Rovanpera and Pirelli Second in Australia

Perth (AUS), 13 November 2005 - The Mitsubishi-Pirelli of Harri Rovanpera has finished second on the all-gravel Rally Australia , the final round of the World Rally Championship. The Subaru-Pirelli of Chris Atkinson is fourth, ahead of the other Mitsubishi of Gigi Galli. Yet the results do not quite tell the whole story. Pirelli won 18 stages out of 26 on the event, with both Subarus forced out of an assured lead due to separate incidents. Atkinson led on the first day before a broken steering arm cost him two and a half minutes. Solberg then took the lead, until a collision with a kangaroo forced him into retirement. Nonetheless, he retains the runner-up spot on this year's drivers' World Championship. Both Peugeot-Pirellis were also out on the first day, with Marcus Gronholm succumbing to broken suspension while Daniel Carlsson crashed. But it was a highly successful event for Mitsubishi-Pirelli. Rovanpera was fighting at the front throughout the rally, and his second-place finish is the best-ever for the current Lancer WRC. Fifth place for Italian Gigi Galli also equals the best World Championship result of his career. The final leg of the Rally Australia consisted of six forest stages, separated by a service halt in Perth . The weather was warm, with temperatures around 25 degrees centigrade, enabling the Pirelli runners (from Subaru, Peugeot and Mitsubishi) to use a medium compound of rubber. Today they chose KP and K tyres from the P Zero range, but on the more gravelly stages of Friday and Saturday the KM rubber was also used. Australia was also the final round of the Production Car World Rally Championship, with the Pirelli-equipped Group N Subaru of Toshi Arai winning both the rally and the championship. Pirelli's rally manager Fiorenzo Brivio commented: "We are very happy with the performance of our tyres here, and the stage results show that we could have won. Congratulations to Mitsubishi on their best result, but we also feel very sorry for Solberg and Atkinson, who equally deserved to win." Rally Australia (16/16) - Final classification 1 Duval-Smeets Citroen Xsara WRC 3h19m55.0s 2 Rovanpera-Pietilainen Mitsubishi Lancer WRC +52.9s 3 Stohl-Minor Citroen Xsara WRC +1m33.0s 4 Atkinson-Macneall Subaru Impreza WRC +1m39.0s 5 Galli-d'Amore Mitsubishi Lancer WRC +3m04.4s 6 Kresta-Tomanek Ford Focus WRC +3m09.0s 7 Sola-Amigo Ford Focus WRC +6m17.4s 8 Schwarz-Wicha Skoda Fabia WRC +8m04.3s 9 Arai-Sircombe Subaru Impreza (Gp.N) +15m43.2s 10 Higgins-Barritt Subaru Impreza (Gp.N) +17m29.8s Drivers Championship: 1 Loeb 127; 2 Solberg & Gronholm 71; 4 Gardemeister 58; 5 Martin 53; 6 Duval 47; 7 Rovanpera 39; 8 Kresta 29; 9 Stohl 21; 10 Hirvonen 14; 11 Galli 14; 12 Sainz 11; 13 Atkinson 13; 14 H Solberg 9 Manufacturers: 1 Citroen 188; 2 Peugeot 135; 3 Ford 104; 4 Subaru 97; 5 Mitsubishi 76; 6 Skoda 21