Peterhansel leads Dakar Rally into Africa
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally
Leg 3: Castellon - Tanger (4 kms liaison, 9 kms special, 852 kms liaison)
For immediate release
Saturday, January 3rd, 2004
Weather conditions: dry and mild (+10 to +14C)
MITSUBISHI'S PETERHANSEL LEADS DAKAR
RALLY AS EVENT HEADS INTO AFRICA
Peterhansel third fastest on Castellon stage;
Biaison and Masuoka hold fifth and sixth overall
CASTELLON (Spain): Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports (MMSP) team drivers finished third, fourth and eighth on the nine-kilometer second special stage of the 2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally at Castellon in Spain this morning (Saturday). The factory team's leading three drivers now hold first, fifth and sixth places in the overall standings.
Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret began the stage in second position in their Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution and gained the outright lead when they finished the sandy stage along the beach at Castellon on the Costa Azahur a mere one second behind Belgian Gregoire de Mevius in his BMW X5 and five behind stage winner Giniel de Villiers.
Italian team mates Miki Biasion and Tiziano Siviero completed the stage in eighth position and now hold fifth overall in the classification. Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka and French co-driver Gilles Picard were fourth on the Castellon stage and hold sixth overall.
German lady driver Andrea Mayer celebrated her 36th birthday in Castellon on Friday evening. She completed the stage in 12th place and holds a similar overall position.
~That was the last stage in Europe and once we have driven the long road section the whole team can look forward to Africa,~ said MMSP Team Director Dominique Serieys.
After the special stage members of the Mitsubishi Motors team spent the day heading south on an 852 kms liaison section along the Spanish coast to the ferry port at Algeciras. They were scheduled to spend the night at the third overnight halt in Tangier.
Tomorrow (Sunday) marks the first stage on African soil, albeit a mere 75 kms competitive section between Tanger and the overnight halt at Er Rachidia. The stage offers a mixture of fast twisty tracks and a section through the Mamoora forest, near Rabat. A 444 kms liaison takes teams into the bivouac.
QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH IN SEVENTH OVERALL
Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Belgian co-driver Marc Bartholome began the day in seventh position in the first of the Mitsubishi Ralliart customer Pajeros and retained their position in the overall standings, after setting the 13th fastest time in their Mitsubishi Pajero.
China's Luo Ding and French co-driver Serge Henninot enjoyed their first taste of competitive action on the beach at Castellon today. They were denied the chance to tackle Friday's Narbonne stage, when the organisers decided to stop the stage when an official vehicle became stuck in the mud and all remaining competitors were handed a notional time.
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