CC Mitsubishi enters Roma and Magne in Qatar Baja
2004 Mitsubishi Motors Qatar Baja
November 25th-27th, 2004
For immediate release
Friday, November 19th, 2004
MITSUBISHI ENTERS ROMA
AND MAGNE IN QATAR BAJA
Mitsubishi debut drive for Spanish Dakar-winning star;
Spaniard set to drive ex-Mayer Dakar Mitsubishi Pajero;
New French co-driver for Qatar's Al-Attiyah
DOHA (Qatar): Mitsubishi Motors have entered Spaniard Joan 'Nani' Roma and his Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne in a Mitsubishi Pajero in the Mitsubishi Motors-sponsored Qatar Baja, which runs for the first time since 1992 on November 25th-27th.
The Spaniard won this year's Telefonica Dakar Rally outright on a factory KTM motorcycle, before making the sensational switch to four-wheel rallying in October. With support from Repsol, the Spanish petroleum company, Roma and Magne have joined the five-strong official Mitsubishi team to take part in January's Dakar Rally.
In a bid to gain as much pre-Dakar experience as possible, Roma will head to the Arabian Gulf directly from a Repsol press conference in Madrid to tackle the two-day event across a wide variety of terrain in Qatar. He will drive an MPR9 version of the Mitsubishi Pajero which was used by Germany's Andrea Mayer in the 2004 Dakar Rally, before reverting to a higher-specification Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution MPR10 for the Dakar.
~I am really looking forward to joining the Mitsubishi team for the 2005 Dakar Rally,~ said Roma, who tested a revised Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution in Dubai shortly after the UAE Desert Challenge and has recently been with his team mates on a week-long fitness regime at a health spa, near Montpellier, France. ~This is a tremendous new challenge for me and the Baja race in Qatar will give me invaluable experience of the type of terrain I will face in a competitive environment in January.~
~It is crucial that Joan gets as much experience behind the wheel as possible in a relatively short space of time,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~The Qatar Baja will be a good test for him and a chance to see how his new partnership is developing with Henri Magne. Henri is a very experienced co-driver and has already built up a fantastic rapport with Joan. He has won the Dakar Rally on two occasions and Mitsubishi felt that the Qatar event would be useful in cementing their relationship.~
The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) has laid on a demanding route for the Baja with a blend of gravel tracks, hard packed sand, desert and dune crossings to test Mitsubishi's newcomer.
~We are delighted to welcome Joan and the Mitsubishi factory team to Qatar to continue their testing prior to the Dakar Rally,~ said Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, President of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF).
~Joan has an excellent pedigree as a motorcycle racer and this will be a good chance for him to get used to driving a car in a race environment before the Dakar. I had a close association with the team earlier this year, when Nasser (Saleh Al-Attiyah) drove a Ralliart car in the Dakar and it will be great to see them competing here in Doha.~
Meanwhile, Roma's closest rival promises to be Qatar's defending Middle East rally champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, who will take part in the Qatar Baja with a new co-driver for the first time. After being partnered this season by both Steve Lancaster and Chris Patterson in special stage rallying and Belgian Marc Bartholome in the 2004 Dakar, Nasser will team up with Frenchman Didier Le Gal for his home Baja event.
Administration checks and scrutineering will take place on Thursday, November 25th, before the traditional opening Prologue to determine the starting order gets underway at 15.00 hrs on Friday, November 26th. The event will be based at the Ramada Hotel in Doha.
The second and final section features two runs through a 230 kms selective and takes place in the desert to the south of Doha. Action kicks off at 07.00 hrs on Saturday, November 27th and finishes at around 18.30 hrs with the ceremonial podium in the city.
For further media information: Neil Perkins, 2004 Qatar Baja Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: Dubai mobile + 971 50 3616881, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)