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Peterhansel punctures but leads into Smara on Morocco Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup
Orpi Rally of Morocco, round 3

Leg 2: Assa – Smara (12 kms liaison - 420 kms special – 18 kms liaison)

For immediate release
Thursday, June 3rd, 2004

Weather conditions: very hot and sunny: 36-45 C

PETERHANSEL AND COTTRET MAINTAIN ADVANTAGE FOR MITSUBISHI MOTORS MOTOR SPORTS TEAM IN MOROCCO

1. Flat tires deflate Sousa’s challenge into Smara; Mayer in 16th place
2. Housieaux in 14th position for Ralliart team

SMARA (Morocco): Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret maintained their overall advantage for the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Team in the Orpi Rally of Morocco, after finishing the sweltering 420 kms special stage between Assa and Smara in Southern Morocco, in third place, today (Thursday).

~I didn’t start too fast, because I knew the stage would be difficult,~ said Peterhansel. ~It was very hot today and I wanted to finish without problems. After 170 kms we stopped for a rear flat tire and noticed that both rears were badly worn. We decided to change both wheels, but this was before the half-way point and I decided to continue slowly.

~About 50 kms from the end I saw Shino (Kenjiro Shinozuka) behind me and I pushed a little more to stay ahead. But then we had another flat and we had to stop and change the wheel. Shino passed me and we finished the stage behind him.~

Portuguese driver Carlos Sousa and his Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne, who won the recent Baja Portugal, completed the section in eighth position in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution and slipped a place to fifth overall.

~I made a conscious effort to attack this morning,~ said Sousa. ~To win an event you have to push. But I had four flat tires and had to stop four times. The last one was 50 kms from the end and the first one was 50 kms from the start.

~We were following behind (Josep-Marie) Servia and then had to stop. Then we were behind (Jean-Louis) Schlesser and I decided to take it easy, but we had to stop again. We lost around 20 minutes with flat tires.~

German lady Andrea Mayer and her German co-driver Andreas Schulz tried to recover from their 40-minute delay on the opening stage, but were hampered by flat tires. They now hold 16th in the overall classification.

~We had to stop and change three tires today,~ said Mayer. ~The last was 30 kms from the finish and we thought we could make it, but the deflation system was not working. It was not possible for me to push this morning, because I was following in the dust of another car for over 120 kms.~

~This is a rally of attrition and we proved today that reaching the stage finish was the goal,~ said MMSP’s Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~It was a survival stage. In the past we have crossed this region on the Dakar in January and the temperatures have never been so high. We have had flat tires over this terrain before and we have carried out a lot of testing. On the Dubai Rally the temperatures are similar, but that race is run in sandy conditions.~

Today’s special stage was won by Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser in his two-wheel drive Buggy. He will start the third section on Friday, 5m 29s behind Peterhansel in second position overall.

Tomorrow (Friday) the route heads due west towards the Atlantic coast and the overnight halt in Laayoune. There will be two selective sections. The first between Sid Hamed Larousi and Lemseyd runs for 155 kms and the second 100 kms section constitutes a loop around El Marsa.

The first takes place with no GPS waypoints in the Sequiet El Hamra wadi and offers a balance of smooth sandy tracks, tricky ascents and descents and a run past several ancient tombs.

A tarmac liaison via Laayoune will take teams to the second section, where GPS waypoints are permitted, but there are several tricky dune crossings. A run along the beach takes crews to the bivouac near the fishing village of Tarouma.

Positions after leg 2 (unofficial at 13.45 hrs):
1.Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 7h 39m 18s
2. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Ford DSC12 7h 45m 03s
3. Kenjiro Shinozuka (J)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 7h 45m 21s
4. Josep-Maria Servia (E)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Raid 7h 52m 35s
5. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 8h 10m 06s
16. Andrea Mayer (D)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up 8h 52m 16s

Positions on SS2 (unofficial at 13.45 hrs):
1. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Ford DSC12 4h 07m 10s
2. Kenjiro Shinozuka (J)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 4h 12m 39s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 4h 14m 50s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Bobby Willis (GB) Volkswagen Touareg 4h 16m 32s
5. Josep-Maria Servia (E)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Raid 4h 18m 55s
8. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 4h 35m 57s

Ralliart Teams

- Housieaux in 14th position for Ralliart team

Dominique Housieaux and his 2004 Dakar co-driver Loic Fagot finished the second stage of the Orpi Rally of Morocco outside the top 10 and now hold 14th in the overall standings.

Their Spanish team mates José-Luis Monterde and Rafael Tornabell were delayed in their diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero and were running in 36th position at the third passage control.

~Last night we gave both cars a thorough check and changed both the clutches as a precaution and made sure that José’s brake caliper was okay after the breakage he had sustained on the stage,~ said Ralliart Team Manager Jürgen Masal.

Positions after leg 2 (unofficial at 13.45 hrs):
14. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 8h 41m 48s

Ends

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Date issued: 03/06/2004

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