The first stage of this weekend's Rally Japan saw a cautious start for the drivers. The morning dawned overcast, but more importantly, dry as the rain had stopped.
Marcus Gronholm, running second on the road, set the pace, following Sebastien Loeb's line in the loose gravel on top of the road. Second fastest was Gronholm's team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, the young Finn just 0.2sec slower over the stage, which he described as completely different from the rest of the day's tests. Petter Solberg was third fastest, 1.0sec slower than Gronholm, despite complaining of too much oversteer.
Loeb was fourth fastest, sweeping the road clear, while Manfred Stohl was fifth, also complaining of the loose gravel on the road. Chris Atkinson was sixth, taking it easy on the first stage with team-mate and local hero Toshi Arai seventh, learning the car in the process.
The two Stobart Focus' were next, Wilson faster by 0.5 sec, both learning the event and the car, which both Matthew Wilson and Luis Perez Companc both said required a different driving style to the previous specification car they were used to.
Dani Sordo was 10th fastest, finding the going very slippery on his first visit to the event while Gareth McHale was also feeling his way into the event, not having had a pre-event test.
This weekend's Rally Japan sees the return of the Production car World Rally Championship. With the series leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah absent, choosing Japan as one of the two events he passes on, Monte Carlo winner and local expert Fumio Nutahara is hoping to repeat his success on home soil.
"I'm very happy to be here," he said at the event's press conference. "I would lik weiter >>
Vorschau Rallye Japan 2006: Die Rallye Japan im Überblick Die Rallye Japan aus Sicht von BFGoodrich Das erwarten die Partnerteams von BFGoodrich So verlief die Rallye Japan 2005 Statistisches WM-Zwischenstand
In b weiter >>
FIA World Rally Championship, round 11/16
Rally Japan, the eleventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship, will be a momentous occasion for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally as it debuts its brand-new Ford Focus RS WRC06 cars, driven by Matthew Wilson and Luis Perez Companc.
After ten WRC events this year using the familiar older-style Ford Foc weiter >>
50 year-old Frenchman Denis Giraudet, arguably the most experienced FIA World Rally Championship co-driver, has been invited to co-drive for the Japanese driver Takuma Kamada on Rally Japan.
Kamada is the guest driver in the Production car World Rally Championship for the Subaru Team Quasys, and had originally been entered with Hakaru Ichino.
Giraudet has not been weiter >>
13. Lauf zur Rallye-WM, 30. Sept. bis 2. Oktober 2005
Karlsruhe (2.10.2005) – Der alte ist auch der neue Rallye-König: Mit einem zweiten Platz bei der Rallye Japan sicherte sich Michelin-Partner und Citroën-Pilot Sébastien Loeb nach 2004 seinen zweiten Fahrertitel* in Folge. Der Xsara WRC-Fah weiter >>
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Fumio Nutahara finished Rally Japan, the penultimate round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship, in second position today. The Japanese collects eight points for a measured drive in a hotly-contested series.
