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Baja Spain Aragon 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Baja Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Baja Spain Aragon 2007, 2nd round of the FIA Worldcup for International Bajas. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Baja Spain: Both Mitsubishi Drivers on the Podium after Leg 1.

The 2007 Baja Espana’s first full day of competition saw Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) and Joan ’Nani’ Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain) follow up their one-two finish on Thursday evening’s prologue with the second and third fastest times on today’s only stage.

The two Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution crews completed the exacting 188km test respectively 43 and 69 seconds behind the day’s winner, Colin McRae, despite Roma losing time after an off, while Peterhansel reported having difficulty finding the ideal rhythm during the early part of the stage.

The result means that the Scottish former World Rally Champion will now have to run first on the road for Saturday’s two stages, a privilege that Stéphane Peterhansel didn’t necessarily see as an advantage for him today. "The biggest thing for me, however, was finding the right pace from the start this morning," admitted the 2007 Dakar winner. "This isn’t really the sort of event I’m accustomed to and I sometimes find it more difficult to anticipate what’s coming next than I would on an African-style raid. I need to loosen up I think. I lost most of the time during the early part of the stage and it was difficult to make it up afterwards. Nani was probably the fastest driver today in absolute terms and that’s very reassuring regarding the potential of the car. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow and the aim will be to profit from today’s lessons to push as hard as we can to make up the gap."

Nani Roma led at the stage’s midpoint and was running in the immediate wake of his team-mate, but then lost a little time when he left the road some 70km from the finish. "I felt the car begin to slide under braking for a left-hand corner," he relates. "There was a moment when I thought we were going to roll but I managed to catch it. Even so, I wasn’t able to prevent us from going straight on into an earth bank. I got out to inspect the front of the car but thankfully there was no damage and we were able to continue without any further problems. Apart from my off, I am relatively pleased with my day. The stage was very narrow and more like a WRC test, so that was very good for Colin McRae. We’re not very far behind him, though, in spite of our little mishap and we will do all we can to pass him again tomorrow."

Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team director Dominique Serieys was not unduly concerned to see his drivers finish in second and third places and believes the result could actually help them when competitive action resumes on Saturday with two stages in the Zaragoza region. "Today’s times mean that Stéphane and Nani will be second and third on the road tomorrow and being first into the stage didn’t particularly play in Stéphane’s favour today," commented Serieys at the service park in Soria. "The gap that separates our two drivers from the lead this evening isn’t all that big and I think it is quite possible for them to make up for the ground they lost today."

The Baja Espana continues tomorrow with a total competitive distance of 338.46km divided into two stages, including the longest of the event (252.80km) which crews will contest a second time before Sunday afternoon’s finish in Zaragoza.

2007/07/21 | 11:06 CET | Editor: MR/HS/MMSP

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