CC Luc Alphand takes clinical victory for Mitsubishi in Portugal
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News
19th Baja Anta Da Serra 500-Portalegre, Portugal
FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 4 of 5 (Baja Greece
Weather conditions: bright, sunny and cool - 12-15C
Leg 2: liaison 5 kms, SS1 102 kms, liaison 5 kms.
For immediate release
Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
MITSUBISHI MOTORS REPSOL TEAM DRIVER
LUC ALPHAND WINS BAJA PORTALEGRE
Portuguese victory gives Alphand major pre-Dakar Rally boost
Mitsubishi team management delighted with Portuguese result
PORTALEGRE, Portugal - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team driver Luc Alphand and co-driver Gilles Picard clinched a superb victory in the 19th Baja Anta Da Serra 500-Portalegre, after the final 102 kms timed selective section, south of Portalegre in Portugal, today (Sunday).
Frenchman Alphand had begun the final selective 4m 28s ahead of his nearest German rival Jutta Kleinschmidt, with former FIA World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz trailing 11m 57s behind this year's winner of the Rally of Tunisia.
The former World Downhill Skiing Champion and this year's Dakar Rally
runner-up noticeably eased his pace through the opening kilometers of the twisty and slippery stage and was fourth fastest through the first passage control, situated at the 48.14 kms point.
Entering the final 53.86 kms, Alphand was 2m 28s behind Sainz on the stage but, more importantly, he maintained a commanding 3m 45s advantage over Kleinschmidt in the overall classification. Alphand held on over the closing kilometers to take his MPR10 version of the Mitsubishi
Pajero/Montero Evolution to victory by the margin of 5m 52.8s, the margin extended still further when Kleinschmidt collected a puncture.
~We saw that Jutta was gaining a little time early on, but we had a safe
pace today,~ admitted Alphand, ~It was a little muddy, but the stage had
dried out a lot. This is a great result for me. I did not expect to win,
especially with Sainz and Saby on this type of WRC stage. I suppose on the last Dakar I was getting used to the team and the car and now I feel really comfortable. This was a good test. I had a little luck, bur you need some luck sometimes.~
~This was a perfect result,~ said a delighted MMSP's Team Director
Dominique Serieys. ~I feel a little sad for Hiroshi, but we have learned a lot. This was a good team job. Everyone worked well. We want to keep this team spirit. This is our 2004 car. It is not a new car and I must
congratulate Luc and Gilles on their performances.~
~This is a fantastic boost for the whole team, particularly for Luc and
Gilles, before the Dakar Rally,~ added MMSP's Team President Isao Torii. ~I am delighted for everyone involved in the result.~
Alphand's team mates Hiroshi Masuoka and Pascal Maimon were forced out of the event after breaking the alternator belt shortly after the start of the second selective section on Saturday afternoon. They had been lying fourth overall at the start of that stage and had been running fastest on the road when the incident occured.
This was the final competitive test for Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team
drivers Luc Alphand and Hiroshi Masuoka before they line-up alongside team mates Stéphane Peterhansel and Joan 'Nani' Roma at the start of the 2006 Dakar Rally on New Year's Eve in Lisbon.
Overall final positions after leg 2:
1. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution
6h 56m 32.4s
2. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 02m
3. Carlos Sainz (E)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 04m 49.0s
4. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 13m 29.4s
5. Joao Ramos (P)/Vitor Jesus (Toyota Rav-4) 7h 16m 25.1s
6. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 22m 42.6s
Positions on SS3:
1. Carlos Sainz (E)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 14m 06s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution
1h 17m 47s
3, Carlos Sousa (P)/Jean-Marie Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 1h 18m 18s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 19m
5. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 1h 19m 12s
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
MMSP GmbH, Adam-Opel-Str. 4
D 65468 Trebur-Astheim
Telephone +49 (0) 172 6697 578
Telefax +49 (0) 6147-203 599