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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: Mitsubishi´s Stephane Peterhansel takes command in Spain.

Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Stéphane Peterhansel and his co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret (France) have profited from the longest and probably toughest leg of the 2007 Baja Espana to go clear at the top of the provisional leaderboard with their Pajero/Montero Evolution.

The French pair has succeeded in changing its overnight deficit of 37 seconds compared to early pace-setter Colin McRae into a lead of 47 seconds after a further 338,46km of competitive action divided into two stages.

Despite suffering a puncture in the course of the morning’s stage, Joan ’Nani’ Roma and Lucas Cruz (Spain) follow in third overall after posting exactly the same time as their Mitsubishi team-mates over the day’s second test, the longest of the weekend (252.80km) which survivors will contest a second time tomorrow morning before the finish in Zaragoza.

"Apart from Nani’s puncture, it’s been a very good day on the whole," said Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart team director Dominique Serieys at this evening’s service park in Zaragoza. "Stéphane profited from yesterday’s lessons to put in an assertive run that has seen him move into top spot, while Nani recovered well after his puncture to claim the best time - level with Stéphane - this afternoon. On these roads that are more reminiscent of a WRC stage than traditional rally-raid terrain, I think they can be proud of the job they have done today against someone of Colin McRae’s pedigree!"

Peterhansel’s cushion at the top of this evening’s standings could have been even bigger had he not lost an estimated 20s at a passage control on SS2 waiting for a marshal to correctly stamp his timecard. Even so, the Frenchman was understandably pleased with his day’s work: "I drove far more aggressively and took more risks. It’s a tactic that leaves you more exposed, especially since rain had made portions of the morning’s stage quite tricky. It ended up paying off, however, and we were able to make up all the ground we lost yesterday and take the lead by the lunchtime break. We then decided to stick to the same sort of pace for the afternoon’s long stage but I made a few mistakes and it wasn’t such a perfect run, although we still managed to pull a further 30 or so seconds clear of Colin McRae. There is still the repeat of the 252km stage to come tomorrow and our lead of 47 seconds isn’t really big enough to permit us to control from in front, so we’ve got another big day ahead of us!"

The lingering wet conditions in the early part of the morning’s 85.66km stage meant drivers had to cope with frequently changing levels of grip that ended up catching out Nani Roma about 45km after the start. "It was very slippery and muddy in places," related the Spaniard. "Along one straight, my wheels began to spin and I went into a slide that ended with me hitting a rock and puncturing. That’s where I lost most of my time today. This afternoon’s stage went much better, although it wasn’t perfect and I lost a little time with an intermittent brake problem which saw the pedal occasionally go soft. This rally is by no means over, though, and I am still extremely motivated. The main thing will be to keep pushing tomorrow and make sure McRae can’t afford to relax."

The programme of the final day of the 2007 Baja Espana features a second attempt at the 252.80km loop in the Zaragoza region before the early afternoon finish ceremony in the Aragon capital.

2007/07/23 | 11:06 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Repsol

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