Rally Raid Dakar 2006: Mitsubishi Motors - Leg 11
Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team driver Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean- Paul Cottret saw their overall lead in the 28th Dakar Rally trimmed to 25m 09s after the 231 kms, 11th special stage between Kayes and Bamako
in the Republic of Mali, today (Wednesday). The French pair lost 19 minutes with a navigational error before the first passage control.
Team mates Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard began the day's stage in 15th position on the road, after hitting a tree on Tuesday, and set the third fastest time in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution, behind stage winner Giniel de Villiers and Frenchman Bruno Saby. Alphand duly trimmed 14m 55s from his team mate's overall advantage, although Peterhansel remains 42m 19s ahead of stage winner De Villiers in the overall standings.
« It was a bad day, » admitted Peterhansel. « There was a small track and we went the wrong way for four kilometers and then came back the wrong way for another four kilometers. Then we found the correct track, but we were in the thick dust behind Carlos Sousa. I used the horn, but we followed behind him for over 120 kms. Luc started 15th today and had a good time, so maybe we will not lose too much time in the dust tomorrow. »
« I made my mistake yesterday and there will be no more risks from my side over the next few days, » said Alphand. « I think that Giniel is playing his last joker with the speed he drove at today. That is not a pace safe enough to reach Dakar. Tomorrow I will try and catch Bruno Saby's dust and try and pass without risks, but it could be an interesting day... »
Spaniard Joan Nani Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne also fell foul of a similar navigational mistake before the first passage control and arrived in Bamako with the 13th fastest time. But main rival Jutta Kleinschmidt crashed into a hole, cannoned into a tree and damaged her steering and suspension and Roma found himself in an unchallenged fourth place in the overall classification, as teams prepared for Thursday's Marathon stage into Guinea.
« I saw Stéphane's car and he took a track to the left, » said Roma. « He doubled back and we followed and then he turned again. I followed him for about six kilometers and then we realised our mistake. The road book was very vague. It was our team's mistake, but the book was so confusing. After that we were just driving in dust. It was too dangerous to take risks. »
« We must congratulate Giniel de Villiers today on his great stage win, » said Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys. « He proved that he is a very talented driver and a potential winner of the Dakar Rally in the future. Two of our drivers lost some time today, but we remain in a strong position and Stéphane and Luc will try and maintain a safe pace for the last few days. »
Tomorrow (Thursday) teams leave the hustle and bustle of Bamako for a visit to the Republic of Guinea for the first time since 1996. A 197 kms road liaison section through western Mali is followed by a 368 kms competitive stage into the heart of Guinea to a finish near Dabola.
The stage crosses fords and narrow tracks replace fast laterite piste. There is the added risk of damaging the car with no assistance vehicles or service permitted at the overnight halt in Labé, which will be reached by a tiring and hazardous 307 kms road liaison.
Press Release Mitsubishi Motors