MITSUBISHI MOTORS

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Report
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 7: RALLY D'ITALIA SARDEGNA
20 MAY 2007
LEG 3
MITSUBISHI LANCER DRIVERS ON TOP FORM TO TAKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS IN ITALY FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

TONI GARDEMEISTER / JAKKE HONKANEN
 

JUHO HANNINEN / MIKKO MARKKULA
 

SIMONE CAMPEDELLI / DANILO FAPPANI
 
Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 drivers Toni Gardemeister and Juho Haninen, both from Finland, took points from last week’s Rally d’Italia-Sardegna after their perfect driving was matched by a trouble-free performance from the Lancers. In the Sardinian sunshine, Gardemeister celebrated sixth overall, with his younger countryman, Hanninen and Markkula, two places back in eighth. In Groupe N, Simone Campedelli and Danilo Fappani (both from Italia) finished 2nd in his groupe.

Gardemeister was delighted with his position as the leading private driver behind the manufacturer entries. The Finn reported no technical problems with his Lancer WRC05 throughout the event, and made the most of his Mitsubishi power to move up the overall leaderboard on the second leg stages, which he preferred.

Based in Olbia, the start and finish of the rally took place further south in the stunning port town of Porto Cervo. Between their visits to see the rich and famous in Porto Cervo, the drivers faced 18 difficult and rocky stages – all run beneath glorious sunshing and in baking temperatures. The event organizers had made numerous changes to the rally route, with more than half of this year’s roads new to the WRC drivers.

Gardemeister’s rally started well, with a top-10 time on the opening stage. One test later, and he was in to a points-scoring position. By the end of the event, he had improved to sixth. "On the first day, I had a spin on the third stage. I dropped about 20 seconds because of that. Then I nearly hit a wall. After that, I was driving a bit calmer! The next day went well and we made some more good times and when the final leg came, I just wanted to make sure that I got the finish without any problems. I didn’t push hard, but the roads were fantastic today as well."

Hanninen’s hopes of challenging for more than just one point were dashed on the opening leg of the event, when his co-driver Mikko Markkula suffered a bout of sickness. Markkula’s condition was so bad, he was hospitalized on Friday evening, before being allowed back into the car for the start of leg two.

Hanninen said: "It was very tough to concentrate on the roads on Friday. I was very worried about Mikko, he looked terrible. He was reading the notes, but all of the time that was making him sick. On the last stage on leg one, I told him not to read the notes at all, so I drove the stage blind. I thought we were going to have to stop, but he seemed better after a couple of stages on Saturday. Mikko’s troubles aside, the event was good for me. It’s always fantastic to drive the World Rally Car and particularly on these stages. After our problems for the first half of the event, to come away from the rally with a championship point is very good."

Simone Campedelli and Danilo Fappani (both from Italy) led Group N for much of the event in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Campedelli drove well to build up a solid lead over his nearest rival in the showroom category, but lost it all on the second run through the Monte Lerno test (SS11) on Saturday afternoon. A puncture and damaged suspension spelt the end of his hopes of clinching Group N victory on his home round of the World Rally Championship.

"I had to stop and change the front-left tyre," said Campedelli. "We were only three kilometers into the stage, there was no way we could finish it. I dropped two minutes. Then on the next stage, I hit a rock and broke the suspension, we dropped two and a half minutes. Of course, this is very disappointing, but we showed that we had the pace to win this event – and the Mitsubishi was running very well, with no problems at all."

Marcus Gronholm (Finland) won the event outright, making the most of Sebastien Loeb’s (France) accident on SS13, which left the Citroen driver off the road. Gronholm’s Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) was second, with Spaniard Dani Sordo third in another Citroen.

The next round of the World Rally Championship (and Production WRC) is the Acropolis Rally, June 1-3.



 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
3:48:42.0 **:**.*
2
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
2
3:49:11.2 +29.2
3
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
Citroen C4 WRC A
3
3:50:03.8 +1:21.8
4
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
4
3:50:18.6 +1:36.6
5
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
5
3:51:16.2 +2:34.2
6 Toni Gardemeister
Jakke Honkanen
Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 A
6
3:53:44.1 +5:02.1
7
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
Citroen Xsara WRC A
7
3:54:10.6 +5:28.6
8 Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 A
8
3:58:13.7 +9:31.7
9
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
9
4:00:09.7 +11:27.7
10
M
Chris Atkinson
Glenn MacNeall
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
10
4:05:01.4 +16:19.4
11
MT
Federico Villagra
Jorge Perez Companc
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
11
4:05:47.1 +17:05.1
12 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
12
4:12:07.1 +23:25.1
13
J
Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
13
4:15:03.9 +26:21.9
14
J
Per Gunnar Andersson
Jonas Andersson
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
14
4:16:13.3 +27:31.3
15 Giovanni Manfrinato
Carlo Pisano
Subaru Impreza N
1
4:20:15.1 +31:33.1
16
J
Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
Citroen C2 A
15
4:21:26.7 +32:44.7
17 Simone Campedelli
Danilo Fappani
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
2
4:21:27.5 +32:45.5
18
J
Aaron Burkart
Michael Koelbach
Citroen C2 A
16
4:24:13.8 +35:31.8
19
J
Jan Molder
Katrin Becker
Suzuki Swift S1600 A
17
4:24:44.2 +36:02.2
20 Bruno Bentivogli
Andrea Cecchi
Subaru Impreza N
3
4:25:42.4 +37:00.4
../
23 Moreno Cenedese
Marika Rossetto
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
6
4:27:42.8 +39:00.8
26 Giuseppe Dettori
Marco Corda
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
8
4:34:39.7 +45:57.7
27 Hans Weijs
Hans Van Goor
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
9
4:34:44.2 +46:02.2
36 Francesco Marrone
Massimo Piga
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
14
4:41:39.7 +52:57.7
40 Michael Kahlfuss
Ronald Bauer
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
18
4:44:54.8 +56:12.8
42 Tomaso Pileri
Maurizio Pili
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
20
4:48:43.2 +1:00:01.2
55 Ezio Pitalis
Massimiliano Crabuzza
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
27
5:04:34.4 +1:15:52.4
59 Jasper Vd Henwel
Martine Kolman
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
30
5:12:20.0 +1:23:38.0
66 Riccardo Errani
Stefano Casadio
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
36
5:41:10.3 +1:52:28.3


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