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CC Mitsubishi on course for Dakar success into Tambacounda

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 Dakar Rally
Leg 14 - Kayes - Tambacounda
Liaison 93 kms - Special 529 kms - Liaison 8 kms

Weather conditions: hot and sunny - 25-27C
For immediate release
Friday, January 14th, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM MAINTAINS FIRST AND SECOND PLACES AS DAKAR RALLY ARRIVES IN SENEGAL

Mitsubishi's Peterhansel and Alphand hold station;
Spaniard Roma takes fourth fastest time into Senegal

TAMBACOUNDA, Sénegal - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team consolidated its overall advantage in the 27th Dakar Rally, after the penultimate long special stage between Kayes in Mali and Tambacounda in Senegal, today (Friday).

Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret opened the stage for the cars this morning in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, but eventually finished the section in eighth position after erring on the side of caution and deliberately dropping behind their rivals.

~I am happy to be here,~ said Peterhansel. ~We made the necessary precautions with the snorkel for the river crossing and controlled the stage today. The Nissans passed us and we drove slowly to the end of the stage. Tomorrow is not a long day. I know the stage well and hopefully it will not be a problem.~

French team mates Luc Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard were second on the road out of Kayes this morning and completed the stage in seventh position.

~We feel confident,~ said Alphand. ~We changed the pace and took it easy today. On the sports side I cannot take 25 minutes out of Stéphane, so we have to manage both cars to reach the finish for Mitsubishi. Today was like a Tour de France stage. We were protecting the leader in the 'yellow jersey' and the others were playing around. Vatanen and De Villiers passed us early, but we managed the car well without problems.

~River crossings are always a worry. We stopped to use the snorkel. Stéphane went first, very slowly, but the water level was okay - only about 60 cm. The ground was hard and then we stopped to check the wheel nuts. The rest of the stage was like a dusty train…~

Spaniard Joan Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began the stage across the border into Senegal in sixth position in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution. But they were on the pace from the start this morning and were fourth quickest into Tambacounda to maintain sixth place in the overall classification.

~I am very happy with today's result,~ said Roma. ~I drove 'cool' with no risks. I stopped before the river to use the snorkel and then to check the wheel nuts the other side, because the change of temperature can loosen the wheels. Then we followed Jutta (Kleinschmidt) slowly. Tomorrow is an important day. It will not be easy and it is important that we make no mistakes. For sure, I will wait for Luc and Stéphane and follow them to the finish.~

~I asked both Stéphane and Luc to be careful over the final 700 kms,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~With the same cars and a similar driving level, I asked them to keep the difference between them and not to push.

~Mitsubishi Motors needs them to reach the finish in first and second positions and they respected that decision to drive carefully.~

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the penultimate day of the Dakar Rally and the last of the long stages into Dakar. After a 108 kms liaison section, the special stage takes place over 225 kms and a nail-biting 236 kms road section takes teams into the arrival PC in Dakar. The event finishes on Sunday.

Times for SS14 - Kayes to Tambacounda:
1.Ari Vatanen (FIN)/Juha Repo (FIN) Nissan Pick-Up 4h 50m 08s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 4h 59m 24s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 5h 01m 53s
4. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 5h 04m 55s
5. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Jean-Paul Forthomme (B) Honda Buggy 5h 06m 00s
6. Klever Kolberg (BRE)/Rouldan Lourival (BRE) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 5h 08m 07s
7. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 5h 10m 11s

Overall classification after SS14:
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 49h 46m 23s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 50h 13m 04s
TBA. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg TBA
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 53h 52m 45s
5. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 58h 34m 41s
6. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 58h 55m 26s

Ends


Date issued: 14/01/2005

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