2003 CCR


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COMMUNIQUE 5
24 October 2003 Leg 4 - Liwa oasis - Abu Dhabi - 529.50 km SS 4 / SS 5 - 393.25 km
UAE Desert Challenge - 2003 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies / Round 8

DOUBLE VICTORY FOR MITSUBISHI
Stéphane Peterhansel wins Desert Challenge
Carlos Sousa wins FIA World Cup
Mitsubishi Pajero
Evolution /
Montero Evolution

S. Peterhansel /
J.-P. Cottret
Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports scored a resounding victory today, both in the UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge and the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret won the event in their Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolution while the Mitsubishi Portugal crew of Carlos Sousa and Henri Magne finished fourth in an L200 Strakar and, in doing so, claimed the FIA World Cup title.


Mitsubishi L200 Strakar
C. Sousa / H. Magne

The 2003 UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge finished this afternoon at the Dubai International Marine Club, the five-day event covering 1,934 kilometers, 1,462 of which was competitive over some of the remotest and most inhospitable terrain in the Middle East.

Stéphane Peterhansel claimed the lead in the second leg and maintained his advantage the following day, despite losing more than 15 minutes stuck in soft sand.

Over the final two stages today, the Frenchman kept his cool and took his second consecutive victory in the Desert Challenge by a margin of 15 minutes 49 seconds over out-going world champion Jean-Louis Schlesser.

"It was a great race for me", said Peterhansel. "I am full of praise for my team and my car. My co-driver never made one mistake all rally. I had three days with no problems and just minor delays. It was a good test for us for Dakar and now I maybe have the bad luck behind me and am looking forward to the Dakar".


Mitsubishi L200 Strakar
C. Sousa / H. Magne

Sven Quandt, MMSP’s Head of Motorsport, said: "We developed the Pajero / Montero Evolution continuously over the last month and the Desert Challenge was the major test for Dakar 2004. All worked well, so I am happy with the Dubai result and very confident for the 2004 Dakar Rally".

Mitsubishi Portugal driver Carlos Sousa drove a perfectly measured rally and finished fourth overall, more than enough to secure him his first world title. He and co-driver Henri Magne have had a hard-fought season, battling all the way with arch rival Schlesser, but a 41 point lead going into this event was always going to be a tough challenge for his rival.

"I will probably realise in a couple of days that I won the World Cup! said a delighted Sousa. "But this has been a team effort and I thank Mitsubishi Portugal and my mechanics. The driver is only the face at the front of the team. I owe special credit to my mechanics, because they worked through the night in Turkey and Argentina on my car. This rally was the most difficult round of the championship without doubt".


Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero
A. Mayer / A. Schulz

MMSP Team Director Dominique Serieys was understandably jubilant: "I am very happy, especially for Stéphane and for Carlos. Stéphane had some bad luck this year and it is so good to see him smiling and on the podium in first position. Carlos drove a good race and it is excellent for Mitsubishi that we also won the World Cup".

MMSP factory driver Andrea Mayer completed the rally in a fine fifth overall. It is the first time Andrea has contested the event in a car and the German was able to ease the pace over today’s punishing terrain to claim a well deserved position in her diesel-powered Pajero / Montero.

"It was a really enjoyable race for me", said Andrea. "I feel that I have adapted well to racing in a car. There was some tricky navigation today, but we made it to the finish. The car was well prepared, so I am full of optimism for the 2004 Dakar Rally".

Spain’s José-Luis Monterde and co-driver Rafael Tornabell finished sixth in another Pajero / Montero, ensuring Mitsubishi took four of the top six positions in the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

Times on SS 4

  Driver / Co-driver Car Time Diff.
1 Luc Alphand
Arnaud Debron
BMW
X5
1.35.46   
2 Grégoire de Mevius
Alain Guehennec
BMW
X5
1.36.02  + 16 
3 Stéphane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
Mitsubishi
Pajero/Montero Evolution
1.38.14  + 2.28 
4 Jean-Louis Schlesser
Jean-Marie Lurquin
Schlesser
Ford Raid
1.40.03  + 4.17 
5 Carlos Sousa
Henri Magne
Mitsubishi
L200 Strakar
1.42.43  + 6.57 
 

