The Mitsubishi Motorsport crew of Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen finished Rally Catalunya, the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, fifth of the registered contenders and 10th overall. Team-mates Gigi Galli and Guido...
The Mitsubishi Motorsport crew of Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen finished Rally Catalunya, the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, fifth of the registered contenders and 10th overall. Team-mates Gigi Galli and Guido d'Amore were forced out yesterday but a fastest stage time underlined the progress and potential of the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 on asphalt.
"After Corsica it was a difficult time, but our team did a good job and found solutions," said Isao Torii, Head of Mitsubishi Motorsport. "Gigi showed the car's speed, which is motivating for the whole team even though he retired. It gives us good hope for the future that he can show us this speed, but he needs to keep gaining experience and not repeat the mistakes. Harri followed our team strategy and finished in the points, which is appreciated, especially on Tarmac rallies which are not his favorite."
Today's third leg was by far the shortest and took in just 68.08 competitive kilometers over three stages to the north and west of the coastal resort of Salou.
Harri Rovanpera continued to experiment with different setting on the Lancer WRC05, enabling the engineers to analyze data for further improvements in the future.
"Okay, we have found some different information this weekend, but it has been a difficult rally for us," said Harri at the finish. "It was a nice event though, with good stages and lots of spectators. It was hard for us to do too much here, but Gigi showed there is good potential. We also brought the car to the finish and that always means you collect more data and experience."
Adding to his comments, Roger Estrada, Principal Rally Engineer, said: "The rally was not so easy for us, but better than Corsica last week. We had issues with Harri's car which meant a loss of time in the opening leg, but we made a good step forward on performance and reliability, as proved by Gigi, and we must look ahead to the future."
The FIA World Rally Championship crews now head to the other side of the world for the final round of the series, Rally Australia (November 10-13). Gigi Galli will once again join Harri Rovanpera for this fast gravel rally based in Perth, Western Australia.
News from our rivals
Citroen claimed an emphatic one-two, with Sebastien Loeb once again taking victory - his 10th of the season. Francois Duval's second position also secured the French manufacturer the world title for the third consecutive year (subject to FIA confirmation). The battle for the final podium position between Xavier Pons and Mikko Hirvonen went down to the wire, but Hirvonen's fastest time in the final stage secured the Finn third position and his best-ever FIA WRC result. Ford's registered driver Roman Kresta finished fifth and Nicolas Bernardi rounded off the top six in Peugeot's second 307 WRC, the only one to finish following the retirement of Marcus Gronholm last night.