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CC Stage winner Peterhansel pulls further ahead in Tunisia

Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports News

Optic 2000 Rally of Tunisia
2006 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, round two

Leg 4: El Borma – El Borma
Liaison: 12 km; Special 268 km; Liaison 3 km – Total 283 km

Weather conditions: warm and sunny with a slight breeze – 23-29C

For immediate release
Friday, April 14th 2006

STAGE WINNER PETERHANSEL EXTENDS MITSUBISHI’S
RALLY OF TUNISIA LEAD TO NEARLY SEVEN MINUTES

French Dakar winner Alphand maintains third overall;
Japan’s Masuoka moves up to fifth place in overall standings

EL BORMA (Tunisia) – Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret began the fourth leg of the Optic 2000 Rally of Tunisia with an outright lead of 4m 31s and completed the treacherous 268 km El Borma loop stage with the fastest time. They duly extended their overall advantage to 6m 52s over second-placed South African driver Giniel de Villiers, today (Good Friday).

Mitsubishi team mates Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard were third into the stage this morning and set the second fastest time to maintain their position. Japan’s Hiroshi Masuoka and French co-driver Pascal Maimon started fifth on the road and in sixth overall and reached the stage finish with the fifth fastest time. They moved up to fifth in the overall rankings after Spaniard Carlos Sainz rolled his Volkswagen Race-Touareg around 150 km into the special stage.

~I started behind Giniel this morning and he had a good speed,~ said Peterhansel. ~It was not very easy for me to pass him, but I managed to get passed and he followed me to the end of the stage. The last section of the stage was difficult, because there were around five lines of motorcycles and no-one seemed to be leading the way. The stage was soft and maybe a little easier than I thought. The dunes still posed a risk for us, so we had to be really careful.~

Today’s 268 km special stage began 12 km from El Borma and finished three kilometres from the bivouac. It consisted of a longer 237km lap and a shorter second lap of sandy tracks and dune complexes.

Masuoka was pleased with his progress on the El Borma loop stage. ~It was very difficult in some of the dunes,~ said the twice Dakar Rally winner. ~Some of the dunes were steep and quite dangerous. We had to be careful not to get stuck and not to have an accident.~

~It was another good day for Mitsubishi, but we must not get carried away,~ said MMSP’s Team Director Dominique Serieys. ~Stéphane has led this event from the first stage in Africa with our MPR12 specification car, so that is positive. Now we must maintain our concentration over the next three tough stages. Then we can look forward to the future and the continued development of our new car for the Dakar 2007.~

Tomorrow (Easter Saturday) teams head out of the El Borma camp site on a 46 km liaison section to the start of what promises to be a varied 298 km special stage to a new bivouac at Ksar Ghilane, north east of El Borma. The stage begins on a sandy track alongside an oil pipeline and continues in a northerly direction via the settlements of Borj Jenein and Borj Bourguiba.

The special then turns west across the main pipeline access track, before switching north towards the overnight halt. A two-kilometer liaison takes teams into the campsite. This year’s event draws to a conclusion on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, on Easter Monday, April 17th.

Positions on El Borma – El Borma stage (unofficial):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 37m 32s 2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 37m 50s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 2h 38m 04s
4. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2h 39m 53s
5. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Pascal Maimon (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2h 41m 16s
etc

Positions after leg four (unofficial):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 10h 44m 42s
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 10h 51m 34s
3. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 10h 56m 07s
4. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Francois Borsotto (F) Schlesser-Ford Buggy 10h 58m 58s
5. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Pascal Maimon (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 11h 25m 43s
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



Date issued: 14/04/2006

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