6
3:55:54.3 +6:31.7
7 Jan Kopecky
Filip Schovanek
Skoda Fabia WRC A
7
3:57:38.4 +8:15.8
8
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
Citroen Xsara WRC A
8
3:58:18.8 +8:56.2
9 Guy Wilks
Phil Pugh
Ford Focus RS WRC 05 A
9
3:59:15.8 +9:53.2
10 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
10
4:00:02.2 +10:39.6
11
MT
Luis Perez Companc
Jose Maria Volta
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
11
4:04:18.1 +14:55.5
12
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
12
4:04:25.3 +15:02.7
13 Aris Vovos
 El-Em
Subaru Impreza WRC A
13
4:04:35.7 +15:13.1
14 Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 A
14
4:09:43.1 +20:20.5
15
P
Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza N
1
4:10:08.9 +20:46.3
16
P
Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
2
4:13:07.3 +23:44.7
17
P
Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
Subaru Impreza N
3
4:13:21.8 +23:59.2
18
P
Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
4
4:14:50.8 +25:28.2
19
P
Nasser Al-Attiyah
Chris Patterson
Subaru Impreza N
5
4:14:59.2 +25:36.6
20 Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
6
4:16:06.7 +26:44.1
../
23
P
Gabriel Pozzo
Daniel Stillo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
9
4:19:44.2 +30:21.6
25
P
Simone Campedelli
Danilo Fappani
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
4:20:51.3 +31:28.7
28
P
Andrej Jereb
Miran Kacin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
13
4:28:38.3 +39:15.7
30
P
Fabio Frisiero
Simone Scattolin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
15
4:31:00.2 +41:37.6
34
P
Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
18
4:38:01.2 +48:38.6
35 Makarios Sourlis
Panayiotis Tomazos
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
19
4:44:09.6 +54:47.0
37 George Kantzavelos
Maria Stavropoulou
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII A
18
4:53:55.4 +1:04:32.8
41 Panayiotis Zissis
 Vas
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
20
5:10:00.9 +1:20:38.3
43 Pavlos Moshoutis
George Kairis
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
21
5:18:02.3 +1:28:39.7
44 Ioannis Plagos
Andreas Frangoulis
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
22
5:27:50.7 +1:38:28.1


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