PETERHANSEL, SECOND, REGAINS SECOND OVERALL POSITION AND MARC COMA CONSOLIDATES HIS LEADERSHIP Nani Roma is fifth and Masuoka sixth. In the motorbike class, victory for Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms fourth Leg 4: Erfoud - Zagora...
PETERHANSEL, SECOND, REGAINS SECOND OVERALL POSITION AND MARC COMA CONSOLIDATES HIS LEADERSHIP
Nani Roma is fifth and Masuoka sixth. In the motorbike class, victory for Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms fourth
Leg 4: Erfoud - Zagora (revised)
Liaison 24 km, Special 243 km, Liaison 41 km
Total 308 km
The day's special should have started 27 km from Erfoud and run for 280 km across sandy, gravel and stony terrain to a finish 41 km from Zagora in the Valley of the Draa. But the road book was amended for the fourth consecutive day after freak storms damaged many of the original tracks. The easterly section south of Rissani, near the Nouhaouar plateau, was replaced and the assistance point was cancelled. The revised stage used terrain to the south-west of Rissani from Tabhet-el-Rhir to link up with the latter part of the original stage north-east of Tamassint. The selective section was therefore shortened by 37 km, but the original finish point across Jebel Tadrait, near the dunes at Tamegroute, was retained and the final 41 km liaison to Zagora remained the same.
Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret regained second overall on the fourth leg of the Orpi Rally of Morocco between Erfoud and Zagora in eastern Morocco, as team mates Nani Roma and Hiroshi Masuoka remained in fifth and sixth places, today. Peterhansel had recovered somewhat from a severe dose of stomach trouble, which had laid him low after the third leg in Erfoud on Friday afternoon. He and Schlesser had been equal fastest at the third passage control, but Peterhansel caught the dust of De Villiers's leading Volkswagen near the finish of the stage and duly set the second fastest time, 11s behind stage winner Jean-Louis Schlesser. He now trails De Villiers by 5m 31s in the overall standings.
Nani Roma and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne had been sixth quickest through the third passage control and reached the stage finish as the last car in the leading pack after the Spaniard collected a flat tire seven kilometres from the stage finish and was forced to stop and change the wheel. Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka and French co-driver Pascal Maimon had hoped to begin the day challenging their team mates Roma and Magne for fifth position. But the event Stewards awarded Masuoka a five-minute time penalty on Friday evening for speeding in a restricted zone and this pushed the twice former Dakar winner well behind the second Mitsubishi. He finished the day's stage in fourth place and maintained sixth overall.
In the motorbike class Marc Coma took his second leg victory in Morocco today. The KTM Repsol rider started this morning second, behind Isidre Esteve, winner of yesterday's leg. Coma managed to catch up with Esteve and they continued together opening the way until the finish. Thanks to his leg victory, Coma increases his advantage over Cyril Despres to almost thirteen minutes. Jordi Viladoms finished fourth, six-and-a-half minutes behind his team-mate. Viladoms took the start in Erfoud in ninth position and recovered time until clocking the fourth fastest time thus moving up to sixth in the overall standings, two days before the end of the race.
Rider's and driver's comments
Stephane Peterhansel: "This morning I left a little better. We started third and the plan was to follow the dust and push as hard as we could. Occasionally we would cut a small corner and try and gain the odd second here and there. Thirty kilometers from the end of the stage, Carlos Sains had a flat tire. He stopped and we passed him. It was never possible to catch De Villiers, but we have second place back now and we will continue to apply the pressure over the last two days. I think the last two stages will be technical in the mountains. There will be more rocks, so we will push hard and try and force Giniel into a mistake."
Nani Roma: "Seven kilometers from the finish we had a flat tire. There was no place to stop and we continued for a while, but then we had to stop and change the wheel. I still have fifth place, but I wanted to try and make an assault on Schlesser today and this was not possible."
Hiroshi Masuoka: "It was a very fast stage. After about 100 km we caught Nani and then he stopped near the finish to change a puncture, so we finished ahead of him, but we are still a long way behind."
Marc Coma: "This stage has been similar to the one we made at the Dakar, of almost 250 km and quite fast. I started second behind Isidre Esteve. I managed to catch him and we continued together at a good pace. I'm very happy with how everything is working out. There are still some important days left, but we've already got a large part of the rally behind us. Everything is working out fine and the only thing we have to do is to keep the lead from here to the end. The new KTM is working very well and, as expected, there are only a few little details to be improved."
Jordi Viladoms: "This has been my best leg of the Morocco Rally. I finished fourth and I'm happy. I started ninth and I caught up with the riders ahead. Thanks to that I was able to improve in the overall standings compared to a small group of riders which had more or less the same overall time. I hope that everything works out tomorrow as it did today to be able to make up some more time and move up to fifth."
Tomorrow (Sunday) is the penultimate day of the event between Zagora and the tourist town of Ouarzazate. A 13 km transfer will take Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart crews to the start of a 252 km selective section, with an 80 km liaison steering teams into the overnight halt. The route heads west out of Zagora and loops into Ouarzazate from a south-westerly and then a north-westerly direction. The final stage will loop in and out of Ouarzazate on Monday morning. <pre> Standings Cars
SS7 (243.00 Km) 1. Schlesser / Borsotto Schlesser 2h 03m 49s 2. Peterhansel / Cottret Mitsubishi 2h 04m 00s 3. De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz Volkswagen 2h 05m 36s 4. Masuoka / Maimon Mitsubishi 2h 05m 41s 5. Sainz / Perin Volkswagen 2h 08m 22s 6. Roma / Magne Mitsubishi 2h 09m 13s
Overall 1. De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz Volkswagen 9h 15m 26s 2. Peterhansel / Cottret Mitsubishi 9h 20m 57s 3. Sainz / Perin Volkswagen 9h 25m 18s 4. Schlesser / Borsotto Schlesser 9h 27m 06s 5. Roma / Magne Mitsubishi 9h 36m 00s 6. Masuoka / Maimon Mitsubishi 9h 38m 12s
SS7 (243.00 Km) 1. M.Coma KTM 2h23'39" 2. I.Esteve KTM 2h25'06" 3. C.Despres KTM 2h29'11" 4. J.Viladoms KTM 2h30'09" 5. D.Casteu KTM 2h30'18"
Overall 1. M.Coma KTM 10h22'51 2. C.Despres KTM 10h35'44" 3. D.Casteu KTM 10h39'11" 4. F.Lopez Honda 11h27'42" 5. I.Esteve KTM 11h27'46" 6. J.Viladoms KTM 11h28'53"