2003 CCR

   
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FINAL COMMUNIQUE
10 - 11 May 2003    
Baja Portugal - 2003 FIA Cross Country Rally Championship / Round 3

SOUSA ROMPS TO FOURTH VICTORY IN FIVE YEARS IN BAJA PORTUGAL

Barbosa takes third for Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi L200 Strakar
C. Sousa / H. Magne
(11 May 2003)

Portugal’s Carlos Sousa and French co-driver Henri Magne won the Baja Vodafone 1000 for the fourth time in five years, after leading the two-day event across the remote terrain of central Portugal from start to finish in their Mitsubishi L200 Strakar.

Sousa controlled proceedings in the third round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies at the wheel of his Mitsubishi, with support from Galp and TMN.

"This is my home event and it is so important for me to win here", said a delighted Sousa. "I know this area well and enjoy competing at home in Portugal with all the home crowds. There was a lot of good competition this weekend. Rui Sousa and Miguel Barbosa drove very well. I was delighted with the performance of the L200. It was competitive from the start and it was encouraging to beat Jean-Louis Schlesser".


Mitsubishi L200 Strakar
C. Sousa / H. Magne
(11 May 2003)

Sousa had finished Friday’s 10 kms Prologue stage in a strategic sixth position. A winner of the Baja Portugal on three occasions in 1999, 2001 and 2002, he opened up a lead of 1m 36s through the opening 220 kms section on Saturday, as Prologue winner and L200 Strakar team mate Miguel Barbosa held second place early on.

Barbosa was displaced on the second stage by Nissan’s Rui Sousa in a Pick-Up, but Carlos Sousa extended his overnight advantage to 2m 32s on the second run across the twisty and arid terrain. Barbosa finished the second leg a mere five seconds behind Rui Sousa, with the defending World Champion Jean-Louis Schlesser in fourth place and benefiting from the retirement of the Spanish Nissan driver Marc Blazquez, who had been up to fourth overall.

Schlesser, tackling his third event of the season in a Ford-engined Buggy, was seventh on the Prologue and was 18m 54s adrift of the leading Mitsubishi at the end of the second stage.

Over Sunday’s final two stages Sousa consolidated his position at the head of the leaderboard to take his fourth Baja Vodafone 1000 victory in five years and his third successive win, as Barbosa attempted to regain his second place from Rui Sousa.

"I decided this morning to attack hard", said Barbosa. "Rui drove well on the second stage yesterday and I lost second place. But then I rolled my car and that was the end of my challenge for second. I lost about 15 minutes in the accident".

Behind second-placed Rui Sousa and Barbosa, twice former winner Schlesser held on to his fourth place to add to his points’ tally in the FIA World Cup. Portugal’s Helder Oliveira was fifth in a Nissan Patrol GR and Francisco Esperto completed the top six in a Nissan Navara.

Frenchman Nicolas Misslin held fifth place in a Mitsubishi Pajero with co-driver Jean-Michel Polato at the end of day one, before retiring on the second day with mechanical problems. Sergey Shmakov won the T1 section in his Mercedes ML430 and finished 12th overall with co-driver Evgeny Kandzyuba.

The Baja Vodafone 1000 was based at Evora, between the Portuguese capital Lisbon and the Spanish border. The competitive action consisted of two runs through a varied 220 kms northern selective stage on Saturday and a pair of laps through a southerly 170 kms section on Sunday.

Saturday’s action started out of Mora and headed through the Brotos region, while Sunday’s stage began 20 kms from Evora and utilised terrain near Freixo and Rio de Mointor. The event was organised by Clube Aventura Portugal and attracted additional support from Microsoft, BPN, Anta da Serra and Accenture.

The next round of the 2002 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies will be the Orpi Rally of Morocco on June 3/8th.

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
 C.SOUSA / H.MAGNE P/F  MITSUBISHI L200 STRAKAR 9.53.16   
 R.SOUSA / C.SILVA P  NISSAN PICK UP 9.58.58  + 5.42 
 M.BARBOSA / M.RAMALHO P  MITSUBISHI L200 STRAKAR 10.23.53  + 30.37 
 J-L.SCHLESSER / J-M.LURQUIN F  SCHLESSER FORD RAID 10.50.35  + 57.19 
 H.OLIVEIRA / J.RIBEIRO P  NISSAN PATROL GR 11.14.22  + 1.21.06 
 F.ESPERTO / F.PALMEIRO P  NISSAN PICK UP 11.19.04  + 1.25.48 
 P. MATTOS SILVA / I.MAGARIDO P  NISSAN PATROL GR 11.19.10  + 1.25.54 
 J.SERRA / C.MACHADO P  TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 11.23.50  + 1.30.34 
 C.VANNI / R.DIPERSIO I  NISSAN TERRANO 11.29.29  + 1.36.13 
10   R.MISIKOV / S.SHATINSKY RUS  NISSAN PATROL GR 11.35.34  + 1.42.18 
11   P.GRANCHA / D.SALEMA P  MITSUBISHI EVOLUTION-PROTO 11.37.13  + 1.43.57 
13   N.MISSLIN / J-M.POLATO F  MITSUBISHI PAJERO / MONTERO 11.41.13  + 1.47.57 
18   F.CUNHA / P.TAVARES P  MITSUBISHI PAJERO / MONTERO 12.18.46  + 2.25.30 
Nationalities:  F=France/ I=Italy/ P=Portugal/ RUS=Russia/
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