A bittersweet memory for the Sweden
Daniel Carlsson made a strong challenge for second in his Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC Team prepared and run Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 in Rally Norway last weekend.
Riding high from his third place success in the same Mitsubishi
on his home event in Sweden, Carlsson was aiming for another podium result. He maintained second position in the privately entered Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 until SS12 – Mesna when the twisty, narrow snow-filled stage caught him out. He was forced to retire after going off the road and ploughing into a deep snow bank. It was impossible for him to continue as the Lancer was well and truly stuck and the unforgiving conditions ended his rally. Norwegian Henning Solberg was the victor having claimed 13 out of 14 stage wins on his home event in his OMV Peugeot 307 WRC.
From the outset Carlsson was determined to do well in the Mitsubishi having driven it competitively only once before in Sweden with his new co-driver Bosse Holmstrand. The pair set the pace on the Rally Norway Shakedown on Thursday morning. He was quickest overall 2.1 seconds ahead of the Ford driver Thomas Schie and a full 10.6 seconds ahead of Henning Solberg. On completing the Shakedown Carlsson commented, ”I think it will be a tough battle, not just between Henning and me. We won't be able to get rid of Thomas Schie too easily.”
The organizers of the event are aiming for Rally Norway to be included in the 2007 WRC calendar in a pairing with the Swedish Rally. To add weight to the bid the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, presided over the official event opening along with former World Rally Champion, Petter Solberg. The Ceremonial Start was hosted in the main square of Hamar town centre with around 5000 rally fans attending. A total of 20 out of the field of 71 competitors over the start ramp were Mitsubishi entries.
Overall 284.80 kilometers lay ahead spread over the two-day event. The main action got underway with 142.37 kilometers of competitive stages on Leg 1 on Friday with 7 stages completed during the day. Henning Solberg claimed the first stage win on the longest stage of the rally, SS1 – Våler 1 through 30.30km of challenging, narrow and flowing forest roads. Following that Daniel Carlsson took the honours on the 24.42km of SS2 – Løten in the Mitsubishi. After the Viking Ship service, SS3 a repeat of Våler 2 was won by Solberg. Recharged by just a 10 minute remote service at Kirkenær Carlsson continued a consistent position in second overall in the Lancer WRC05. Solberg set fastest times throughout the remaining four stages of the day to consolidate his lead to 51 seconds ahead of Carlsson. The crews headed back to Viking Ship before returning to Hamar overnight.
The activities of Saturday on Leg 2 took place North West of Hamar. Daniel Carlsson held his status in the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 in second position behind Henning Solberg for the first pass through SS8 – Brumunddal 1 and SS9 – Ringsaker 1. After the 30 minute service holt at Viking Ship the competitors returned to repeat Brumunddal 2 and Ringsaker 2 for stages 9 and 10.
Carlsson kept the Lancer momentum going in second overall. A further Viking Ship service was carried out before crews headed to SS12 – Mesna. The Mitsubishi driver suffered the consequences of drifting wide in the snow as he went off and buried the Mitsubishi in a bank. Unable to recover he was forced to retire from second position leaving Mads Østberg to reap the benefit in a Subaru.
Remarking about the Rally Norway weekend Carlsson said “We were struggling to get to know the very demanding roads here. It was severe driving to begin with. There was a lot of loose snow in the road and poor grip. The car was fine.” Clearly philosophical about his result he added Henning drove well. “I'm not a sore loser, the local hero was driving well and this was good fun. That's how it is.”
Isao Torii, President and Head of Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sport said: “We are delighted that Daniel Carlsson chose Mitsubishi to provide him with a customer WRC05 Car for this rally. It's such a great shame that he retired on stage 12. Carlsson was so competitive in second place. He really settled into the rhythm of the Lancer WRC05 incredibly quickly. He only had one brief test before Sweden where he achieved his third place podium. Rally Norway was only his second competitive Mitsubishi outing. We would be happy to continue the relationship with Daniel, he is a talented driver. We are currently in negotiation with a number of private customers to prepare and run additional Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05's during this season's World Rally Championship.”
Press release Mitsubishi Motors