Overall after SS 4

  Driver / Co-driver Car Time Diff.
1 Stéphane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
Mitsubishi
Pajero/Montero Evolution
13.15.52   
2 Jean-Louis Schlesser
Jean-Marie Lurquin
Schlesser
Ford Raid
13.30.33  + 14.41 
3 Carlos Sousa
Henri Magne
Mitsubishi
L200 Strakar
14.21.12  + 1.05.20 
4 Grégoire de Mevius
Alain Guehennec
BMW
X5
14.23.30  + 1.07.38 
5 Luc Alphand
Arnaud Debron
BMW
X5
24.02.57  + 10.47.05 

Times on SS 5

  Driver / Co-driver Car Time Diff.
1 Stéphane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
Mitsubishi
Pajero/Montero Evolution
2.03.28   
2 Jean-Louis Schlesser
Jean-Marie Lurquin
Schlesser
Ford Raid
2.04.36  + 1.08 
3 Luc Alphand
Arnaud Debron
BMW
X5
2.04.54  + 1.26 
4 Grégoire de Mevius
Alain Guehennec
BMW
X5
2.06.21  + 2.53 
5 Carlos Sousa
Henri Magne
Mitsubishi
L200 Strakar
2.08.53  + 5.25 
 

Overall after SS 5

  Driver / Co-driver Car Time Diff.
1 Stéphane Peterhansel
Jean-Paul Cottret
Mitsubishi
Pajero/Montero Evolution
15.19.20   
2 Jean-Louis Schlesser
Jean-Marie Lurquin
Schlesser
Ford Raid
15.35.09  + 15.49 
3 Grégoire de Mevius
Alain Guehennec
BMW
X5
16.29.51  + 1.10.31 
4 Carlos Sousa
Henri Magne
Mitsubishi
L200 Strakar
16.30.05  + 1.10.45 
5 Andrea Mayer
Andreas Schulz
Mitsubishi
Pajero/Montero
17.34.47  + 2.15.27 

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Total Time Difference
 Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret F  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 15.19.20.0   
 Jean-Louis Schlesser / Jean-Marie Lurquin F/B  Schlesser Ford Raid 15.35.09.0  + 15.49.0 
 Grégoire de Mevius / Alain Guehennec B/F  BMW X5 16.29.51.0  + 1.10.31.0 
 Carlos Sousa / Henri Magne P/F  Mitsubishi L200 Strakar 16.30.05.0  + 1.10.45.0 
 Andrea Mayer / Andreas Schulz D  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 17.34.47.0  + 2.15.27.0 
 José-Luis Monterde / Rafael Tornabell E  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 18.34.27.0  + 3.15.07.0 
 Obaid Bin Hathboor / Abdulhalim Bin Zayed UAE  GM Tahoo 19.32.08.0  + 4.12.48.0 
 Maris Saukans / Didzis Zarins LT  OSC Oscar 19.37.42.0  + 4.18.22.0 
 Saeed Al-Hameli / Ahmad Malik UAE  Nissan Patrol 19.40.11.0  + 4.20.51.0 
10   Yahya Al-Helei / Khalid Al-Kendi UAE  GM Tahoo 20.06.21.0  + 4.47.01.0 
11   Ahmad Bin Suqat / Jassim Al-Kendi UAE  GM Tahoo 21.09.20.0  + 5.50.00.0 
12   Jean-François Coupaud / Pierre Roussenque F  Nissan Patrol GR Y-60-L 23.02.48.0  + 7.43.28.0 
13   Laurent Rosso / Christian Rosso F  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 23.17.04.0  + 7.57.44.0 
14   Dominique Housieaux / Loïc Fagot F  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 24.09.23.0  + 8.50.03.0 
15   Joseph Rosso / Errol Fisher F/AUS  Nissan Pathfinder 24.46.33.0  + 9.27.13.0 
16   Luc Alphand / Arnaud Debron F  BMW X5 26.07.51.0  + 10.48.31.0 
Nationalities: AUS=Australia/ B=Belgium/ D=Germany/ E=Spain/ F=France/ LT=Lithuania/ P=Portugal/ UAE=United Arab Emirates/
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