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The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC team scored points with both its nominated Lancer WRC05s in the Corona Rally México, the third round of the 2005 FIA World Rally Championship. Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen fought hard to finish fifth and team-mates Gilles and Hervé Panizzi took two points for eighth place. This result marks the fourth consecutive rally that Mitsubishi has brought all its cars to the finish.

Mitsubishi’s third successive double points haul from Monte-Carlo, Sweden and now México means it matches Ford on points in the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, although Mitsubishi take third place in the standings, based on finishing positions this year.

"What a weekend for Mitsubishi Motorsport", said the President of Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Isao Torii. "Yesterday we finished second and fourth at the 3,840 kilometer Cross Country Rally from Argentina to Chile, and today we finished with both WRC cars in the manufacturer points at an exciting Rally México. I am very happy with the overall spirit of both teams because the reliability of our cars is good, we have fulfilled our target and to be equal with Ford in the WRC manufacturers’ points table is a great result for Mitsubishi Motors. Thanks to all those who worked so hard in the last month to bring us back into a top position in the Manufacturers’ Championship.

The final leg of the Corona Rally México saw the crews leave León for the final two stages of the Latin American event. Only 62.65 competitive kilometers lay in wait but the final stage loomed as at 44.39 kilometers, was the longest of the rally where a strong car and correct tire choice would really pay off.

Harri Rovanperä made a steady start to the event but made good progress, despite brake problems on the high altitude stage on leg one. He was unlucky on the start of the second day as electrical problems meant the team had to change the ECU, fuel line and ignition system before he could set off but he collected a 1min 20sec penalty after leaving service late. He picked up the pace, setting a fourth fastest time to end the day in fifth, only 1.4 seconds behind Ford’s Gardemeister and 36 seconds ahead of reigning World Champion Loeb, who was on a mission after dropping right down the order on leg one. Confident he could overhaul Gardemeister but aware of the pressure from Loeb, Rovanperä powered his way through leg three, setting two fastest stage times. Unfortunately the stage wins went to Loeb and the Frenchman eventually beat him to fourth place by seven seconds.

"I’m happy with fifth place but it was a very tough rally", commented Harri. "We drove as hard as we could today; it was hard enough to get past Gardemeister but not fast enough to stay ahead of Loeb. The only thing that happened in the last stage was spectators throwing stones at us and while we didn’t lose much time it put a big dent in the windscreen and I lost concentration each time it happened. Whether it would have made up the seven seconds we lost to Loeb, who knows, but our performance was still quite good".

Gilles Panizzi set off confidently, setting competitive stage times on the opening day, reaching sixth overall, but he had a more difficult rally in general. He had three punctures to contend with on the leg one, culminating in a spin during the final stage and during leg two, he was finding it difficult keeping the car on the line, complaining of it being too soft and struggling to steer when braking. But the often hot-headed Frenchman kept his cool and drove to the finish to take two extra manufacturer points for Mitsubishi.

"It is good that we have two cars at the finish and that we both scored points". said Gilles. "Now we have to push and work very hard for the next rally; in my opinion we should be competing for podium positions. Now we have to work on our performance. We know we have a strong car, we just need to make it handle a bit more confidently on gravel".

Adding to the drivers’ comments, Technical Director Mario Fornaris said: "This was a very good result for us because for the third time in a row we have reached our sporting target to get a car in the top five positions and two cars in the points. The results of the last few rallies show that our technical development is improving rally by rally and we haven’t had many difficulties since Catalunya last year, despite introducing new components like the automatic gearshift and now the active differential system. We are closer to the top of the leaderboard and the drivers did a great job this weekend, keeping a good spirit, despite the few issues we had to deal with. Mitsubishi Motors is in a very strong position on the points’ leaderboard and we hope to continue improving over the long string of upcoming gravel events".

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Michael Kahlfuss won the Group N category of Corona Rally México. Another Mitsubishi Lancer driver and local hero Erwin Richter retired on leg one but was able to start the second day under the revised restart rules and held position to finish almost eight minutes ahead of fellow México Carlos Tejada in third, also in a Lancer.

The FIA World Rally Championship now heads to Australasia for the second long-haul event of the season. Propecia Rally New Zealand (April 7-10) is the second of a string of eight loose-surfaced events and takes place on the flowing gravel tracks around New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
 

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F'ng e-ll! your WRC threads are longer than mine! - Theyv'e got the reliability just need the speed - i wonder now - if they were just to move that back spoiler back a few inches...........
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ollie, I didn't write it :D. I just get mailed these for the site.

As for the spoiler, they can put it where they like as long as the cars quick :;. Looking forward to seeing Galli on some tarmac stages this year. He's the only driver that's made the car look competitive so far. Their WRC position flatters them as they've been helped with other teams falling off. Still, that's part of rallying I guess.
 

