MITSUBISHI MOTORS

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Report
2007 FIA CROSS COUNTRY RALLY WORLD CUP
ROUND 5: UAE DESERT CHALLENGE
29 OCTOBER 2007
LEG 1
AN EXCELLENT START TO REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART’S DESERT CHALLENGE CLASSIFICATION

LUC ALPHAND / GILLES PICARD
 

STéPHANE PETERHANSEL / JEAN-PAUL COTTRET
 

JOAN ROMA / LUCAS CRUZ
 
After of Sunday’s short 2km super-special near Dubai and the official start ceremony in front of the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi this morning, the 2007 UAE Desert Challenge finally got down to serious business today with the first of the week’s six stages.

Today’s 272,50km test gave competitors a relatively straightforward early taste of the local terrain which featured a mix of fast, sandy tracks, off-road driving and dunes of varying degrees of difficulty. Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) and Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cotteret (France) both put in good yet safe runs to secure the second and third fastest times respectively, while the Joan ’Nani’ Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain) dropped a little time following a slow puncture to take seventh place.

The split-times of today’s special stage reveal that Alphand was in fact third behind his team-mate for the majority of the test before the two Frenchman traded places shortly before the finish. "Towards the end, we could see Chicherit ahead of us and that always tends to give you an added boost," said the winner of the 2006 UAE Desert Challenge. "Apart from that, we had a good run, although it was very hot. Outside, it can’t have been far short of 40C, which easily means 50C inside the car, so it was quite tough, physically. There were a few big dunes to keep us on our toes, too. I am delighted with the handling of our Pajero/Montero although it’s taking a little time to get accustomed to the five-speed transmission."

There was a large crowd of local spectators at the end of the stage to greet Stéphane Peterhansel who was the second driver to reach the finish control after Nasser Al Attiyah (Qatar) who posted the day’s quickest time. "Today’s stage was quite fast with quite a lot of dunes," reported the 2007 Dakar winner who was accredited with the day’s third best time, 31 seconds behind Alphand. "The dunes tended to be reasonably small - a few metres high maybe - but you could never be quite sure know how steep they were after ridge. Most of them were OK, but it was important to take each one as it came and take nothing for granted. I have to say that I’m glad the first stage is behind us because the memory of losing 45 minutes after an accident on Day 1 here in 2006 is still very fresh in my mind..."

The only Mitsubishi driver to lose time today was Nani Roma who had the misfortune of picking up a slow puncture, yet he still succeeded in claiming the day’s seventh quickest time. "We realised quite early on that we had a slow puncture," related the Spaniard, "and we eventually had to stop to change the wheel just before the second Passage Control. After that, we had a good drive to the finish. This is only my second attempt at this event, so I clearly lack experience compared with many of the other drivers. This is great practice for the Dakar, however, and my Pajero/Montero performed perfectly today."

Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys (France) was pleased with the result of the 2006 UAE Desert Challenge’s first stage. "It’s obviously a shame that Nani picked up a slow puncture, but I didn’t think we would be quite so well-placed this early on," he admitted. "Stéphane and Nani haven’t driven competitively since July and it was quite a fast stage (a little more than 100kph) so, all in all, our times were very competitive despite the new regulations (five-speed gearbox, smaller-diameter air-restrictor). The new regulations mean the drivers have to push harder to make up for the resulting performance handicap and, in this heat, that clearly takes more out of them. At the same time, though, we mustn’t lose sight of our principal objective here which is to prepare for the Dakar, so we don’t want to be taking any undue risks..."

The action continues tomorrow (Tuesday) with the second longest stage of the rally (328.30km) after a run-out of 54.30km from the overnight bivouac which competitors will visit for the first this evening.


  29th October ABU DHABI - MOREEB
Liaison 53.20km, SS 272.50km, Liaison, 118.50km
Total 444.20km
 
