MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 2: RALLY MEXICO
11 MARCH 2007
LEG 3
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVER HIGGINS TAKES COMFORTABLE WIN IN MEXICO FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

MARK HIGGINS / SCOTT MARTIN
 

MARK HIGGINS / SCOTT MARTIN
 

STEPHAN VOJTECH / MICHAL ERNST
 

FUMIO NUTAHARA / DANIEL BARRITT
 
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Mark Higgins (Great Britain) scored his first ever FIA Production Car World Rally Championship win on Rally Mexico, which finished in Leon this afternoon.

Higgins turned in a fantastic performance to win what is acknowledged to be one of the toughest rounds of the championship. He and co-driver Scott Martin (Great Britain) led the event for all but one stage, demonstrating the pace, performance and durability of the Mitsubishi Lancer. Higgins was quick to pay tribute to the car after what he described as one of the highlights of his career. After kissing the bonnet of his Lancer Evolution, Higgins said: "This car has been incredible. The roads have been so rough and we’ve driven over so many big rocks, but the Mitsubishi hasn’t missed a beat. It’s been perfect all the way through the event. The mechanics haven’t had to repair anything, the only work they have done to the car has been to re-prep it for the next loop of stages. I’ve waited a very long time for this moment. I’ve done this championship for three years and this is my first win – it’s very special for me and the team."

The final leg of this year’s Rally Mexico would prove to be just as tough as the two which preceded it. There were three long stages to the east and north-east of Leon and one final run around the superspecial on the outskirts of Leon. Given the earlier start to the action, much of the day’s rallying was completed in hazy cloud rather than the bright sunshine which had warmed competitors earlier in the event. Despite the hazy conditions, the spectators were still out in force with tens of thousands of fans lining the route.

Starting the day more than one minute ahead of his nearest rival, Higgins knew he didn’t have to drive flat-out through the final four stages, but he admitted that heaped more pressure on him. "I was worried about the pace through the first one this morning," he said. "It didn’t feel right – but we turned out to be fastest, so it couldn’t have been too bad! After that we were steady and just looking out for everything. In the end, there was nothing to worry about. We had the perfect end to a perfect rally!"

There were more Production Car WRC points for Stepan Vojtech (Czech Republic) after he enjoyed a trouble-free day to bring his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution home in sixth position. He said: "This has been a very tough rally for me and the team – so that makes me really happy to be here at the finish. Now I’m looking forward to my next event in the car, Rally Argentina."

Japanese driver Fumio Nutahara was one place back from Vojtech in seventh. Nutahara dropped time in the service park last night, but made up for it with some great pace through the stages on the final day. Nutahara’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was fastest of all on the second test, Guanajuato.

Nutahara admitted that he had also found this year’s Rally Mexico to be one of the tougher events he had competed on. "The road has been hard in places," he said. "But the Mitsubshi has coped well with it. We had a puncture yesterday, which wasn’t so nice, and then today a spectator threw a rock at the windscreen of our car. That made driving quite difficult for some time, when you have seen the rock, you lose your concentration for a while afterwards. That was not such a nice experience, it could have been very dangerous."

Mexican Mitsubushi Group N driver Inaki de Izaurieta turned in a fine performance to end his home WRC round in tenth position in the showroom standings.

Sebastien Loeb (France) collected his second win of the season for the Citroen team, with Ford’s Marcus Gronholm (Finland) in second and his team-mate Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) taking third place in the sister Focus RS WRC.

The next round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship is Rally Argentina (May 3-6).


 FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:08:44.5 **:**.*
2 Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza 4:10:05.4 +1:20.9
3 Kristian Sohlberg
Risto Pietilainen
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 4:11:15.2 +2:30.7
4 Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
Subaru Impreza 4:12:51.9 +4:07.4
5 Travis Pastrana
Bjorn Edstrom
Subaru Impreza 4:16:53.2 +8:08.7
6 Stepan Vojtech
Michal Ernst
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:25:43.3 +16:58.8
7 Fumio Nutahara
Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:26:02.5 +17:18.0
8 Spyros Pavlides
Denis Giraudet
Subaru Impreza 4:34:23.7 +25:39.2
9 Loris Baldacci
Silvio Stefanelli
Subaru Impreza 4:36:38.5 +27:54.0
10 Alexande Dorosinskiy
Dmitry Eremeev
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 4:41:17.4 +32:32.9
11 Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:42:26.0 +33:41.5
12 Balazs Benik
Laszlo Bunkoczi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:46:24.3 +37:39.8
13 Stuart Jones
Craig Parry
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 4:46:39.3 +37:54.8
14 Rodrigo Salgado
Diodoro Salgado
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 5:19:22.3 +1:10:37.8


 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroen C4 WRC A
1
3:48:13.3 **:**.*
2
M
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
2
3:49:09.1 +55.8
3
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
3
3:49:41.0 +1:27.7
4
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
Citroen C4 WRC A
4
3:49:57.0 +1:43.7
5
M
Chris Atkinson
Glenn MacNeall
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
5
3:50:37.4 +2:24.1
6
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
Citroen Xsara WRC A
6
3:51:58.8 +3:45.5
7
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
7
3:52:24.1 +4:10.8
8 Matthew Wilson
Michael Orr
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
8
4:00:35.9 +12:22.6
9
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
9
4:02:29.0 +14:15.7
10
P
Mark Higgins
Scott Martin
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
1
4:08:44.5 +20:31.2
11
P
Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza N
2
4:10:05.4 +21:52.1
12
MT
Juan Pablo Raies
Jorge Perez Companc
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
10
4:11:10.6 +22:57.3
13
P
Kristian Sohlberg
Risto Pietilainen
Subaru Impreza WRX STI N
3
4:11:15.2 +23:01.9
14
P
Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
Subaru Impreza N
4
4:12:51.9 +24:38.6
15
P
Travis Pastrana
Bjorn Edstrom
Subaru Impreza N
5
4:16:53.2 +28:39.9
16
P
Stepan Vojtech
Michal Ernst
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
6
4:25:43.3 +37:30.0
17
P
Fumio Nutahara
Daniel Barritt
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
7
4:26:02.5 +37:49.2
18
MT
Luis Perez Companc
Jose Maria Volta
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
11
4:30:54.7 +42:41.4
19
P
Spyros Pavlides
Denis Giraudet
Subaru Impreza N
8
4:34:23.7 +46:10.4
20
P
Loris Baldacci
Silvio Stefanelli
Subaru Impreza N
9
4:36:38.5 +48:25.2
../
21 Inaki De Izaurieta
Mauricio Pimentel
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
4:39:51.1 +51:37.8
23
P
Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
12
4:42:26.0 +54:12.7
24
P
Balazs Benik
Laszlo Bunkoczi
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
13
4:46:24.3 +58:11.0
25
P
Stuart Jones
Craig Parry
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
14
4:46:39.3 +58:26.0
29
P
Rodrigo Salgado
Diodoro Salgado
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
17
5:19:22.3 +1:31:09.0
32 Craig Studnicky
Jeff Hagan
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI N
18
5:37:38.5 +1:49:25.2
34 Jose Cortes
Alfredo Loranca
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
19
5:45:52.4 +1:57:39.1


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