CC Peterhansel opens up massive lead in Rally of Morocco
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
2005 Orpi Rally of Morocco
FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, round 3
Leg 3: Laayoune - Oued Chebika (Liaison 21 kms; Special 1 - 99 kms; Liaison 22 kms; Special 2 - 224 kms; Liaison 65 kms)
Weather conditions: hot, sunny and windy - 22-26C
For immediate release
Friday, May 27th, 2005
PETERHANSEL LEADS RALLY OF MOROCCO BY FOURTEEN MINUTES FOR MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM
Defending champion Peterhansel fastest on both stages into Oued Chebika;
Spanish team mate Roma loses time with flat tires and slips out of top five
OUED CHEBIKA, Morocco - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret extended their outright lead to 14 minutes after the fourth and fifth special stages of the Orpi Rally of Morocco, between Tarouma and Oued Chebika on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, today (Friday). Team mates Joan 'Nani' Roma and Henri Magne slipped out of the top five after two flat tires and a minor navigational problem.
Today's route comprised two special stages - a 99 kms off-piste loop, including a tricky erg, around a start and finish point near Foum el Oued - and a northerly 224 kms run into a finish south of Oued Chebika.
The second stage featured a 60 kms run along the Atlantic coast, passing several beached ship wrecks, before the stage crossed the Sebkha Tah depression, a second area of low-lying gravel and then across a plateau to the finish.
Last year's winners began the third leg of the five-day event 1m 50s ahead of their closest French rivals Bruno Saby and Michel Périn and extended their lead to 8m 13s after the first loop stage, when they set the fastest time and Saby lost time with flat tires.
At the wheel of his Rally of Tunisia-winning Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, Peterhansel then led teams into the tricky second stage
~The first stage was short, but we tried to push and it worked,~ said Peterhansel. ~The dunes were very easy to cross and we started the second stage with a full attack. It was not easy navigation and we stopped a couple of times to find the best track. There were around 30 kms in camel grass, but we took a good route.
~The lead is large, but not enough. Two punctures and we would be back in the clutches of our rivals, so I need to push again tomorrow.~
Spaniard Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Magne began the day in fifth position in their MPR10 version of the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, but punctured a rear left tire in the loop stage and slipped behind Jean-Louis Schlesser's Buggy.
~We had a flat tire in the first stage and then one in the dunes on the second stage,~ said Roma. ~But the major problem happened after PC1 when I had a problem with the navigation and the GPS. The normal line was to the left. I went down towards the mountains, but had to come back and find the correct track.~
~So far so good for us,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Obviously we have to be patient until the finish on Sunday, but I have been pleased with the pace of our drivers to this point. The competition is keeping us on our toes and making sure that we keep our concentration.~
Tomorrow (Saturday) is the penultimate leg of the Orpi Rally of Morocco and features a 291 kms selective section between the coastal outpost of Tan Tan and Tarmguist to the north. A 218 kms road liaison section then takes teams back to Agadir for the penultimate overnight halt.
Overall positions after leg 3 (unofficial @ 12.40 hrs local time):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 9h 15m 08s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touare 9h 29m 08s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 9h 32m 56s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 9h 43m 41s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 9h 47m 05s
TBA. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 9h 57m 51s
Positions on stage 5: (unofficial @ 12.40 hrs local time)
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 17m 11s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 22m 07s
3. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 22m 58s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 2h 32m 23s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 2h 35m 09s
TBA. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 39m 15s
Positions on stage 4: (unofficial @ 09.25 hrs local time)
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 54m 41s
2. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 55m 47s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 56m 18s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 56m 22s
TBA. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 61m 04s
TBA. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 62m 31s
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