CC Mitsubishi maintains Dakar advantage into Kiffa

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 Dakar Rally
Leg 11 - Atar - Kiffa
Liaison: 34 kms, Spéciale : 400 km, Liaison: 261 kms

Weather conditions: warm and humid with a slight breeze (23-25C)
For immediate release
Tuesday, January 11th, 2005


Mitsubishi's Alphand and Peterhansel second and third fastest into Kiffa
Japan's Masuoka and Germany's Mayer forced to retire from Dakar Rally

KIFFA, Mauritania - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team maintained their outright lead of the 2005 Dakar Rally on the revised 400 kms special stage between Atar and Kiffa in Mauritania, today (Tuesday).

Frenchman Luc Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard set the second fastest time in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution to maintained the runner-up spot in the overall classification behind team mates and defending champions Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret.

Alphand beat his team mate by 1m 38s, although stage winner Jutta Kleinschmidt could only reduce Peterhansel's 70-minute overall lead by a mere 2m 42s, as the Mitsubishis eased their pace to reduce the risk of technical problems.

Spaniard Joan Roma and co-driver Henri Magne began today's stage in fifth place in the overall classification and were lying 12th overall on the stage at the first passage control point.

Germany's Andrea Mayer and French co-driver Jean-Michel Polato were forced out of the race after a freak incident damaged the electrics in their Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up. The pair had stopped in the Atar loop stage, when a stone broke the crankshaft sensor. Jean-Michel attempted to repair the damage, but was unable to do so and the duo had to wait for the assistance truck to tow them to the bivouac.

After arriving at 05.00 hrs on Tuesday morning, team management reached the decision to withdraw Andrea from the race rather than overstretch the support team which was preparing to leave for Kiffa.

~It was an unfortunate problem, which we could have repaired quite easily if we had had the time,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~It would have taken about four or five hours, but it was more important that the trucks all left on time this morning so that we could carry out a full service on our three cars in Kiffa this evening before the Marathon stage.~

~I am obviously very disappointed,~ said Andrea, before leaving Atar for Paris this afternoon. ~It was a very unfortunate thing, which caused the problem.~

Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka and German co-driver Andreas Schulz were also withdrawn from the race on Monday evening in Atar. Hiroshi drove slowly to the bivouac, despite the minor engine problem, but the team took the decision that it was more important to concentrate resources on the three surviving cars rather than repair the engine in the twice former winner's car before the restart this morning.

~It was not meant to be this year,~ said a dejected Masuoka. ~But that is the Dakar. Everyone has problems.~

~We are both disappointed,~ said Schulz, who was tackling his 13th Dakar Rally. ~This was developing into a very hard rally this year. There are still four difficult stages to go and I really thought that we could have still made the podium on Sunday.~

~I said at the start in Spain that this was going to be a very tough Dakar and I still feel that this race is wide open until we reach Tambacounda,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~We now have three cars in the race in strong positions. As long as we stay out of trouble, the other teams have to take the race from us. But there is still a long way to go.~

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the event enters the Republic of Mali for a 586 kms timed stage to the city of Bamako, nestled on the banks of the Niger River. There are several navigation sections on the route, in addtion to several African villages where speed limits need to be observed. Cars will enter a parc ferme area in Bamako and no assistance will be permitted.

Times for SS10 - Atar to Kiffa:
1. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 5h 29m 37s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 5h 30m41s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 5h 32m 19s

Overall classification after SS10:
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 33h 41m 14s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 34h 01m 04s
3. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 36h 49m 17s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 37h 51m 48s
TBA. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magner (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero


Copyright free photographs for editorial media only can be downloaded from www.mmsp-media.com and www.mitsubishi-motors.com

For further information please contact Florian Moser, MMSP’s Communications Department:
Adam-Opel-Str. 4
D 65468 Trebur-Astheim
Florian Moser
Telephone +49 (0) 172 6697 578
Telefax +49 (0) 6147-203 599
E-mail f.moser@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com

Date issued: 11/01/2005

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