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CC Mitsubishi Team completes European Dakar stages in fourth and seventh


Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 Dakar Rally
Leg 3: Granada - Rabat
Liaison 6 kms, Special stage 10 kms, Liaison 557 kms

Weather conditions: cold, bright and dry - 6-8C
For immediate release
Sunday, January 2nd, 2005


MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM COMPLETES EUROPEAN
STAGES OF DAKAR RALLY IN FOURTH AND JOINT SEVENTH

Mitsubishi's Peterhansel second overall in Granada special stage
Frenchman Housieaux leads Mitsubishi Ralliart customers into Africa

RABAT, Morocco - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team held fourth and joint seventh positions in the overall classification of the 2005 Dakar Rally, after the second timed special stage, near Granada, in Andalucia, today (Sunday).

A short liaison section from the overnight halt in Granada - nestled under the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains - took teams to the Armilla gravel stage at a nearby military area and Scotland's Colin McRae set the fastest time in his Nissan to take a one-second overall lead.

Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret were second fastest through the stage in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution with a time of 7m 54s. Mitsubishi team mate Luc Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard set a time of 8m 03s and were sixth quickest.

~It was a nice stage with a lot of spectators,~ said Peterhansel. ~But there could be problems for the cars running behind, because the track was getting softer and cutting up quite badly.~

~I had a discussion with Gilles and we thought about a strategy for the next couple of days,~ said Alphand. ~The second stage in Morocco will be narrow and there will be no real places to overtake. So, perhaps, we will push a little on Monday after Rabat to ensure that we take a position inside the top five or six. The top few cars are sure to push, so there should be no risk of being held up in dust.~

Hiroshi Masuoka and German co-driver Andreas Schulz now lie equal seventh in the overall standings, tied on the same time as their team mates Alphand and Picard, after setting the eighth fastest time at Granada.

~I heard that the stage would be dry and dusty,~ said Masuoka. ~There has been no rain in this area for a long time, so I was pleased to be running second on the road, because of the risk of dust. It was a nice stage and we had no problems.~

German lady driver Andrea Mayer completed the stage in 17th position and holds 17th overall. ~The dust was a problem for me,~ said Mayer. ~It was hanging in the air and you were into a corner before you had time to react properly.~

Spanish team mate Joan Roma soaked up the Spanish atmosphere and took the 19th fastest time on his second ever rally in a car. Last year's Dakar motorcycle winner now holds 19th overall.

From Granada teams headed south towards the ferry port at Algeciras and the short Mediterranean Sea crossing to Tangier and the subsequent road section to the Moroccan capital of Rabat. The commercial capital of Morocco has played host to the Dakar Rally on three occasions prior to 2005. The event visited the modern city in 1994 and 1999 and competitors spent New Year's Eve there during the 2001 Arras-Madrid-Dakar Rally.

Tomorrow (Monday) will be the first of the traditional African stages and the first real competitive test for members of the Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team.

After a 122 kms road section, the 123 kms special stage heads towards Agadir and features numerous twisty tracks on a wide range of tricky surfaces. The leg is completed by a 421 kms road liaison to the night halt in Agadir. The stage offers a fine balance of navigation, sinuous hilly sections and high-speed piste.

Positions on SS2 (unofficial @ 12.30):
1. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thörner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 7m 48s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 7m 54s
3. Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Nissan Pick-Up 7m 58s
4. Giniel de Villiers (AFS)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 8m 01s
5. Robby Gordon (USA)/Dirk Von Zitzwitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 8m 03s
5. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 8m 03s
8. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 8m 09s
17. Andrea Mayer (D)/Jean-Michel Polato (F) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up 8m 44s
19. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 8m 49s

Overall classification after SS2:
1. Colin McRae (GB)/Tina Thörner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 12m 22s
2. Robby Gordon (USA)/Dirk Von Zitzwitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 12m 23s
3. Giniel de Villiers (AFS)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 12m 24s
4. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12m 29s
4. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 12m 29s
6. Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Nissan Pick-Up 12m 30s
7. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12m 31s
7. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12m 31s
17. Andrea Mayer (D)/Jean-Michel Polato (F) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up 13m 29s
19. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 13m 45s

Ralliart Teams

Frenchman Housieaux leads Mitsubishi Ralliart customers into Africa

The French duo of Dominique Housieaux and Loic Fagot were the leading Mitsubishi Ralliart customer team after the second timed stage in Andalucia on Sunday. But the fastest time on the stage among the Ralliart customers fell to the Brazilian Dakar regulars Klever Kolberg and Roldan Lourival

Multiple Polish rally champion Krzysztof Holowczyc felt much happier after the run south towards Morocco. ~I asked the mechanics to check through the car after the first stage because I thought the engine was very noisy. Now I feel much better. There was a small engine problem, which is now okay and the long road section to Granada on Saturday was a good test that there were no problems any more.~

China's Guan Yuand Men was delighted with his performance on the European stages. ~I have enjoyed these two stages,~ said the 35th-placed Chinese driver. ~There is still room for improvement, but I am driving quicker than I did in Dubai.~

Thailand's Siriwattanakun Pornsawan was impressed with the performance of his Mitsubishi Truck Evolution and set a time of 9m 22s through the special stage to hold 41st overall.

But there was disappointment for the Portuguese driver Francisco Inocencio and his co-driver Joao Luz. A diesel pressure pump problem had prevented them from starting the opening Barcelona stage on New Year's Eve.

Despite frantic attempts by the Mitsubishi Ralliart mechanics to repair the Pajero/Montero late on New Year's Eve, Ralliart team manager Jürgen Masal was forced to relay the news to the disappointed crew that they would be unable to continue in the rally and they suffered the ignominy of being the first Dakar Rally retirements.

Overall positions after SS2 (unofficial @ 12.39):
25. Dominique Housieaux (F)/Loic Fagot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 13m 57s
26. Klever Kolberg (BR)/Roldan Lourival (BR) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 13m 58s
29. Krzysztof Holowczyc(PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 14m 23s
35. Guan Yuang Men (CN)/Serge Henninot (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 14m 35s
41. Siriwattanakun Pornsawan(TH)/Sukahuta Pornthep (TH) Mitsubishi Truck Evolution 14m 56s
TBA. Alexey Berkut (RUS)/Anton Nikolaev (RUS) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up
TBA. Toni van Deijne (NL)/Francisco Zutven (NL) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero
TBA. Arnold Meier (CH)/Sarah Meier (CH) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero

Ends

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Date issued: 02/01/2005

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