UAE Desert Challenge : Mitsubishi Motors - Leg 5
Mitsubishi Motors Repsol Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret clinched their third UAE Desert Challenge victory in four years, when they crushed the opposition in the final round of this year's
FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, which finished Sunday.
The French duo were using the six-day event across some of the remotest terrain in the Middle East as a final shakedown test before the Dakar Rally. They won each of the seven selective specials and the Prologue in a totally dominant performance and reached the finish at the Dubai International Marine Club, a staggering 3h 02m 29s ahead of the second-placed Spaniard José-Luis Monterde and his Italian co-driver Tiziano Siviero.
"Before the start I did not think about problems," said Peterhansel. "If I was destined to have a problem then there was nothing I could do about it. There was no pressure on me today. I had three things to fulfil when I came here; I wanted to win the race, improve the car and carry out some good training in the dunes. I am happy that we managed to do all three and am looking forward to the Dakar with confidence."
The first of today's two stages started and finished at Khatam, 75 kms from Moreeb, and offered several fast open sections with few tall dunes. After a road liaison of a little over 100 kms, the seventh and final selective section ran for 184.70 kms and offered several tricky navigational tests and numerous sand spits.
Team mate Joan 'Nani' Roma had restarted day four in 22nd place, after missing two days with food poisoning. He had climbed four places to 18th at the start of the final morning and completed the final two stages in second places. The Spaniard was a mere 2m 16s behind his winning team mate in the sixth stage and 5m 50s in the final timed test.
"It was only a three-day race for me," said Roma. "But I feel that I have a better line now through the dunes. It was good experience for me. To miss two days was really disappointing, but I am positive and enjoyed the stages. One was very fast, the other was a nice track with some small dunes."
"We started the year with a victory in Dakar and now we have finished the season with another win," said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. "Nothing is ever easy, but this result proves we did a great job. Now we have to wait until January 15th to see if we can win the Dakar again. I think the team is ready. We have won the last four rallies here in Dubai and won 14 of the last 16 events with the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution."
"It is never easy here in Dubai. The temperatures are often very high and the dunes are very difficult to cross. 'Nani' missed two days, but he learned a lot over the last two days. Our other two teams have arrived in Dubai and we will continue our test over the next two days with Luc, Gilles, Hiroshi and Pascal. I think this proves that we are determined to win. We have won five races this year and are looking forward to the next Dakar."
"It was one of the most succesful motorsport weekends for Mitsubishi Motor Sports for many years," added MMSP's President Isao Torii. "The second place on the WRC rally in Australia this weekend, the win here in Dubai and the good performances of our teams is the proof that motorsport is one of our key pillars in the corporate identity. We are confident for the future."
Positions on SS6 (unofficial):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 57m 36s
2. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 59m 52s
3. José-Luis Monterde (E)/Tiziano Siviero (I) BMW X5 1h 04m 20s
4. Joost van Cauwenberge (B)/Didier Espeel (B) Toyota Landcruiser 1h 08m 04s
5. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 1h 08m 12s
Positions on SS7 (unofficial):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 1h 49m 40s
2. Joan Roma (E)/Henri Magne (AND) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 1h 55m 30s
3. Sven Knorr (D)/Totateh Frohlich (D) ORC ML 350 2h 12m 44s
4. José-Luis Monterde (E)/Tiziano Siviero (I) BMW X5 2h 14m 17s
Positions after leg 5 (unofficial):
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 19h 06m 48s
2. José-Luis Monterde (E)/Tiziano Siviero (I) BMW X5 22h 09m 17s
3. Yayha Al-Helai (UAE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 22h 51m 24s
4. Vladimir Tchaguine (RUS)/Konopko (RUS)/Niklaev (RUS) Kamaz Truck 25h 29m 16s
5. Joost van Cauwenberge (B)/Didier Espeel (B) Toyota Landcruiser 26h 59m 25s
6. Ronan Chabot (F)/Gilles Pillot (F) Toyota KDJ 120 28h 53m 54s
7. Ahmed Bin Soughat (UAE)/Jassim Al-Balooshi (UAE) Chevrolet Pick-Up 33h 44m 47s.
Press Release Mitsubishi