MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Daily Report
2008 FIA ASIA-PACIFIC RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 1: RALLYE DE NOUVELLE CALEDONIE

11 - 13 April 2008

TAGUCHI AND TEAM MRF TYRE WIN 2008 ASIA-PACIFIC FIRST ROUND
KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY
KATSUHIKO TAGUCHI / MARK STACEY
SCOTT PEDDER / GLEN WESTON
Katsuhiko Taguchi (Japan) started his 2008 Asia-Pacific campaign with a dominant win in the opening round in New Caledonia. Taguchi and co-driver Mark Stacey (Australia) led from start to finish in their Team MRF Tyres Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, using their experience of the very fast and tricky event, but also staying out of trouble on the last day when the infamous Katrakoin stage claimed several top drivers.

Taguchi faced all kinds of challenges on the event, fast, hot and dusty on the first day, slippery narrow and twisty on the second day. "This is a very very good result for us and a good start for our Asia-Pacific championship(APRC), we got the maximum 16 points. It was not an easy event, quite difficult stages and I must concentrate all the time. I'm now looking forward to Canberra, its an event I like but it will be a big fight with new team joining the APRC. We have new tyres from MRF for Canberra and hopefully we'll have the opportunity for some testing', Taguchi said at the finish line.

The Rally of New Caledonia is 236 kilometres long and was run in fine and hot conditions. The two Day of the event are distinctly different, with Day1 fast and undulating, many flying crests that the driver must judge very accurately as the roads are very narrow. The Day 2 features the 35kilometre Katrikoin stage, a narrow and twisty mountain road that is extremely slippery and the competitors must drive twice. This year heavy rain fell the day before and this made the roads even more treacherous.

Taguchi's 1st place for Mitsubishi was backed up by a 3rd place finish for New Zealander Brian Green and co-driver Fleur Pederson. "We're very pleased with the way the weekend went, we've had a very good car, very good team and Fleur did an excellent job with the notes. The big long stage this morning was very difficult and several competitors went off the road, but in that mud and slippery conditions you just have to be very patient and keep yourself under control and for us it paid off', said Green.

Taguchi new team-mate Scott Pedder (Australia) was unlucky not to finish. After an excellent first day learning the car, the team, new tyres and the first time in a left-hand drive car Pedder held 2nd spot, 40m seconds behind Taguchi. But on Day 2 the Australian was a victim of the slippery Katrikoin stage and afterwards reflected on his bad luck 'The slowest off in my life, we were really trying to finish and just got caught out by the slippery roads. Canberra is next and my home event - hopefully we can get a good result for the team there".
Rally of Canberra is the second round of the championship and based in Australia capital on 10-11th May.

 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
AP/P
Katsuhiko Taguchi
Mark Stacey
J
AUS
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 2:59:35 **:**
2
AP/P
Dean Herridge
Chris Murphy
AUS
AUS
Subaru Impreza 3:01:29 +1:54
3
P
Jean-Louis Leyraud
William Hayes
F
AUS
Subaru Impreza 3:06:46 +7:11
4
AP/P
Brian Green
Fleur Pedersen
NZ
NZ
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3:12:04 +12:29
5
 
Eugene Creugnet
Thierry Song
F
F
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII 3:15:50 +16:15
6
 
Claude Clavel
Philippe Delrieu
F
F
Subaru Impreza 3:22:49 +23:14
AP : APRC registered
P : Pacific CUP


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