Rd.3 Rally Argentina

Production Car World Rally Championship
 
3 to 6 May 2007

LEG THREE

Toshi Carries the Torch for SUBARU

6 May 2007
Copyright © STI 
The final leg of Rally Argentina was just as unforgiving as the previous day, knocking competitors out of contention right up to the final stage. The shortest leg of the event, the day's itinerary was changed to added another run through Mina Clavero(originally scheduled to run only once) as first stage of the day.

Toshi Arai was the quickest of the SUBARU-equipped drivers, coming home just 9.3 seconds behind the winner after over three hours' competitive running. The Japanese put in a big attack this morning, trading fastest times on the stages with eventual winner Villagra, but unfortunately on SS21 (the first pass through El Condor), he had a spin. This delay put a possible win out of reach for the former P-WRC champion. "I felt we had the pace to catch Villagra, but that spin ruined my chances." commented Arai afterwards.

Mirco Baldacci went out on the road section between SS21 and SS22 after the cooling radiator got completely covered in mud. The car had overheated before he realized what had happened, instantly putting him out of contention.

Niall McShea had no major problems this morning other than the fact that he didn't have a soft enough tyre. It was very, very slippery out there, coupled with some very hard sections so he needed well-chosen rubber and he didn't quite have that. He lost a couple of places as a result, though still finished with three valuable championship points, and a team that was happy to see him make it home on his return to the P-WRC.

Copyright © STI 
Travis Pastrana was in a rhythm this morning, setting a good pace until the second last stage where he got a double puncture, losing eight minutes. He was very much on for picking up one or two points here, but unfortunately the whole thing went awry with that delay. He learned a lot on one of the hardest rallies in the championship, and managed to bring the car back in one piece.

Alexander Dorosinskiy had a trouble-free morning, reportedly more comfortable with the stages than on yesterday's leg. In the end, he wasn't very far away from the nearest competitor Aigner, having closed the gap from over 40 to just 18 seconds before the last of the day's tests before beaching the car on SS23 and had to go onto SupeRally on the final stage. He ended the event a rather unhappy man.

Patrik Flodin was on SupeRally today, and had a couple of ongoing problems on the car, resulting from the earlier dramas. His objective was to refine his pacenotes and get a feel for the day's stages, which he achieved. As a bit of a bonus saw the Swede get fastest time in Group N on the last stage of the rally.

Spyros Pavlides touched a rock on the third stage of the morning, breaking the car and falling into retirement. Loris Baldacci was another who retired this morning, citing a broken transmission.

George Donaldson

STI Group N Project General Manager:
"When we look at the end of this rally, it's certainly all the expected drivers filling the top six places. But after that, it was anyone's guess who would finish. It has been, as we expected, a very tough event and unfortunately we lost one of our best drivers late this afternoon in Mirco Baldacci. He was looking good for fourth spot, so it's very disappointing to see him go out, particularly so close to the end.

"Niall McShea also seemed to lose a little time this morning on those very tough stages, but again it was better for him to take it a little bit easier as he was under a very strict strategy to make no mistakes, not damage the car and bring it back to the finish. These objectives have all been completed handsomely with sixth position, and he's picked up three useful championship points. With the average points' score being six per event to be championship leader at this stage, Niall's not been left in a bad position at all.

Copyright © STI 
"Travis Pastrana had a few dramas this morning, but managed to survive them - this has been character-building to say the least and he has displayed a brilliant performance measuring himself against the world's best and finishing the event looking strong for the future. That has left Alexander Dorosinskiy, who was chasing hard against Aigner and catching him convincingly, but unfortunately his incident on the last stage, costing him some championship points.

"Of course, we share the extreme disappointment with Patrik Flodin, Nasser Al Attiyah and Kristian Sohlberg. We've lost three of our very top front-running drivers in this event to small driving errors, and that for us has been a major loss in terms of our final result. But the good news is that, along with Toshi, all those drivers have shown that the Impreza is capable of a top result here, fighting at the head of the field on these fast, rough and tricky stages.

"We now head into the second part of the season when we visit Greece in a month's time. I guess there we're going to see a huge effort from the drivers to restart their year in a positive fashion. Given that it's also one of the very rough events of the championship, the prospects are for another eventful rally - but hopefully no Greek tragedy for the SUBARU drivers."

The next event on the 2007 P-WRC calendar happens in four weeks' time as teams head back to Europe to tackle another famously difficult event, Greece's Acropolis Rally.



Pos Driver Car Name Time   Diff  
1 Federico VILLAGRA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:08:53.7 -
2 Toshihiro ARAI SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 3:09:03.0 +9.3
3 Juho HÄNNINEN Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:09:21.9 +28.2
4 Gabriel POZZO Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:12:15.7 +3:22.0
5 Marcos LIGATO Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:13:32.9 +4:39.2
6 Niall McSHEA SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 3:14:23.6 +5:29.9
7 Andreas AIGNER Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:15:02.6 +6:08.9
8 Martin RAUAM Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:16:59.5 +8:05.8
9 Stuart M. JONES Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3:19:48.2 +10:54.5
10 Travis PASTRANA SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI 3:23:30.0 +14:36.3