DAK Mitsubishi duo maintain composure on third stage across Patagonia
31ST DAKAR RALLY (January 3rd-January 18th, 2009)
Leg 3: Puerto Madryn - Ingeniero Jacobacci
Liaison, 70 km; special, 550 km; liaison, 74 km; total, 694 km.
Weather conditions: cooler and windy - 22 degrees Centigrade
For immediate release
Monday, January 5th, 2009
MITSUBISHI DUO MAINTAIN THEIR COMPOSURE
ON THIRD DAKAR STAGE ACROSS PATAGONIA
· Peterhansel and Roma stay out of trouble to take fifth and sixth
· Luc Alphand loses 30 minutes with a minor fuel leak
INGENIERO JACOBACCI (Argentina): Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart's team director Dominique Serieys insists that he is not watching the leader board through the opening three or four days of the 2009 Dakar Rally.
But team drivers Stéphane Peterhansel (France) and Joan 'Nani' Roma (Spain) remain firmly in contention for the overall lead after the third leg of the event across the Patagonian wastelands between Puerto Madryn and Ingeniero Jacobacci on Monday.
They set the fifth and sixth fastest times in a pair of turbo-diesel 'Racing Lancers' and now hold fourth and fifth in the overall classification. Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard (both France) were delayed for around 30 minutes before the first passage control with a minor fuel leak and slipped to 10th overall. The stage win fell to Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar), although Carlos Sainz (Spain) maintained the overall lead in the general classification.
The stage was shortened from 616km to 550km and meandered its way through the Patagonian lowlands, crossing scrub and grasslands along twisty and sometimes technical trails, before beginning a gradual climb towards the overnight halt at around 900 metres above sea level.
Monday evening's bivouac at Ingeniero Jacobacci was a far cry from the sunny conditions at Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic coast 24 hours' before. The town was formerly known as Nahuel Niyeo, but was renamed in 1926 after the engineer who built the railway that now links the town with the outside world and was also the location for the overnight halt on the Dakar.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the fourth leg of the 2009 Dakar Rally between Ingeneiro Jacobacci and Neuquén, the 459km special starting just four kilometers from the bivouac and featuring numerous rocky and sandy sections and several wadis. The route passes through the Sierra Mesanlyes and meanders to the north-east of the Negro river to finish near the renowned Valley of the Dinosaurs in a protected geological area dating back to the Cretaceous Period.
The final 25km liaison takes teams to the overnight halt near the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén rivers. Neuquén has a strong agricultural background, is the capital city of the province of the same name and is the largest city in Patagonia.
What they said?
Dominique Serieys, team director
"We will really see what develops over the coming days and then we will get a better indication of the overall situation in this rally."
"We had a fuel leak and had to stop and take everything out from the rear to see where the problem was. Everything else was fine today, but a fuel seal was not working and it cost me over 40 minutes trying to sort it all out. That was very frustrating."
"If the route is like the organisers said, then the first three stages were very fast and then it becomes more difficult. I hope that is true because we could be in a better position. Since the start I had no problems with the car but I struggled to follow Carlos Sainz this morning. He was too fast. I look forward to the more technical stages."
Joan 'Nani' Roma
"I don't feel too bad about our position heading into the next group of stages. I had a puncture near the end, but we are still in the chasing pack and I am quite happy with my position on the road for tomorrow."
Overall positions on leg 3:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 4h 29m 27s
2. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 4h 30m 02s
3. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 4h 31m 07s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 4h 33m 28s
5. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 4h 34m 58s
6. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 4h 37m 27s
7. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 4h 38m 31s
8. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 4h 38m 41s
15. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 5h 02m 58s
Overall positions after leg 3:
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 9h 04m 48s
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 9h 08m 28s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 9h 10m 33s
4. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 9h 13m 35s
5. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 9h 19m10s
6. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2) 9h 20m 33s
7. Orlando Terranova (RA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2) 9h 22m 29s
10. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer (T1.2) 9h 43m 35s
Live footage of the 2009 Dakar Rally can be seen on Eurosport at the following times:
18.05 hrs GMT - 18.30 hrs GMT
22.00 hrs GMT - 22.45 hrs GMT
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