Sousa wins for MMSP in Monte Pennino Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers
3rd Monte Pennino Cross-Country Rally, round 2 (Baja Italy - cancelled)

For immediate release
Sunday, June 27th, 2004


- Sousa holds clear lead in FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers
- Second place for Frenchman Luc Alphand

PERUGIA (Italy): Defending FIA World Cup champion Carlos Sousa and his Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne clinched victory in the 3rd Monte Pennino Cross-Country Rally, the second round of the 2004 FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers, in Perugia today (Sunday).

Sousa won the first of three timed 61.07 kms selective sections on Saturday and was never headed from then on. He began the final section on Sunday with a 4m 31s advantage and carefully steered his Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports-prepared Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution to an eventual winning margin of 3m 11s over runner-up Luc Alphand in a BMW X5 Rally-Raid.

The Portuguese driver has now taken maximum points in this yearís FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers by winning the opening two rounds in Portugal and Italy.

Frenchman Alphand lost over six minutes to his rival on the opening stage on Saturday after being involved in a freak collision with a non-competing car. Despite beating Sousa by a slender margin on the subsequent five selective sections in the Antria and Acquabianca area between Florence and Rome, he was forced to settle for second position.

~After what happened to Luc on the first stage there was no need for me to push hard,~ said Sousa. ~I had a big advantage and I just had to ensure that we stayed away from trouble, drove at a sensible pace and had no problems with the car.

~I started the last stage with a 4m 31s lead and I just had to keep my concentration. I am delighted to win here and I can look forward to the next event with renewed confidence.~

Italyís Marco Tempestini finished third in a Nissan Pathfinder and Riccardo Colombo was fourth overall in a Nissan Pick-Up.

~I am delighted for Carlos that he has won his second successive Baja race,~ said MMSPís Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~He had minor brake problems and we will work on improving air cooling for the brakes before the next event in Spain. The important thing for Carlos was to gain as much experience as possible.~

The 3rd Monte Pennino event was based around the Autodromo Magiore, near Perugia, and ran over a two-day route totalling 691.71 kms. There were four planned selective sections over a 61.07 kms stage in a rural hilly region on Saturday, although the fourth stage was cancelled, and a further three selectives along a 54.10 kms track between Magione and Piazza Matteotti on Sunday.

Sousa, co-driver Magne and the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Teamís next challenge in this yearís FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers will be the Baja Spain in Zaragoza on July 17-18th. The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Team, meanwhile, is carrying out a detailed test and development program in Morocco until July 4th.

Final positions in Monte Pennino Rally (top 6):
1. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 4h 54m 32s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Philipp Tiefenbach (D) BMX X5 4h 57m 43s
3. Marco Tempestini (I)/Giacomo Innocenti (I) Nissan Pathfinder 5h 04m 37s
4. Riccardo Colombo (I)/Stefano Fabiano (I) Nissan Pick-Up 5h 05m 14s
5. Lorenzo Codeca (I)/Fabio Ferro (I) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 5h 13m 38s
6. Roberto Giampolini (I)/Massimiliano Catarsi (I) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 5h 18m 42s


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Date issued: 27/06/2004

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