MITSUBISHI MOTORS

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Daily Report
2008 FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 2: Rally of Canberra

10 - 11 May 2008

TEAM MRF TYRE
TAGUCHI SECOND IN CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE
KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY




SCOTT PEDDER / GLEN WESTON
The 2008 Rally of Canberra was full of highs and lows for the MRF Tyres Mitsubishi team. Asia- Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) leader Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) retired on Day 1 with electrical problems but returned under Super Rally rules to compete for bonus points on Day 2, finishing just 0.4 seconds behind overall winner Cody Crocker (Australia) for the leg. With the points gained Taguchi is now currently second in the championship with 18 points, 3 points behind current leader Dean Herridge (Australia).

Featuring 224 kilometres of competitive stages, Rally of Canberra is one of most popular events on the APRC calendar, with fast undulating roads through the Australian hot and dry countryside. The roads are especially difficult with a fine gravel on the top making them extremely slippery, while other parts have a fine sand that is locally known as 'bull dust' and is described by local drivers as like driving on a beach. This year the event was held in fine and dry conditions, cold in the morning but warming to 20 degrees celsius during the day.
Taguchi started the second day by winning the opening stage, 13 second ahead of next quickest Crocker. "I was at absolute maximum everywhere today," Taguchi said. "We changed the rear differential at service today because we had that problem last year, and changed our set-up for more high speed. I pushed hard, very hard. Now we go to New Zealand and there, I think, too it will be absolute maximum. It was disappointing not to finish, but Day 2 was positive for us. We won several stages and had a great battle with Cody for fastest driver of the day. He got us in the end but we came really close and sets us up for a great battle in the rest of the championship" said Taguchi at the finish.

Taguchi's team-mate Scott Pedder (Australia) finished Day 1 in second place and was on track for a podium finish when firstly differential problems slowed the Australian, dropping him to third. The diff lost all its oil and the Lancer reverted to front wheel drive as Pedder progressively lost time on the ensuing two stages (SS11, SS12). At morning service the diff was replaced on Pedder's car and he returned to the competition in third place. But one stage later disaster struck, Pedder arrived at the end of stage with a hole in the sump resulting in immediate retirement.

The next round is New Zealand's northern roads around the city of Whangarei. It’s a very fast event and the Team MRF Tyre Mitsubishi will suit the fast and flowing roads.
 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
AP
Cody Crocker
Ben Atkinson
AUS
AUS
Subaru Impreza 2:23:31 **:**
2
AP/P
Dean Herridge
Chris Murphy
AUS
AUS
Subaru Impreza 2:26:23 +2:52
3
AP
Hiroshi Yanagisawa
Yoshimasa Nakahara
JPN
JPN
Subaru Impreza 2:29:47 +6:16
4
AP
Rifat Sungkar
Bill Hayes
RI
AUS
Subaru Impreza 2:30:38 +7:07
5
P
Jean-Louis Leyraud
William Hayes
F
AUS
Subaru Impreza 2:31:24 +7:53
6 Atushi Masumura
Koji Watanabe
JPN
JPN
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII 2:38:24 +14:53
7
AP/P
Brian Green
Fleur Pedersen
NZ
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 2:41:22 +17:51
AP : APRC registered
P : Pacific CUP


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