Mitsubishi Announces Driver Line-Up For 2005 Telefonica Dakar Rally

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and MMSP announced it will be entering a total of five factory-built cars in the 2005 Telefónica-Dakar Rally.

The team is bidding for a fifth consecutive and 10th overall victory in the grueling African event, which starts in Barcelona, Spain, on 1st January 2004. With the backing of Spain’s largest oil company, Repsol YPF SA as its main sponsor, the MMSP team will comprise four Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolutions and one Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up.

The five works MMSP prepared Mitsubishis will be piloted by a successful and experienced line-up of drivers. Spearheading the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution assault will be Japanese twice former winner Hiroshi Masuoka, who will be co-driven by the German Andreas Schulz, and French defending champion Stéphane Peterhansel, who boasts six two-wheel victories in the event and who celebrated his first victory with Mitsubishi in 2004. His team mate will be Frenchman Jean-Paul Cottret. Masuoka won the recent UAE Desert Challenge and clinched victory in the Dakar in 2002 and 2003.

Frenchmen Luc Alphand, a former World Cup ski champion, together with co-driver Gilles Picard, and Spain's Joan ("Nani") Roma, the overall winner of the motorcycle category in 2004, will drive a third and fourth Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution. Roma is to be partnered by Andorra-based Henri Magne.

Germany's Andrea Mayer finished fifth overall last year and will drive the sole Mitsubishi L200 Pick-Up. Mayer will be co-driven by a new team mate, the Frenchman Jean-Michel Polato.

MMSP President Isao Torii said: "Mitsubishi Motors is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Paris-Dakar Rally and together we will be seeking to add to the legend in 2005. I have the greatest confidence in Masuoka, Peterhansel and Mayer and also expect great things from new team members Alphand and Roma."

Published 22 October 2004 Melanie Carter

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