UAE Desert Challenge / FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies - Round 6 of 6
7 - 14 November 2005

CRUSHING VICTORY FOR MITSUBISHI PAJERO / MONTERO EVOLUTION & PETERHANSEL

Mitsubishi Pajero /
Montero Evolution

Stéphane Peterhansel /
Jean-Paul Cottret
FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team crew of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret took a crushing victory in the UAE Desert Challenge, the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. The Pajero / Montero Evolution duo notched up their third win in four years when the event finished at the Dubai International Marine Club today (Monday November 14).

The team were using the six-day event - which crossed some of the remotest terrain in the Middle East - as a final shakedown test before the 2006 Dakar Rally. Peterhansel and Cottret won each of the seven competitive sections, as well as the opening Prologue, in a totally dominant performance in the Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolution. Their winning margin was a staggering three hours 02 minutes and 29 seconds.

Today’s final leg took in two competitive sections, the first of which started and finished at Khatam, 75 kilometres from Moreeb, and offered several fast open sections with few tall dunes. After a road section of 100 kilometers, the seventh and final competitive section ran for 184.70 kilometers and offered several tricky navigational tests and numerous sand spits. Peterhansel again won both stages.

Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolution
Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret
"Before the start I did not think about problems," said Peterhansel. "If I was destined to have a problem then there was nothing I could do about it. There was no pressure on me today. I had three things to fulfil when I came here; I wanted to win the race, improve the car and carry out some good training in the dunes. I am happy that we managed to do all three and am looking forward to The Dakar with confidence."

Team-mate Joan 'Nani' Roma had restarted the fourth leg in 22nd position after missing two days of competition due to food poisoning. He climbed four places to 18th at the start of the final morning and completed the final two stages in second position. The Spaniard was a mere two minutes and 16 seconds behind his winning team-mate in the sixth stage and five minutes and 50 seconds in the final section.

"It was only a three-day race for me," said Roma. "But I feel that I have a better line now through the dunes. It was good experience for me. To miss two days was really disappointing, but I am positive and enjoyed the stages. One was very fast, the other was a nice track with some small dunes."

Said Team Director Dominique Serieys: "We started the year with a victory in Dakar and now we have finished the season with another win. Nothing is ever easy, but this result proves we did a great job. Now we have to wait until January 15th to see if we can win The Dakar again; I think the team is ready. We have won the last four rallies here in Dubai and won 14 of the last 16 events with the Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolution.

"It is never easy here in Dubai, he added. "The temperatures are often very high and the dunes are very difficult to cross. 'Nani' missed two days, but he learned a lot over the last two days. Our other two teams have now arrived in Dubai and we will continue our test over the next two days with Luc, Gilles, Hiroshi and Pascal. I think this proves that we are determined to win. We have won five races this year and are looking forward to the next Dakar."

Added Isao Torii, Head of Mitsubishi Motorsport: "It was one of the most succesful motorsport weekends for Mitsubishi Motor Sports for many years. The second place on the WRC rally in Australia this weekend, the win here in Dubai and the good performances of our teams is proof that motorsport is one of our key pillars in the corporate identity. We are confident for the future."



FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

  Driver / Co-driver Nat. Car Gr/Cl Total Time Difference
 Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul CottretF Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero EvolutionT1 19:06.48    
 José-Luis Monterde / Tiziano SivieroE/I BMW X5T1 22:09.17  3:02.29 
 Yahya Alhelei / Khalid AlkendiUAE Chevrolet Pick UpT1 22:51.24  3:44.36 
 Vladimir Chagin / Stanislav Konopko / Eduard Nikolaev RUS  KamazT4 26:29.16  7:22.28 
 Joost van Cauwenberge / Didier EspeelB Toyota 95T2 26:59.25  7:52.37 
 Ahmed Bin Suqat / Jassim AlbalooshiUAE Chevrolet Pick UpT1 33:44.47  14:37.05 
 Ronan Chabot / Gilles PillotF  Toyota KDJ120 T2 33:53.54  14:47.00 
17   Joan Roma / Henri MagneE/F Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero EvolutionT1 55:14.33  36:07.04 
Nationalities: E=Spain / F=France / I=Italy / UAE=United Arab Emirates / RUS=Russia /