MITSUBISHI MOTORS

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Report
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
JORDAN RALLY
27 APRIL 2008
DAY 3
MITSUBISHI DRIVER AL-QASSIMI TAKES WIN AS LANCER EVOLUTIONS DOMINATE IN JORDAN OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

ABDULLAH AL-QASSIMI / DIETER GOCENTAS
 

NICK GEORGIOU / JOSEPH MATAR
 

AMEER NAJJAR / NICOLA FANOUS
 
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE) won Group N on the Jordan Rally this afternoon. Once again packed Mitsubishis packed out the showroom leaderboard on a World Rally Championship event, with seven of the top 10 cars being Lancer Evolutions an exceptional feat given the tough nature of the World Rally Championship’s first visit to the Middle East.

The world championship’s first visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan lived up to its billing, producing one of the toughest and most keenly fought rallies in the sport’s recent history. With temperatures expected to be in the mid-20s for the duration of the event, even the rally organizers and locals were surprised by the early arrival of summer. The crews and the cars really had to work for this event, with temperatures rocketing to a scorching 40 degrees for the first two days of the event. The combination of the high temperatures and the bone-hard roads ensured there were plenty of retirements in Jordan but once again, the Mitsubishi proved the car to beat in Group N.

Local hero Amjad Farrah (Jordan) was looking to make the most of his Production Car World Rally Championship experience in order to make the best possible impression on his first ever home round of the WRC. It was worked perfectly for the early part of the opening leg. Farrah hit the front of the field on the second stage, extending his advantage with fastest Group N times in stages four and five. Unfortunately for Farrah and his Italian co-driver Nicola Arena, their dreams of a showroom category win went out of the window when they hit a bank mid-way through the second run at the 20km Mahes test.

"It is so disappointing," said Farrah. "I slid wide and the front of the car hit the bank. This damaged something with the turbo’s intercooler. We will be back in this rally, but I really wanted to win at home. I was really enjoying the stages and competing for the win."

Jordan’s hopes of a home win slipped slightly with Farrah’s downfall, but fellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX driver Ameer Najjar (Jordan) stepped up and carried the hopes and dreams of the nation on his shoulders by moving into the lead. Three fastest times from the first six left him with a 48-second lead after SS6. His efforts also came to nought, when he dropped out, but returned for the second day’s action.

Despite having dropped out of the overall running, the two Jordanian Mitsubishi drivers still maintained their frenetic pace at the head of the field. Nobody was able to touch the Lancer Evolutions on seven of Saturday’s eight stages.

Al-Qassimi came through to win the event, beating his nearest rival and fellow Lancer Evolution driver Nick Georgiou (Lebanon) by close to two minutes.

"This is a fantastic result," said Al-Qassimi. "It’s been such a tough event. And it remained tough all the way to the finish. The Jordan River stage today was just incredible. So slippery this morning, but we came through and we made it to the finish. The car has run well, despite some really hard going on this rally."

Early leader Najjar recovered and took some consolation from a podium finish in third place. Farrah was fifth in Group N and fourth Mitsubishi home, with another Jordanian Mitsubishi driver Mazen Tantash rounding out the top six in Group N.

At the head of the field, Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) collected his first win of the season, with Dani Sordo (Citroen, Spain) second and Chris Atkinson (Subaru, Australia) third.

The next round of the FIA World Rally Championship is Rally d’Italia (May 16-18).


 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
4:02:47.9 **:**:**.*
2
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
CITROEN C4 WRC A
2
4:04:03.6 1:15.7
3
M
Chris Atkinson
Stephane Prevot
AUS
B
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC 2006 A
3
4:07:47.4 4:59.5
4
M
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
N
N
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
4
4:10:23.7 7:35.8
5
Matthew Wilson
Scott Martin
GB
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
5
4:13:29.6 10:41.7
6
M
Federico Villagra
Jorge Perez Companc
RA
RA
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
6
4:14:10.1 11:22.2
7
M
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
FIN
FIN
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
7
4:15:03.5 12:15.6
8
M
Gigi Galli
Giovanni Bernacchini
I
I
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
4:15:12.3 12:24.4
9
Khalid Al Qassimi
Michael Orr
UAE
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
9
4:21:53.6 19:05.7
10
M
Sebastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
F
MC
CITROEN C4 WRC A
10
4:26:26.0 23:38.1
11
J
Sebastien Ogier
Julien Ingrassia
F
F
CITROEN C2 A
11
4:29:57.8 27:09.9
12
M
Barry Clark
Luis Diaz
GB
RA
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
12
4:34:07.1 31:19.2
13
J
Shaun Gallagher
Paul Kiely
IRL
IRL
CITROEN C2 A
13
4:34:57.9 32:10.0
14
J
Gilles Schammel
Renaud Jamoul
LUX
B
RENAULT CLIO R
1
4:37:29.4 34:41.5
15
Abdullah Al-Qassimi
Dieter Gocentas
UAE
LTU
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
1
4:37:33.3 34:45.4
16
Nick Georgiou
Joseph Matar
CYP
RL
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
2
4:39:30.3 36:42.4
17
Ameer Najjar
Nicola Fanous
HKJ
HKJ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
3
4:42:30.0 39:42.1
18
Michel Saleh
Ziad Chehab
RL
RL
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
4:48:23.0 45:35.1
19
Amjad Farrah
Nicola Arena
HKJ
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
5
4:48:23.1 45:35.2
20
Tantash Mazen
Ata Al-Hmoud
HKJ
HKJ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
6
4:48:53.1 46:05.2
../
28
Riccardo Errani
Stefano Casadio
I
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION N
9
5:19:51.1 1:17:03.2


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