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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: Mitsubishi face an extremely varied challenge.

The FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup calendar continues with the international Por Las Pampas Rally which takes Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart to South America for the third round of the 2007 series. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and its motorsport unit MMSP will be represented on this 4,116 Kilometres marathon - which runs from Bariloche in the south of Argentina to Iquique at the northern tip of Chile - by a single Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 shared by last year's winner Luc Alphand (France) and his co-driver Gilles Picard (France).

The nine-day event features a total competitive distance of 2,315km divided into nine special stages ranging in length from 31 to 503 kilometres, plus a short 3km spectator showpiece on the beach at Vina del Mar, near the Chilean capital, Santiago. Competitors face a unique cocktail of conditions that will take them across high mountain passes in the Andes, over rocky forest tracks, along the sandy Pacific seaboard and into the ultra-dry Atacama Desert close to the Tropic of Capricorn.

"This Por las Pampas Rally is very important for the team," says Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys. "Argentina and Chile are both key markets for Mitsubishi, for our sponsor Repsol and Valeo which has several factories in the region. It also offers the season's broadest spectrum of conditions, from fast-flowing gravel and rougher, rock-strewn stages to the towering dunes of grey sand that are a feature of the Atacama. It will also be the back-end of winter in this part of the world, so there is a real possibility of snow and/or ice high in the Andes Mountains, while rain could well lead to deep mud elsewhere, notably in the south. Make no mistake: this is no stroll. The car will need to be extremely reliable and versatile. In terms of stage distance, it's about half a Dakar and the task faced by Luc and Gilles will be further complicated by the frequently complex navigation.
They won't be able to count on taped-off junctions to keep them on the right route over the criss-cross network of trails in the many remote regions they will visit!"

Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard won the Por Las Pampas Rally for Mitsubishi at their first attempt in 2006 and returned from South America enthralled with the experience. "It's a magnificent event," enthuses the French driver for whom it is a chance to keep match fit as the countdown to next year's Dakar ticks by relentlessly. "The landscapes are simply stunning - I couldn't believe the huge dunes we came across - and the route is also varied from the driving point of view, with extreme cold and hot temperatures, plus some very delicate stages. And I'm not expecting the shortest tests to be the easiest either! I found it quite demanding physically last year. Although it will be slightly shorter this time round, the stages can be very twisty with few straights. Thankfully, the organisers often include mid-stage neutralisations that allow you to catch your breath. I live at 1,600 metres, so the altitude shouldn't be a problem for me, but the navigation calls for concentration and good team-work with Gilles; there's a good chance we will be running first on the road quite a lot, so we will be blazing the trail. That said, we found last year's roadbook very good."

2007/08/28 | 12:38 CET | Editor: MR/HS/MMSP

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