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

Weather conditions:
For immediate release
Thursday, January 13th, 2005


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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Date issued: 13/01/2005

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