COMMUNIQUE 3
9 May 2004 Leg 3

PORTUGAL'S SOUSA FINISHES FIRST OVERALL IN BAJA PORTUGAL IN
MITSUBISHI MOTORS MOTOR SPORTS PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION
Mitsubishi’s Sousa makes winning start to FIA European Baja campaign
Germany lady driver Ellen Lohr completes first rally test in 22nd place


Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution / Montero Evolution
Carlos Sousa / Henri Magne
(Podium - 9 May 2004)

Portugal’s Carlos Sousa and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began their quest to win the 2004 FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers by finishing first overall in the 17th Baja Vodafone 1000, which finished in Portugal on Sunday.

Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution /
Montero Evolution

Carlos Sousa / Henri Magne
(Leg 3 - 9 May 2004)
Sousa is the reigning FIA World Champion for Cross Country Rallies and began the event as the top seed at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Team Pajero/Montero Evolution for the first time.

After setting the third fastest time through Friday’s 11-kilometer Prologue stage, near Evora, the Lisbon-based driver trailed BMW’s Luc Alphand and Portugal’s Miguel Barbosa through the first selective section after being blocked behind a slower car. Both Barbosa and Alphand hit trouble before the end of the stage and Sousa headed into the second selective 15m 50s ahead of his nearest rival, the Italian Pierpaolo Larini in a Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero.

Sousa has won the event on four occasions in the last five years and extended his advantage on the repeat run through the stage to start the final stage with a sizeable lead. He went on to win the event for the fifth time in six years by the margin of 34m 12s. Dubai’s Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei was second overall in a BMW X5, but the Mitsubishi driver Miguel Barbosa retired his Mitsubishi L200 after an accident.

"This was a fantastic opportunity for me to get behind the wheel of the new car for the first time", said Sousa. "The Evolution handles more like a conventional rally car than my L200 and this took time to get used to. But I was delighted with my performance".

Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution /
Montero Evolution

Carlos Sousa / Henri Magne
(Leg 3 - 9 May 2004)
"This was an excellent result for Carlos and for Mitsubishi", said MMSP’s Team Director Dominique Serieys. "He has been away from the team for six months and did a very professional job. He drove a perfect race. We had no problems at all with the car. The only disappointment over the weekend was the accident for the young driver Miguel Barbosa".

Sousa’s car ran with additional support from Mitsubishi Portugal and Portuguese companies GALP, TMN and BPN.

Carlos had begun his challenge by finishing third overall through Friday’s 11-kilometer timed Prologue stage in Evora. The Prologue was won by Portugal’s Miguel Barbosa in a Mitsubishi L200.

The event was organised by the Clube Aventura Portugal and was based at Evora, south of Lisbon.

RALLIART TEAMS

German lady driver Ellen Lohr made her competitive rallying debut in the Baja Vodafone 1000 with co-driver Philipp Tiefenbach in a diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. She went on to finish 22nd overall after delays on the first stage.

The leading female racing driver started well through the opening selective section, but clouted a tree with the rear axle shortly after the start and was classified 79th overall at the first passage control.

The damage was repaired at the service point and Ellen continued to improve as the event progressed to eventually finish 22nd overall.

"It was unfortunate for Ellen that she lost 35 minutes near the start when she hit a tree", said Ralliart Team Manager Jürgen Masal. "But we repaired the car and Ellen was delighted with her stage times over the last two stages".

FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Diff.
1   Carlos Sousa  Henri Magne P/F  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution T2 7:56:27    
 Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei  Alain Guehennec UAE/F  BMW X5 T2 8:30:39  + 34:12 
 Luis Costa  Arnaldo Marques P  Toyota Land Cruiser T2 8:33:47  + 37:20 
4   Carlos Oliveira  Ana Oliveira P  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero T2 8:41:56  + 45:29 
 Paulo Marques  Filipe Palmeiro P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 8:44:12  + 47:45 
 José Barroco Pereira  Rui Fernandes P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 8:48:19  + 51:52 
 Manuel Russo  Manuel Russo P  Hiunday Santa Fe T2 8:55:11  + 58:44 
 Bernardo Villar  José Lucas P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 8:55:27  + 59:00 
 Vitor Mendes  Carlos Bexiga P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 8:56:50  + 1:00:23 
10   Paulo Sousa  Luis Santos P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 8:59:58  + 1:03:31 
11   Ricardo Vieira  José-Maria Silva P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 9:00:21  + 1:03:54 
12   Sergey Shmakov  Vladimir Demianenko RUS  Buggy Russia Honda T2 9:03:55  + 1:07:28 
13   Benoît Vincendeau  Jean Louis Fouladou F  Renault Scenic T2 9:04:20  + 1:07:53 
14   Cristovão Sousa  Marco Cardoso P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 9:06:41  + 1:10:14 
15   Izack Bril  Asae Talmon IL  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero T1 9:11:23  + 1:14:56 
16   Andrey Ivanov  Evgueni Doronine RUS  Nissan Pathfinder T2 9:12:09  + 1:15:42 
17   Henrique Lourenço  Nuno Fernandes P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 9:16:04  + 1:19:37 
18   José Gameiro  António Saraiva P  Nissan Pathfinder T1 9:18:26  + 1:21:59 
19   José Dinis Lucas  Luis Tirano P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 9:19:18  + 1:22:51 
20   André Matos  Sérgio Soveral P  Nissan Navara TTMB T2 9:24:11  + 1:27:44 
.../...
22   Ellen Lohr  Philipp Tiefenbach D  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero T2 9:28:43  + 1:32:16 
28   Ricardo Leal dos Santos  Rui Silva P  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero T1 9:47:13  + 1:50:46 
31   Edgar Condenso  Nuno Silva P  Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero T1 10:01:59  + 2:05:32 
Nationalities: D=Germany / F=France / IL=Israel / P=Portugal / RUS=Russia / UAE=United Arab Emirates /