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Report
FIA PRODUCTION CAR WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
RALLY OF NEW ZEALAND
31 AUGUST 2008
DAY 3
IT'S A NEW ZEALAND HIGH FIVE FOR THE MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION DRIVERS PWRC CLASSIFICATION
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

MARTIN PROKOP / JAN TOMANEK
 

PATRIK SANDELL / EMIL AXELSSON
 

MARTIN RAUAM / SILVER KUTT
 
Martin Prokop (Czech)completed his dream debut on Rally New Zealand by finishing the event in the top 10 overall and winning the Production Car World Rally Championship round after a faultless run in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

Once again, Mitsubishis dominated the PWRC leaderboard, filling seven of the top 10 places; the top five were all Lancer Evolutions. Prokop could scarcely believe his achievement when he reached the end of the third and final day in Hamilton this afternoon.

This third day had been far from easy, with the legendary Whaanga Coast test providing a real sting in the tail as the crews raced along the stunningly beautiful Tasman Sea coastline. But Prokop was up for the challenge, and enjoyed a trouble-free run through today’s five stages to bring his car home comfortably ahead of Patrik Sandell (Sweden).

Once again, the local Kiwi population turned out in force to cheer their rally heroes. The weather was typically overcast for the southern hemisphere winter, but the competition has been red hot for the last three days on the North Island.

Prokop, a rookie in this year’s all Group N global series, celebrating his first ever Production Car WRC success by saying: "This has been an incredible event. I really didn’t think this was possible when I arrived here. I didn’t know what to expect from this rally. I haven’t driven stages as fast as these in this car, so I didn’t know where I was: was I on the limit? Was there more to come? I didn’t know, but I just kept on pushing. I am very happy with this result."

Sandell was equally pleased with his second place. "You know, I only tested this car on the Monday before I the start. I had never driven a turbocharged car before, so it took a little time to play myself into the different style of driving from a normally aspirated engine. Also, this was my first time here, so I had to learn the roads and learn the pace notes."

Having climbed from eighth position to second place by the end of the rally, Sandell headed by to Scandinavia a happy man. "For the championship this was really a good result. And I really enjoyed the car."

Estonian Martin Rauam completed the perfect podium for Mitsubishi, despite not driving at his best through the morning stages. "I didn’t get a good feeling in Whaanga Coast," he said. "I don’t know hat it was, but anyway, we are here with third. I’m happy."

Fourth in not usually a reason for major celebration, but it was for Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon (New Zealand). Starting the event as his nation’s nominated wildcard entry, Paddon played himself into the Pirelli control tire quickly and moved up the order as the event progressed. His fourth place and 13th overall was enough for him to bag the New Zealand Rally Championship title.

Talking of championships, Juho Hanninen (Finland) closed the gap on P-WRC leader Andreas Aigner (Austria) with fifth position. Both Hanninen and Aigner suffered punctures on the opening stage of the rally. Both battled back, with Hanninen posting numerous fastest times, but Aigner rolled on Saturday. Hanninen went on to take four points out of his rival’s series lead.

Japanese driver Fumio Nutahara had been challenging for the lead of the event on the opening day, before sliding off the road on Saturday. The disappointment of the multiple Japanese Rally Championship from New Zealand will be tempered by the fact that, in two months’ time he will be giving the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X its world debut on his home round of the Production Car World Rally Championship, Rally Japan (October 30-November 2).

Sebastien Loeb (France) won the event, with his Citroen team-mate Dani Sordo (Spain) in second place. Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) was third.

The next round of the World Rally Championship is the Catalunya Rally (October 2-5).


