Wednesday, 29 May 2024
18 July 2004 - 11:18
Al Attiyah fourth in PCWRC after rally Argentina
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Leg Three of Rally Argentina was never going be an easy day for the competitors; but retirements in front of Nasser, Niall and Fabio lifted each of the Subaru drivers one position in the morning with the retirement of the second placed PCWRC runner Gigi Galli. This then placed all our remaining Subaru drivers in a points-scoring position with two stages to go. The weather finally turned better with clear blue skies and temperatures by lunchtime that gave the WRC competitors a chance to finally take off their winter jackets.

At the front of Group N, Gabriel Pozzo was taking it easy over the first three stages up to the lunchtime service. He had been overtaken in the overall placings by Gilles Panizzi and dropped to 8th overall, but is still in a WRC points-scoring position. His car looks immaculate and the Barattero team report that only routine maintenance has been carried out throughout the rally, surely a great testament to Gabriel's driving.

George Donaldson - STI Group N Project General Manager
"Although this event has not been a great success for the STI Group N drivers, we have simply been unlucky with accidents. The car was fully competitive and clearly demonstrated our ability to take on the competition and set the pace at the front of the rally during Leg One. I hope that at the next round in Germany we can fully exploit our competitiveness - and finish the rally on the top step of the podium"

Nasser Al Attiyah - 4th in PCWRC
Nasser has really had a great event here in Argentina. Whilst he has played a safe strategy throughout this event, correctly recognising it as the toughest event of the PCWRC calendar; he has continued to demonstrate his increasing pace and comfort in this series. Lying fourth in class going into the last two stages, he just needed to drive as safely as he had been to get his highest score of the season so far. He makes a substantial jump forward in his championship placing at the end of this event. "I have set myself a progressive target for each rally and we are achieving our goals event- by-event. I am very happy with this result and can't wait till the next round."

George Donaldson - STI Group N Project General Manager
"Nasser has changed his nominated rally from Germany to Corsica due to his commitment to the Qatar Olympic team. We wish him all the best in his Olympic contest in Athens, and hope that he can achieve that target which is clearly set at an Olympic Gold medal!"

Niall McShea - 5th in PCWRC
Niall spent the final day of Rally Argentina driving carefully to the finish as the gap in front to Nasser was simply too great for him to contemplate any sort of competitive charge. After his massive time loss on Leg One, he is simply happy to be in the points at all; and is delighted to be in 5th position for PCWRC points given the circumstance early on in the event. "I really thought I was going to retire during the problem on Leg One when a rock broke the front suspension. However, Michael (my co-driver) and I managed to repair the car twice, and that allowed us to return to the team mechanics in service after losing over 15 minutes to the leaders in the process. Argentina has really taught me something about survival this year. I can't wait to get to Germany for the next round where I really want to challenge for category victory."

George Donaldson - STI Group N Project General Manager
"Niall is incredible. He has spent today already planning the spec of the car for the next event, and discussing how and what he needs to test before the rally. He is very focussed on the series and is not going to rest until he's challenging at the front of each event."

Fabio Frisiero - 8th in PCWRC
Fabio came to Argentina determined to enjoy this event, and to dispel the misery of New Zealand when he retired on SS1 after a small error. He has really enjoyed the rally and has opened his points account - very much his target here. "The car has been really great to drive here. Although the rally was rougher than I expected, it has been very enjoyable and it is rewarding to finally get into the points this year." Fabio's next event is Germany where is the sole Top Run entrant. He will be doing a test in Italy before the rally, and hopes to increase his points tally there once again.

Marcos Ligato - retired
Marcos is bitterly disappointed to non-finish here on his home event. "Things were going so well here. We set a careful event strategy and never pushed too hard, being very careful with the car and keeping to the middle of the road to avoid any potential damage. Unfortunately, I was caught out in a fast place when I drove over an embedded rock buried in the road which had been exposed by the earlier cars. I wanted to prove how good the TopRun Subaru is here on my home rally, but now I have to wait until Corsica and Australia to get the chance again."

George Donaldson - STI Group N Project General Manager
"Marcos was caught out on a very tricky place that also very nearly ended several WRC cars' events - as witnessed by some incredible in-car footage. The road had been eroded by the earlier cars, and this exposed a very hard-to-spot rock which damaged the car's steering, resulting in an instant roll-over. He was very unlucky and, as many other PCWRC cars were warned of the danger by his co-driver, later commented that only this warning prevented them from doing the same."

Toshi Arai - retired
Toshi was left very disappointed to have made such a small but costly mistake on the opening stage of this event. All the more so as he then scored three top times in PCWRC on the first day until a water leak caused his retirement. With Germany only five weeks away, he doesn't have to wait too long for his next event - where he hopes to be able to get his championship back on track.

Mark Higgins - retired
Mark made a mistake with his pace-notes, and like Marcos, feels he has let the team done somewhat. However, he is still certain he can get onto the pace, but now has to wait until Corsica in October for another chance to redeem himself. In the meantime, he hopes to compete in one round of the British championship - and possibly also contest the British round of the WRC in September.

Press release
Subaru, 18/07/2004


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WRC: Argentina – 18 July 2004 - 11:25
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WRC: Argentina – 17 July 2004 - 11:17
Sousa bids to continue winning Baja streak for Mitsubishi – 16 July 2004 - 11:17
ERC: Rally Int. San Martino di Castrozza, Italy – 16 July 2004 - 11:13
ERC: Rallye Bohemia, Chech Republic – 11 July 2004 - 10:56
ERC: Ypres Rally, Belgium – 04 July 2004 - 11:52

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