MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 3: RALLY ARGENTINA
6 MAY 2007
LEG 3
MITSUBISHI DRIVER VILLAGRA WINS AS LANCER EVOLUTIONS DOMINATE RALLY ARGENTINA FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

FEDERICO VILLAGRA / DIEGO CURLETTO
 

JUHO HANNINEN / MIKKO MARKKULA
 

GABRIEL POZZO / MARIO STILLO
 
Just a few days after celebrating his 38th birthday, Federico Villagra scored a sensational Production Car World Rally Championship win for Mitsubishi on his home round of the series, Rally Argentina. Villagra’s home fans were delighted when he crossed the finish line of the final stage in Cordoba football stadium this afternoon, scoring his first category victory of the season. There was more to cheer for Mitsubishi, as five of the top seven places were taken by Lancer Evolution drivers.

Villagra’s second win on Rally Argentina in as many years means another Production Car victory for the Lancer Evolution in South America. Going into the final day with just 2.6 seconds in hand over his nearest rival, today’s final leg was always going to be a tense affair. The rally organizers had added a second run through the Mina Clavero test in order to make up a weather-hit opening leg. Just as the fog had caused problems on Friday, so the rain threatened to on this final loop of competitive action to the west of the rally’s host town Villa Carlos Paz. The heavy overnight rain continued this morning, making the already tricky run through the event’s highest stages – in the Translasierra Mountains, running up to 2,195 meters – even more difficult.

Neither the weather or the exceptionally technical nature of the road ahead of him bothered Villagra or his Lancer Evolution. He powered his way to fastest Production Car WRC time in the opening stage of the day, piling another seven seconds on to his lead. He dropped time on the next test, but was five seconds faster on the second run through Mina Clavero. With victory almost in his grasp, Villagra sealed the deal with another fastest category time on the last countryside stage of the event, a second pass of the legendary El Condor stage. All that remained for Villagra and co-driver Diego Curletto was a run around the superspecial stage in Cordoba. With thousands of fans cheering him on, his run at the stage must have seemed like a victory parade lap.

After spraying his Lancer Evolution with champagne, the delighted Mitsubishi driver stepped from his car and said: "This has been a great event for me. I was near the front all of the time. We didn’t have anything to worry about. Okay, some times there was some rocks coming through in some of the roads, but the car dealt with them without any problems. To win this rally for the second year in succession is a fantastic achievement."

Villagra’s fellow Mitsubishi driver Juho Hanninen (Finland) remained in third position for the duration of the final day, happy to pick up six points from his trip to South America. Hanninen’s only problem through the final leg was caused by the weather. "It was quite difficult at times this morning," he said. "This was my first time on this rally, so I didn’t have too much experience. The gap wasn’t so big to Toshi [Arai, the second-placed driver] but, you know, I didn’t want to have to take the risk in those stages today. For me, on my first Argentina, third is the good place."

Gabriel Pozzo (Argentina) recovered from earlier troubles on his home WRC round to take a fine fourth place in his Mitsubishi, going fastest of all on SS21. There was yet more for the home fans to cheer with Marcos Ligato bringing yet another Lancer Evolution home in the top five. Ligato’s car ran without fault through today’s five stages – but to Pozzo proved just too big for the South American to bridge.

Andreas Aigner (Austria) grabbed seventh spot, ensuring there were five Lancers in the top seven places in the Production Car element of this year’s Rally Argentina. It would have been more, had Sebastian Beltran (Argentina) registered for this year’s Production series. He finished just behind Ligato as the leading non-Production registered Group N finisher in his Lancer Evolution.

Sebastien Loeb (France) won the event outright, enabling the Citroen driver to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship. Ford’s Marcus Gronholm (Finland) was second with his countryman and team-mate Mikko Hirvonen third, consolidating Ford’s advantage at the front of the race to win the manufacturers’ title.

The next round of the Production Car World Rally Championship is the Acropolis Rally (May 31-June 3).


 FINAL PWRC CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Federico Villagra
Diego Curletto
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 3:08:53.7 **:**.*
2 Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza 3:09:03.0 +9.3
3 Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:09:21.9 +28.2
4 Gabriel Pozzo
Mario Stillo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:12:15.7 +3:22.0
5 Marcos Ligato
Ruben Garcia
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:13:32.9 +4:39.2
6 Niall McShea
Gordon Noble
Subaru Impreza 3:14:23.6 +5:29.9
7 Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:15:02.6 +6:08.9
8 Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:16:59.5 +8:05.8
9 Stuart Jones
Craig Parry
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:19:48.2 +10:54.5
10 Travis Pastrana
Bjorn Estrom
Subaru Impreza 3:23:30.0 +14:36.3
11 Alexande Dorosinskiy
Dmitry Eremeev
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 3:25:17.9 +16:24.2
12 Stepan Vojtech
Michal Ernst
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:32:03.8 +23:10.1
13 Patrik Flodin
Maria Andersson
Subaru Impreza 3:39:38.3 +30:44.6


 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroen C4 A
1
2:52:03.8 **:**.*
2
M
Marcus Gronholm
Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
2
2:52:40.5 +36.7
3
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
3
2:54:19.0 +2:15.2
4
MT
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
4
2:55:46.8 +3:43.0
5
MT
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
5
2:56:13.9 +4:10.1
6
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
Citroen C4 A
6
2:56:27.4 +4:23.6
7
M
Chris Atkinson
Stéphane Prévot
Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 A
7
2:56:47.2 +4:43.4
8
MT
Manfred Stohl
Ilka Minor
Citroen Xsara WRC A
8
2:57:24.0 +5:20.2
9
P
Federico Villagra
Diego Curletto
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N
1
3:08:53.7 +16:49.9
10
P
Toshihiro Arai
Tony Sircombe
Subaru Impreza N
2
3:09:03.0 +16:59.2
11
P
Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
3
3:09:21.9 +17:18.1
12
MT
Juan Pablo Raies
Jorge Perez Companc
Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A
9
3:10:04.4 +18:00.6
13
P
Gabriel Pozzo
Mario Stillo
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
4
3:12:15.7 +20:11.9
14
P
Marcos Ligato
Ruben Garcia
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
5
3:13:32.9 +21:29.1
15 Sebastian Beltran
Ricardo Rojas
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
6
3:14:07.8 +22:04.0
16
P
Niall McShea
Gordon Noble
Subaru Impreza N
7
3:14:23.6 +22:19.8
17
P
Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
8
3:15:02.6 +22:58.8
18 Nicolas Madero
Guillermo Piazzano
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
9
3:16:05.5 +24:01.7
19
P
Martin Rauam
Kristo Kraag
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
10
3:16:59.5 +24:55.7
20 Raul Martinez
Fernando Mussano
Subaru Impreza N
11
3:18:50.9 +26:47.1
../
21
P
Stuart Jones
Craig Parry
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
12
3:19:48.2 +27:44.4
23 Luciano Bernardi
Fabian Cretu
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
14
3:25:08.7 +33:04.9
25
P
Stepan Vojtech
Michal Ernst
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
16
3:32:03.8 +40:00.0
26 Andrew Hawkeswood
Jeff Judd
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII A
10
3:35:36.9 +43:33.1
32 Claudiu David
Mihaela Beldie
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
20
3:51:02.6 +58:58.8
33 Eduardo Peredo
Claudio Bustos
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX N
21
3:53:11.9 +1:01:08.1
35 Carlos Yanez
Jorge Tulian
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution N
23
3:54:49.5 +1:02:45.7
36 Kevin Shaw
John Allen
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII A
13
4:05:53.0 +1:13:49.2


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