 STAGE CLASSIFICATION ON SS1 ABU DHABI - MOREEB 
Pos Crew Nat Vehicle Time Diff
1 Nasser Al Attiyah / Tina Toerner QAT/S BMW X3 2:41:11 --:--:--
2 Luc Alphand / Giles Picard F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2:41:34 +0:23
3 Stephane Peterhansel / Jean-paul Cottret F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2:42:05 +0:54
4 Giniel De Villiers / Dirk Von Zitzewitz AFS/D Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 2:44:20 +3:09
5 Carlos Sainz / Michel Perin E/F Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 2:45:27 +4:16
6 Guerlain Chicherit / Matthieu Baumel F/F BMW X3 2:47:40 +6:29
7 Joan Roma / Lucas Cruz P/P Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2:49:29 +8:18
8 Jose Monterde / J-m Lurquin E/B Schlesser DSC 17 3:02:16 +21:05
9 Yeha Alheli / Khalid Alkhendi UAE/UAE Chevrolet Colorado 3:05:56 +24:45
10 Ahmed Bin Sugat / Abdulhaleem Zayed UAE/UAE Chevrolet Colorado 3:16:03 +34:52
11 Glen Reid / Mike Sketchley NZ/NZ Nissan Patrol 3:21:09 +39:58
12 Laurent Rosso / Fabien Lurquin F/F Nissan Pathfinder 3:23:57 +42:46
13 Nicolas Gibon / Bruno Cattarelli F/F Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ100 3:33:13 +52:02
14 Leonid Novotsky / Oleg Tyupenkin RUS/RUS Mitsubishi MPR 9 3:33:24 +52:13
15 Jun Mitsuhashi / Akira Miura J/J Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ100 3:37:04 +55:53
16 Jacques Loomans / Noel Essers B/B Bowler Wildcat 3:40:21 +59:10
17 Joseph Rosso / Samir Benbekti F/F Nissan Pathfinder 3:43:32 +1:02:21
18 Abdulbari Bin Sougat / Ali Mirza UAE/UAE Nissan Patrol 3:43:58 +1:02:47
19 Balazs Szalai / Laszio Bunkoczi HON/HON Opel Antara RR 3:44:18 +1:03:07
20 Mike Zeigler / Robert Gainley USA/USA Nissan Patrol 3:54:03 +1:12:52
21 Matar Al Mansouri / Arif Bin Mohamed UAE/UAE Land Rover Defender 110 3:54:18 +1:13:07
22 Herman Hutten / Hennie Wullink NL/NL Kia Sorento 4:13:36 +1:32:25
23 Ali Alshawi / Yaha Al Amri UAE/UAE Nissan 4:22:41 +1:41:30


 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS1
Pos Crew Nat Vehicle Time Diff
1 Nasser Al Attiyah / Tina Toerner QAT/S BMW X3 2:42:58 --:--:--
2 Luc Alphand / Giles Picard F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2:43:24 +0:26
3 Stephane Peterhansel / Jean-paul Cottret F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2:43:54 +0:56
4 Giniel De Villiers / Dirk Von Zitzewitz AFS/D Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 2:46:13 +3:15
5 Carlos Sainz / Michel Perin E/F Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 2:47:20 +4:22
6 Guerlain Chicherit / Matthieu Baumel F/F BMW X3 2:49:27 +6:29
7 Joan Roma / Lucas Cruz P/P Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 2:51:20 +8:22
8 Jose Monterde / J-m Lurquin E/B Schlesser DSC 17 3:04:25 +21:27
9 Yeha Alheli / Khalid Alkhendi UAE/UAE Chevrolet Colorado 3:07:57 +24:59
10 Ahmed Bin Sugat / Abdulhaleem Zayed UAE/UAE Chevrolet Colorado 3:18:01 +35:03
11 Glen Reid / Mike Sketchley NZ/NZ Nissan Patrol 3:23:10 +40:12
12 Laurent Rosso / Fabien Lurquin F/F Nissan Pathfinder 3:26:15 +43:17
13 Nicolas Gibon / Bruno Cattarelli F/F Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ100 3:35:16 +52:18
14 Leonid Novotsky / Oleg Tyupenkin RUS/RUS Mitsubishi MPR 96 3:35:24 +52:26
15 Jun Mitsuhashi / Akira Miura J/J Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ100 3:39:12 +56:14
16 Jacques Loomans / Noel Essers B/B Bowler Wildcat 3:42:27 +59:29
17 Joseph Rosso / Samir Benbekti F/F Nissan Pathfinder 3:45:51 +1:02:53
18 Abdulbari Bin Sougat / Ali Mirza UAE/UAE Nissan Patrol 3:46:11 +1:03:13
19 Balazs Szalai / Laszio Bunkoczi HON/HON Opel Antara RR 3:46:14 +1:03:16
20 Matar Al Mansouri / Arif Bin Mohamed UAE/UAE Land Rover Defender 110 3:56:26 +1:13:28
21 Mike Zeigler / Robert Gainley USA/USA Nissan Patrol 3:56:45 +1:13:47
22 Herman Hutten / Hennie Wullink NL/NL Kia Sorento 4:15:50 +1:32:52
23 Ali Alshawi / Yaha Al Amri UAE/UAE Nissan 4:24:46 +1:41:48


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