PWRC showdown in Perth
- 6th October 2006, 8:45am
Subaru and Mitsubishi face the ultimate showdown when the two great marques battle for on-event and Championship supremacy in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship at Telstra Rally Australia in Perth 26-29 October.
The Production Car World Rally Championship (P-WRC) is a separate category within the World Rally Championship where cars run in a similar specification to road cars, with some strength and safety modifications. The Japanese manufacturers of Subaru and Mitsubishi have long been the rivals in this category, with Subaru being the chosen vehicle for last year’s Championship winner Toshihiro Arai.
The P-WRC lead is currently held by Nasser Al-Attiyah in a Subaru by a slim eight points. Al-Attiyah has nominated Telstra Rally Australia as one of the events competitors are permitted to miss. This gives Mitsubishi driver Fumio Nutahara, currently second in the standings, the opportunity to score maximum points at Telstra Rally Australia with little pressure.
Speaking after his success at the recent Cyprus Rally, Nutahara says he plans to compete in Telstra Rally Australia at “maximum attack”. Nutahara is the only competitor in the championship to run on Yokohama tyres and at Telstra Rally Australia will also be using a specific new tyre that he has not used on this event before.
Equal third place in the P-WRC standings is currently held by Aki Teiskonen (Subaru) from Finland and Mirco Baldacci (Mistubishi) from San Marino. The Finnish driver is excited about the prospect of competing at Telstra Rally Australia, which he says is his favourite rally. Teiskonen has been frustrated by rough conditions like those in Cyprus where he could not drive flat out and says his Finnish driving style is much better suited to the fast smooth roads of Telstra Rally Australia.
Three Argentine drivers will form an entry from Team Tango Rally driving in Mitsubishi Lancers: Marcos Ligato, Sebastien Beltran and Gabriel Pozzo. Pozzo has the best result at Telstra Rally Australia for the team, having finished second in P-WRC and second in Group N in 2005 and 2001 respectively.
Competing alongside the P-WRC regulars is Western Australian local Dean Herridge. Herridge is running under the entry of Subaru Team Quasys, meaning that he will run higher up the road order with the international competitors as well as benefiting from international team support. Herridge will be using the most of the opportunity to show the international crews what Aussie drivers are capable of.
Spectators who want to get up close and personal to some of the stars of the P-WRC can do so at Telstra Rally Australia’s Rally Show; an autograph signing opportunity in the Langley Park Service Park on Thursday 26 October from 4.00 to 5.00pm. To see the rally action live on the stages, tickets are available from $20 from www.rallyaustralia.com or Ticketmaster on 1300 136 122.
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