Mitsubishi Motors has registered a two-car entry for the 2005 FIA World Rally Championship and the team will contest all 16 rounds of the series with the latest specification Mitsubishi World Rally Car, the Lancer WRC05.
For 2005, the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports driver line-up includes Finland’s Harri Rovanperä, Frenchman Gilles Panizzi - who has been instrumental in the development of the Lancer World Rally Car this year - and Italy’s "Gigi" Galli.
Thirty-eight-year-old Rovanperä will contest all 16 rounds of the championship, the Finn providing the team with valuable knowledge of all events in the series; in particular the gravel rounds the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports team missed during the 2004 season.
"The championship is more and more dominated by gravel rallies and we need a driver who knows all these events very well," said Isao Torii. "Harri Rovanperä is a good loose surface driver, especially on the high-speed events.
Team-mate Gilles Panizzi, whose dedication to test and development work this year has been invaluable to the team, will compete in selective rounds of the series, notably the sealed-surface events where Mitsubishi has high expectations of the Frenchman being a potential winner.
"Gilles has been incredibly supportive of the team and has contributed enormous amounts to our development program," stated Torii.
Gigi Galli will share the second Lancer WRC05 with Panizzi, although a third car may be entered on some European events.
"Gigi has made very good progress and although it was very difficult to compare the results of our three young drivers this year, his performances in Sardinia and Spain are what made us decide to retain him in 2005," Torii concluded.Published 17 January 2005