CC Mitsubishi holds first and third places in Patagonia
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
8th Patagonia-Atacama Rally
FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round 1
Leg 1: San Carlos de Baraloche - General Roca
Liaison: 224.71 kms, Special: 225.69 kms, Liaison: 144.04 kms
Weather conditions: warm and sunny - 18-20 C
For immediate release
Sunday, March 6th, 2005
MITSUBISHI MOTORS REPSOL ATS STUDIOS TEAM HOLDS FIRST AND THIRD PLACES AFTER FIRST DAY OF PATAGONIA-ATACAMA RALLY
Mitsubishi's Peterhansel moves into outright lead in South America
Spaniard Roma holds third position through first Patagonian stage
GENERAL ROCA, Argentina - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team held
first and third places in the Patagonia-Atacama Rally, after the opening stage between San Carlos de Bariloche and General Roca, in southern Argentina, on Sunday.
The French duo of Dakar Rally winners Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret were first on the stage this morning and finished 5m 40s ahead of their nearest rivals Bruno Saby and Michel Périn to hold first overall in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution.
~It was a very fast and technical stage at the start today,~ said Peterhansel. ~The car was perfect. It is different to my usual car in terms of the center of gravity. There was a very narrow, slippery track across a tundra-type landscape and after we found a very fast track with a big jump. It could have been dangerous, so we took it easy.
~The terrain is completely different to Africa, so I took it a little easier and was more careful near the finish when we caught some of the slower bikes. But I am pleased to make a good start.~
Spaniard Joan Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne held third position in a Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up.
~That was the fastest stage I have ever driven in a car, but it was great fun,~ enthused Roma. ~The stage was superb. I caught Jutta's Kleinschmidt's VW about 100 kms from the end and I could not get past. It was frustrating, but I suppose it is the first day.
~The Pick-Up is different to the car I drove in Dakar. The engine is strong and powerful, but the gearbox takes some getting used to. On this stage the transmission is important and the gearchange has a much longer throw. Our top speed is only 160 km/h, so we lose a little time on the very fast sections. For me, it is great experience. I need as many competitive kilometers as possible.~
Teams left the south-east of the Nahuel Huapi National Park early on Sunday morning and headed north through the remote Lake District area of the Province of Rio Negro. After a scenic 224 kms road liaison section, the 226 kms stage began near Piedra del Aguila and finished adjacent to a hydro-electric power station at Villa el Chocón in the Valley of the Dinosaurs.
~I am pleased with the result today, but it is just the start,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys, making his fifth visit to the country. ~It was a stage for the team to adjust to being back in action after being on holiday since the Dakar Rally!~
Cars were flagged away from the start in San Carlos de Bariloche at 22.00 hrs (local time) on Saturday evening, in the presence of an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand. ~It was one of the warmest receptions I have ever had on a rally,~ said Peterhansel. ~It was a fantastic atmosphere and a great start to the event.~
Tomorrow (Monday) is the second leg of the Patagonia-Atacama Rally between General Roca in the Province of Rio Negro and San Rafael in the Mendoza Province to the north. After a 198 kms road liaison, the 496 kms selective section heads from Colonia el Sauzal to a finish at Dique Valle Grande, south of San Rafael.
The section crosses grassland, before climbing through a volcanic area at around 2.200 meters above sea level and reaches a climax through a series of dunes.
Overall positions after leg 1 (unofficial @ 13.50 hrs - local time):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 1h 54m 51s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 00m 31s
3. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 05m 17s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 08m 57s
5. Sergey Shmakov (RUS)/Sergey Mishin (RUS) Honda Shmakov-Buggy 2h 09m 52s
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