 FIA PWRC  FINAL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Grp
Pos
Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1 Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
1
4:13:07.9 **:**:**.*
2 Patrik Sandell
Emil Axelsson
S
S
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
2
4:13:44.1 0:36.2
3 Martin Rauam
Silver Kutt
EE
EE
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
3
4:14:05.7 0:57.8
4 Hayden Paddon
John Kennard
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
4:14:35.2 1:27.3
5 Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
5
4:15:25.2 2:17.3
6 Jari Ketomaa
Miika Teiskonen
FIN
FIN
SUBARU IMPREZA N
6
4:15:54.0 2:46.1
7 Bernardo Sousa
Carlos Magalhaes
P
P
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
8
4:20:00.3 6:52.4
8 Stewart Taylor
Warwick Searle
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
9
4:20:13.9 7:06.0
9 Cao Dong Liu
Anthony McLoughlin
CN
AUS
SUBARU IMPREZA N
10
4:26:20.1 13:12.2
10 Spyros Pavlides
Denis Giraudet
CYP
F
SUBARU IMPREZA N
12
4:32:15.1 19:07.2
11 Gianluca Linari
Roberto Mometti
I
I
SUBARU IMPREZA N
13
4:34:00.9 20:53.0
12 Armindo Araujo
Miguel Ramalho
P
P
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
15
4:46:56.0 33:48.1
13 Subhan Aksa
Hendrik Mboi
RI
RI
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION VIII N
22
5:00:54.9 47:47.0


 FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
Pos Driver
Co-Driver
Nat Vehicle Cls Total
Time
Diff
Leader
1
M
Sebastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
F
MC
CITROEN C4 WRC A
1
3:59:18.9 **:**:**.*
2
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
CITROEN C4 WRC A
2
3:59:36.4 0:17.5
3
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
FIN
FIN
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
3
4:00:00.4 0:41.5
4
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
N
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC 2006 A
4
4:02:07.8 2:48.9
5
Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
EE
EE
CITROEN C4 WRC A
5
4:02:49.6 3:30.7
6
M
Per-Gunnar Andersson
Jonas Andersson
S
S
SUZUKI SX4 A
6
4:06:56.3 7:37.4
7
M
Toni Gardenmeister
Tomi Tuominen
FIN
FIN
SUZUKI SX4 A
7
4:07:13.8 7:54.9
8
M
Federico Villagra
Jorge Perez Companc
RA
RA
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
4:07:53.9 8:35.0
9
M
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
N
N
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
9
4:08:34.1 9:15.2
10
P
Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
1
4:13:07.9 13:49.0
11
P
Patrik Sandell
Emil Axelsson
S
S
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
2
4:13:44.1 14:25.2
12
P
Martin Rauam
Silver Kutt
EE
EE
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
3
4:14:05.7 14:46.8
13
P
Hayden Paddon
John Kennard
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
4:14:35.2 15:16.3
14
P
Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
5
4:15:25.2 16:06.3
15
P
Jari Ketomaa
Miika Teiskonen
FIN
FIN
SUBARU IMPREZA N
6
4:15:54.0 16:35.1
16
Emma Gilmour
Claire Mole
NZ
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA N
7
4:16:26.4 17:07.5
17
M
Matthew Wilson
Scott Martin
GB
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
10
4:16:34.0 17:15.1
18
P
Bernardo Sousa
Carlos Magalhaes
P
P
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
8
4:20:00.3 20:41.4
19
P
Stewart Taylor
Warwick Searle
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
9
4:20:13.9 20:55.0
20
P
Cao Dong Liu
Anthony McLoughlin
CN
AUS
SUBARU IMPREZA N
10
4:26:20.1 27:01.2
../
25
P
Armindo Araujo
Miguel Ramalho
P
P
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
15
4:46:56.0 47:37.1
26
Brent Taylor
Chris Ramsay
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION VIII N
16
4:48:02.8 48:43.9
27
Nathan Thomas
Richard Kelly
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION VII A
11
4:50:17.1 50:58.2
31
Trevor Taylor
Jason Timmins
NZ
NZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
20
4:57:41.5 58:22.6
33
P
Subhan Aksa
Hendrik Mboi
RI
RI
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION VIII N
22
5:00:54.9 1:01:36.0


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