CC Peterhansel maintains second place into Antofagasta
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
8th Patagonia-Atacama Rally
FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round 1
Leg 6: Copiapó - Antofagasta
Liaison: 22.14 kms, Special: 629.22 kms (shortened to 398 kms), Liaison: 72.64 kms
Weather conditions: warm, cloudy and sunny spells - 18-26C
For immediate release
Friday, March 11th, 2005
MITSUBISHI MOTORS REPSOL ATS STUDIOS TEAM MAINTAINS SECOND AND FOURTH PLACES IN PATAGONIA-ATACAMA RALLY
Mitsubishi's Peterhansel third fastest into Antofagasta
Spaniard Roma remains in fourth position in Atacama Desert
ANTOFAGASTA, Chile - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret finished the longest selective section of the Patagonia-Atacama Rally between Copiapó and Antofagasta in northern Chile in third position today (Friday).
At the wheel of their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, the Dakar Rally winners for the last two years began the day's punishing stage across the remote Atacama Desert 12m 29s behind the leading Volkswagen of Bruno Saby and Michel Périn. Peterhansel was the first car into the stage this morning, but lost time to his rival when he became stuck in soft sand in some dunes. Je managed to regain much of the time on the shortened stage and arrived at the stage finish in Saby's dust, a little over two minutes behind the leader.
Mitsubishi team mates Joan Roma and Henri Magne lost over 90 minutes to the leader on the run north towards Copiapó on Thursday and began today's section in fourth overall and in fifth position on the stage behind the Russian Buggy driver Sergey Shmakov.
They passed the Buggy driver in the Atacama Desert and consolidated their fourth position in the overall standings.
~Today's stage was shortened and it reduced our chance to close the gap on the leader,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Stéphane had no problems with his car, but he lost a little time this morning and it cost him his chance to catch Saby.~
Today's longest stage of the entire event was shortened to start at the first passage control point on safety grounds, because of early morning fog in the hills north of Copiapó. The decision was later taken to shorten the timed section still further and the competitive selective finished at the 465 kms point after the second neutralization.
The stage offered a wide range of fast tracks, dune crossings and climbs and descents between 500 meters and 2,900 meters above sea level. The overnight bivouac was situated in a scenic location, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, in Antofagasta.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is the final stage of the Patagonia-Atacama Rally between the copper mining town of Antofagasta and the finish in San Pedro de Atacama. A 78 kms liaison section takes teams to the start of a 224 kms special at Cerro Negro. The route to San Pedro passes Diego de Almagro and reaches heights of 3,000 meters in the world's highest and driest desert.
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