Mitsubishi holds first second and fifth in Dakar Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally
Leg 4: Tanger - Er Rachidia (233 kms liaison, 75 kms special, 444 kms liaison)

For immediate release
Sunday, January 4th, 2004

Weather conditions: cool, sunny and dry (14 - 16C)


Peterhansel second fastest through first African stage; Biasion third
German lady Mayer holds 12th position; stage win for Vatanen

ER RACHIDIA (Morocco): Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports (MMSP) team drivers Stephane Peterhansel, Miki Biasion and Hiroshi Masuoka held first, second and fifth places in the overall classification of the 2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally, after the 75 kms special stage between Tanger and Er Rachidia in Morocco today (Sunday).

Frenchman Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret finished the first African stage of this year's Dakar a mere 10 seconds behind Finland's stage winner Ari Vatanen in a Nissan Pick-Up. The latter collected a record 50th Dakar Rally stage win.

~Ari won today's special stage and I will start behind him on the longer stage tomorrow,~ said Peterhansel. ~This is good for me, because he will open the road for the cars and I will have Miki running just behind me as well. It will be the first of the really competitive African stages - a good test.~

The Frenchman's Mitsubishi Motors team mate Biasion and co-driver Tiziano Siviero finished today's stage in third position in the second of the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolutions and they lie 1m 07s behind 'Peter' in the overall results.

Defending Dakar champion Hiroshi Masuoka and co-driver Gilles Picard were fifth on today's Moroccan stage and lie a mere 1m 37s behind the leaders in the third factory Pajero/Montero Evolution.

German lady Andrea Mayer and her co-driver Andreas Schulz finished the stage in 12th position and retained a similar placing in the overall standings.

~Today's short stage was not the most difficult challenge for a driver,~ said Mayer. ~But it offered a mixture a sandy tracks and muddy conditions. I was running behind Jutta (Kleinschmidt) and caught her tracks, but then I dropped back again over the last section of the stage to be on the safe side.~

~There was no need for our drivers to push today,~ said MMSP Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~We have two drivers in the first two places and Hiroshi and Andrea are running well. It was a short stage. I am quite happy with everything so far.~

The Mitsubishi Motors Team and the entire Dakar caravan spent Sunday night at the military garrison town of Er Rachidia, which is renowned for its lush palm groves, natural springs and stunning volcanic landscapes.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the longest special stage thus far between Er Rachidia and the bivouac in Ouarzazate - the 'Gateway to the South'. After a 56 kms liaison, the stage crosses rocky tracks and the notorious dunes of the Erg Chebbi en route to a finish in Tazzarine. A second 182 kms liaison guides teams into the bivouac. Sections of this stage were used on the Rally of Morocco in June last year.

Positions after Leg 4 (provisional - 14.45 hrs):
1. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 1h 12m 20s
2. Miki Biasion (I)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 1h 13m 27s
3. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 Raid 1h 13m 48s
4. Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Juha Repo (FIN) Nissan Pick-Up 1h 13m 48s
5. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 1h 13m 57s
6. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 1h 14m 15s
7. Jose-Marie Servia (E)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Ford 1h 14m 21s
8. Luc Alphand (F)/Henri Magne (F) BMW X5 Raid 1h 14m 39s
9. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Francois Jourdaan (ZA) Nissan Pick-Up 1h 15m 30s
10. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (F) Schlesser-Ford 1h 15m 33s
12. Andrea Mayer (D)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 17m 30s

Positions on Leg 4 special stage (provisional - 14.30 hrs):
1. Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Juha Repo (FIN) Nissan Pick-Up 40m 40s
2. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 40m 50s
3. Miki Biasion (I)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 41m 13s
4. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 41m 21s
5. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 41m 29s
6. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Francois Jourdaan (ZA) Nissan Pick-Up 41m 52s



Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was the first of the seven Mitsubishi Ralliart customer drivers, as the rally headed into the Er Rachidia bivouac in the north of Morocco on Sunday. The reigning FIA Middle East rally champion began the day in seventh overall and finished the stage in 13th position. He and Belgian co-driver Marc Bartholome now hold 11th place.

Mitsubishi Ralliart team mates Klever Kolberg, Dominique Housieux, Jose-Luis Monterde and Lukasz Komornicki were classified 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th overall at the start of today's stage. Thailand's Siriwat Pornsawan was 31st. Team Mitsubishi Ralliart China's Luo Ding began the day in 55th position in his Mitsubishi L200 Strada.

Housieux and Komornicki are now the highest-placed of the other six Mitsubishi Ralliart customers in 20th and 22nd places.

Mitsubishi Ralliart customer teams - Positions after leg 4 (provisional 14.45 hrs):
11. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Marc Bartholome (B) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 16m 56s
20. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 20m 37s
22. Lukasz Komornicki (PL)/Rafal Marton (PL) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 21m 49s
24. Klever Kolberg (BR)/Roldan Lourival (BR) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 22m 58s
27. Jose-Luis Monterde (E)/Rafael Tornabell (E) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 25m 19s
32. Siriwat Pornsawan (TH)/Phillipe Bocande (F) Mitsubishi L200 Strada 1h 28m 04s
48. Luo Ding (CHN)/Serge Henninot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1h 37m 02s


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: 04/01/2004

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