Masuoka holds sixth place for Mitsubishi in UAE Desert Challenge

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2004 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup
UAE Desert Challenge, round 6

For immediate release
Monday, October 11th, 2004

Weather conditions: very hot and sunny - 38-41 C


Peterhansel delayed with differential problems near PC4
Mayer holds 11th position in Ralliart customer development car
Frenchman Housieaux leads Ralliart challenge

MUREEB (UAE) - Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka and German co-driver Andreas Schulz held sixth position in the UAE Desert Challenge, the sixth round of the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup, after the opening 352 kms selective section from Al-Hamrah to a finish in Mureeb, deep in the Abu Dhabi emirate, on Monday.

~Everything was running perfectly until two kilometers from the end of the stage,~ said Masuoka. ~The engine had been running hot and we lost power. I thought that we had a problem with the engine so we stopped and checked all the fuses and switches to check if there was an electrical problem. We lost around 15 minutes and I am sure that we would have set the fastest time. It was an enjoyable stage, just this annoying problem near the end.~

Team mate Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret began the section third on the road behind Prologue winner Bruno Saby of France and Scotland's Colin McRae. The French duo were running on the road behind the 1995 World Rally Champion until the fourth passage control at the 274 kms point, when they were forced to stop with transmission problems. The team discovered that the rear differential had broken.

~We will recover the car tonight and we are confident that Stéphane will be able to continue tomorrow and enable us to carry out some valuable testing ahead of the Dakar Rally.,~ said MMSP’s Team Director Dominique Serieys.

German driver Andrea Mayer and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne had set the 13th fastest time through the Prologue stage and finished the opening desert section in 11th position in their Ralliart customer development Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero.

~Five kilometers from the end of the stage we were stopped digging in soft sand and we lost 15 minutes,~ said Mayer. ~We could not select a gear, not even reverse. Without the tire deflation system we may have lost more time. Compared to last year the car has progressed a lot. There is more power and the gearbox is excellent.~

The fastest time through the stage was taken by Dubai's Khalifa Al-Mutawei, the current leader of the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup, with Grégoire de Mevius and McRae in second and third places.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the second section of the UAE Desert Challenge loops out of the scenic bivouac site at Thal Mureeb, south of the former base camp in Liwa, with its towering dunes and punishing temperatures. Cars will tackle a 371.4 kms selective section, before embarking upon a 78 kms road section back to the bivouac.

The event finishes on Friday, October 15th, at the Dubai International Marine Club, near Dubai.

UAE Desert Challenge - positions after SS1 (unofficial @ 16.45 hrs):

1. Khalifa Al-Mutawei (UAE)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X5 3h 22m 39s
2. Gregoire de Mevius (B)/Jacky Dubois (F) Nissan Pick-Up 3h 23m 04s
3. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 3h 23m 13s
4. Juha Kankkunen (FIN)/Juha Repo (FIN) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 28m 59s
5. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 29m 57s
6. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 36m 48s
7. Obaid Bin Hathboor (UAE)/ Abdulhalim Bin Zayed (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 3h 49m 45s
8. Ahmad Bin Soughat (UAE)/Jassim Ben Ghurab (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 3h 57m 39s
9. Janus Naglis (LV)/Alexander Innus (LV) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 4h 03m 46s
10. Mark Powell (UAE)/Tim Ansell (UAE) Land Rover 4h 04m 54a
11. Andrea Mayer (D)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 4h 07m 41s

Ralliart Teams

Frenchman Housieaux leads Ralliart customer challenge

Frenchman Dominique Housieaux and co-driver Loic Fagot began the stage seventh on the road in the first of the Ralliart customer Pajero/Monteros, but lost time with engine problems and finished the section just outside the top 10, nearly 13 minutes behind 11th-placed Andrea Mayer.

~It was not a good stage for me today, because I was not able to push hard at all,~ said Housieaux. ~The engine lost all power between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm. The temperature was okay, but we did not know how to fix the problem.~

Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and co-driver Rafael Tornabell lost over a minute in the Prologue, after a collision with Issabelle Patissier's T1 Nissan, and were badly delayed with mechanical problems again in today's stage.

Chinese newcomer Guan Yuang Men, partnered by French co-driver Serge Henninot, began his first ever desert stage in 42nd position this morning, after losing over seven minutes in soft sand on the Prologue stage.

Positions after SS1 - Ralliart teams (unofficial @ 16.45)
Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 4h 20m 22s


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Date issued: 11/10/2004

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