The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC crew of “Gigi” Galli and Guido D'Amore once again scored points for the team in the Rally of Turkey, the Lancer WRC05 crew finishing eighth overall in only their second outing in the event.
The Italians were robbed of a potential podium position
during the start of the second leg, but nevertheless set two fastest stage times, led the rally for one stage and displayed stunning form on another of the toughest rounds of the series. Team-mates Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen ran under SUPERally regulations for two legs after retiring from the opening day with damaged suspension. The Finns finished 10th overall, climbing one position up the leaderboard today.
“Again we finished the rally and with one car in the points,” said Isao Torii, Head of Mitsubishi Motor Sports. “I must say thank you to the whole team; everyone has shown how they can perform and demonstrated great potential. The drivers become more and more confident with the car each time and they showed speed and confirmed that we are ready for the next stage of our strategy, namely to challenge for podium positions. I am feeling very optimistic about the rest of the season.”
The final leg of the Rally of Turkey covered just two stages and 49.80 competitive kilometers. However, it also included the longest stage of the event (33.35 kilometers) and for many it proved as much of a battle for man and machinery as the previous two days.
Gigi Galli and Guido D'Amore continued to set a hot pace in the final leg, claiming fourth fastest time in the closing two stages. They arrived back in Kemer in eighth position, claiming the final driver and manufacturer point.
“We took a steady pace today as there was no point to risk anything,” said Gigi. “Despite the disappointment yesterday, I have to say I am very happy with this rally. We made some good times and we are very close to having a great result. For me, that's in two rallies time, then it's my turn! We have some new solutions coming up, things we have already tested that I think will mean we can challenge and make the podium.”
Team-mates Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen also had a clear run to the finish and moved one place up the leaderboard, overhauling Henning Solberg in the process.
“It's been a difficult rally which really ended for us on Friday,” said Harri. “Since then we have been testing various things to see if we can find solutions for different situations. We have learned some stuff, but overall the rally has not been fantastic for us. Overall the tires have been working very well, the wear was good and we can look forward to Greece with some optimism.”
Adding to the drivers' comments, Technical Director Mario Fornaris said: “We had a good performance from the car and Gigi made a great drive. Harri was unlucky, but all in all I think we must be happy. It is the first time we have shown that we can be in the top ranking and that is my memory from this event. Gigi was in the top five throughout and he had two best times; that is the making of a podium position. We couldn't achieve it here because of a technical problem, but we have shown it is possible for the future.”
Mid-season in the FIA World Rally Championship is marked by the Acropolis Rally (June 23-26), the last of this group of European gravel events. Harri Rovanperä and Risto Pietiläinen will once again pilot the lead Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 and the Finns are joined by Gigi Galli and Guido D'Amore.
Press release Mitsubishi Motors