Mitsubishi Motors Team Arrives in Granada Peterhansel looks ahead to the rigors of Morocco The second leg of the 2005 Dakar Rally took the Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team on the long journey south, through Spain, to Granada for ...
Mitsubishi Motors Team Arrives in Granada
Peterhansel looks ahead to the rigors of Morocco
The second leg of the 2005 Dakar Rally took the Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team on the long journey south, through Spain, to Granada for the overnight halt.
With no competitive section run today, team members had the chance to relax with friends, family and members of the media during last night's New Year's Eve celebrations - the last time they will have real contact with home for over two weeks.
"It has become a tradition in recent years that we invite wives and girlfriends to join our drivers and co-drivers for New Year's Eve," said Team Director, Dominique Serieys.
Today's 920 kilometer liaison section took the crews from Barcelona to Granada in the far south of Spain. Situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is the capital of the ancient kingdom of Grenada and has played host to the Dakar Rally on five occasions. The race started from this region between the Genil and Darro rivers in 1995, 1996 and 1999.
"No one likes long road sections, but they are a necessity on European legs of the Dakar Rally", said Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolution driver Hiroshi Masuoka. "I remember when I won the Dakar Rally for the first time in 2002 we had a very long liaison from Arras in the north of France to the south in bad weather, so maybe these liaisons are a good omen for me!"
Germany lady driver Andrea Mayer admitted they were an essential part of the event's format. "I must admit that I do not like long road liaisons", she said. "I remember when I did the Dakar Rally on a bike; you would be cold, wet and dirty on these sections, but they are vital for sponsors and the media".
Tomorrow, the crews get a taste of action, although just 10 kilometers of the day's 573 kilometer route is competitive on a military proving ground. Teams then head for the Port of Algeciras, before embarking the ferry to Tangiers and the road section to the overnight halt in Rabat, the commercial capital of Morocco which last played host to the race on New Year's Eve in 2002.
"For me the European stages are just for sponsors and spectators", said defending Dakar Rally champion and Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero Evolution driver Stephane Peterhansel. "All the teams know that Morocco is where the classic stages begin.
"I have a good record here and won the Rally of Morocco in June. The stages can be quite twisty, rocky and technical, but it is important not to make a mistake. Jean-Paul (Cottret) and I have our strategy and we will stick to our game plan over the first two stages".