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Report
2007 FIA CROSS COUNTRY RALLY WORLD CUP
ROUND 3: POR LAS PAMPAS
05 SEPTEMBER 2007
LEG 9
EMPHATIC WIN IN CHILE FOR REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART LUC ALPHAND AND GILLES PICARD CLASSIFICATION

GILLES PICARD / LUC ALPHAND
 

MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION MPR13
 
Mitsubishi, Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard (both France) claimed their second consecutive win on the Por Las Pampas Rally which finished in Iquique, northern Chile, today (Wednesday). The French pair completed the marathon event well clear of their closest rival Orlando Terranova (Argentina) to secure the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13’s third success of 2007 following Stéphane Peterhansel’s victories on January’s Dakar and on the Baja Espana in July.

"It’s a team result," enthused Luc Alphand before spraying the champagne in Iquique. "The car was outstanding and everyone in the team played their part perfectly, from the technical team and our BFGoodrich tyres to Gilles who navigated impeccably from flag to flag. We had a last-minute scare with an unidentified engine problem, but we successfully reached the finish of the final stage which ended in style with a descent down an amazing 1,000m high dune to the podium: a fitting conclusion to an incredibly varied event."

The nine-day event started from the Argentine ski-resort San Carlos de Bariloche on Tuesday August 28 and took competitors across the Andes Mountains before heading north along Chile’s Pacific seaboard to finish in the heart of the Atacama Desert. The 4,116km route from Patagonia to just south of the Chilean border with Peru ensured the broadest spectrum of conditions seen on any round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, ranging from near-zero temperatures and snowy mountain passes in the south to the world’s most arid desert in the north.

Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard led from the start and claimed seven of the ten stages which ranged in length from 503km to the 3km ’Vina del Mar Grand Prix’ super-special, near Santiago, for a total scheduled competitive distance of 2,315km. Many of the early tests featured a combination of long portions along the Pacific shoreline and mazes of predominantly narrow tracks through dense vegetation further inland, while the final stages took crews into open desert and over some of the highest dunes to be found anywhere in the world.

Following the team’s test programme in Morocco last July, Luc Alphand was delighted with the set-up and performance of his Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 which enabled the French crew to take everything thrown at them during the challenging South American event in their stride. "The Montero/Pajero was a delight to drive and extremely comfortable, too, which is important when competing over such long distances," said Luc. "Following our work in Morocco, its traction is really excellent and its handling is nice and progressive. The car is also very robust and it stood up to the nine days of punishment magnificently. "

The varied cross-section of conditions also served as first class preparation for the Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team as it builds up to the 2008 events. "We have learnt a great deal over the past week or so that will be very valuable for next year," confirmed Team Director Dominique Serieys (France). "The field wasn’t perhaps as strong as that we are likely to face in Africa, but the terrain and the format of the Por Las Pampas Rally was stiff enough opposition. It was a tough physical test and excellent preparation for both Luc and Gilles, and the navigation was by no means simple. It was complex from the technical and logistics angles, too, and that shouldn’t be underestimated."

The next outing for the Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 is the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, the UAE Desert Challenge (October 27-November 2) in United Arab Emirate where three cars will be present for Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France), Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) and Joan ’Nani’ Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain). Another test is also scheduled in Morocco prior to the trip out to the United Arab Emirates.



 STAGE CLASSIFICATION ON SS10 ANTOFAGASTA - IQUIQUE 
Pos Crew Nat Vehicle Time Diff
1 Orlando Terranova / Lee Palmer RA/AUS BMW X3 41:29 --:--:--
2 Luc Alphand / Gilles Picard F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 45:52 +4:23
3 Pablo Nobre / Flipe Palmeiro BR/P BMW X3 48:05 +6:36
4 Jorge Latrach / Americo Aliaga RCH/RCH Toyota Prado 50:01 +8:32
5 Philippe Vandromme / Frederic Vivier F/F Bat Buggy 55:56 +14:27
6 Jose Luis Monterde / Jean-Marie Lurquin E/B Nissan Navara 56:01 +14:32
7 Claudio Sampieri / Macarena Tondreau RCH/RCH Nissan Pathfinder 56:27 +14:58
8 Eduardo Blanco / Marco Ferran RA/E Toyota Hilux 3.0 58:30 +17:01
9 Andres Merri / Daniel Trippar RA/RA Mitsubishi L200 Sport 1:03:48 +22:19
10 Luis Eguiguren / Juan Rodriguez RCH/RCH Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 1:09:30 +28:01
11 Gabriel Peschiera / Juan Jeria I/RCH Nissan Terrano 1:25:56 +44:27
12 Pablo Valdes / Enrique Munoz RCH/RCH Toyota Hilux 1:46:20 +1:04:51


 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS10
Pos Crew Nat Vehicle Time Diff
1 Luc Alphand / Gilles Picard F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 29:03:59 --:--:--
2 Orlando Terranova / Lee Palmer RA/AUS BMW X3 33:03:07 +3:59:08
3 Pablo Nobre / Flipe Palmeiro BR/P BMW X3 44:25:13 +15:21:14
4 Andres Merri / Daniel Trippar RA/RA Mitsubishi L200 Sport 52:46:36 +23:42:37
5 Jorge Latrach / Americo Aliaga RCH/RCH Toyota Prado 55:18:25 +26:14:26
6 Gabriel Peschiera / Juan Jeria I/RCH Nissan Terrano 116:34:17 +87:30:18
7 Claudio Sampieri / Macarena Tondreau RCH/RCH Nissan Pathfinder 130:14:23 +101:10:24
8 Jose Luis Monterde / Jean-Marie Lurquin E/B Nissan Navara 150:51:02 +121:47:03
9 Philippe Vandromme / Frederic Vivier F/F Bat Buggy 168:29:01 +139:25:02
10 Pablo Valdes / Enrique Munoz RCH/RCH Toyota Hilux 212:39:02 +183:35:03
11 Eduardo Blanco / Marco Ferran RA/E Toyota Hilux 3.0 330:15:17 +301:11:18
12 Luis Eguiguren / Juan Rodriguez RCH/RCH Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero 340:59:15 +311:55:16


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