CC Mitsubishi takes second and fourth places in Atacama Desert
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
8th Patagonia-Atacama Rally
FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round 1
Leg 7: Antofagasta - San Pedro de Atacama
Liaison: 78.74 kms, Special: 224.13 kms, Liaison: 22.46 kms
Weather conditions: warm and sunny at altitude- 14-18C
For immediate release
Saturday, March 12th, 2005
MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM TAKES SECOND AND FOURTH PLACES OVERALL IN PATAGONIA-ATACAMA RALLY
Mitsubishi's Peterhansel takes fastest time in final Atacama stage
Spaniard's Roma finishes in fourth place in Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA (Chile): The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team finished second and fourth overall in the Patagonia-Atacama Rally, the opening round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, which finished near the quaint village of San Pedro de Atacama, today (Saturday).
The French duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret began the final 224 kms selective section from Largada, across the Atacama Desert to the finish near San Pedro, 14m 53s behind overnight leaders Bruno Saby and Michel Périn.
Peterhansel began the final stage in third place on the road and was unable to make substantial in-roads into Saby's advantage over the closing kilometers and won the stage by 2m 16s. His rival's victory marked the first defeat for the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero since the 2003 Rally of Morocco after nine straight successes, which began with the 2003 UAE Desert Challenge.
~We managed to pass Jutta Kleinschmidt 10 kms from the end of the stage,~ said Peterhansel. ~But it was not possible to take any great time out of Bruno. The car was noticeably down on power because of the altitude. I think it is more pronounced with a normally-aspirated engine than with the turbo car. I came alongside Bruno at one point and we did not have the power to overtake.
~The stage was very fast. Some parts were a little bumpy, but the navigation was easy. Over the last seven days we have seen some really different stages. In Argentina it was completely different. The last two days were a little like Africa, but the navigation was a little easier.~
Mitsubishi Motors team mates Joan Roma and Henri Magne began the final section in fourth position in their Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up and consolidated their fourth place in the final overall standings. The event marked Roma's third event with the Mitsubishi team and followed a second place in the Qatar Baja and sixth overall in the Dakar Rally.
~I am happy with my position and my progress in the car,~ said Roma. ~I have a quicker speed than I had on the Dakar, but I still need some more time in the dunes. The race was enjoyable. It was hard for the mechanics and the whole team and it was fantastic to start in Bariloche and finish at 3,000 meters in the desert.~
~We decided not to use the latest Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution in this rally,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~There are two rounds of the FIA World Cup in the space of three weeks and logistics dictated that we preferred to send the MPR11s to the Rally of Tunisia and give Stéphane the latest car's predecessor, the MPR10, for this event.
~We received great support this week from the local distributor MMC Chile and found the event a very useful learning curve for the entire team over new terrain.~
Today's route to San Pedro de Atacama passed Diego de Almagro and reached heights of 3,000 meters in the world's highest and driest desert, before reaching a finish in the Valley of the Moon - a remote, boulder-strewn wasteland high in the Atacama Desert.
The next round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup will be the Rally of Tunisia at the start of April.
Overall final positions after leg 7 (unofficial @ 13.10 hrs - local time):
1. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 24h 49m 35s
2. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 25h 00m 47s
3. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 25h 26m 16s
4. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up 27h 04m 53s
Overall positions on SS9:
1.Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 17m 50s
2. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 20m 06s
3. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 21m 31s
4. Joan Rona (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up 2h 24m 25s
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