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CC Mitsubishi extends Rally of Morocco lead into Laayoune

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 Orpi Rally of Morocco
FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round 3

Leg 2: Oued Chebika - Laayoune (Transfer 4 kms; Special 351 kms; Liaison 71 kms)

Weather conditions: hot, sunny and strong breeze (21-27 C)

For immediate release
Thursday, May 26th, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM DRIVER PETERHANSEL EXTENDS OVERALL LEAD IN RALLY OF MOROCCO

Defending Dakar champion Peterhansel sets fastest time into Laayoune;
Spaniard Joan Roma maintains fifth place with fifth fastest time

LAAYOUNE, Morocco - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and his French co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret extended their overall lead to 1m 50s, after the second 351 kms competitive section of the Orpi Rally of Morocco between Oued Chebika and Laayoune, today (Thursday).

The pair began the day's stage first on the road in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, 1m 05s ahead of their nearest French rivals Bruno Saby and Michel Périn. A mere second separated the rivals through the third passage control today, but Peterhansel edged further ahead over the closing kilometers.

~The stage was very technical at tbe beginning and then we found a very fast track for 150 kms,~ said Peterhansel. ~At the end is was technical again. It was not easy with some big stones and some tricky jumps, but the car was perfect. I never lost my place on the road today and we had no punctures, so we are very happy.~

Today's stage was the longest of the event at 351 kms and included a fast 100 kms section formerly used on the Paris-Dakar Rally. The route became trickier near the village of Sidi Hamed Laroussi and more technical on the run into the finish, north of the overnight bivouac at the fishing village of Tarouma on the shores of the Atlantic.

Spaniard Joan 'Nani' Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began the second day in fifth position in their MPR10 version of the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution and maintained their place in the overall standings by setting the fifth fastest time today.

~It is getting very close between several of us on the leaderboard,~ said Roma. ~It is going to be quite a fight over the next three days.~

Tomorrow (Friday) is the third leg of the Orpi Rally of Morocco between Laayoune and Oued Chebika. After a 21 kms run out from the Tarouma bivouac, a 99 kms El Marsa loop stage opens competitive proceedings and this is followed by a 22 kms road liaison to Foum El Oued.

A second 224 kms selective section takes crews to Akhfenir and a 65 kms returns teams to the bivouac in Oued Chebika, from where the action began this morning. The day offers a mixture of dunes, beach crossings and a track along the Sebkha depression, 55 meters below sea level.

Overall positions after leg 2 (unofficial @ 11.50 hrs local time):

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 03m 16s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touare 6h 05m 06s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 6h 14m 31s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 6h 14m 56s
5. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 16m 05s
6. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 6h 16m 09s
7. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Didier Legal (F) Fastspeed Buggy 6h 16m 14s

Positions on Oued Chebika to Laayoune stage: (unofficial @ 11.50 hrs local time)

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 14m 12s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 14m 57
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 3h 17m 40s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 20m 52s
5. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 23m 56s

Ends

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D 65468 Trebur-Astheim
Florian Moser
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E-mail f.moser@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com


Date issued: 26/05/2005

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