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Por las Pampas 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Por las Pampas Patagonia Atacama Rally 2007, 3rd round of the FIA Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Por las Pampas: Alphand and Coma win the toughest stage

As they have been doing since the rally started in the car category, Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard won the stage in their Mitsubishi Montero Evolution MPR13, their sixth in the six days of the race so far. They completed the 417km stage in 6h 38m 59s, more than an hour faster than their immediate rivals. Once again most of their rivals were delayed because of different problems and the Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart now has a lead of more than 3 hours over the second placed car in the overall standings.

Marc Coma did the same in the motorbike category, and with this latest victory was able to extend his lead in the general even more. The other side of the coin was seen by the other Repsol rider Jordi Viladoms, who lost quite a lot of time after a small fall at the start of the stage. In consequence he kept up a calm but staedy pace on most of this long special, although he was able to take advantage of the situation to concentrate on his navigation. In this sense the outcome of this stage was quite positive as he could carry on adapting to all the aspects of a race, since it does not matter how much training is done it is impossible to find conditions like those in a real race which is the best for gaining experience.

In contrast with the shortest stage in the Rally Por Las Pampas 2007, held on Saturday, the action on Sunday, yesterday, was characterised by being one of the most competitive sections in the nine days of this competition, long and slow. The first part of the special, which went to the neutralisation halfway through the stage, turned out to be extremely tough physically. The race finished in the town of Bahía Inglesa, where for the first time since the race started the team will spend two consecutive nights in the same place. With the seventh stage the dunes begin, a 228km special, where calm will take over the Repsol Team members, since until the end of the rally the objective will be to control the lead they have accumulated and not make mistakes.

Luc Alphand: "The morning was spent in 1st and 2nd gear, just like when driving on rocky shores, and occasionally on a slightly higher terrain where the biggest difficulties were finding the right route to take in the maze of fisherman`s tracks. The average speed was so slow that we took 3 hours and a half to reach the neutralisation. On the rocks we moved both inside and outside the car as Gilles had problems reading the roadbook. It was not one of the best places to get lost as there was an instruction every 200 metres. The truth is that it was dificult to move to the west because the sea was always there to guide us, but it was very tiring for Gilles, both physically and mentally. The second half was a little easier and much more varied. Gilles is in top form, as always, and although we were got off line in a valley we did not get it wrong again in spite of us being the first vehicle through. We overtook all the bikes except four of them before crossing the finishing line, but it was a difficult leg, the equivalent of a long day in the Dakar. Fortunately the Montero is extremely robust and resistant when faced with any difficulty."

Marc Coma: "The stage was quite a bit more difficult than the previous ones. There was a lot of navigation needed, on tracks that went parallel to the coast. It was full of fishermen`s tracks that led to zones with houses on the beach, and so the navigation was complicated. With so many crossroads it was difficult to choose the right way. We did 417km on a special that was quite demanding both physically and mechanically, with two different parts, one with sand and the other with a lot of stones."

Jordi Viladoms: "At the start of the special there was a slow zone with a lot of stones, that was like a zone for trial bikes. I had a small fall and I hurt my right hand and right knee. I stopped for a short time to make sure that I was OK, but it conditioned the whole of the special for me and I took things a little more calmly. Bit by bit I picked up my pace and at the end of the stage I felt better, but I lost quite a bit of time."

2007/09/03 | 10:39 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Repsol

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