Mitsubishi heading for points again

Mitsubishi heading for points againFrom Mitsubishi Press [ 09/04/2005 ].
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The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC team remains on course to score points for the fourth consecutive event in the 2005 FIA World Rally Championship. While the team has suffered some technical set-backs over the last two days, "Gigi" Galli is nevertheless in the provisional points in eighth, with team-mate Harri Rovanperä ninth in the second Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05.

"Technically it was a trouble-free day, but we struggled with tire problems", said Mario Fornaris, the team’s Technical Director. "Our road positions this morning were not the best, but nevertheless we expected more from this day. We are working very closely with our tire engineers and I am sure we can avoid such things in the future".

Today’s leg, covering another eight stages, was essentially based around the service park in Paparoa once again, although the final two stages brought the crews back to Auckland for two runs around the Manukau super special stage on the outskirts of the city. Overnight rain compacted some of the loose gravel making conditions damp this morning, however the roads were once again near-perfect for world-class rallying. Large crowds also flocked into the super special stage this evening, despite damp weather, and enjoyed spectacular head-to-head action over the purpose-built track.

Gigi Galli and Guido D’Amore have had a largely trouble-free day, but the intensity of the competition ahead of them has made it difficult to make much impact on their rivals. The Italians did however set a hot pace in stage 12, one of just two new stages to be run in this year’s event, but then lost time in the following stage with a spin. Tire problems also slowed their charge in the last of today’s long and winding farmland stages.

"I’m not really that happy at the end of the day, but I tried my best", said Gigi. "Our tire problem was disappointing this afternoon and we were not in a position to show any real pace, but tomorrow is another day and we will continue to try our best over the long stages".

Similarly, team-mates Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen enjoyed a relatively incident-free leg, their only problems relating to tire issues. "This morning there was a tire vibration; sometimes it was quite strong and other times not", said Harri. "It disturbed my concentration a bit; it was like seeing four roads at the same time! Then this afternoon, about 20 kilometers into SS14, the rear left tire seemed to burst and we had to finish the stage with a completely flat and destroyed tire".

The closing leg of Rally New Zealand covers four stages and 87.29 competitive kilometers, and includes two runs over the famous and spectacular Whaanga Coast stage.