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CC Mitsubishi maintains first and second places into Bamako

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 Dakar Rally
Leg 12 - Kiffa - Bamako
Liaison: 25 kms, Special : 586 km, Liaison: 208 kms

Weather conditions: warm, humid and windy - 25C
For immediate release
Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM ENTERS MALI IN FIRST AND
SECOND POSITIONS OVERALL IN DAKAR RALLY

Mitsubishi's Peterhansel and Alphand finish second and third into Bamako;
Former bike riders Roma and Peterhansel mourn the loss of Meoni;
Brazilians Kolberg and Lourival head Mitsubishi Ralliart teams

BAMAKO, Mali - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team maintained first and second positions in the 27th Dakar Rally, after the 586 kms special stage from Kiffa to Bamako, the capital city of the Republic of Mali, today (Wednesday).

The French duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret.set the second fastest time behind the stage-winning South African Giniel de Villiers. Both Peterhansel and team mates Luc Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard took no risks on the varied stage from Mauritania to Mali.

~Today was simply a matter of arriving in Bamako in one piece without damaging the car, because there is no assistance tonight,~ said Peterhansel, still affected by the death of twice former Dakar motorcycle champion Fabrizio Meoni on Tuesday. ~Luc and I wanted to make sure that we gave Jutta no chance to pull ahead and the plan worked.~

~The objective for Stéphane and myself today was to get past Jutta Kleinschmidt as soon as possible and slow her down,~ said Luc. ~After the first kilometers the stage took place on laterite piste, where I knew we would be faster.~

Spaniard Joan Roma and co-driver Henri Magne were fifth at the start of the Bamako stage, but had been coming under pressure from Frenchman Bruno Saby on the stage into Kiffa. ~There was no plan today to try and stop Bruno going past,~ said Roma, who slipped behind the 1993 Dakar Rally winner into sixth place overall.

~Every time I think about Fabrizio's accident I feel that I am in the middle of a bad dream,~ added the Spaniard, who rode against the Italian on his way to Dakar victory last year on a motorcycle.

~I was with him at the briefing in the bivouac in Atar on the evening before his death. It was a good decision by the organizers to cancel the competition for the riders today, but it was difficult for me and Stéphane. He has also been very upset by the tragedy.~

~After the events on Tuesday we were concerned not only about the mental condition of the other riders, but also about our drivers,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~I spoke to the organizers, along with the managers of the other car teams, and we put our point of view across. They decided to continue the race for the cars and the trucks today, but airlift the bike riders to Bamako and transport the bikes by 'plane.~

Tomorrow (Thursday) the route heads towards Senegal and the overnight halt at Kayes in north-west Mali. After a 205 kms liaison section, a fast 370 kms stage through Black Africa brings teams to a 93 kms liaison into the bivouac.

The stage begins in the Manantali region and offers fast tracks and bush paths through vegetation and on to the crossing of the Tambaoura cliffs. The stage finishes at Sadiola, a small Malian opencast gold mine.

Ralliart Teams

Brazilians Kolberg and Lourival head Mitsubishi Ralliart teams
Russian Berkut and Dutchman Van Deijne forced out of Dakar Rally

Brazilians Klever Kolberg and Rouldan Lourival.led the Mitsubishi Ralliart contingent into the Republic of Mali in 24th position in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. The French duo of Dominique Housieaux and Loic Fagot were 46th.

Poland's Krzysztof Holowczyc and Belgian co-driver Jean-Marc Fortin were 53rd overall at the start of today's passage into Mali, after arriving in Kiffa with power steering problems in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero.

Russian Alexey Berkut and Anton Nikolaev were forced to retire from the event on the stage into Kiffa, when the cylinder head gasket failed on their Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up.

They eventually arrived at the windswept sand strip at 09.00 hrs on Wednesday morning and the Mitsubishi Ralliart mechanics made use of the fact that they were not scheduled to travel to Bamako, to repair the engine so that the Russian's car could be driven by road to Dakar.

Dutchman Toni van Deijne and co-driver Francisco van Deijne were stranded with transmission problems early into the Atar to Kiffa stage and had still not arrived in the Kiffa bivouac on Wednesday.

~It has been a very tough event this year, but we still have three rally cars in the competition and will give our all to make sure that these cars reach the finish in Dakar on Sunday,~ said a Ralliart team spokesman.

Ends


Date issued: 12/01/2005

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