Today’s final leg was weiter >>
The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC crew of Harri Rovanperä/Risto Pietiläinen finished Rally Japan, the 13th round of the FIA World Rally Championship, in fifth position - a result that belies a stunning performance throughout the event. Gilles and Hervé Panizzi, in the second weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm has admitted that he's delighted, but surprised, to have taken a shock win on this weekend's Rally Japan. The Finn had settled for second place after starting the day 30 seconds behind Subaru's Petter Solberg, but moved up into the top spot when the Norwegian retired weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg has said that he's gutted to have lost out on his first victory since the Corona Rally Mexico in March after his retirement from today's final leg of Rally Japan. The Norwegian had taken a 32-second lead into closing five stages of the gravel forest event, but c weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm has grabbed victory in Rally Japan, winning the final stage after Subaru's Petter Solberg, who had looked sure to win the rally, retired on the penultimate stage of the final day. Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has the greatest cause for celebration, however, as his podium weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg has been forced to retire from the lead of Rally Japan with damaged steering after hitting a rock on the penultimate stage of the far-east event. This surrendered the rally lead and almost certain victory to Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm, who had been 20 seconds adrift and s weiter >>
Subaru's Chris Atkinson returned to his earlier Rally Japan form on the second test of today's final leg. The Australian - who briefly led the far-east event on the opening day - was 1.6 seconds faster than Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm on the first run of today's two runs over the 24.88-kilometre weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm is refusing to give up on this weekend's Rally Japan, winning the opening stage of the final day by 0.9 seconds from Subaru's Petter Solberg. Gronholm now trails the Norwegian by 31.4s, with four stages to run. Citroen's Sebastien Loeb finished sixth, retaining third weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg has said he's been driving at the ragged edge on today's second leg of the Rally Japan as he aims to score his first outright win since the Corona Rally Mexico in March. The Norwegian has played second fiddle to Citroen's reigning champion Sebastien Loeb all summer, but weiter >>
2005 FIA World Rally Championship - Rally Japan (Round 13/16) - October 1, 2005
The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC team has enjoyed the most consistent and successful two days of the season during the opening two legs of Rally Japan, the tea weiter >>
SS1 Pawse Kamuy 1 C. ATKINSON / G. MACNEALL
SS2 Rikubetsu 1 S. LOEB / D. ELENA
SS3 Kunneywa-Niueo 1 C. ATKINSON / G. MACNEALL
SS4 Sipirkakim 1 P. SOLBERG / P. MILLS
SS5 Pawse Kamuy 2 G. GALLI / G. D'AMORE
SS6 Rikubetsu 2 M. GRÖNHOLM / T. RAUTIAINEN
SS7 Kunneywa-Niueo 2 S. LOEB / D. ELENA
SS8 Sipirkakim 2 P. SOLBERG / P. MILL weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg continued to pull clear of Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm on the penultimate stage of Rally Japan's second leg. The Norwegian was 5.9 seconds quicker over the stage and now lies 31.4 seconds ahead with just the short spectator superspecial at Satsunai left to run today.
In an eventful stage in which Ford privateer Dani Sola rolled out of the leg, Mitsub weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg has further tightened his grip on this weekend's Rally Japan, winning SS19 to move 25.5 seconds clear of Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm. The double champion finished the stage a disappointing seventh, conceding 2.5s to the Subaru ace. Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli was seco weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg again took the upper hand in his battle with Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm, winning SS18 to extend his lead to 23 seconds. Gronholm finished the stage third fastest, conceding 3.2s to the Norwegian star. Citroen's Francois Duval has also overtaken Solberg's team-mate Chris Atkinson after finishing second on-stage.
Duval's performance leaves him trailin weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm claimed his third victory in four stages on today's second leg of Rally Japan to reduce rally leader Petter Solberg's advantage to under 20 seconds for the first time. Solberg could only manage the fifth-fastest tine on the stage, and now leads Gronholm by just 19.8s weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg responded to the emerging threat of Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm on the latest stage of this weekend's Rally Japan by topping the times on the 16th stage of the event. The Norwegian completed the 8.18-kilometre Emina test 1.9s quicker than Gronholm to increase his weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm topped the times for the second consecutive stage to take a further 0.5 seconds out of Subaru's Petter Solberg's overall lead, which is now down to 20 seconds. Citroen's Sebastien Loeb remains in third, now 51.5s off Solberg's pace, after coasting through the fifteenth stage as the 10th-fastest driver.
Citroen's Francois Duval finished the stage weiter >>
FIA PRODUCTION CARWorld Rally Championship (Round 7/8) September 30, 2005
Japanese Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver Fumio Nutahara heads the top of the Group N leaderboard in Rally Japan, the seventh round of the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship. The Hokkaido resident and FIA PWRC contender led early this morning but was then overhau weiter >>
Mitsubishi's Harri Rovanpera maintained the variety of stage winners on the final test of the opening leg of Rally Japan - the short Satsunai superspecial. The Finn edged out Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm and Citroen's champion elect, Sebastien Loeb, to make it six different winners on today's nine competitiv weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg won his third stage of Rally Japan's opening leg to once again increase his lead over second-placed Sebastien Loeb to a full 23.9 seconds. The Frenchman - who requires a podium finish to be seal his second drivers' title - was second-fastest, increasing his advantage over Peugeot' weiter >>
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has made a breakthrough step towards his second drivers' title, winning the seventh stage of Rally Japan by 11.5 seconds from Subaru's Petter Solberg. This helped the French driver leapfrog both Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm and Subaru's Chris Atkinson to move to second overall.
