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GP Week : Issue 35
PCWRC: Hanninen closes in JUHO Hanninen strengthened his chances of taking the 2008 title by a most unexpected elevation into the lead on the final stage in Japan. From the second half of the first day to the penultimate stage, it was the 18-year-old Russian Evgeny Novikov who dominated the scene. He made incredibly fast times in the mud and rain, but suffered central differential trouble. He was able to drive to the finish but lost the category victory by 6.3s. In the opening stages the leader had been 20-year-old Eyvind Brynildsen and despite many problems en route, he finished in fourth place, beaten by the best non-Mitsubishi driver Toshihiro Arai in a Subaru Impreza N14. The rally saw the World Championship debut of the Mitsubishi Evo X, Katsuhiko Taguchi and Fumio Nutahara driving the new cars. And although they had problems, they finished in seventh and eighth place respectively. In the overall Group N class, the non championship Subaru of Jari Ketomaa was in the lead until he was forced to stop, because of the bad weather, on the final day. His non-championship status meant he had to run far down the order in the running lists each day. 40