Sousa wins Baja Portugal for Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup
Baja Portugal, round 2

For immediate release
Sunday May 9th, 2004


- Mitsubishi’s Sousa makes winning start to FIA European Baja campaign
- Germany lady driver Ellen Lohr completes first rally test in 21st place

EVORA (Portugal): Portugal's Carlos Sousa and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began their quest to win the 2004 FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers by finishing first overall in the 17th Baja Vodafone 1000, which finished in Portugal on Sunday.

Sousa is the reigning FIA World Champion for Cross Country Rallies and began the event as the top seed at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Team Pajero/Mon tero Evolution for the first time.

After setting the third fastest time through Friday’s 11-kilometer Prologue stage, near Evora, the Lisbon-based driver trailed BMW’s Luc Alphand and Portugal’s Miguel Barbosa through the first selective section after being blocked behind a slower car. Both Barbosa and Alphand hit trouble before the end of the stage and Sousa headed into the second selective 15m 50s ahead of his nearest rival, the Italian Pierpaolo Larini in a Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero.

Sousa has won the event on four occasions in the last five years and extended his advantage on the repeat run through the stage to start the final stage with a sizeable lead. He went on to win the event for the fifth time in six years by the margin of 34m 12s. Dubai’s Khalifa Al-Motaiwi was second overall in a BMW X5, but the Mitsubishi driver Miguel Barbosa retired his Mitsubishi L200 after an accident.

~This was a fantastic opportunity for me to get behind the wheel of the new car for the first time,~ said Sousa. ~The Evolution handles more like a conventional rally car than my L200 and this took time to get used to. But I was delighted with my performance.~

~This was an excellent result for Carlos and for Mitsubishi,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~He has been away from the team for six months and did a very professional job. He drove a perfect race. We had no problems at all with the car. The only disappointment over the weekend was the accident for the young driver Miguel Barbosa.~

Sousa’s car ran with additional support from Mitsubishi Portugal and Portuguese companies GALP, TMN and BPN.

Carlos had begun his challenge by finishing third overall through Friday’s 11-kilometer timed Prologue stage in Evora. The Prologue was won by Portugal’s Miguel Barbosa in a Mitsubishi L200.

The event was organised by the Clube Aventura Portugal and was based at Evora, south of Lisbon.

17th Baja Portugal - Final positions (Top 6):
1. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 7h 56m 27s
2. Khalifa Al-Motaiwi (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 8h 30m 39s
3. Luis Costa (P)/Arnaldo Marques (P) Toyota Landcruiser 8h 33m 47s
4. Carlos Oliveira (P)/Ana Oliveira (P) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 8h 41m 56s
5. Paulo Marques (P)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) Nissan Pick-Up 8h 44m 12s
6. Jose Barraco Pereira (P)/Rui Fernandes (P) Nissan Pick-Up 8h 48m 19s

Ralliart Teams

* Germany lady driver Ellen Lohr finishes 21st overall

German lady driver Ellen Lohr made her competitive rallying debut in the Baja Vodafone 1000 with co-driver Philipp Tiefenbach in a diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. She went on to finish 21st overall after delays on the first stage.

The leading female racing driver started well through the opening selective section, but clouted a tree with the rear axle shortly after the start and was classified 79th overall at the first passage control.

The damage was repaired at the service point and Ellen continued to improve as the event progressed to eventually finish 22nd overall.

~It was unfortunate for Ellen that she lost 35 minutes near the start when she hit a tree,~ said Ralliart Team Manager Jürgen Masal. ~But we repaired the car and Ellen was delighted with her stage times over the last two stages.~

21. Ellen Lohr (D)/Philipp Tiefenbach (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 9h 28m 43s


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Date issued: 09/05/2004

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