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CC Mitsubishi extends overall lead in final Mauritanian stage

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

2006 Dakar Rally

Weather conditions: hot and sunny - 24/28C
Leg 9: Nouakchott - Kiffa
Liaison; 30 kms; Special 599 kms; Liaison 245 kms

For immediate release
Monday, January 9th, 2006

REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART TEAM EXTENDS OVERALL ADVANTAGE ON LAST MAURITANIAN STAGE OF DAKAR RALLY

Frenchman Peterhansel moves well ahead of team mate Alphand
Spaniard 'Nani' Roma maintains fourth place in the standings

KIFFA, Mauritania - The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team continued to tighten its grip on a potential sixth successive victory in the 28th Dakar Rally, as overnight leaders Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret extended their overall lead in the daunting 599 kms special stage between Nouakchott and Kiffa in Mauritania on Monday.

Today's stage began near a large dune field to the east of Nouakchott and headed across one of the remotest parts of the Western Sahara to Tamassoumit, before turning in a southerly direction towards a finish near Letfata in the Tagant region, south-west of the former overnight bivouac in Tidjikja.

The pair had led team mates Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard by a mere 32 seconds at the start of what promised to the hardest day of the entire event and had already edged over two and a half minutes further away from their nearest rival Giniel de Villiers after the first passage control at 97 kms.

Peterhansel stopped to change a puncture at the 315 kms point and arrived at the third and final passage control at 428 kms, with his advantage over team mate Alphand pegged back to 3m 38s. The defending champion eventually clinched his third stage win of the event to extend his advantage in the overall standings to a commanding 9m 16s. Mitsubishi's nearest rival de Villiers now trails Peterhansel by 54m 16s

Spaniard Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began the stage in fourth overall and fourth on the stage. They lost 25 minutes to the first passage control, but progressed over the remainder of the special to arrive in Kiffa with the fifth fastest time after holding ninth at PC3. But Roma maintained fourth place, albeit 1h 36m 14s behind his leading team mate.

~Now we can say that we performed very well on the three very difficult stages across Mauritania,~ said Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Our position is becoming more comfortable, although you never know in Africa what is around the next corner and we must keep our concentration and make no mistakes. But, for sure, Stéphane and Luc did a very good job today.~

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the event resumes with a one-kilometer liaison to the start of a 283 kms special stage across the border into the Republic of Mali. The nature of the terrain begins to change, with dunes and sandy wastelands giving way to savannah, bushland, thicker vegetation and fast laterite piste. The arrival in Black Africa is completed by a 49 kms road liaison section to the bivouac in nearby Kayes.

Positions on SS9 (unofficial @ 18.40 hrs):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 6h 52m
45s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 7h 01m 29s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 20m 45s
4. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 42m 43s
5. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 7h 45m 24s
6. Bruno Saby (F)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 51m 03s
7.. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Van Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 7h 59m 44s
8. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser Buggy 8h 07m 47s, etc

Positions after SS9 (unofficial @ 18.40 hrs):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 34h 36m 26s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 34h 45m 42s
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Tina Thörner (S) Volkswagen Touareg 35h 30m 42s
4. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 36h 12m 40s
5. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Touareg 36h 32m 50s
6. Thierry Magnaldi (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser Buggy 37h 25m 08s
7. Mark Miller (USA)/Dirk Van Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 37h 55m 38s
8. Carlos Sousa (P)/Jean-Marc Lurquin (B) Nissan Pick-Up 39h 44m 57s, etc

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: 09/01/2006

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