Pirelli Is Second With Atkinson's Subaru After The First "Monte Carlo" Rally Leg

Monte Carlo, 20 January 2006 - It is with the splendid second place of Australian Chris Atkinson that Pirelli Competizioni concludes the first day of the 74 th Monte Carlo Rally, first round of the season in the World Rally Championship (WRC). Subaru's standard bearer conducted a tactically perfect first leg of the event, maintaining a constantly high rhythm during the five special stages - one was annulled - without committing a single error. "Obviously, I am pleased about my provisional second place, but it is also true that we are only at the start of this decidedly demanding rally, which can surprise you at any moment. The choice of the P Zero we made together with the Pirelli technicians was always correct and enabled us to be up with the leaders from the start". If Chris Atkinson put up a practically perfect performance on this first leg, more than one Pirelli driver has ran into problems, which was the case with Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), who went off on the fourth stage when he was battling for third place. The Lombardy driver will be reinserted at the start of the second leg, but relegated to the back by the regulations with a penalty of 10 minutes. Subaru's leading driver Petter Solberg was seventh overall before retiring with a technical failure after the last special stage of the day. Petter and the other works Impreza of Stphane Sarrazin were delayed almost from the start by erroneous tyre choices, which stopped them from keeping up with the leaders. On the other hand, a mistake on the last stage proved fatal for WRC World Champion Sbastien Loeb (Citroen), who flew off the road while in the lead. Mario Isola, Rally Manager of Pirelli Competizioni commented positively on the provisional results list. He observed, "Atkinson has shown himself to be a real talent in the areas of both driving and race tactics, maintaining a high rhythm without forcing the mechanics and without making a mistake, while not competing in the kind of rallying he likes. It is a pity Gigi Galli went off and rolled, but the performance he put in during the earlier stages, in which he was up with the leaders, speaks well of him". Rally Monte Carlo 's first leg classification, WRC 2006 Event nr. 01:
  1. Gronholm (Ford) 1h09'30''8
  2. Atkinson (Subaru) +1'23''7
  3. Gardemeister (Peugeot) +1'27''1
  4. Panizzi (Skoda) +1'34''6
  5. Stohl (Peugeot) +1'39''1
  6. Duval (Skoda) +2'05''5
  7. Sarrazin (Subaru) +2'46''8
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