MITSUBISHI MOTORS

RALLI ART

Report
FIA INTERNATIONAL CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY BAJAS
BAJA PORTALEGRE 500
30 OCTOBER 2008
PRE-START
TEAM REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART READY FOR RACING LANCER'S COMPETITION DEBUT  

MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER
 

TECHNICAL INSPECTION
 

STEPHANE PETERHANSEL & JEAN-PAUL COTTRET
 
The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team has chosen this weekend's Baja Portalegre 500 in Portugal for the official competition debut of its latest cross-country rally car, the new diesel-powered Racing Lancer.

A single car has been entered for Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (France) who will contest the three-day event which features a total route length of 589.82km, including 515.16km divided into four special stages. The fifth and final round of the 2008 FIA Cup for Cross-Country Bajas is based in Portalegre which is situated 230km northeast of the Portuguese capital Lisbon.

Mitsubishi's 3-litre V6-engined Racing Lancer, which delivers more than 280bhp (206kW), has come straight from a ten-day test session in the south of Morocco where the team was able to fine-tune its suspension and engine settings, as the countdown to the 2009 Dakar in Argentina and Chile enters its final phase. After the tests, the car was revised and prepared for the Baja Portalegre 500, in Morocco, before being transported by road to Portugal in time for Friday afternoon's start.

"This event is the final active phase in our Dakar 2009 preparations which began in earnest last May," observed Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team Director, Dominique Serieys. "It comes immediately after our third test session of the year, in Morocco where we covered approximately 5,000km with the Racing Lancer. The conditions weren't at all easy on this last test session due to heavy rain, but the tests enabled us to evaluate and validate the latest parts and tunings. The Baja Portalegre 500 will give us a chance to complete our work and see where we stand compared to the competition.

"The choice of the Portuguese event was also a way of expressing our solidarity with the organiser, Jose Megre, who's fighting illness at the moment," continued Dominique Serieys. "Stéphane Peterhansel was chosen for this important job because he's been closely involved with the Racing Lancer project since the beginning. It wasn't simple to select one driver out of the four, but Stéphane has worked extensively on the new car's engine, transmission and suspensions.His long. experience with the Montero/Pajero Evolution means he has a valuable benchmark in his mind which will facilitate comparisons."

"It's a privilege for me to have been given the opportunity to drive the new Mitsubishi Racing Lancer on its maiden competition outing. I'm proud and happy to have been given that honour," admitted Stéphane Peterhansel at the scrutineering on Thursday. "This is our only chance to drive the car on an event before it heads out to Buenos Aires...So we'll use it to validate all the latest evolutions that have been made during the course of its development which started more than a year ago. I find the mission very stimulating.

"Until now our work has focused on African Dakar-style terrain, so this weekend will give us a chance to work on a set-up for twistier, narrower stages which could well be on the menu of this year's Dakar" added the winner of September's thrilling PAX Rally which included similar territory in the mountains near Castelo Branco.

The 2008 Baja Portalegre 500 starts on the afternoon of Friday, October 31st with a short 6.18km super-special. Serious action begins on Saturday with a programme of almost 400km divided into two stages, and the event concludes with a final 110km selective section on Sunday prior to the official finish later the same morning in Portalegre. The conditions are expected to be wet for the first day, with the possibility of clearer weather as the weekend progresses.


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