MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 6: RALLY JAPAN
28 OCTOBER 2007
LEG 3
GLORIOUS RALLY JAPAN FOR MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVERS WHO CLINCH PRODUCTION AND GROUP N WINS PWRC CLASSIFICATION
FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY
 

GABRIEL POZZO / MARIO STILLO
 

MASAYUKI ISHIDA / KEIJI SEITA
 

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION X - GROUP N
 
Gabriel Pozzo (Argentina) completed a confident victory on last week’s Rally Japan in Obihiro this afternoon. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver’s success keeps him in the thick of the fight for this year’s Production Car World Rally Championship title. Beyond the South American’s win, there was a further demonstration of the performance of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX with the exceptional drive of Katsuhiko Taguchi, who finished eighth overall to win the Group N category and claim the final point in the overall FIA World Rally Championship.

Starting the day with almost two minutes in hand over his nearest Production Car WRC rival, Pozzo was determined not to take any chances over the final seven stages of the rally. The conditions helped him, with the rain which had fallen earlier in the weekend being replaced by sunshine for the final leg. Despite the return to dry weather, however, there were still damp patches lurking beneath the trees in the twisty and technical forest roads north of Obihiro.

Pozzo’s only trouble on the final day was getting his tire selection right. "It’s been good today," he said at the finish. "We got our decision on which tires to allocate for this rally right. That was very important, when the surface and grip level is changing as much as it was on this event, you need to be confident in the tire. I am also really happy for the whole of the Tango Rally Team. We have built this team in the last year and a half and to come to Japan and win for Mitsubishi is a very important result. I am very happy. I’m not going to think about the championship now, though. I am going to focus on winning each of the two rallies, that’s all I can do. Having not won a round of the championship since 2004, it’s just nice for me to be in the position to do this again."

There was more than just his 10 Production Car WRC points to celebrate, as Pozzo also claimed a top 10 position in the overall World Rally Championship standings. He ended the event one place behind Taguchi, who tok his first ever WRC class win. Taguchi’s approach to the final day on Hokkaido was similar to that of Pozzo, with the Japanese driver unwilling to risk his result by driving flat out. He did, however, manage to set the fastest time on the first stage of the day. Taguchi said: "I pushed a little bit this morning, just to make sure of my pace. I wanted to have a look and see what [Gabriel] Pozzo was doing. When I saw that he was watching the PWRC runners behind him, then I was happy to lift off and get to the finish. In a way, I am quite sad this was the way we had to drive today. The roads, particularly in Panke Nikorpet and Penke – where the surface was harder, were very good. They would have been great stages to race on. Nevermind, I don’t mind so much, because I have achieved this result – which is incredible for me, my co-driver Mark Stacey (Australia) and all of the people in my team, the corporate sponsors and everybody in Mitsubshi. The car was perfect and we had no punctures. A great rally!"

The final leg offered another positive demonstration of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s ability on the dirt, with the showroom car only being beaten on one out of seven stage.

Masayuki Ishida (Japan) ensured the Lancer Evolution took three out of the top three places in Group N on this most testing of rallies. Ishida, like his compatriots, enjoyed a trouble-free run. Further down the leaderboard, Mark Higgins (Great Britain) collected fifth position, despite driving with a fractured collarbone after crashing his motorbike prior to the event. Higgins is the only driver other than Pozzo and Toshi Arai (Japan) who can win the Production title this year.

"I’m very happy to take this fight to the final round," said Higgins. "It’s been a really tough rally for me – with my shoulder giving me a lot of pain. One of the important things has been how easy the Mitsubishi has been to drive with my injury."

Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) collected his third World Rally Championship victory, with Spain’s Dani Sordo (Citroen) second and Henning Solberg (Norway) third in his Ford.

The next round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship is Rally Ireland (November 15-18).


 FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Gabriel Pozzo
Daniel Stillo
RA
RA
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:45:50.6 **:**.*
2 Leszek Kuzaj
Craig Parry
POL
GB
Subaru Impreza 3:48:30.7 +2:40.1
3 Takuma Kamada
Naoki Kase
J
J
Subaru Impreza WRX 3:48:39.0 +2:48.4
4 Evgeniy Vertunov
Georgy Troshkin
RUS
RUS
Subaru Impreza WRX 3:50:41.7 +4:51.1
5 Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:51:23.3 +5:32.7
6 Patrik Flodin
Maria Andersson
S
S
Subaru Impreza 3:58:39.6 +12:49.0
7 Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:03:12.4 +17:21.8
8 Yoshio Ikemachi
Sadatoshi Ando
J
J
Subaru Impreza WRX 4:03:48.7 +17:58.1
9 Amjad Farrah
Nicola Arena
HKJ
I
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:05:23.4 +19:32.8
10 Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
J
NZ
Subaru Impreza 4:08:03.3 +22:12.7
11 Claudio Stefan David
Mihaela Eva Beldie
RO
RO
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:10:52.6 +25:02.0
12 Spyros Pavlides
Denis Giraudet
CYP
F
Subaru Impreza 4:15:52.3 +30:01.7
13 Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
EE
EE
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:30:05.2 +44:14.6


