The Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 crew of Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen finished Rally Finland, the tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, in seventh position, claiming points for themselves and the team in their home event. "Harri...
The Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 crew of Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen finished Rally Finland, the tenth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, in seventh position, claiming points for themselves and the team in their home event.
"Harri didn't seem to synchronize with the car this weekend, but he finished and claimed more points, our ninth points-scoring finish from 10 events, which is positive", said Isao Torii, Head of Mitsubishi Motor Sports. "We have a lot more data to analyze now and will continue challenging for the podium in the following events. I also want to thank the whole team for a very professional job; this is all part of the step towards success".
The final leg of Rally Finland took in two loops of two identical stages covering 66.56 competitive kilometers before the finish back in Jyvaskyla early this afternoon. Overcast and damp weather greeted the crews this morning, providing very slippery conditions for the remaining crews fighting for honors in one of the Championship's most specialized and spectacular events.
Starting from sixth this morning, Harri Rovanpera pushed hard in the opening stage, however the nature of today's roads and the pace of fellow Finn Toni Gardemeister meant he lost a position and was simply unable to fight hard enough to move back up the leaderboard.
"The car has been very reliable all weekend, working well and for this I am very happy", said Harri at the finish. "The tires have been good and our only problem today was a puncture in the final stage. Seventh position is right for the conditions and car we had on this event; it was not possible to do more. But, I know that when everything is working perfectly, we can fight hard for the top position".
Adding to his comments, Yasuo Tanaka, Technical Director said: "I am confident in the reliability of our car; Harri had almost no problems and the next step has to be an increase in the level of performance".
The FIA World Rally Championship now heads to Germany for the 11th round of the series and the first asphalt rally since the opening event of the 2005 season in Monte Carlo. Harri Rovanpera will pilot the lead Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 in Rallye Deutschland (August 25-28) and will once again be joined by Gigi Galli. The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC team also confirms that it will be running three Lancer WRC05s in Rally Japan, Rallye de France-Tour de Corse and Rally Catalunya-Rally de España for Harri Rovanpera, Gigi Galli and Gilles Panizzi.
News from our rivals
Marcus Gronholm claimed an emphatic victory in Rally Finland, his fifth victory on home soil and first win since this event in 2004. The Finn dominated and finally puts an end to Sebastien Loeb's clean sweep of victories which began in New Zealand, in April. The French Citroen driver nevertheless retains his commanding lead of the series, having finished second in a rain-drenched Jyvaskyla this afternoon. Peugeot had double cause for celebration with Markko Martin on the podium in third and the the French team narrowly moves to the head of the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers. Petter Solberg, after a trouble-free leg, finished fourth and Mikko Hirvonen, registered in Ford's second Focus, claimed fifth ahead of regular driver Toni Gardemeister. The only leading retirement of the leg was Christopher Atkinson, the Subaru driver out with an engine problem at the end of SS 19.