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Carlos Sousa bids to continue winning streak in Baja Spain

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup
Baja Spain Aragon, round 4

For immediate release
Friday, July 16th, 2004

PORTUGAL'S SOUSA BIDS TO CONTINUE WINNING BAJA STREAK FOR MITSUBISHI MOTORS MOTOR SPORTS

* Defending champion bids to win third successive Baja event
* Germany’s Lohr and Spain’s Monterde enter Ralliart customer cars

TREBUR (Germany): Portugal's Carlos Sousa and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne will be bidding to win their third successive Baja-type event, when they tackle the Baja Spain Aragon on July 22-24th at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports-prepared Pajero/Montero Evolution.

The defending FIA World Cup champions have won the last two rounds of the FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers in Portugal and Italy, although the Spanish round of the series is arguably the most difficult. They are the clear leaders of this year’s FIA Baja Championship after taking maximum points on the opening two rounds, although the Spanish event is also the fourth round of the 2004 FIA World Cup.

This will be Sousa’s fourth appearance in a Pajero/Montero Evolution. He will be hoping to improve on his last two outings on the Zaragoza-based event. Carlos finished second overall behind Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser at the wheel of a Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up in 2002 and seventh overall last season in a similar car.

The Lisbon-based driver‘s car will run with additional support from Mitsubishi Portugal and Portuguese companies GALP, TMN and BPN.

~Carlos has shown great potential this season and is learning and getting better all the time,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~He has won rallies in Portugal and Italy in the factory Evolution this year and drove very well to finish third in Morocco against a very strong field. We are confident that he can repeat this performance in Spain.~

Sousa faces a stiff challenge over the narrow rural tracks and dusty forest roads in Central Spain – where outside temperatures are lilely to reach 40 degrees Centigrade in the heat of the midday sun - from a strong entry. They include the UAE’s Khalifa Al-Motaiwi, who currently lies second overall in the FIA World Cup Drivers‘ Championship standings behind Mitsubishi’s Stéphane Peterhansel and 13 points ahead of Sousa.

Mitsubishi has won the Baja Spain on three occasions in the past. Jean Da Silva clinched victory in 1986 and 1987, although the last winners for the Japanese marque were Swedes Kenneth Eriksson and Staffan Parmander at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero back in 1991.

The event began in 1983, is organised by the Real Automobile Federation of Spain and starts with a traditional Prologue stage, near Zaragoza, on Friday, July 22nd.

Two days of competitive selectives, each split into two sections and totalling around 1000 kms, will decide whether Sousa can complete a hat-trick of Baja victories this year. The event finishes in Zaragoza on Saturday, July 24th.

2004 FIA Cross-Country World Cup Drivers' Championship - after round 3:
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F) 90 pts
2. Khalifa Al-Motaiwi (UAE) 64 pts
3. Carlos Sousa (P) 51 pts
4. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F) 33 pts

Ralliart Teams

* Germany’s Lohr and Spain’s Monterde enter Ralliart customer cars

Germany’s Ellen Lohr and Spaniard José-Luis Monterde will drive a pair of Mitsubishi Ralliart customer cars in the Baja Spain.

Lohr made her competitive rallying debut in May’s Baja Portugal and finished 21st overall with her new German co-driver Philipp Tiefenbach, despite losing over 35 minutes when she clipped a tree and damaged the car.

The renowned international circuit racing driver will drive a diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero for the second time, as she prepares for a full program of major events in 2005.

Her team mate Jose-Luis Monterde is one of the most experienced amateur drivers in the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup and has driven a diesel-engined customer Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero on many occasions. He and co-driver Rafael Tornabell finished third overall behind Schlesser and Sousa in the 2002 Baja Spain Aragon and 12th last season.

~Both Ellen and José are looking forward to the event,~ said Ralliart Team Manager Jürgen Masal. ~This is never an easy rally. There are many narrow tracks and it is crucial that a driver avoids getting stuck in the dust of a slower car where a lot of time can be lost, which is difficult to make up again on a short event of this nature.~

Ends

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D 65468 Trebur-Astheim
Telephone +49 (0) 6147-203 596
Telefax +49 (0) 6147-203 599
E-mail info@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com







Date issued: 16/07/2004

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