Carlos Sousa wins Baja Spain for MMSP

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

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

For immediate release
Sunday, July 25th, 2004


* Sousa takes commanding FIA European Baja Cup lead
* Spain’s Monterde and Germany’s Lohr in third and 14th positions

ZARAGOZA (Spain): Portugal's Carlos Sousa and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne took victory in the Baja Spain Aragon, the fourth round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, which finished in Zaragoza, central Spain, on Saturday evening.

The defending FIA World Cup champions started first on the road through the opening selective section on Friday morning and were fastest on three of the four sections to eventually win the event by a margin of 1m 37s at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports-prepared Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution.

It was the Japanese manufacturer’s fourth success on the rally since its inception in 1983, but the winning margin would have been much greater had Sousa not sustained a damaged rear tire on the fourth selective and ceded much of his hard-earned advantage to nearest rival Khalifa Al-Motaiwi.

The success marked Sousa’s third successive victory on a European Baja event this year and gives him a commanding lead in the FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers, of which this was the third round of five. His car runs with additional support from Mitsubishi Portugal and Portuguese companies GALP, TMN and BPN.

~The objective at the start of last season was to win the World Cup and we achieved it,~ said Sousa. ~This season I set out to win the European Baja Cup and I am on track to fulfil the goal. The team worked superbly this weekend. It was not an easy race, but we overcame the late problem and achieved the win. I just need to reach the podium on the next race and we are there.~

Sousa now trails team mate and FIA World Cup series leader Stéphane Peterhansel by nine points in the FIA World Cup, although he will not compete in a full program of events in the series this season.

The MMSP factory driver was challenged throughout the weekend by Dubai’s Al-Motaiwi in a diesel-engined BMW X5. The Victory Rally Team driver was second fastest on three of the four stages and fastest on the final section to take 22 valuable championship points in his own quest for a maiden world title. Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi was lying third in his Honda Buggy before retiring with transmission problems on the final stage.

The Baja Spain Aragon was held over two days of competitive selectives, each split into two sections and totaling around 1000 kms. The event finished in Zaragoza on Saturday. No fewer than 98 cars and 164 bikes started the rally.

Final positions in Baja Spain Aragon (top 5):
1. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution 10h 10m 03s
2. Khalifa Al-Motaiwi (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 Rallye-Raid 10h 11m 40s
3. Jose-Luis Monterde (E)/Rafael Tornabell (E) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 10h 33m 58s
4. Marco Tempestini (I)/Giacomo Inocenti (I) Nissan Pathfinder 10h 37m 37s
5. Carlos Sotelo (E)/Victor Bofill (E) BMW X5 Rallye-Raid 10h 49m 05s

2004 FIA Cross-Country World Cup Drivers' Championship - after round 4:
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F) 90 pts
2. Khalifa Al-Motaiwi (UAE) 86 pts
3. Carlos Sousa (P) 81 pts
4. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F) 33 pts
5. José-Luis Monterde (E) 29 pts
6. Isabelle Patissier (F) 21 pts
6. Dominique Housieaux (F) 21 pts
8. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D) 15 pts, etc

2004 FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers – after round 3 (unofficial)
1. Carlos Sousa (P) 30 pts
2. Khalifa Al-Motaiwi (UAE) 16 pts
3. Marco Tempestini (I) 10 pts
4. Luc Alphand (F) 8 pts
5. Luis Pereira Costa (P) 6 pts
5. José-Luis Monterde (E) 6 pts
7. Riccardo Colombo (I) 5 pts
7. Carlos Oliveira (P) 5 pts, etc

Ralliart Teams

* Spain’s Monterde and Germany’s Lohr finish third and 14th places

Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and German lady Ellen Lohr finished third and 14th overall in the Baja Spain Aragon at the wheel of a pair of Mitsubishi Ralliart customer Pajeros/Monteros.

Monterde and co-driver Rafael Tornabell were third overall on their home event in 2002 and began this year‘s two-day event in ninth on the road after finishing in a similar position on the Prologue stage.

Despite minor suspension and brake trouble and problems with the trip meter, Monterde set the fifth fastest time in the opening two selectives to hold fourth overall at the end of the opening leg. He maintained his initiative to take fifth fastest in SS3 and gained the final podium place on the fourth stage when Thierry Magnaldi retired with mechanical problems and he set the second fastest tiime.

~I am pleased with my performance,~ said Monterde. ~There was no wind on the first day and we lost some time in the dust, coupled with a minor brake problem. But there were no problems with the car overheating and I was able to push towards the end.~

Lohr and German co-driver Philipp Tiefenbach were classified 29th through the Prologue and set the 24th and 31st fastest times over the first two selectives to hold 22nd position after day one. But a lack of wind through the opening sections ensured that dust was a problem and Ellen was unable to overtake slower cars through the early stages.

The German racing driver had made her competitive rallying debut in a diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero in May’s Baja Portugal and finished 21st overall. Her performance improved through the closing stages in Spain, however, and she was classified 16th in the fourth stage to eventually finish a creditable 14th overall.

Rallliart Teams – final positions
3. José-Luis Monterde (E)/Rafael Tornabell (E) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 10h 33m 58s
14. Ellen Lohr (D)/Philipp Tiefenbach (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 11h 47m 53s


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Date issued: 25/07/2004

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