MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
2007 FIA CROSS COUNTRY RALLY WORLD CUP
ROUND 5: UAE DESERT CHALLENGE
31 OCTOBER 2007
LEG 3
REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART’S LUC ALPHAND MOVES INTO FIRST PLACE CLASSIFICATION

LUC ALPHAND / GILLES PICARD
 

STÉPHANE PETERHANSEL / JEAN-PAUL COTTRET
 

STÉPHANE PETERHANSEL / JEAN-PAUL COTTRET
 
The 2006 UAE Desert Challenge winners Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) completed the week’s eventful third stage in second place to take the provisional overall lead with the two days of competition remaining. Their Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team-mates Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) were fastest over today’s test and have moved from overnight fourth to third overall, 2m42s behind the leaders.

Inevitably, observers are already talking in terms of a repeat of last year’s one-two for the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13. However, with this evening’s top-three grouped within less than five minutes, and with 626km of competitive action still to come, the final round of the 2007 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup is by no means over. Today’s dramatic turnaround at the top of the leaderboard provided a timely reminder of that...

The day began with Luc Alphand rapidly catching and passing Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al Attiyah, but both these drivers immediately tucked in behind the Frenchman to profit from his trail across more of the United Arab Emirates’ sandy reaches. However, with Carlos sitting directly on his tail, the Mitsubishi driver had the misfortune to get stuck in one particularly awkward dune shortly between Passage Control 4 and, as the French pair started to dig themselves clear, their two rivals profited from the occasion to pull clear.

"Until then, we were going very well and the car was performing impeccably, so it was obviously very frustrating to see the others disappear into the distance as we were getting out our sand ladders," relates Luc Alphand. "It must have been four or five minutes before we were on our way again but we soon saw Carlos stuck in sand just before PC4, and then we passed Nasser who seemed to have a mechanical problem. Today’s one-two is obviously very good in these conditions. Even so, it’s still very close and, as we saw yesterday and today, the order can change very quickly, so there is absolutely no question of easing up yet."

As principal rivals hit problems of different kinds, Stéphane Peterhansel profited from a trouble-free day to collect his first fastest time of the week with the No.205 Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution. The performance turned his morning’s deficit of 11m32s into a gap of less than three minutes compared with the event’s new leader. "Unlike the others, I spent the first 200 kilometres or so without seeing another soul, but then I spotted Luc and, a little later on, Carlos Sainz," reports the 2007 Dakar winner. "For the last 50 or 60 kilometres, I consequently had someone in my sights and that enabled me to turn up the speed for the rest of the stage. It’s nice to have posted a fastest time and to have moved into second position. And with Luc in first place, it’s very positive for Mitsubishi, too. Following the time we lost yesterday with a puncture, I adopted a quick but safe pace today, although probably faster than Tuesday, and that tactic paid as the others hit trouble. That’s cross-country rallying for you"

Tomorrow’s programme (Thursday) features the longest stage of the 2007 UAE Desert Challenge with a 339.22km test followed by a 122km road section that will bring crews back to their final night at the Mureeb Hill bivouac. The event finishes on Friday after the last two ’short’ stages (123.80km and 163.80km) before the afternoon’s finish ceremony at the International Marine Club in Dubai.


  31st October MOREEB - MOREEB
Liaison 81.15km, SS 277.55km, Total 358.70km
 
 STAGE CLASSIFICATION ON SS3 MOREEB - MOREEB 
Pos Crew Nat Vehicle Time Diff
1 Stephane Peterhansel / Jean-paul Cottret F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3:40:56 --:--:--
2 Carlos Sainz / Michel Perin E/F Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 3:41:21 +0:25
3 Luc Alphand / Giles Picard F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 3:42:26 +1:30
4 Giniel De Villiers / Dirk Von Zitzewitz AFS/D Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 3:53:33 +12:37
5 Jose Monterde / J-m Lurquin E/B Schlesser DSC 17 4:05:46 +24:50
6 Nasser Al Attiyah / Tina Toerner QAT/S BMW X3 4:14:04 +33:08
7 Paolo Nobre / Filipe Palmeiro BRA/P BMW X3 4:19:35 +38:39
8 Yeha Alheli / Khalid Alkhendi UAE/UAE Chevrolet Colorado 4:25:47 +44:51
9 Leonid Novotsky / Oleg Tyupenkin RUS/RUS Mitsubishi MPR 9 4:28:41 +47:45
10 Balazs Szalai / Laszio Bunkoczi HON/HON Opel Antara RR 4:29:38 +48:42
11 Nicolas Gibon / Bruno Cattarelli F/F Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ100 4:47:04 +1:06:08
12 Mark Powell / Tim Ansell GB/GB Honda Buggy 4:49:01 +1:08:05


 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS3
Pos Crew Nat Vehicle Time Diff
1 Luc Alphand / Giles Picard F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 10:45:35 --:--:--
2 Carlos Sainz / Michel Perin E/F Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 10:46:21 +0:46
3 Stephane Peterhansel / Jean-paul Cottret F/F Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 10:48:17 +2:42
4 Nasser Al Attiyah / Tina Toerner QAT/S BMW X3 11:09:53 +24:18
5 Giniel De Villiers / Dirk Von Zitzewitz AFS/D Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 11:11:44 +26:09
6 Yeha Alheli / Khalid Alkhendi UAE/UAE Chevrolet Colorado 12:53:40 +2:08:05
7 Jose Monterde / J-m Lurquin E/B Schlesser DSC 17 13:30:19 +2:44:44
8 Leonid Novotsky / Oleg Tyupenkin RUS/RUS Mitsubishi MPR 9 13:41:49 +2:56:14
9 Nicolas Gibon / Bruno Cattarelli F/F Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ100 14:05:22 +3:19:47
10 Balazs Szalai / Laszio Bunkoczi HON/HON Opel Antara RR 14:27:44 +3:42:09
11 Paolo Nobre / Filipe Palmeiro BRA/P BMW X3 20:06:27 +9:20:52
12 Mark Powell / Tim Ansell GB/GB Honda Buggy 20:33:22 +9:47:47


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