From Mitsubishi Press [ 23/09/2002 ].
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The Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart crew of François Delecour and Daniel Grataloup scored a point for Mitsubishi in the 2002 Rallye Sanremo when they brought their Lancer Evolution WRC2 home in 10th position, sixth of the registered crews. The Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart crew of François Delecour and Daniel Grataloup maintained their 10th position throughout the day, the deficit to rivals ahead too great to overcome in just four stages.
Gilles Panizzi notched up his third consecutive victory on Italy's asphalt roads and remarkably Peugeot scored yet another one-two points haul - it's seventh of the season - when Marcus Gronholm finished second. The French manufacturer now holds a commanding 45 point advantage over Ford with 48 points left to claim. In the Drivers' Championship, Marcus Gronholm continues to lead, the Finn 23 points ahead of team-mate Richard Burns. Colin McRae slips to third, just one point behind his fellow countryman, with Gilles Panizzi moving up to fourth.
Just 36 of the original 53 crews contesting Rallye Sanremo took the re-start in the Riviera resort early this morning for the final day of competition in the Ligurian mountains. Today's route included two loops of two stages totalling 88.02 kilometres which brought the crews back to Sanremo for the finish at 15:00 hrs (local GMT-2). Weather conditions have, contrary to forecasts earlier in the week, remained dry, clear and sunny, providing a consistent surface for the drivers as they powered over the twisty roads high above the Mediterranean coastline.
"The first stage was quite good, the surface was very smooth with no bumps - very fast, like a circuit," commented François. "We were flat-out in both stages this morning, but we eased off this afternoon since the gap was realistically too big to close and we didn't want to take any risks. It's been a tough rally with so many competitive cars and drivers, and I think if we hadn't lost time on the first leg with the turbo problem we would have had a big fight with Colin (McRae) through most of the event. However, we've definitely seen an improvement with the car, especially from the engine, and although we need to carry on developing it and moving forward, this has given us yet more information and idea of which direction to move. Also I'm really pleased to have got another point for Mitsubishi."
Adding to his comments, Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director John Easton said: "With the troubles we had at the beginning of the event and the time lost, to come away with a manufacturer point is very pleasing. The stage times are showing that we've improved the performance of the car, and we're looking forward to continuing this development for the remaining three events of the season."
Rallye Sanremo - Final Results
1. Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi Peugeot 4hr 10min 15.6sec
2. Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen Peugeot 4hr 10min 36.5sec
3. Petter Solberg/Phil Mills Subaru 4hr 11min 22.0sec
4. Richard Burns/Robert Reid Peugeot 4hr 11min 34.5sec
5. Markko Martin/Michael Park Ford 4hr 12min 10.5sec
6. Jesus Puras/Carlos Del Barrio Citroen 4hr 12min 54.9sec
7. Cedric Robert/Gerald Bedon Peugeot 4hr 13min 16.9sec
8. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist Ford 4hr 15min 33.1sec
9. Harri Rovanpera/Voitto Silander Peugeot 4hr 16min 34.5sec
10. François Delecour/Daniel Grataloup Mitsubishi 4hr 17min 40.0sec
The FIA World Rally Championship contenders now head to the most southerly event in the series, Rally New Zealand (3-6 October). The fast and flowing roads on the North Island are viewed as some of the best in the world, allowing drivers to exploit their cars' performance to the full.