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Central Europe Rally Special-Newssection (1st round Dakar-Series 2008)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Central Europe Rally 2008, the first round of the new Dakar-Series. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Central Europe Rally: Exclusive Interview with Stéphane Peterhansel.

During the technical scrutineering reporter Joerg Sand interviewed Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi Pajero Evo MPR13). Hello Stéphane. You are switching over to driving in the mud?

Stéphane Peterhansel: Yeah, that's true, let us see what comes out of it. We will have strong competitors. How would you rate the Toyo-Hummer from Robby Gordon and B.J. Baldwin?

Stéphane Peterhansel: We were testing together in Veszprem and the Hummers were also there during that time. In the testing area there was a long bumpy passage with a lot of small hills. On these conditions the Hummers were unbeatable. The car has a gigantic suspension system and a lot of power. Their cars have also been constructed in a way that shows a lot of experience and good engineering. Have you already driven the new MPR14 diesel?

Stéphane Peterhansel: Yes, I have tested the new car. After three rounds of practicing I even was 2 seconds faster per lap as in my gasoline powered car. However, you have to get used to the different engine characteristics. After adjusting to that everything works out quite well. Even if you can use only a smaller area of RPMs the momentum you have is quite gigantic with this engine compared to the gasoline version. Can you tell us a little bit more about the details?

Stéphane Peterhansel: Unfortunately not, there you have to ask Dominique (Serieys, the Mitsubishi teamleader) this is still not public. What do you think about the recent competition between the ASO and the FIA?

Stéphane Peterhansel: If I compare the "Optic" and the "Central Europe Rally" the only thing I can say is that I have driven the "Optic" many times. The rally was always quite similar so after a certain time you know everything well and are aware of what can be expected. That is the reason why I see the "Central Europe Rally" as a new challenge. I think the ASO has enough experience to create a rally here that is more challenging than the "Optic". What do you think about South America as a replacement for the Africa-Dakar?

Stéphane Peterhansel: The Dakar in Argentina and Chile will definitely be a great rally. The conditions are perfect and the scenery varies a lot. We surely will have less sand. I trust the ASO that we will also have our challenges there on long special stages. It will be different than in Africa where it always was very adventurous. But it may be possible that one day the Dakar will return to Africa. At the moment South America is the best solution for the Dakar. I have heard that Andrea (Mayer) is now driving in Brazil?

Stéphane Peterhansel: There she will compete in a Mitsubishi L200 and most likely also drive the "Dos Sertos" Rally which newly will be part of the FIA Marathonrally Worldcup. Maybe there will also be the possibility that she will drive the South American Dakar in January.

2008/04/19 | 23:42 CET | Editor: MR/HS/JS

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