Rally of Turkey: Mitsubishi leg two summary

MITSUBISHI LANCER WRC05 SETS ANOTHER FASTEST TIME IN SS14 Galli tops the time sheets for second time in Turkey and sets consistent top five times After their stunning performance in the opening leg of the Rally of Turkey, in which "Gigi" Galli...


Galli tops the time sheets for second time in Turkey and sets consistent top five times

After their stunning performance in the opening leg of the Rally of Turkey, in which "Gigi" Galli and Guido D'Amore held second overnight, the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 crew suffered huge disappointment this morning. The Italian duo plummeted to tenth position after the first two stages when a turbo pipe disconnected.

After repairs in service, the crew were back on the pace and set their second fastest stage time of the event (SS14) and were consistently within the top five throughout the day. They overnight in eighth position.

Team-mates Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen re-started under SUPERally regulations and hold 10th. The Finns are focused on testing and both crews hope to pick up manufacturer points on Sunday afternoon.

"Of course it was a pity to have a problem with Gigi's car, but afterwards we gave him the task of showing his speed and the performance of the car", said Isao Torii, Head of Mitsubishi Motor Sports. Again he set a fastest stage time, which is very encouraging for the whole team. Harri has also been constant, showing some speed. On the face of it our positions don't look so good, but stage by stage everything is very positive and promising; it shows we have made good progress. From this rally I am very encouraged for the second half of the season and we are definitely in a position to attack for a podium position".

Today's leg, the longest of the event, took the crews to the west of Kemer for another six mountain stages before returning to Antalya for the second and final run over the 5.20 kilometer super special stage. In total, the leg took in 494.39 kilometers, 150.49 of which were competitive.

While temperatures once again rocketed in the service park in Kemer, temperatures in the stages were marginally cooler and rain fell during the afternoon, making for tricky conditions.

"All the good sensation and satisfaction from yesterday is still there; none of us forget this", said a disappointed but philosophical Gigi. "We had one small problem and the one thing that changed is our position. Sure, that is disappointing for everyone, but our objective remains the same; to show speed, the car's potential, to learn the roads and understand more and more about the set-up. You learn something from every rally and I just have to think that this is just not our time yet... I knew this morning it would be hard to stay ahead of Marcus and Petter, but we did a good job during the day and did some top stage times; that is what matters".

Team-mate Harri Rovanpera has moved one position up the leaderboard and is now focused on improving and learning more about the car set-up.

"We swapped to Gigi's set-up for the last three stages and for me there was no great difference", said Harri. "There was some better traction, but when it was bumpy the car was grounding more, so some things were good and others not so good. Overall everything's been okay, but it's been a long and hot day".

Adding to the drivers' comments, Technical Director Mario Fornaris said: "There is a mix of different feelings; on the one hand I am very happy with Gigi's performance but on the other very sorry we couldn't allow him to carry on fighting. Once Harri's car was entered into SUPERally we decided to take the opportunity to test different set-ups and considering his position on the road was not so good, I am happy Harri had no problems".

The final leg of the Rally of Turkey takes in just two stages. However, totaling 48.80 competitive kilometers, they are sure to provide a thrilling finale to this year's event.

News from our rivals

Sebastien Loeb has once again proved unstoppable and the Frenchman looks set to claim an impressive fourth consecutive victory this season. He has one minute and 16.6 seconds in hand to Petter Solberg who has been dicing with Marcus Gronholm for position. The Finn was overhauled by the Subaru driver in SS13 but the two rivals remain neck and neck and look set to fight to the end for second and third positions. Carlos Sainz has made an impressive return, the Spaniard in a comfortable fourth in the second Citroen Xsara after seven months away from the series. Toni Gardemeister - who dropped back from fifth after a puncture - and Roman Kresta round off the top seven respectively. Henning Solberg, competing in an M-Sport run Focus, was forced out from of the leg from seventh position with throttle problems. He looks set to re-join under SUPERally regulations in 11th position.

2005 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship (Round 4/8)


Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers Xavier Pons and Fumio Nutahara are making up ground after unlucky starts to the Rally of Turkey, the fourth round of the 2005 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship. However, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution duo look set to score points when the rally finishes tomorrow afternoon.

The second leg of the event was every bit as grueling as expected. Drivers faced 150 kilometers of long, often twisty stages in the Taurus Mountains west of Kemer and even at altitudes of 1,500 meters or more, ambient temperatures regularly exceeded 30 degrees Celsius.

Occasional downpours added to the challenge, with dust in some places and mud in others, placing a premium on bravery and often making tire choice a lottery.

Xavier Pons confirmed the speed of the Lancer Evolution once more with a series of blistering times, including fastest in SS15. But the Spaniard had to stop on a stage once more to change a puncture and he was hampered by a gearbox problem when closing on the leader. Fifth place in the PWRC at the end of the second leg does his performance no justice.

"We have tried hard today and not been so lucky I think", he said. "We have lost quite a lot of time with the puncture, but we are still in a position to score points and there are two long stages to go tomorrow. Maybe we can still move up a little bit, but it will not be easy".

Japan's Fumio Nutahara has belied his complete lack of experience in Turkey with a polished performance in his Lancer Evolution, setting fastest PWRC time in stage 12 and regularly matching the leaders. He has climbed to sixth place in the classification, rounding the leg off with another fastest time in the super special stage.

"Today has been a bit easier than the first leg. It has not been so slippery and we have been able to drive a bit faster. I am very happy with our performance, but we cannot relax. We have to keep pushing tomorrow", Nutahara said.

Argentina's Federico Villagra is climbing the order in his Lancer Evolution after a difficult start to the rally and has passed FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Champion Karamjit Singh.

Italian Angelo Medeghini is also recovering from a few setbacks during the first leg in his similar car.


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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Harri Rovanpera , Marcus Gronholm , Petter Solberg , Sébastien Loeb , Karamjit Singh , Risto Pietilainen , Toni Gardemeister , Roman Kresta , Guido D'Amore , Henning Solberg , Fumio Nutahara , Xavier Pons , Angelo Medeghini , Federico Villagra
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , M-Sport