Frenchman Stéphane 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 at the start of the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup on November
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.
Peterhansel and Cottret won the Desert Challenge in 2002 and 2003 and reigning Dakar champions are keen to use this event as part of their preparations towards January's Dakar.
"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.
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.
Press Release Mitsubishi