Peterhansel second quickest at Narbonne for Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally
Leg 2: Narbonne - Castellon (6 kms liaison, 25 kms special, 532 kms liaison)

For immediate release
Friday, January 2nd, 2004

Weather conditions: dry and cold (+3C)


Mitsubishi Motors hold second, fifth and sixth places in overall standings;
German lady Mayer and co-driver Schulz in 15th position

NARBONNE (France): Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports (MMSP) team drivers completed the 25 kms Narbonne stage of the 2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally in second, fifth, sixth and 15th places overall today (Friday).

A massive crowd gathered to watch the muddy and twisty special stage in the foothills on the outskirts of Narbonne, as Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret set the second fastest time in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution behind stage winner and early Dakar Rally leaders Jose-Marie Servia and Francois Borsotto in their Schlesser Buggy.

~It was a very narrow and difficult stage,~ said Peterhansel. ~Some of the corners were difficult and we had to stop and select reverse gear on several occasions on tight junctions. It was important to take the day seriously without taking any risks. The mud tyre was an option, but there would have been the risk of collecting a flat tyre on the sharper stones.~

Italian twice former World Rally Champion Miki Biasion and co-driver Tiziano Siviero finished fifth on the stage in the second Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, with defending Dakar champion and team mate Hiroshi Masuoka in sixth position in the third Evolution.

~It was very demanding today,~ said Biasion. ~I drove okay and tried to be as cautious as possible, but on one tight corner we hit the back of Shino's (Kenjiro Shinozuka) car and when I tried to pass I hit a tree at low speed.~

~Very slippery today and very narrow,~ said Masuoka. ~Today was a day for taking no risks. After this stage we can relax a little before Africa, because the stage in Spain tomorrow takes place on the beach and should not be too difficult.~

Germany's Andrea Mayer and Andreas Schulz were 15th quickest in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero, after tackling the stage on mud tyres.

~Choosing mud tyres was a good one for this stage,~ said Mayer. ~I was careful on the rocky sections to ensure that I did not have a puncture, because the ruts were tricky after all the bikes and the first of the cars had passed. We had to stop and reverse three times on tight corners and that costs you time. I am just happy to finish this stage amongst the leaders.~

~I am very happy with the way everything went today,~ said MMSP Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~We had no technical problems. Miki was lucky after his collision with Kenjiro, but Hiroshi and Stephane drove very well. Now we will see what happens on the beach in Spain.~

After today's stage the Mitsubishi factory team headed into a 532 kms road section across the border into Spain and the second overnight halt at Castellon. The drier weather was a far cry from the appalling conditions they left behind in Clermont-Ferrand, where heavy snow, sleet and icy temperatures caused hazardous driving conditions on the amended road section, via Valence, to Narbonne.

Tomorrow (Saturday) teams head into a nine-kilometer special stage near the beach at Castellon, 60 kms from Valencia. They then drive south on an 800 kms liaison to the Mediterranean port of Algeciras. A ferry crossing will take the entire Dakar caravan to the overnight halt at Tanger in Morocco.

Positions after Narbonne stage (provisional - 12.50 hrs):
1. Jose-Marie Servia (E)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Ford 25m 00s
2. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 25m 03s
3. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 Raid 25m 26s
4. Luc Alphand (F)/Henri Magne (F) BMW X5 Raid 25m 35s
5. Miki Biasion (I)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 25m 41s
6. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 25m 59s
7. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Marc Bartholome (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 26m 07s
8. Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Juha Repo (FIN) Nissan Pick-Up 26m 17s
9. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 26m 21s
10. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (F) Schlesser-Ford 26m 42s
15. Andrea Mayer (D)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 27m 13s



Dakar Rally debutant Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah set the seventh fastest time on the 25 kms Narbonne stage and was the quickest of the seven Mitsubishi Ralliart customer teams for the second successive day.

The Qatari had led the Mitsubishi Ralliart customer teams in appalling conditions through the Prologue stage at Clermont-Ferrand in 12th position in his Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. Spaniard Jose-Luis Monterde was 16th and Poland's Lukasz Komornicki was 18th overall.

On today's muddy Narbonne stage Al-Attiyah beat the 1995 World Rally Champion Colin McRae by 14s. Brazilian team mate Klever Kolberg was 14th in his Pajero/Montero. Frenchman Dominique Housieux and Spaniard Jose-Luis Monterde were 17th and 25th overall.

Mitsubishi Ralliart customer teams - Positions after Narbonne stage (provisional 12.50 hrs):

7. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Marc Bartholome (B) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 26m 07s
14. Klever Kolberg (BR)/Roldan Lourival (BR) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 27m 08s
17. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 27m 17s
25. Jose-Luis Monterde (E)/Rafael Tornabell (E) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 28m 16s
27. Lukasz Komornicki (PL)/Rafal Marton (PL) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 28m 29s
29. Siriwat Pornsawan (TH)/Phillipe Bocande (F) Mitsubishi L200 Strakar 29m 05s


For further information, please contact:
Mitsubishi Motor Sports, MMSP, E-mail: info@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com
Copyright free photographs can be downloaded from:-
www.mitsubishi-motors.com or www.mmsp-media.com

Date issued: 02/01/2004

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