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UAE Desert Challenge 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the UAE Desert Challenge 2007, last 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.

UAE Desert Challenge: A sixth consecutive win for Mitsubishi in Dubai.

Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Friday notched up a record eighth UAE Desert Challenge victory - and its sixth in as many years - as Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) took their personal total to four wins on the event with the Mitsubishi Pajero/Evolution since 2002. The French pair overcame the extreme heat of the United Arab Emirates’ desert to take command on the penultimate leg and their perfectly paced run saw them beat Carlos Sainz by 11 minutes 56 seconds after more than 1,500km of competitive action.

Team-mates Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) challenged constantly for the lead during the early part of the event. At the end of the third day, they emerged in front at the end but then retired with two stages remaining when they damaged their front-right suspension in a treacherous pothole on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Joan ’Nani’ Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain) were eliminated when the Spanish driver fell ill shortly after the start of Tuesday’s test and was unable to continue any further.

Stéphane Peterhansel believes much of his success today in Dubai was due to finding the ideal pace from the start and he steadfastly refused to be drawn into taking risks by trying to match the speed of his principal rivals. "We succeeded in keeping to the plan we adopted before the start and it ended up paying dividends," observed the Frenchman who has also won this event on two-wheels in addition to his four victories with Mitsubishi. "If you drive hard all the time, there’s obviously a chance that you can pull out a big lead but it automatically exposes you to greater risks, too. We were also helped this week by our Pajero/Montero Evolution. The MPR13 is a strong, well-sorted car that enables you to push as much as you like, even in the sort of heat we’ve had here all this week. It’s great to have won and today’s result is clearly a morale booster for the Dakar but nobody in the team has lost sight of the fact that the Dakar promises to be a long, tough event..."

In today’s slightly cooler and cloudier conditions, the objective of the French pair - who eased into the lead after Thursday’s drama-filled stage - was to control their cushion of more than nine minutes by staying on the heels of Nasser Al Attiyah while at the same time keeping a vigilant eye on their closest chaser Carlos Sainz who was running behind them in the order. "On today’s first 123km stage, the pace was still very fast and clearly nobody had any intention of giving up the fight. It wasn’t easy to find the ideal pace because there were still 287km of stages to complete and, as we saw on Thursday and Friday, nobody could afford to take anything for granted," explained co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret. "The first test went well though, so we kept to the same tactic for much of the final stage which was slightly longer; just over 160km. When we saw Nasser stopped at Km128, however, we decided to lift because even if Carlos managed to pass us there was little chance he could bridge the gap"

After completing the final stage of the six-day, 2,210km event, which was essentially based in the southern part of the United Arab Emirates desert, close to the border with Saudi Arabia, Stéphane and Jean-Paul covered the short road section for the official prize-giving ceremony at the Dubai International Marine Club.

2007/11/02 | 13:57 CET | Editor: MR/HS/MMSP

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