CC Carlos Sousa clinches FIA European Baja Cup for MMSP
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
2004 FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas
18th Baja Anta Da Serra 500, round 5 (rounds 1 and 4 cancelled)
For immediate release
Sunday, October 24th, 2004
PORTUGAL'S SOUSA CONFIRMS FIA EUROPEAN BAJA
CUP FOR MITSUBISHI MOTORS MOTOR SPORTS
Carlos Sousa finishes successful season with FIA European title
PORTALEGRE (Portugal): Portugal's Carlos Sousa and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne clinched the 2004 European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas for the Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports team by finishing second overall in the 18th Baja Anta Da Serra 500, in Portugal, today (Sunday).
At the wheel of a Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up, running with support from Mitsubishi Portugal, Galp, TMN and BPN, the Lisbon-based driver shadowed the 1995 World Rally Champion Colin McRae to the finish of the three-day event to confirm the overall title for Mitsubishi.
~It was a good rally and I enjoyed an exciting battle with Colin McRae over the three stages,~ said Sousa. ~I started out this season with the goal of winning the European Baja Cup and I have achieved that target for the team. It would have been great to finish the year with a clean sweep of victories, but Colin drove well and my immediate aim was to confirm the title.~
Sousa had already won the opening three rounds of the shortened series in Spain, Italy and Portugal, but needed to confirm the title in Portugal to follow up last year's outright FIA World Cup triumph.
He finished third overall in the timed Prologue stage on Friday behind Scotland's McRae in the new Nissan Pick-Up and fellow countryman Miguel Barbosa in a Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. After trailing McRae through the second passage control in the opening 187.01 kms competitive section, Sousa hit the front and held a 10 second advantage over the Scot after the first of three timed selectives.
But McRae hit back in the 201.63 kms second stage on Saturday afternoon and headed into the overnight halt in Portalegre with a 5m 25s cushion over the Mitsubishi driver. Rui Sousa, Barbosa and Luis Costa completed the top five.
McRae extended his overall advantage to 5m 40s through the final 69.23 kms section on Sunday morning to give Nissan a debut victory with the revised Pick-Up, but Sousa's second place confirmed the 2004 European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas title for the Portuguese driver. Carlos finished 13m 01s ahead of third-placed Rui Sousa. Barbosa finished fourth overall in his Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero.
~I am delighted for Carlos that he finished another successful season by fulfilling the goal of taking the European title,~ said MMSPís Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Last year he won the FIA World Cup and this year he has done everything that was asked of him again.~
Baja Anta Da Serra 500 - final positions (top eight):
1. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 5h 43m 08s
2. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up 5h 48m 48s
3. Rui Sousa (P)/Carlos Silva (P) Nissan Pick-Up 6h 01m 49s
4. Miguel Barbosa (P)/Miguel Ramalho (P) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 6h 02m 44s
5. Luis Costa (P)/Arnaldo Marques (P) Toyota Landcruiser 6h 15m 49s
6. Nuno Inocencio (P)/Sergio Soares (P) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 6h 36m 48s
7. Carlos Solť (E)/Alex Romani (E) BMW X5 6h 43m 06s
8. Joao Cruz (P)/Josť Marques (P) Nissan Patrol GR 6h 48m 01s
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