If Loeb secures a podium finish in Japan he will retain his 2004 title an weiter >>
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm claimed his first stage win of Rally Japan, topping the times by just one second from Citroen's Sebastien Loeb. The Finnish double world champion is now just 1.1s behind Subaru's Chris Atkinson, who managed to hold on to second place overall despite finishing ninth on-stage 3.1s behind Gronholm.
Overall rally leader Petter Solberg, who finished t weiter >>
Mitsubishi's Gigi Galli ended Subaru's dominant spell on this weekend's Rally Japan, topping the timesheets in the fifth stage with a time 0.2 seconds faster than Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm. Rally leader Petter Solberg finished a further 0.2s behind in his Subaru, increasing his overall weiter >>
Ford's Tony Gardemeister has blamed his disappointing performance in the opening stages of Rally Japan on misjudged pace notes. The Finn ended the morning session of the opening leg of the far-east gravel event 12th overall, and is already a minute and a half off the pace of overall leade weiter >>
Subaru's Petter Solberg edged back ahead of team-mate Chris Atkinson for the lead of Rally Japan by topping the final stage of the opening morning. The Norwegian was a full 16.4 seconds quicker than Atkinson on the fourth test of the rally to stretch his lead to a full 12 seconds - the biggest margin he's had over the young Australian.
Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm finished t weiter >>
Subaru's Chris Atkinson topped the times on the third stage of this weekend's Rally Japan to re-take the lead from team-mate Petter Solberg. The Australian's second fastest time of the day enabled him to move back ahead of his Norwegian rival after briefly losing the top spot on the standings to him on SS2.
Atkinson was a full 4.6 seconds quicker than Solberg over the mam weiter >>
Reigning champion Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg shared the honours on the second stage of Rally Japan, allowing the Norwegian to move to the top of the overall rankings, 0.2 seconds ahead of Subaru team-mate Chris Atkinson, who led after the first stage. The Australian could only m weiter >>
Subaru's Chris Atkinson fulfilled his shakedown promise on this morning's first stage of Rally Japan, topping the times by 1.3 seconds from team-mate Petter Solberg. The Australian - who bettered Solberg by four seconds on yesterday's test run - has been ordered by team boss David Lapworth to target a strong result this weekend.
Atkinson has competed in Japan twice before weiter >>
Subaru's Chris Atkinson shocked the World Rally Championship fraternity by comfortably topping the times in this morning's final shakedown for Rally Japan. The Australian - making his debut at the sport's top level this year - was a full four seconds quicker than world champion team-mate Petter weiter >>
Vorschau: Rallye Japan, 13. Lauf zur Rallye-WM, 30. Sept. bis 2. Oktober 2005
Karlsruhe (26.9.2005) – Nach den tragischen Ereignissen bei der Rallye Großbritannien - Michael Park, Beifahrer des Peugeot-Piloten Markko Märtin, kam bei einem Unfall ums Leben - steht die Rallye-Welt nach wie vor weiter >>
Former world champion Colin McRae has admitted that his interest in a potential full-time return to the World Rally Championship has been re-ignited by his one-off outing for Skoda on last weekend's Wales Rally GB. The Scot, who finished seventh on the event, has been linked to a possible full-time role with Skoda for 2006.
Although McRae admitted that he struggled to get weiter >>
Markko Martin - PeugeotPeugeot's Markko Martin will miss next weekend's Rally Japan after the death of his co-driver, Michael Park, in an accident on last weekend's Wales Rally GB. Peugeot has yet to announce what it will do with its second entry for the event, but team boss Jean-Pierre Nicolas said there was no question of Martin competing on the rally.
Works teams are r weiter >>