Mitsubishi Consolidates Top Five Places In Dakar Rally - Positions After Leg 15 | Part Two


Italy's Miki Biasion, tackling his first Dakar in a car, was second quickest through today's stage and strengthened his grip on fourth place in a classic Pajero. He is now only 6m 38s behind Fontenay.

"I am happy with today because we had no problems and no punctures," said Biasion. "Stephane and Hiroshi have slowed down to keep their positions, but I think we are too far behind Jean-Pierre now. I will drive at my pace. It is important that we don't have any problems."

Fifth-placed Portuguese driver Carlos Sousa was coming under late pressure from South African Giniel de Villiers. He began the stage 17 minutes ahead of the former South African Touring Car champion and starts Saturday's stage 5m 32s in front of his rival.

Tenth-placed Jose-Luis Monterde continued to lead the privateers' category in his Ralliart-prepared Mitsubishi Pajero, but the reigning Spanish Off-Road Champion slipped further behind Frenchman Luc Alphand in his quest to win the Super Production diesel class. Brazilian Klever Kolberg continued to lead the Total Trophy for Amateur drivers.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the penultimate stage of this year's event and the last of the longer sections. After a compulsory rest teams will leave Abu Rish from 04.00 hrs on Saturday morning and set out on a tiring 413 kms liaison, skirting the coastline of the Gulf of Suez to arrive at the stage start near Abu Zenima.

The final 365 kms special stage crosses the Sinai massif and features narrow cols and scenic valleys, en route to the finish 50 kms from Sharm El Sheikh, adjacent to the Red Sea.

Positions after Leg 15 (Top 11 only):

1. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) MItsubishi Pajero* Evolution 43h 25m 41s

2. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero* Evolution 43h 51m 31s

3. Jean-Pierre Fontenay (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero* 45h 49m 28s

4. Miki Biasion (I)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Mitsubishi Pajero* 45h 56m 06s

5. Carlos Sousa (P)/Henri Magne (F) Mitsubishi L200 Strakar 46h 28m 35s

6. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Pascal Maimon (F) Nissan Pick-Up 46h 34m 07s

7. Stephane Henrard (B)/Bobby Willis (GB) Volkswagen Tarek 47h 44m 07s

8. Ari Vatanen (SF)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 48h 20m 34s

9. Jutta Kleinschmidt (D)/Fabrizia Pons (I) Volkswagen Tarek 52h 14m 22s

10. Luc Alphand (F)/Matthew Stevenson (GB) BMW X5 Rally-Raid 52h 23m 37s

11. Jose-Luis Monterde (E)/Rafael Tornabell (E) Mitsubishi Pajero* 52h 57m 43s

Positions on Luxor - Abu Rish stage (Top 6 only)

1. Ari Vatanen (SF)/Tina Thorner (S) Nissan Pick-Up 4h 06m 51s

2. Miki Biasion (I)/Tiziano Siviero (I) Mitsubishi Pajero* 4h 13m 14s

3. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Pascal Maimon (F) Nissan Pick-Up 4h 19m 40s

4. Jean-Pierre Fontenay (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero* 4h 20m 03s

5. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Andreas Schulz (D) Mitsubishi Pajero* Evolution 4h 20m 21s

6. Stephane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) MItsubishi Pajero* Evolution 4h 21m 44s


Published : 18/01/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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