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Sorry guys, but Mitsubishi are a spent force in rallying.

There were two main reasons for the glory years:

1. Tommi Makinen

2. Andrew Cowan.

In all honesty, the cars have never been that good................
 

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In all honesty, the cars have never been that good................
Sorry Rob but disagree there mate. Has to be a conbination of everything IMPO. And if they got a good driver or give it a year or two with present drivers then Mitsubishi will be back on top. Its a shame they dont use an Evo for the WRC now. All the Evo's are ment to be rally cars and the 1-6 where the best at there time regardless of who was driving them. I'm not saying the Tommy didnt help of which he did, and the best driver in the world at the time, but brilliant driver and co-driver + brilliant car + brilliant mechanics = WRC champion :) Team effort :D
 

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Rob Plummer said:
Sorry guys, but Mitsubishi are a spent force in rallying.

There were two main reasons for the glory years:

1. Tommi Makinen

2. Andrew Cowan.

In all honesty, the cars have never been that good................
I agree with the first two statements , but I'm sorry , I cannot agree with the 3rd , even the best driver in the world would not win 4 championships in a row in a shite car ! From evos III to VI the Group A rally car was the best car in the championship , certainly better than the much lauded Escort Cosworth/WRC. Think also about the various Group N victories scored by the Lancer , not only in WRC but in APRC and many other Rally championships accross the globe. Also even if you go back to the orginal 1974 Lancer , straight out of the box , this car was competitive in very tough rallies (proper long gruelling events in those days) such as Safari and the Southern Cross rally in Australia (with a certain Mr A Cowan from Whitsome, Chirnside, Berwickshire in the drivers seat!)
 

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Shall we just wait and see before "some people" start slagging them off again.... they've got off to a good start!

Kev
 

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Group N's a totally different kettle of fish. It's a 2 horse race-and the cars are completely different.

I stand by it - the Group A Lancers weren't really as good as the results suggest. The WRC Lancers are definitely POOR.

And I AM a Mitsubishi man, having raced one and driven an Evo road car for over 7 years................
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rob, what cars do you reckon were better when Tommi won 4 drivers championships and why? If the Grp A Evo was so bad, look what happened when the WRC version was introduced even with Tommi driving it. He'd of won a 5th title if he wasn't forced to take it, so it's not all Tommi.

Must admit the 2nd Grp A Evo could of been more competitive and helped Mitsubishi to more constructor championships. Richard Burns was the only other driver to show any real pace, but still lagged behind Tommi for consistency.
 

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In group A form the evo's were the best cars of the era also helped by tomi's skills. Mitsubishis down fall on the world rally arena is more to do with sticking with a group A car when the other teams were developing WRC cars. But the one plus side to this was we got the best road going rally cars and also meant mitsubishi have been dominating group N for years.

Gary :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No doubt Mitsubishi ultimately paid dearly for not developing a WRC car sooner, but the fact was they knew the Grp A car was very good and decided to stick with it as long as possible where it was very competitive with supposedly more advanced WRC cars. I think that says a lot about how good the Grp A Evo was.

I can't accept that 'the cars have never been that good' during Mitsubishi's chamionship years. It just doesn't stack up IMO.
 

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DaveG said:
No doubt Mitsubishi ultimately paid dearly for not developing a WRC car sooner, but the fact was they knew the Grp A car was very good and decided to stick with it as long as possible where it was very competitive with supposedly more advanced WRC cars.
They only got away with useing a Grp A car against WRC cars for a short period while the WRC cars were developed, where as the Grp A evo was a tried and tested package. The 1st WRC cars from subaru and ford were nothing special unlike the toyota corolla which was the most advanced rally car around but was not tested.

Gary

ps the Grp A evo 6's were not quite true Grp A cars as ralliart made a number of changes to the body shell when WRC rules came into play ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As I remember Gaz the FIA dispensation allowed Mitsi things like greater flexibility with engine position as well as suspension mounting and travel during their extended Grp A phase. Even more flexibility was supposed to be one of the advantages of the Evo 7 WRC.

However, it was Mitsubishi's own decision to stick with the Grp A car and not go WRC earlier like the other teams. Like we said, ultimately it cost them, but would like to know their reasoning. Initially they said they wanted to keep the link between road and rally cars, but were forced to go WRC to be more competitive which the WRC car plainly wasn't.

Was that the Toyota that was found to be running illegal restrictors and got Toyota in serious trouble or was that an earlier car? Can't remember now.
 

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It was the last of the celicas which got them banned :D hence the time out allowed them to develop what was the most advanced car of its time.

Gary :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Perhaps Mitsubishi took most of the last few years off for the same reason ;).
 
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