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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: "The peaks and slopes around us are all white"

The Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart squad has arrived in Argentina for the third round of the 2007 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup and faces a snowy start to the South American marathon on Tuesday. Last year's Por Las Pampas Rally winner and former World Cup skiing champion Luc Alphand (France) is revelling in the conditions he found on his arrival in the Argentine winter sports resort, San Carlos de Bariloche, the event's official start venue. "The peaks and slopes around us are all white and the 3,000-metre altitude mountain pass we will cross in the Andes tomorrow on the run-out to the first competitive section in southern Chile is under many metres of snow," he reports.

Thermometers in the start venue, which is currently bathed in crisp winter sunshine, barely exceed the 0?C mark. However, once the Andes Mountains are behind them, competitors can expect milder temperatures for the opening 182km test which runs closer to the Pacific Ocean before the first overnight halt in Valdivia.

"I am expecting the first forest stages to be muddy and very narrow in places," continues Luc, "but I can't wait to get started; it's great to be back here. Our shakedown test went very well and today (Monday) we've got scrutineering before serious business gets underway tomorrow."

At the wheel of their Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13, Luc and his co-driver Gilles Picard (France) will be targeting a second consecutive success with Mitsubishi on the Latin American marathon which this year takes them on a 4,116km route from southern Argentina to Iquique at the northern tip of Chile.

"With the exception of the Dakar, which is only four months away, we mustn't forget that the Por Las Pampas Rally is the longest event on the cross-country rally calendar and we don't underestimate the challenge that awaits us," underlines Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team Director Dominique Serieys (France). "There is no question of treating this event as a stroll. For one thing, it will be good preparation for the Dakar for Luc and Gilles, and we will also be looking to gather valuable information about the car over a cross-section of conditions we rarely get to compete in elsewhere."

The nine-day rally 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. Action starts on Tuesday 28th August with a 279km road section from San Carlos de Bariloche, across the Andes and over the border into Chile before the difficult and varied 182km opening stage and the first overnight halt in Valdivia, on the Pacific coast, 842km south of Santiago.

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

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