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CC Spaniard Joan Roma takes first ever fastest time for Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

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

Leg 4: Oued Chebika - Agadir (Liaison 58 kms; Special 291 kms; Liaison 218 kms)

Weather conditions: warm and overcast - 18-26 C

For immediate release
Saturday, May 28th, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS TEAM DRIVER PETERHANSEL
TAKES 9m 35s ADVANTAGE INTO FINAL DAY OF RALLY OF MOROCCO

Spaniard Joan Roma takes first ever fastest time for Mitsubishi;
Defending champion Peterhansel delayed by flat tire on penultimate stage

AGADIR, Morocco - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret will take a 9m 35s overall advantage into the final stage of the Orpi Rally of Morocco, after setting the fifth fastest time on the 291 kms stage between Oued Chebika and Agadir today (Saturday).

But Spanish team mate Joan Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne stole the headlines by posting their first outright fastest time of the event. The former Dakar champion motorcycle rider's success was his first fastest time for Mitsubishi and his first in a car since taking up the four-wheel version of the sport last autumn.

Today's 291 kms stage between Tan Tan and Tarmquist began on a technical track and headed into a mountain pass, before the terrain switched to a series of cairns and several passages through vegetation and over undulating terrain and a series of fast salt flats (chotts). The latter section returned to a twisty track in the hills and skirted a canyon en route to the finish south of the town of Goulemine.

Peterhansel began this morning's stage with a 14-minute advantage over his nearest rival Bruno Saby, but sustained a flat tire before the first passage control and dropped several valuable minutes. He finished the stage 5m 57s behind his team mate, but heads into the final stage with a 9m 35s lead over Saby.

'Nani' Roma and Magne started this morning's special stage in sixth place in the overall standings, but broad smiles at the finish line summed up the most successful day in Roma's short rallying career with Mitsubishi. He now lies within 47 seconds of moving back into fifth place on Sunday.

~It is a fantastic sensation for me to take my first scratch time,~ said Roma. ~This stage was not easy. It was technical and necessary to change my pace a lot. I would like to thank my team and my mechanics for giving me this opportunity. The car was perfect today. I am very happy.~

Co-driver Magne was also delighted after the crew lost time with a GPS problem on Friday. ~I knew we had a small chance to win the stage when we passed Jean-Louis Schlesser and Jutta Kleinschmidt. We knew that Stéphane had one flat tire, but it was a big surprise at the finish when we realised we were fastest.~

~I am very happy for Nani and the whole team with his result today,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~It shows that we are moving in the right direction and preparing Nani well for the next Dakar. It was a difficult day. There is a close fight for first and second places and he proved today that he has the pace to win at the top level.

~This is a sweet feeling for him and proved that our decision to send him to Morocco, rather than to the Baja in Portugal, was a good one. Tomorrow is another day, but it was a good day today.~

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the final day of this year's Orpi Rally of Morocco and features a 218 kms loop stage around Agadir. Teams reach the start via a 27 kms liaison section and the finish will take place on a ridge of high ground overlooking the coast at the village of Tifnit.

The organizers promise that this will be the most varied stage of the entire event and will cross mountain tracks, sandy and technical sections and several passes through villages where strict speed limits will be enforced.

Overall positions after leg 4 (unofficial @ 11.50 hrs local time):

1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12h 21m 17s
2. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touare 12h 30m 52s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 12h 33m 49s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 12h 48m 19s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 12h 57m 16s
6. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12h 58m 03s

Positions on stage 6: (unofficial @ 11.50 hrs local time)

1. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 00m 12s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 00m 53s
3. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 01m 44s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 04m 38s
5. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 06m 09s
6. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 3h 10m 11s

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 Florian Moser, 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: 28/05/2005

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