CC Peterhansel extends his massive lead in UAE Desert Challenge

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2005 UAE Desert Challenge, United Arab Emirates
FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, final round

Weather conditions: hot, dry and sunny - 27-31 C
Leg 3: Liaison; 53.90 kms; Special 354.50 kms; Liaison 0 kms

For immediate release
Saturday, November 12th, 2005


Spanish team mate Joan Roma again thwarted by illness

MOREEB, UAE - Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret completed the fourth and longest selective section of the UAE Desert Challenge without major problems and will now take a commanding 1h 49m 31s advantage into the penultimate stage tomorrow (Sunday).

Today's grueling section began on the Medinat Zayed and Myzairah highway over fast, open desert sections. The route crossed the Ghiathi road and entered an area of open sand dunes, before turning east across sand tracks and several treacherous high sand ridges. After skirting the Shah oilfield, the selective section joined the Khis gatch road and returned to Moreeb.

Peterhansel started first on the road this morning after his two crushing stage victories on Friday, but was soon losing valuable time. The first half before the second passage control was very tricky and the eight-times Dakar champion lost around 30 minutes stuck in very soft sand on two occasions. He recovered much of that lost time over the closing kilometers and now has a staggering advantage over second-placed Jose-Luis Monterde and Tiziano Siviero in a BMW X5.

~From the start it was very difficult,~ said Peterhansel. ~There were a lot of sand holes behind some big dunes before the second passage control and they were full of very soft sand. We lost time stuck twice. It was a hard stage today. We had a small problem with the hydraulic jacking system and we had to use it manually, but otherwise the car ran perfectly.~

Team mate Joan 'Nani' Roma had been struggling with the effects of the food poisoning again throughout the night, but the weakened Spaniard made the brave decision to take the start of this morning's stage. He was granted a position fifth on the road by event officials, but was still feeling unwell and took the sensible decision to return to the bivouac. He had begun the stage in 19th position overall, after being awarded 12 hours in time penalties for missing Friday's competitive sections.

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the penultimate day of this year's event and the surviving teams will tackle one timed 290.65 kms special stage through the Rub Al-Khali or Empty Quarter, with the timed section finishing 74.60 kms from the Moreeb camp.

This year's extended UAE Desert Challenge is scheduled to finish on Monday afternoon at the Dubai Intermational Marine Club (DIMC) in Dubai.

Positions on SS4 (unofficial):
1.Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 5h 27m 09s
2.José-Luis Monterde (E)/Tiziano Siviero (I) BMW X5 5h 45m 12s
3, Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 5h 56m 22s

Positions after leg 3 (unofficial):
1.Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 12h 32m 43s
2.José-Luis Monterde (E)/Tiziano Siviero (I) BMW X5 14h 22m 14s
3. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 14h 46m 04s


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Date issued: 12/11/2005

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