MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
ROUND 1: RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
27 JANUARY 2007
LEG 3
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVERS DOMINATE GROUP N ON RALLYE MONTE CARLO FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

PATRICK ARTRU / PATRICE VIRIEUX
 

LUDOVIC CLUZEL / TEDDY DELMONICO
 

JOAN FONT / ENRIQUE VELASCO ALONSO
 
Patrick Artru (France) and his co-driver Patrice Virieux turned in an inch-perfect drive to win the Group N category of Rallye Monte Carlo in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. They ended the event more than a minute ahead of fellow Mitsubishi men Ludovic Cluzel/Teddy Delmonico (both France).

This year’s Rallye Monte Carlo was only Artru’s second ever round of the World Rally Championship. He competed on the same event 12 months ago, but finished fifth in Group N. This year, he achieved his dream result by not just winning, but being the dominant Mitsubishi driver for the second half of the event in a Lancer Evolution which ran without missing a beat.

Rallye Monte Carlo provided the World Rally Championship with its first four-day event in many years after the organizers, the Automobile Club de Monaco, brought back a brace of classic stages in the Alpes Maritimes. Thanks to this decision, tens of thousands of rally fans were able to see the world’s finest rally drivers in action on the stunning Col du Turini pass once more. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t play its part in making this a classic Monte; the stages were completely free of snow and temperatures rose as high as 15 degrees in the service park in Valence.

As with last year’s rally, the event was based out of Valence in the Ardeche, 450km north west of Monaco, and included two stages in the dark on Thursday. All of the crews emerged from the St Jean en Royans and La Cime du Mas stages without incident, but when the first full day’s action got underway the following morning, Artru became embroiled in a titanic battle for the lead of the Group N category on this most prestigious of events.

Artru moved into the lead after a big push through Saturday morning’s three stages and remained first or second until the final morning, when he moved clear with more than a minute’s lead over his nearest rival – giving him the chance to thoroughly enjoy his final, victorious lap of the lower half of the Monaco Grand Prix track, which ended this year’s rally.

Artru said: "I am very happy. I come from Ardeche, so, with this being my local rally, I wanted to make sure I did a good performance. But, at the same time, I have always to think that I didn’t want to make a mistake or crash the car. I want to use the Mitsubishi again on three or four other events this year, so I had to be careful. The biggest challenge was the ice. Okay, there wasn’t so much ice around this year, but there was enough to keep you very concentrated on what was happening. When we saw the ice coming, I slowed down a little and drove sensibly. The car has been very good for me for the whole rally. We haven’t had any mechanical trouble to think about – I’ve just kept on driving, but it has been a long and tough event."

Cluzel was second in Group N after a strong showing in another Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, while Joan Font and Enrique Alonso (both Spain) collected fourth and Richard Frau/Serge Le Gars (both France) a trouble-free fifth. Once again, the Mitsubishi was the most popular car in its category and once again it underlined its strong reliability record in the world championship to ensure the car took the lion’s share of the glory among the showroom class runners. Seven of the fastest Group N cars on Rallye Monte Carlo were Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions.

In the overall results, Sebasien Loeb (France) became the first driver ever to win this event five times. The Citroen driver opened his fifth consecutive tite defence with yet another assured win in the C4 WRC. Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) collected second on his debut as Ford’s new team leader. Subaru’s Chris Atkinson’s (Australia) took third on round one.

The next round of the World Rally Championship is the Swedish Rally, February 7-10.


 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Sebastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
F
MC
CITROEN C4 A
1
3:39:17.0 **:**:**.*
2
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
FIN
FIN
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
2
3:41:51.4 2:34.4
3
M
Chris Atkinson
Stephane Prevot
AUS
B
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC 2006 A
3
3:42:15.6 2:58.6
4
M
Francois Duval
Eddy Chevailler
B
B
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
4
3:42:16.7 2:59.7
5
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
N
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC 2006 A
5
3:43:57.9 4:40.9
6
M
Gigi Galli
Giovanni Bernacchini
I
I
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
6
3:48:03.5 8:46.5
7 Jean-Marie Cuoq
Philippe Janvier
FIN
PEUGEOT 307 WRC A
7
3:49:41.8 10:24.8
8
M
Per-Gunnar Andersson
Jonas Andersson
S
S
SUZUKI SX4 A
8
3:50:36.5 11:19.5
9
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
N
N
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
9
3:52:00.6 12:43.6
10
Matthew Wilson
Scott Martin
GB
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
10
3:53:17.1 14:00.1
11
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
CITROEN C4 A
11
3:59:57.5 20:40.5
12
M
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
FIN
FIN
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
12
4:03:33.1 24:16.1
13 Alessandro Broccoli
Monica Cicognini
RSM
I
RENAULT CLIO A
13
4:07:32.7 28:15.7
14 Patrick Artru
Patrice Virieux
F
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
1
4:10:37.2 31:20.2
15 Eddie Mercier
Jean-Michel Veret
F
F
RENAULT CLIO A
14
4:10:47.7 31:30.7
16
MT
Khalid Al Qassimi
Michael Orr
UAE
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
15
4:11:36.2 32:19.2
17 Ludovic Cluzel
Teddy Delmonico
F
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
2
4:12:14.8 32:57.8
18 Olivier Burri
Fabrice Gordon
CH
F
SUBARU IMPREZA N
3
4:12:25.4 33:08.4
19 Luca Betti
Giovanni Agnese
I
I
HONDA CIVIC TYPE-R A
16
4:12:49.4 33:32.4
20 Henri-Marc Venturini
Frederic Dart
F
F
RENAULT CLIO A
17
4:13:24.9 34:07.9
../
21 Richard Frau
Serge Legars
F
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
4:21:12.4 41:55.4
22 Joan Font
Enrique Velasco Alonso
E
E
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
5
4:21:21.2 42:04.2
23 Gilbert Sau
Anne Drouileau
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
6
4:29:11.9 49:54.9
27 Jerome Aymard
Sandrine Aymard
F
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
9
4:41:37.5 1:02:20.5
28 Giamcomo Ogliari
Marco Verdelli
I
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
10
4:44:14.9 1:04:57.9
29 Miguel Baudouin
Jean-Francois Gastinel
F
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
11
4:44:38.8 1:05:21.8
31 Milan Liska
Jaroslav Jugas
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
12
4:52:00.2 1:12:43.2


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