 FINAL 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
3:23:57.6 **:**.*
2
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
Citroen C4 WRC A
2
3:24:35.0 +37.4
3
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
N
N
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
3
3:28:31.3 +4:33.7
4 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
GB
GB
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
4
3:30:35.5 +6:37.9
5
MT
Luis Perez Companc
Jose Maria Volta
RA
RA
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
5
3:30:38.0 +6:40.4
6
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
A
A
Citroen Xsara WRC A
6
3:31:01.9 +7:04.3
7
MT
Federico Villagra
Jorge Perez Companc
RA
RA
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
7
3:35:12.9 +11:15.3
8 Katsuhiko Taguchi
Mark Stacey
J
AUS
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
1
3:44:37.7 +20:40.1
9
P
Gabriel Pozzo
Daniel Stillo
RA
RA
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
2
3:45:50.6 +21:53.0
10 Masayuki Ishida
Keiji Seita
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
3
3:48:30.0 +24:32.4
11
P
Leszek Kuzaj
Craig Parry
POL
GB
Subaru Impreza N
4
3:48:30.7 +24:33.1
12
P
Takuma Kamada
Naoki Kase
J
J
Subaru Impreza WRX N
5
3:48:39.0 +24:41.4
13 Kazuhiro Kitamura
Noriko Takeshita
J
J
Subaru Impreza WEX N
6
3:49:47.7 +25:50.1
14 Norihiko Katsuta
Minoru Kitada
J
J
Subaru Impreza WRX N
7
3:50:05.5 +26:07.9
15 Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
EE
EE
Suzuki Swift A
8
3:50:07.9 +26:10.3
16
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
N
GB
Subaru Impreza WRC 2006 A
9
3:50:25.8 +26:28.2
17
P
Evgeniy Vertunov
Georgy Troshkin
RUS
RUS
Subaru Impreza WRX N
8
3:50:41.7 +26:44.1
18 Richard Mason
Sara Randall
NZ
NZ
Subaru Impreza WRX N
9
3:51:17.9 +27:20.3
19
P
Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
GB
GB
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
3:51:23.3 +27:25.7
20 Eiichi Iwashita
Akihiko Takahashi
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
11
3:56:42.5 +32:44.9
../
22 Osamu Fukunaga
Hisatugu Okumura
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
13
3:59:34.7 +35:37.1
23
P
Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
14
4:03:12.4 +39:14.8
26
P
Amjad Farrah
Nicola Arena
HKJ
I
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
16
4:05:23.4 +41:25.8
27 Mitsugu Nakamura
Yoshitaka Fujishima
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
17
4:06:06.7 +42:09.1
30
P
Claudio Stefan David
Mihaela Eva Beldie
RO
RO
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
20
4:10:52.6 +46:55.0
32 Yukihiro Taguchi
Tadayoshi Sato
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
22
4:15:59.1 +52:01.5
33 Michael Kahlfuss
Ronald Bauer
D
D
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
23
4:17:47.2 +53:49.6
34 Tamotsu Minamino
Paul Santo
J
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
24
4:17:57.7 +54:00.1
37 Tatsuru Saito
Akira Endo
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
26
4:19:51.3 +55:53.7
39 Mitsuhiro Aoki
Fumika Aoki
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
28
4:20:43.7 +56:46.1
42 Tetsuya Ikeda
Junishi Mima
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
31
4:24:49.8 +1:00:52.2
43 Akira Bamba
Satoshi Hayashi
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
32
4:25:38.4 +1:01:40.8
47
P
Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
EE
EE
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
35
4:30:05.2 +1:06:07.6
49 Atsushi Masumura
Koji Watanabe
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
37
4:33:08.9 +1:09:11.3
50 Hisatoshi Yoshitani
Kenji Yamakita
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
38
4:33:59.9 +1:10:02.3
51 Yoshikazu Mitani
Masakazu Arai
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
39
4:34:57.2 +1:10:59.6
53 Hiroshi Hoshino
Shigeki Sato
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
40
4:40:24.3 +1:16:26.7
54 Masamichi Fukumoto
Hideki Umeno
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
41
4:40:40.6 +1:16:43.0
55 Satoshi Imai
Chizuko Kamisaku
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
42
4:43:09.2 +1:19:11.6
57 Takayuki Akiba
Taku Iseya
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
43
4:46:51.8 +1:22:54.2
60 Stefano Marrini
Tiziana Sandroni
I
I
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
45
4:51:44.7 +1:27:47.1
61 Takahiro Yoshii
Masahiko Nabekura
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII N
46
4:52:03.1 +1:28:05.5
65 Yu Matsui
Akihiro Tamaki
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
49
5:11:22.4 +1:47:24.8
71 Yoko Fukuzawa
Teruaki Yasue
J
J
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII N
52
5:49:41.1 +2:25:43.5


TOP
MOTOR SPORTS