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CC Mitsubishi set to debut new MPR13 in UAE Desert Challenge

2006 FIA CROSS COUNTRY RALLY WORLD CUP
UAE Desert Challenge

For immediate release
Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

WORLD COMPETITION DEBUT FOR REVISED
MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION IN
NEXT WEEK’S UAE DESERT CHALLENGE

• Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart enters Peterhansel, Alphand and Masuoka in UAE

PONT-DE-VAUX, France - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and its motorsport unit MMSP will make the competition debut of the new Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution – codenamed MPR13 – in the UAE Desert Challenge, the final round of the 2006 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, between November 5th and November 10th.

The team has been developing the new car since May 2005 and will use the UAE Desert Challenge as a final shakedown before the 2007 Dakar Rally, which starts in Lisbon on Saturday, January 6th, 2007.

Defending UAE Desert Challenge champions Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret will compete in the new MPR13, alongside team mates Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard and Hiroshi Masuoka/Pascal Maimon in a pair of the older MPR12 models. Dakar team mates Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and new co-driver Lucas Cruz will join the team in time for an additional desert test after the UAE Desert Challenge.

“The terrain in the United Arab Emirates gives us an excellent opportunity to carry out a final shakedown test with the new MPR13 and enables us to make another comparison test with the MPR12,” said MMSP’s Managing & Sports Director Dominique Serieys, winning co-driver at the UAE Desert Challenge in 1996. “We will be able to carry out tests with high temperatures and crucial aspects of the car’s cooling system, in addition to giving our drivers another important chance to gain more experience before the Dakar Rally.”

The Japanese manufacturer has won the UAE Desert Challenge on seven occasions since the Middle East event joined the FIA World Cup in 1993, with Peterhansel winning the rally for three of the last four seasons and Masuoka winning for the first time in 2004.

The new MPR13 was shown to the public for the first time at the recent Paris Motor Show and was launched in tandem with the first public viewing of the new Pajero/Montero SUV road car. MPR13 was tested extensively in Morocco in July and September and Sporting Director Dominique Serieys admits that it has already carried out in the region of 11,000 km of testing over a wide variety of terrain in North Africa.

The new car features a revised space frame chassis, designed and developed jointly between Pont-de-Vaux and Okazaki R&D Design in Japan. Weight distribution has been improved by the re-positioning of the fuel tank and spare wheel holders and MMSP technicians have increased the comfort and safety for the crew inside the cockpit.

Recent tests have confirmed that the slightly-modified engine is more responsive, courtesy of weight reduction in the valve gear train, as well as improvements to the fuel injection system. There have also been Improvements in the area of brake cooling and MPR13 features new suspension geometry and revised suspension settings.

Mitsubishi faces a stiff test in the UAE Desert Challenge, with four-times Dakar winner Ari Vatanen and WRC veteran Carlos Sainz leading a strong Volkswagen challenge, on an entry list which also includes Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah in a BMW X3 CC, Portugal’s Carlos Sousa and the talented local Liberty Chevrolet Pick-Up drivers Yayha Al-Helai and Ahmed Bin Soughat.

The UAE Desert Challenge timetable gets underway with scrutineering and documentation at Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai on Saturday, November 4th, before teams tackle a short Super Special stage at nearby Umm Suqueim from 16.00 hrs on Sunday, November 5th.

The first of five desert selective sections gets underway the following morning in the Abu Dhabi emirate and takes teams to the centralised bivouac at Moreeb, near Liwa, deep in the Empty Quarter and in close proximity to the border with Saudi Arabia.

Three tricky loop stages around Moreeb take place over the subsequent three days, offering towering dunes, high temperatures and treacherous subkhas and gatch roads, before the final selective section heads out of Moreeb and finishes near the Al-Ain highway en route to Dubai on Friday, November 10th. The finishing ceremony takes place at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) later the same afternoon.

TEAM REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART TEAM - 2006 UAE DESERT CHALLENGE ENTRIES
Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F)Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution
Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Pascal Maimon (F)Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution
Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution

Ends





Date issued: 01/11/2006

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