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Mitsubishi set for UAE desert challenge
Peterhansel chasing third win in four years
Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret will be bidding for their third victory in four years in the UAE Desert Challenge, when they line up with Spanish team mate Joan 'Nani' Roma and his Andorra-based co-driver
Henri Magne at the official start of the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rallly World Cup on Thursday, November 10th.
Both crews will use modified MPR11 and MPR10 versions of the Pajero/Montero Evolution, as the Pont-de-Vaux-based team will complete final preparations and tests with the latest MPR12 versions for the next Dakar without any delays.

“The UAE Desert Challenge is mainly a good training ground for the drivers, to get them ready for the next Dakar," said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. "It is especially important for 'Nani' Roma. It is important for him to drive the UAE Desert Challenge to gain more experience in the dunes and the soft sand. We will also use this event to make the last approvals with some of the new components and new tyres we use on the Dakar, because the stages in the UAE can be very difficult, particularly if the temperatures are high and the sand can be very soft.”

Peterhansel and Cottret won the Desert Challenge in 2002 and 2003 and their team mates Hiroshi Masuoka and Andreas Schultz won the event last season, as the Japanese manufacturer completed an historic hat-trick on one of the most difficult rounds of the FIA World Cup across the remote sand dunes and gatch roads and tracks of the UAE's Empty Quarter.

"I always enjoy coming to this rally and think that the type of terrain we will face in the Empty Quarter is a great test for what we are sure to face in Mauritania on the Dakar Rally," said Peterhansel, winner of the Dakar Rally for the last two seasons.

"My first drive for the Mitsubishi team was in Qatar last November and I finished second overall," added team mate Roma. "Since then I have settled into the team well and am looking forward to gaining more experience in the Pajero, especially in soft sand before the Dakar."

The gruelling Gulf event joined the FIA World Cup for the first time in 1993 and has been extended from five to six days this year. Pre-event documentation and scrutineering will take place on November 7th and 8th and the event gets underway with a timed Prologue stage, near Dubai, on Wednesday, November 9th. The official start will be in the emirate of Abu Dhabi the following morning.

From the Abu Dhabi start, the event heads south for the first of five competitive selective sections in the desert, each of around 300-400 kms in length, culminating in night halts at the remote bivouac in Mureeb, south of Liwa, in the Abu Dhabi emirate. These stages will loop in and out of the remote Rub Al Khali region or Empty Quarter, the largest desert region on the Gulf peninsula. The event is scheduled to finish at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), 30 kms south of Dubai, on Monday, November 14th.
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