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CC Spaniard Roma heads team mate Peterhansel in Baja Spain Aragon

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

12th Baja Spain Aragon 2005
FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 3

Leg 2: Liaison 22.89 kms, Special 242.12 kms, Liaison 22.89 kms, Special 242.12 kms, Liaison 1.00 km, Total 531.02 kms.

Weather conditions: hot and sunny - 31-36C

For immediate release
Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

MITSUBISHI MOTORS REPSOL TEAM HOLDS FIRST AND SECOND POSITIONS IN BAJA SPAIN ARAGON

Spaniard Roma leads Dakar winner Peterhansel after day's two stages;
Frenchman Alphand rolls out of event after 94 kms of opening stage

ZARAGOZA, Spain - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team held first and second positions in the 12th Baja Spain Aragon after two timed 242.12 kms special stages that made up the opening leg of the third round of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, south of Zaragoza, today (Saturday).

Spaniard Joan 'Nani' Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne trailed their French team mates Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret by 19 seconds after the opening special stage on Saturday morning, but moved into the outright lead with the fastest time in the repeat run through the test in the afternoon. Roma won this event on four occasions on a motorcycle before switching to a career on four-wheels last October.

~We caught the dust of Marc Blasquez after about 80 kms this morning and there was no way through on the first stage,~ groaned the Spaniard. ~We touched him gently, but it was not possible to overtake.

~The priority is to finish and gain as much test experience as possible, but I am delighted with the way everything has gone today. I caught Marc again on the second stage and he stopped after about 80 kms to let me go. I was then able to keep up a good speed. I could see Stéphane's dust in the distance, but now I am in a good position to win this race on Sunday.~

Defending Dakar champions Peterhansel and Cottret were first into the special stage this morning in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, after setting the fastest time in Friday's Prologue stage.

Despite persistent brake problems, which forced the Frenchman to slow the car using the engine and gearbox in the closing kilometers this morning, he finished the opening section with a 19-second overall lead over his team mate.

But Peterhansel - making his first appearance in the Baja Spain since suffering a heavy crash on a motorcycle 20 years ago - struggled through the afternoon stage and dropped nearly three minutes to his rival.

~A brake problem started early in the first stage and I had to pump the brakes several times to slow down,~ said Peterhansel. ~But it got gradually worse and I was using the engine to slow the car at the end. The pedal was hitting the floor and nothing was happening.~

Over the second stage Stéphane was again dogged by brake problems and reached the finish of the leg 2m 36s behind his Spanish rival. ~ I normally brake with the left foot and my driving style meant that they overheated as a result and I lost the brakes again early in the stage. Tomorrow I will push, but I must pass Nani and gain nearly one minute more, so it will not be easy.~

Tunisia Rally winners Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard were a mere 15 seconds behind their French team mates at the 59 kms point in the opening stage, but retired from the event at the 94 kms mark when they rolled their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution and damaged the windscreen and passenger door.

~It was a first gear, left-hand hairpin and I was too close to the inside of the corner,~ said Alphand. ~There was a large stone on the inside. It hit the car and we went over on Gilles' side.~

~We touched the stone very slowly at the end of this uphill hairpin,~ added Picard. ~Then we had to wait for some assistance from a Spanish driver in a 4x4 to help us back on to our wheels.~

~It was a good day for our team,~ said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Nani did a great job for us today. He knows this event well, but he had a good pace from the start. Tomorrow is a short stage, but it may be interesting...~

The final leg takes place on Sunday morning when the Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team tackles a 118.67 kms special stage to the north of Zaragoza.

Overall positions after Saturday's stages:
1.Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 14m 22s
2.Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 16m 58s
3.Marc Blasquez (E)/Ignacio Salvador (E) Nissan Pick-Up 6h 20m 19s
4.Joao Romas (P)/Victor Jesus (P) Toyota RAV-4 6h 40m 21s
5.Luis Costa (P)/Carlos Costa (P) Toyota Landcruiser 6h 41m 52s

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: 23/07/2005

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