BAJA ESPANA 2008-Interim

LEG 1 INTERIM

2008 FIA INTERNATIONAL CUP FOR CROSS COUNTRY BAJAS (ROUND 3/6) BAJA ESPANA ARAGON  (after SS1)

ROMA AND ALPHAND IN TOP-THREE FOR TEAM REPSOL MITSUBISHI RALLIART 

Following Thursday evening's short super-special, competitors faced the first true stage of the 2008 Baja Espana yesterday morning.

The 125.15km Calumocha-Teruel test through hills to the south of Zaragoza took place under a cloudless sky, with a slight breeze ensuring that hanging dust wasn't a problem despite the dry conditions.

The temperature at the end ofthe morning was 30°C. Nani Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain) were slowed by a puncture but succeeded in emerging as the best-placed Mitsubishi crew in second place.

The Spanishpair is followed on the provisional leaderboard by Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) who are third. The French driver was handicapped, however, by stomach pains and a lack of sleep after falling sick Thursday evening.

Team-mates Hiroshi Masuoka/Pascal Maimon (Japan/France) posted the 15th fastest time of the morning after picking up two punctures. They are currently 13th overall in their diesel-powered Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR14.

Nani Roma (Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 N°4):Position on SS1: 2nd - Overall position after SS1: 2nd

"About 40km afterthe start, we realised that we had a slow puncture [front right] after hitting a rock. We decided to continue without changing the tyre and it held until the finish, although we took it especially carefully towards the end. Running second on the road is a nice position. It was a nice stage and we could see the lines made by Al-Attiyah who is running ahead of us. He went very well this morning and it looks as though we are going to have a nice fight on our hands this weekend."

Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR13 N°3) Position on SS1:3rd - Overall position after SS1: 3rd "I don't feel very well at all today, probably a mild attack of food poisoning. I was sick last night, I didn't sleep well and I've been having stomach cramps, so it's quite tough. We dropped about half a minute early on this morning, but we then picked up a little speed and we didn't lose too much ground after that. Despite my problem, I enjoyed the stage. The first part was reasonably twisty but it was faster towards the ed through the lower-lying fields, and I'm glad to say that dust wasn't a problem."

Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution MPR14 N°10) Position on SS1: 15th - Overall position after SS1: 13th "We were unfortunate to pick upa rear-right puncture very early on when I hit a rock. We stopped to change the wheel and we punctured again on the same corner. That meant we didn't have a spare any more, so I decided to drive very carefully over the las t80km or so"

SS1 CLASSIFICATION

1.  Nasser Al-Attiyah (BMW X3 CC)- 1:32:22 (+**:**:**.*)2. Joan Roma (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 1:32:55 (+0:33)3. Luc Alphand (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 1:33:39 (+1:17)4. Filipe Campos (BMW X3 CC)- 1:36:08 (+3:46)5. Orlando Terranova (BMW X3 CC)- 1:36:56 (+4:34)6. Bruno Saby (BMW X3 CC)- 1:38:59 (+6:37)7. Tonnie Van Deijne (MITSUBISHI L200)- 1:40:17 (+7:55)8. Leonid Novistsky (BMW X3 CC)- 1:41:05 (+8:43)9. Maurizio Traglio (NISSAN TERRANO)- 1:42:34 (+10:12)10. Luis Climent (TOYOTA PROTO)- 1:43:10 (+10:48)11. Jose Hernandez (MITSUBISHI MONTERO)- 1:44:03 (+11:41)12. Fernando Hernandez (MITSUBISHI MONTERO)- 1:44:06 (+11:44)13. Antonio Mendes (NISSAN NAVARA)- 1:44:17 (+11:55)14. Kenjiro Shinozuka (NISSAN PATHFINDER)- 1:44:34 (+12:12)15. Hiroshi Masuoka (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 1:44:42 (+12:20)16. Stephane Henrard (VOLKSWAGEN BUGGY)- 1:45:08 (+12:46)17. Manuel Plaza (MITSUBISHI PAJERO)- 1:45:38 (+13:16)18. Karoly Fazekas (BMW X5)- 1:45:45 (+13:23)19. Boris Gadasin (NISSAN OVERDRIVE)- 1:46:08 (+13:46)20. Ricardo Colombo (MITSUBISHI L200)- 1:46:26 (+14:04)