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CC Flat tyres delay Peterhansel in Patagonia Atacama Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

8th Patagonia-Atacama Rally
FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round 1

Leg 4: Santiago de Chile - La Serena
Liaison: 293.42 kms, Special: 211.95 kms, Liaison: 149.30 kms

Weather conditions: hot and sunny - 24-30C
For immediate release
Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS REPSOL ATS STUDIOS TEAM DRIVER PETERHANSEL MAINTAINS THIRD PLACE IN PATAGONIA-ATACAMA RALLY

Two flat tires delay Peterhansel on run north into La Serena;
Peterhansel sets fastest time in floodlit 'super special' stage in Santiago;
Spaniard Roma holds fourth and closes gap on third-placed Volkswagen

LA SERENA, Chile - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret set the second fastest time on the punishing 211.95 kms selective section between Santiago de Chile and La Serena in the fourth leg of the Patagonia-Atacama Rally, today (Wednesday).

At the wheel of their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, the French crew had hoped to claw back some of the time between themselves and rally leaders Bruno Saby and Michel Périn on the run north through Chile.

In hot and sunny conditions, they began the gravel stage through vineyards and along twisty tracks in the Andes foothills in first position on the road and tried to benefit from the lack of dust on the stage.

A mere 30 kms into the timed section Peterhansel sustained a flat tire and was further delayed by a minor navigational error and a second flat tire, as Saby extended his overall advantage to 26m 47s. Peterhansel did, however, close the gap on second-placed Jutta Kleinschmidt to a mere 1m 20s

~At the beginning I tried to push hard, but after 30 kms we had a flat tire,~ said Peterhansel. ~I managed to get going again in front of Bruno (Saby) and then we lost the road for two or three minutes before we got a second puncture.

~I have never seen a special stage like the one we did today. For over 200 kms it was like a WRC stage, fast and flowing. It was very nice, but we did not have the luck today.~

Spanish team mate Joan 'Nani' Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began the stage in fourth position behind the two Volkswagens and arrived at the stage finish in Punitaqui in third position, after passing Kleinschmidt's Volkswagen.

~I made up over two minutes on Jutta today and was able to pass her,~ enthused Roma. ~Now I am within touching distance of a podium place and there is a long way to go before the finish on Saturday.~

After crossing the spine of the daunting Andes mountain range on the winding road from Uspallata in Mendoza - where snow and heavy rain was prevalent at heights above 2,900 meters - the Mitsubishi Motors team had arrived in Santiago de Chile on Tuesday evening in time to tackle a floodlit 'super special' stage on a purpose-built track in the northern suburbs of the city.

In front of an excitable crowd of several thousand enthusiasts, Peterhansel set the fastest time, jumping his Mitsubishi in spectacular style to the delight of the crowd. He beat Bruno Saby by five seconds, which meant he started today's stage a mere 21m 59s behind the leader in the overall standings. Roma was fourth fastest, a mere three seconds behind Kleinschmidt.

~I thought that the organizers laid on an excellent 'super special' stage in Santiago,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~It was nicely run and attracted a huge crowd. Our drivers entertained them, but drove in a very responsible manner.~

Tomorrow (Thursday) the route of the Patagonia-Atacama Rally heads north along the Pacific coastal highway, adjacent to the backbone of the Andes mountain range, to an overnight halt at Copiapó. A short road section takes the Mitsubishi team into a 467 kms special between Caleta Los Hornos and Puesto Base Copiapó.

The stage will start near the Pacific Ocean on the beach, before climbing through the dunes towards Copiapó.

Overall positions after leg 4 (unofficial @ 16.55 hrs - local time):
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 12h 19m 04s
2. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 12h 44m 31s
3. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12h 45m 51s
4. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12h 59m 01s

Overall positions on SS5:
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 05m 46s
2.Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 10m 34s
3.Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 11m 56s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 14m 20s

Ends

Copyright free photographs for editorial media only can be downloaded from www.mmsp-media.com and www.mitsubishi-motors.com

For further information please contact MMSP’s Communications Department:
MMSP GmbH
Adam-Opel-Str. 4
D 65468 Trebur-Astheim
Florian Moser
Telephone +49 (0) 172 6697 578
Telefax +49 (0) 6147-203 599
E-mail f.moser@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com


Date issued: 09/03/2005

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