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CC Mitsubishi enters Zouerat with three cars in top 10 of Dakar Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2006 Dakar Rally

Weather conditions: warm and sunny with morning breeze - 11/23C
Leg 6: Tan Tan - Zouérat
Liaison; 336 kms; Special 444 kms; Liaison 12 kms

For immediate release
Thursday, January 5th, 2006

REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART TEAM ENTERS ZOUERAT
IN FIFTH, NINTH AND TENTH PLACES IN DAKAR RALLY

Frenchman Luc Alphand fifth in first Mauritanian stage
Defending champion Peterhansel holds ninth overall

ZOUERAT, Mauritania - The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team completed the first timed special stage in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in fifth, sixth and 12th positions and team drivers Luc Alphand, Stéphane Peterhansel and Joan 'Nani' Roma now hold fifth, ninth and 10th in the overall classification, today (Thursday).

Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret were the first crew into the stage today, courtesy of their fastest time into Tan Tan, but Peterhansel was aware that the lightweight Buggies would have the advantage on the high-speed piste, which was a feature of the stage in northern Mauritania.

Today's timed section was duly won by Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi in a Buggy, with Spaniard Carlos Sainz slipping 22 seconds behind South African team mate Giniel de Villiers in the overall classification after six special stages.

~This morning I said that a Buggy could be leading tonight and I was nearly right,~ said Peterhansel. ~It was a very fast stage. We were fine with the navigation, but we did not expect to win the stage today. I will start in sixth place in the morning and I feel that this could give me a little advantage. We will see.~

Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard began the day in the final podium place and arrived at Zouérat in fifth position after setting the fifth fastest time.

~It was a case of surviving today,~ said Alphand. ~It was not really a stage suited to the strengths of the Mitsubishis. It was interesting to compare our speed with the Volkswagens and now they have the twin turbo engines, there is really very little difference between us in terms of the top speed.

~We crossed the first camel grass and the first dunes and I feel I have arrived in Africa now. We have to push to stay in the group. I feel that our team's experience and car reliability will be the key to winning this race. Tomorrow I will start in the middle of the leading group and that is great. That will place less of a burden on navigation.~

Spaniard Joan 'Nani' Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne were 12th quickest today in the third Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution and now hold 10th place in the overall standings.

~It was not the best of stages for me,~ said Roma. ~I need more experience in the camel grass and the dunes. I followed close behind Mark Miller and lost some time in the dust, but I am happy at the moment. I will keep plugging away and make sure that I make no mistakes. Tomorrow is a hard day and one mistake could cost you 10 minutes and your place in the top group of cars. It is that close at the moment.~

Today's stage finished a mere 12 kms from the steel town of Zouérat. The settlement emerged from the desert in 1962 and became an industrial hub for the nearby iron ore mines at Tazadit.

Tomorrow (Friday) the bulk of the day's action is competitive, with a short 10 kms liaison from Zouérat guiding the Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team to the start of the arduous 499 kms special stage into Atar, the former rest day location for the Dakar Rally. This menacing stage features camel grass, tricky navigation, stony plateaux and many kilometers of testing dunes and latent sand traps.

Positions on SS6 (unofficial @ 14.30 hrs):
1. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser Buggy 3h 22m 54s
2. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser Buggy 3h 25m 49s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 26m 40s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 28m 07s
5. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 28m 56s
6. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 29m
13s
7. Carlos Sainz (E)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 29m 23s
8. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 30m 17s
9. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC 3h 32m 47s
10. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Van Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 3h 33m 59s
12. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3h 36m 42s

Positions after SS6 (unofficial @ 14.30 hrs):
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 16h 33m 58s
2. Carlos Sainz (E)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 16h 34m 20s
3. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 16h 34m 32s
4. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser Buggy 16h 35m 00s
5. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 16h 36m 00s
6. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 16h 37m 55s
7. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Van Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 16h 41m 12s
8. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser Buggy 16h 42m 08s
9. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 16h 43m 35s
10. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 16h 45m 24s

Ends

Copyright free photographs, driver profiles and pre-event driver interviews for editorial media only can be downloaded from www.mmsp-media.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
E-mail f.moser@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com

or Neil Perkins and Sandy Divelec, On-event Communications, Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team, Tel: + 88 216 511 46540



Date issued: 05/01/2006

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