CC Mitsubishi extends Dakar Rally lead into Kayes
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
2005 Dakar Rally
Leg 13 - Bamako - Kayes
Liaison 205 kms - Special 370 kms - Liaison 93 kms
For immediate release
Thursday, January 13th, 2005
MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM EXTENDS OVERALL LEAD IN DAKAR RALLY TO OVER NINETY MINUTES INTO KAYES
Mitsubishi's Alphand and Peterhansel set first and second fastest times
KAYES, Mali - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team extended its overall lead in the 27th Dakar Rally to over one and a half hours, after the 370 kms timed special stage between Bamako and Kayes in Mali, today (Thursday).
At the wheel of their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret set the fastest time to extend their overall lead over French team mates Luc Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard to 27m 33s.
Their closest non-Mitsubishi rival is third-placed Jutta Kleinschmidt, but she lies 1h 30m 55s behind the defending champions with only three stages remaining in Senegal.
~It was a good day for me,~ said Peterhansel. ~The stage was not very long. The beginning was very fast on the laterite track. After about 80 kms we arrived on a narrow track and then the end of the stage was fast. I started second, but after 120 kms I caught De Villiers and tried to pass him. I pushed hard to get passed and he lost control of his car and left the road. I took the stage lead and finished with a good speed.
~Tomorrow will be a long stage. It will be dusty. There will be a lot of trees and a river crossing. We will try and keep the rhythm, with just two long stages to go.~
Team mate Alphand was in confident mood in Kayes. ~It was so dusty today,~ said Luc. ~Giniel de Villiers let Stéphane overtake, but not me. We stayed behind De Villiers. The pace was good, but again we have lost some time to Stéphane. That is not a big problem. It was a good day for the team and we are getting closer to the finish. We will both start ahead and control the pace.~
Spaniard Joan Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began the day in sixth position in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution. They set the fifth fastest time to maintain their sixth position in the event.
~About 150 kms from the finish we came up behind Ari Vatanen and it was not possible to overtake,~ said Roma. ~It was not a problem. It is important for me to follow Stéphane and Luc and make sure that I support them. It is important that I finish and that Mitsubishi wins the rally. Each day I feel more confident behind the wheel and more relaxed. I am learning all the time and feel that I am beginning to understand the race. It is my first experience with the car, but I am, delighted with my position at the moment. I did not expect this in Barcelona.~
Tomorrow (Friday) the event heads into Senegal for the penultimate long stage of this year's Dakar. After a 93 kms liaison from the bivouac in Kayes, the special stage starts at Sadiola in Mali and heads south-west along the Senegalese border.
After high-speed laterite piste, the tracks become narrower and cars pass savanna-type countryside and the Falémé river. The final kilometers of the stage pass many villages and there are several small river crossings in Soninké country.
Times for SS13 - Bamako to Kayes (unofficial @ 14.00 hrs):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 30m 07s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 34m 24s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 3h 38m 06s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 42m 15s
5. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 3h 41m 50s
Overall classification after SS13 (unofficial T 14.00 hrs):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 44h 35m 20s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 45h 02m 53s
3. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 46h 06m 15s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 48h 50m 52s
5. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 53h 35m 17s
6. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 53h 50m 31s
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