Mitsubishi stage three report

MITSUBISHI DUO MAINTAIN THEIR COMPOSURE ON THIRD DAKAR STAGE ACROSS PATAGONIA Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart's team director Dominique Serieys insists that he is not watching the leader board through the opening three or four days of the 2009...

MITSUBISHI DUO MAINTAIN THEIR COMPOSURE ON THIRD DAKAR STAGE ACROSS PATAGONIA

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart's team director Dominique Serieys insists that he is not watching the leader board through the opening three or four days of the 2009 Dakar Rally.

But team crews Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (both France) and Joan 'Nani' Roma and Lucas Cruz Senra (both Spain) remain firmly in contention for the overall lead after the third leg of the event across the Patagonian wastelands between Puerto Madryn and Ingeniero Jacobacci on Monday.

They set the fifth and sixth fastest times in a pair of turbo-diesel 'Racing Lancers' and now hold fourth and fifth in the overall classification. Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard (both France) were delayed for around 30 minutes before the first passage control with a minor fuel leak and slipped to 10th overall. The stage win fell to Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar), although Carlos Sainz (Spain) maintained the overall lead in the general classification.

The stage was shortened from 616km to 550km and meandered its way through the Patagonian lowlands, crossing scrub and grasslands along twisty and sometimes technical trails, before beginning a gradual climb towards the overnight halt at around 900 metres above sea level.

Monday evening's bivouac at Ingeniero Jacobacci was a far cry from the sunny conditions at Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic coast 24 hours' before. The town was formerly known as Nahuel Niyeo, but was renamed in 1926 after the engineer who built the railway that now links the town with the outside world and was also the location for the overnight halt on the Dakar.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the fourth leg of the 2009 Dakar Rally between Ingeneiro Jacobacci and Neuquen, the 459km special starting just four kilometers from the bivouac and featuring numerous rocky and sandy sections and several wadis. The route passes through the Sierra Mesanlyes and meanders to the north-east of the Negro river to finish near the renowned Valley of the Dinosaurs in a protected geological area dating back to the Cretaceous Period.

The final 25km liaison takes teams to the overnight halt near the confluence of the Limay and Neuquen rivers. Neuquen has a strong agricultural background, is the capital city of the province of the same name and is the largest city in Patagonia.

What they said?

Dominique Serieys, Team Director
"We will really see what develops over the coming days and then we will get a better indication of the overall situation in this rally."

Luc Alphand
"We had a fuel leak and had to stop and take everything out from the rear to see where the problem was. Everything else was fine today, but a fuel seal was not working and it cost me over 30 minutes trying to sort it all out. That was very frustrating."

Stephane Peterhansel
"If the route is like the organisers said, then the first three stages were very fast and then it becomes more difficult. I hope that is true because we could be in a better position. Since the start I had no problems with the car but I struggled to follow Carlos Sainz this morning. He was too fast. I look forward to the more technical stages."

Joan 'Nani' Roma
"I don't feel too bad about our position heading into the next group of stages. I had a puncture near the end, but we are still in the chasing pack and I am quite happy with my position on the road for tomorrow."

MITSUBISHI'S SPINELLI FROM BRAZIL HOLDS 11TH POSITION IN HIS PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION

Privately-run Mitsubishis completed the second special stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally between Santa Rosa de la Pampa and the Patagonian coastal resort of Puerto Madryn without major problems on Sunday.

Guilherme Spinelli and Marcelo Vivolo (both Brazil) were running just outside the top 10 in an excellent 11th place in their ex-factory Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution. The pair were a mere 1m 11s behind the powerful Hummer of 10th-placed Robbie Gordon (USA), but Spinelli lost a little time on the third special stage between Puerto Madryn and Ingeniero Jacobacci on Monday morning, although he recovered quickly to set the 13th fastest time and maintained 11th place.

"Everything is going very well so far and we are extremely happy with the position we have," said Spinelli's team manager and former Bike and Mitsubishi Pajero driver Klever Kolberg.

Mitsubishi Thailand-backed Mana Pornsiricherd (Thailand) was tackling the Dakar once again in a Mitsubishi Pajero sport this time and held 96th place with co-driver Thierry Lacambre (France) after the stage into Puerto Madryn. But he lost time when he was stuck in the sand and a rival competitor collided with the rear of his car.

This delay forced him to start further down the field on the long stage across Patagonia into Ingeniero Jacobacci and Mana held 83rd position on the stage at PC1 on Monday evening.

-credit: mitsubishi

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Luc Alphand , Stéphane Peterhansel , Jean-Paul Cottret , Gilles Picard , Klever Kolberg , Nasser Al-Attiyah , Lucas Cruz Senra , Thierry Lacambre , Guilherme Spinelli , Marcelo Vivolo