Rally of Mexico: Pirelli and Subaru Still in the Lead at the Half-Way Mark

Guanajuato, 4 March 2006 - When the Rally of Mexico reached the halfway mark, Petter Solberg's Pirelli fitted Subaru Impreza WRC was still at the top of the provisional results table. The Norwegian is fighting hard against the Citroen Xsara driven by Sbastien Loeb, who was able to overtake the Impreza on the first special stage of the day before Petter's Subaru number 5 took back the lead. At the end of the ninth of the rally's total of 17 special stages, Solberg was ahead of the French reigning world champion by 3.5 seconds. The other works Subaru in the event on Pirelli driven by Chris Atkinson fell back down the leader board after the Australian rolled his car mid-way through the first stage. Severely damaged, the Impreza WRC was repaired by the team's technicians just in time to enable Chris to get back into the rally at the start of the second special stage, although he had slipped down to 19th place. Petter Solberg said he was pleased with the performance of his P Zero, of which he fitted the K2 Evo variant as early as the first special stage of the day. He said, " They helped me to make up a lot of ground on Loeb in one single timed section and they will be invaluable on the second part of the leg". The high degree of competitivity of the P Zero used in Mexico has also been confirmed in the Group N category of the rally, in which the first three cars are fitted with Pirelli tyres. Toshihro Arai's Subaru Impreza is in the lead of the production car segment of the event, with an ample margin over the sister car of Nasser Al-Attiyah and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX driven by Marcos Ligato. The second leg of the Rally of Mexico 2006 will end at 20.19 local time (3.19 am on Sunday, CET). Mexico Rally first leg classification after nine SS, WRC 2006 Event nr. 03: 1. Solberg (Subaru) 1h44'24''7 2. Loeb (Citron) +3''5 3. Stohl (Peugeot) +2'23''8 4. Sordo (Citron) +2'54''8 For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com