Peterhansel pulls further ahead of Schlesser

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally
Leg 13: Bamako - Ayoun El Atrous (230 kms liaison, 478 kms special, 26 kms liaison)

Wednesday, January 14th, 2004

Weather conditions: warm and sunny (+26 to +29 C)


Masuoka seventh fastest into Ayoun El Atrous; Peterhansel eighth;
Germany lady Mayer 11th today

AYOUN EL ATROUS (Mauritania): Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports (MMSP) team drivers Stephane Peterhansel and Hiroshi Masuoka completed the 13th special stage of the Telefonica Dakar rally between Bamako and Ayoun El Atrous in the southern extremities of the Mauritanian desert in eighth and seventh places, today (Wednesday). Both drivers retained first and second positions in the overall standings.

At the wheel of a pair of Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolutions, the pair had no need to take risks over today's 478 kms special. Defending champion Masuoka held fifth position through the second passage control at the 286 kms point and reached the third passage control point in a similar position before easing his pace towards the end.

Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret began the stage 2h 18m 16s ahead of third-placed Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser and the leading Mitsubishi duo arrived at the tiny bivouac 2h 29m 59s ahead of the twice former champion's Buggy after gaining over 11 minutes today. Four special stages now stand between Peterhansel and his first Dakar victory on four wheels.

~It was not at all easy,~ said Peterhansel. ~The stage was technical and we lost our way two or three times. I took no risks today. It was slippery and there were many trees on the exits of the corners. I was running level with Schlesser about 80 kms from the end. We lost the road and I found the correct track quite quickly and did not see Schlesser again.~

~It was a very difficult stage today,~ said Masuoka. ~There was no room for one single mistake. The track was very narrow with a lot of trees. It was easy to slide into trouble, but I am very happy with the car. No problems at all.~

Germany lady driver Andrea Mayer began today's stage in sixth position with co-driver Andreas Schulz and finished 11th overall on the section into Mauritania to retain her top six position.

~It was an enjoyable stage today,~ said Mayer. ~It was fast and flowing and quite easy to get into a good rhythm. But I kept telling myself to slow down, because I am here as support to my team mates.~

~It was good news all round for us today,~ said Sven Quandt, MMSP's Head of Motorsport. ~The next two days will be very tough, especially Friday to Nouakchott where there will be lots of dunes. We know what happened last year and we are keeping our fingers crossed. We have issued no team orders. We have just told our drivers that we expect the cars to reach the finish in one piece. That means that they can drive at their own sensible pace, but not take any risks.~

Former World Rally Champion Colin McRae became only the second Scotsman in history to win a stage of the Dakar Rally by setting the fastest time today, 14 years after former Mitsubishi Ralliart Motorsport Director Andrew Cowan won a stage for the Mitsubishi team.

Tomorrow (Thursday) has all the makings of another treacherous special stage between Ayoun El Atrous and a return to Tidjikja. The stage heads out of the bivouac and crosses numerous small dunes en route for the settlement of Tamcheket.

The going becomes increasingly difficult, as teams tackle the giant dunes near the 200-meter Taskast cliffs and a further 130 kms fast section to the stage finish, four kilometers from Tidjikja.

Positions in Ayoun El Atrous after leg 13:
1. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 36h 36m 26s
2. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 37h 38m 55s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (F) Schlesser-Ford 39h 06m 25s
4. Luc Alphand (F)/Henri Magne (F) BMW X5 Raid 40h 33m 59s
5. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 Raid 40h 49m 19s
6. Andrea Mayer (D)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 41h 40m 50s
7. Bruno Saby (F)/Matthew Stevenson (GB) Volkswagen Touareg 42h 20m 26s
8. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Didier Legal (F) Honda 43h 39m 49s
9. Klever Kolberg (BR)/Roldan Lourival (BR) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 43h 40m 15s
10. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 44h 15m 10s

Positions on Bamako to Ayoun El Atrous stage (Leg 13):
1. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 5h 52m 58s
2. Giniel De Villiers (ZA)/Francois Jourdaan (ZA) Nissan Pick-Up 6h 00m 38s
3. Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Juha Repo (FIN) Nissan Pick-Up 6h 01m 45s
4. Josep-Marie Servia (E)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser Buggy 6h 09m 37s
5. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 6h 16m 09s
6. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 Raid 6h 16m 56s
7. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 17m 19s
8. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 19m 33s
11. Andrea Mayer (D)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 6h 27m 43s



Brazilians Klever Kolberg and Roldan Lourival set the 13th fastest time on the stage into Ayoun El Atrous to condolidate their ninth position in the overall classification. Frenchman Dominique Housieux and co-driver Loic Fagot were 15th and continue to hold 10th place.

Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was penalised five minutes in the Bamako bivouac for a minor speeding infringement and finished today's stage in 13th position and slipped back to 12th in the overall standings behind South Africa's Giniel de Villiers.

Thai driver Siriwat Pornsawan enjoyed the return to the desert in his Mitsubishi L200 Strada. ~The Black African stages were a little like racing in Thailand, but there was much more dust than we get at home,~ said the multiple Thai champion. ~My car is running perfectly. I feel that we are on the home straight now and I can sense that Dakar is not far away!~

Poland's Lukasz Komornicki started the day in 20th place in the Team Orlen Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero after delays last week in Mauritania. They finished the stage in 10th overall today.

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart China's Luo Ding and French co-driver Serge Henninot began today's stage in 68th position, as the Chinese bids to complete the Dakar Rally for the first time at his second attempt. Ding's Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero suffered slight damage on Tuesday, when he clouted a tree on the liaison section into Bamako.

Mitsubishi Ralliart customer teams - overall positions after leg 13 (16.00 hrs GMT):
9. Klever Kolberg (BR)/Roldan Lourival (BR) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 43h 40m 15s
10. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 37h 39m 12s
12. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Marc Bartholome (B) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 44h 56m 51s
Siriwat Pornsawan (TH)/Phillipe Bocande (F) Mitsubishi L200 Strada NOT YET CLASSIFIED
Lukasz Komornicki (PL)/Rafal Marton (PL) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 53h 33m 56s
Luo Ding (CHN)/Serge Henninot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero NOT YET CLASSIFIED


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: 14/01/2004

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