29 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 WRC | MITSUBISHI MOTORS
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII

Mirco Baldacci powered his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX through one of his most impressive days in a rally car to move from fifth to second in the Production Car World Rally Championship standings at the end of Rally Australia in Perth today.

The San Marino driver left Langley Park early this morning in determined mood to make the podium. His efforts had been negated earlier in the rally by a poor choice of tires. His selection of a hard compound had not worked, despite high temperatures and blazing sunshine.

The weather changed for the final leg and its six stages to the east of the event#146;s host city. The conditions were overcast with an ever-present threat of rain.

Baldacci, and co-driver Giovanni Agnese, didn#146;t care about the conditions, they only cared about overtaking the cars in front. Baldacci pushed his Mitsubishi hard and was only outside the top three Production Car stage times once through the day – going fastest on the second run of the incredibly twisty and technical Atkins stage. After passing three cars, Baldacci was delighted with his result.

It#146;s fantastic for me, my co-driver, the team and Mitsubishi, said Baldacci. I had one set of soft tires, so I put them on the car this morning and they worked really well. I knew I would have to take the risk to try and make the podium, but this is what I wanted. I thought third would be nice, so to get second place is even better.

The tires are the only thing that has spoiled my rally – I never seemed to be able to get the choice right. The car has been fantastic, it hasn#146;t caused me any problems throughout the three days.

Baldacci#146;s fellow Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution crew Sebastian Beltran and Ricardo Rojas were fourth in their Tango Rally Team car. Beltran, from Argentina, also enjoyed a problem-free run in his car, allowing him to claim more valuable Production Car points on some of the most testing, remote and harsh roads anywhere on the planet.

Beltran#146;s team-mate Marcos Ligato, who had led this rally in his Lancer Evolution, retired half-way through the final day with an engine problem.

The final round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship takes place in just under three weeks, when the crews cross the Tasman Sea, bound for the fast and furious New Zealand stages. Mitsubishi man Fumio Nutahara is one of two men who can still lift this year#146;s crown, and the Japanese driver will be on top form as he attempts to add another title to the domestic series win he clinched earlier this month. Nutahara retired from Rally Australia with a blown turbo, but he still takes one point, having finished under superally regulations.

Beltran and Gabriel Pozzo were excluded when their cars were found not to conform to regulations.

At the head of the field on Rally Australia, Ford#146;s Mikko Hirvonen claimed his first ever World Rally Championship victory. The Finn led former world champion Petter Solberg (Subaru) home with Manfred Stohl completing the podium in his Peugeot.

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