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CC Mitsubishi Motors one stage away from 10th Dakar triumph

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 Dakar Rally
Leg 15 - Tambacounda - Dakar
Liaison 108 kms - Special 225 kms - Liaison 236 kms

Weather conditions: warm and sunny - 22-24C

For immediate release
Saturday, January 15th, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM MAINTAINS FIRST AND SECOND OVERALL AFTER PENULTIMATE STAGE OF DAKAR RALLY

Mitsubishi's Peterhansel and Alphand fifth and sixth into Dakar;
Spaniard Roma stops to wait for team mates and maintains fifth place

DAKAR, Sénegal - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret completed today's 225 kms penultimate special stage of the 27th Dakar Rally in fifth position and arrived in Dakar 27m 13s ahead of team mates Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard, today (Saturday).

Only a 31 kms stage around Lac Rose on Sunday now stands between Peterhansel and his second successive victory and a record-breaking 10th success for the Japanese manufacturer. Peterhansel and Alphand were fifth and sixth through today's stage, which was won by South Africa's Giniel de Villiers.

Spaniard Joan Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began the day fourth on the road in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, but stopped to wait for their team mates. Roma maintains fifth position on his first Dakar Rally in a car.

~We did not push today and drove rather slowly,~ said Peterhansel. ~We always had one ear listening to any noises from the engine and the gearbox. Then I heard a knocking noise from the roof. Thankfully, it was only the GPS antenna working loose. It was a stressful day, just worrying in case something went wrong. Now we are on the home straight.~

Alphand shadowed his team mate to the finish to maintain second place. ~It was a beautiful stage,~ said Alphand. ~It was technical, but it was also easy to find a good rhthym, like skiing in powdered snow.~

Roma finished 13m behind the stage winner, after stopping to wait for his team mates. ~I stopped just after the start this morning to wait for Stéphane and Luc, because our aim was to bring the cars together to Dakar without taking any risks,~ said the Spaniard. ~We know that it is not over yet and I just hope that there are no problems on the final stage on Sunday.~

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the traditional final day of the Dakar Rally, with a 31 kms special stage bringing teams to the finish at Lac Rose, near Dakar.

Times for SS15 - Tambacounda to Dakar (unofficial @ 13.00 hrs):
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 2h 21m 15s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 22m 12s
3. Carlos Sousa (P)/Thierry Delli-Zotti (F) Nissan Pick-Up 2h 22m 15s
4. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Jean-Paul Forthomme (B) Honda Buggy 2h 22m 42s
5. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 23m 07s
6. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 23m 39s

Overall classification after SS15 (unofficial @ 13.00 hrs):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 52h 09m 30s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 52h 36m 43s
3. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 55h 32m 47s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 56h 14m 00s
5. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Perin (F) Volkswagen Touareg 60h 56m 53s
6. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 61h 30m 04s

Ends

Date issued: 15/01/2005

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