At the end of the second leg of Rally Finland, round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship, Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen have moved into sixth position in the Lancer WRC05. However, team-mates "Gigi" Galli and Guido d'Amore were once...
At the end of the second leg of Rally Finland, round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship, Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen have moved into sixth position in the Lancer WRC05. However, team-mates "Gigi" Galli and Guido d'Amore were once again on the sidelines having gone off the road in SS 12. The pair will not start the final leg in view of the damage caused to the chassis and suspension components.
"Another difficult day and not what we expected", said Isao Torii, Head of Mitsubishi Motor Sports. "Harri was faster today, but the results are generally not where we thought we would be. It was obviously good news for him to move into sixth but we will have to fight hard to keep this position. For Gigi it was a pity, again, but he has learned the nature of this rally the hard way. In general, we have picked up lots of data regarding the engine, transmission and car behaviour and can analyze this at the end of the event".
The second leg of Rally Finland was one of the classics in the FIA World Rally Championship. Wide, fast and flowing stages to the south of Jyvaskyla, close to Jamsa, are some of the finest in the world and the leg included the breath-taking Ouninpohja stage, renowned for its roller-coaster jumps and blind crests. For safety reasons, the road has been split into two separate stages this year, but still delivered spectacular action. In total, the leg took in 144.76 competitive kilometers over eight stages.
Harri Rovanpera has set a consistent pace throughout the leg and the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 driver held seventh position going into SS 16. However, fourth placed Toni Gardemeister then lost time with a high-speed tire problem and two minutes were lost as he limped through the stage, elevating Harri into sixth overnight.
"Today has not been so bad and we have tried to push as hard as possible all day", said Rovanpera. "We had a lot of moments though, with the car too sideways, but for sure it was better than yesterday. Since changing the damper set-up earlier in the afternoon the car has been a lot more precise, but maybe we lose some grip. Tomorrow the first stage is not so bad, but the second I have only driven once before and it's quite soft, very fast and one where you need a lot of power. As for keeping ahead of Toni (Gardemeister), we just have to see".
Team-mates Gigi Galli and Guido d'Amore were intent on gaining more experience today, but the Italians went off the road in SS 12 after setting second fastest time in the preceding stage. On a right hand corner they slid off and into a big tree damaging the area in front of the front right wheel. Damage to the chassis and suspension components sees them permanently retired from the 2005 Rally Finland.
"We made one mistake over a jump and lost control; I couldn't do a thing", said Galli. "Lining the car up for the next right-hand corner I turned too much and when we landed the car snatched away from me. We hit a tree and damaged the front corner. I have never hit anything in that way before; it was big scare for Guido and me".
Adding to the drivers' comments, Yasuo Tanaka, Technical Director said: "We want Harri to complete the event, obviously, so we can gain as much data as possible for our future development and to find out the reason why the overall performance here in Finland is not as we expected. On the positive side, our reliability has taken another big step forward and the next big development has to come on the performance side".
The final leg of Rally Finland takes in two loops of two identical stages covering 66.56 competitive kilometers before the finish back in Jyvaskyla at 14:34 hrs (local).
News from our rivals
The leaderboard remains largely unchanged since last night. However, Marcus Gronholm now has a commanding one minute and seven second advantage over Sebastien Loeb, the French Citroen driver losing time in the final stage when he hit a rock and punctured a tire. Markko Martin retains his overnight third position while Petter Solberg has climbed from fifth to fourth in the lead Subaru. Mikko Hirvonen, in the second registered Ford, holds fifth, also benefiting from team-mate Gardemeister's tire problem in the penultimate stage of the leg. Janne Tuohino is piloting the lead Skoda after a trouble-free day.