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Mitsubishi cars filled four of the top six places in the Rally of Canberra, round 3 of the 2007 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and with that result increased its lead in the Asia-Pacific manufacturer's championship.

The Rally of Canberra is held in the forests near the national capital, this year running in winter-like conditions with temperatures as low as zero degrees overnight, but with sunny skies and dry conditions. After light rain a week before the event, the roads were in ideal condition.

Round one winners, the MRF Mitsubishi team of Katsu Taguchi (Japan) and Jussi Valimaki (Finland), pushed hard all event with Taguchi coming within two seconds of the Asia-Pacific lead.

Taguchi's challenge faltered when a turbo hose worked loose on the second day and while the problem was quickly fixed, such is the pace in the event, that any chance of taking the lead was over and Taguchi then settled for second and safe points.

"We are disappointed not to have won, the car is going very well and my driving is too - but today we had the problem with the turbo pipe and the engine lost power. It was not difficult to fix, but we lost so much time it’s better to get the points for second. The next rally is Hokkaido - my home event - and I am looking forward to this. I feel confident as the team made a lot of progress this event," Taguchi said at the finish.

After a two day test prior to the event, Jussi Valimaki was confident that he could do well, but any chance of a good finish was lost with a puncture on stage seven on Leg 1.

"Let’s wait and see for the next event. Canberra was always going to be difficult, but from now on in the championship everyone is equal. We won three stages here and I am confident the team can build on this progress for the rest of the year," Valimaki said.

Naren Kumar (India) in the Team India Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX was fifth in the Asia-Pacific category, followed by his team-mate, Brian Green (NZ), in a similar car.

The next round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship is the Hokkaido Rally in Japan, from July 6-8.

Photo: Macspeed Photography

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