2008 Dakar PAX Rally - Leg 3

Friday, September 12, 2008


Leg 3 (Friday, September 12, 2008), Benavente (Portugal) - Alcochete (Portugal):Road section: 22kmSS3: 90kmRoad section: 1kmServiceRoad section: 22kmSS3: 90kmRoad section: 26kmTotal distance: 251km

Following the first two stages, which took competitors into the mountains to the northeast of Lisbon, there was a distinct change in scenery for Friday's leg of the inaugural PAX Rally. Today's 90km competitive loop, which was contested twice, marked a shift to sandier, lower-lying terrain and, as expected, handed the advantage to Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart's principal rivals.

Mitsubishi's trio did more than just defend their corner, however, and Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (France) succeeded in moving up one place into second spot, while Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) continue to figure on the overnight podium. Joan 'Nani' Roma and Lucas Cruz (Spain) are still fifth in the third Pajero/Montero Evolution with two days of the Dakar Series event remaining.

"We pushed as hard as we could and our reward is the fact that we have gained a place," commented Stéphane Peterhansel this evening. "We had a couple scrapes today, though. On the first pass, about 35km from the start, I went up onto two wheels and that momentarily unseated my front-right tyre. Some air escaped in the process, but the tyre stayed inflated, so we were able to continue. I could sense that we were still losing pressure, however, and I preferred to take it a little easier to the finish. The conditions were far more cut-up second time round, and more soft sand had become exposed. We knew that wouldn't be good for us and I did what I could to compensate. I nearly paid the price for that when I went straight on into a tree. I thought I had damaged my radiator, but I quickly saw that the temperatures and everything were OK, so we were able to continue. Tomorrow we will have a later running order, and that could well play in our favour."

The Frenchman's performance enabled him to trade places with team-mate and early leader Luc Alphand who still has a footing on the provisional podium, this time with exactly the same total time as Giniel De Villiers! "The profile of today's stage is very frustrating," reported the former skier at the lunchtime break. "It started with a twisty run through forest land, which wasn't too bad. However, the majority was made up of long straights and 90° turns, which I think is where we lost the most time. It was a very tricky stage, too, with trees very close to the side of the road, but I'm glad to say that we came through it unscathed and our car is running perfectly. There is still everything to play for!"

The afternoon's run saw Alphand switch to a different type of tyre. "I felt more comfortable and I was closer to the times of the other drivers," he observed. "I also tried to keep my driving smoother and that seems to have paid dividends, although there isn't much we can do about the time we loose accelerating out of the tight corners."

Like his team-mates, Nani Roma found that today's terrain was much less favourable than the rally's first two stages in the Castelo Branco region. "I don't know why, but I had trouble settling into a good rhythm," he confessed. "My car was perfect and I didn't have any problems at all, but I didn't succeed in finding the ideal pace."

Aware that the change of terrain further to the south of Portugal was likely to penalize his drivers, Team Director Dominique Serieys (France) was swift to praise the three Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart crews for their efforts: "Today's stage was totally different to those of the first two legs, and Luc, Nani and Stéphane did all they could to limit the damage. We intend to keep up the pressure all the way to the finish and we have been helped so far by the Pajero/Montero Evolution's reliability, with only a minor electric problem on just one car to report so far."

TSaturday, the penultimate leg will take competitors to the Algarve city of Portimao via a 468km route which features a single 159km stage. The rally is scheduled to end on Sunday afternoon in Portimao after a total distance of 1,583km, including 829km divided into six stages.

SS3 CLASSIFICATION1. Carlos SAINZ (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 57:08 (+**:**:**.*)2. Guerlain CHICHERIT (BMW X3 CC)- 57:56 (+0:48)3. Stephane PETERHANSEL (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 58:06 (+0:58)4. Giniel DE VILLIERS (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 58:08 (+1:00)5. Nasser AL-ATTYAH (BMW X3 CC)- 58:34 (+1:26)6. Luc ALPHAND (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 58:49 (+1:41)7. Joan ROMA (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 59:21 (+2:13)8. Filipe CAMPOS (BMW X3 CC)- 59:51 (+2:43)9. Orlando TERRANOVA (BMW X3 CC)- 1:00:24 (+3:16)10. Miroslav ZAPLETAL (MITSUBISHI L200)- 1:02:15 (+5:07)

AFTER SS3 CLASSIFICATION1. Carlos SAINZ (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 7:25:33 (+**:**:**.*)2. Stephane PETERHANSEL (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 7:26:33 (+1:00)3. Luc ALPHAND (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 7:27:14 (+1:41)4. Giniel DE VILLIERS (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 7:27:52 (+2:19)5. Joan ROMA (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 7:28:27 (+2:54)6. Nasser AL-ATTYAH (BMW X3 CC)- 7:32:25 (+6:52)7. Filipe CAMPOS (BMW X3 CC)- 7:38:38 (+13:05)8. Pedro GRANCHA (NISSAN NAVARRA OFF ROAD)- 7:59:55 (+34:22)9. Guerlain CHICHERIT (BMW X3 CC)- 8:04:17 (+38:44)10. Miroslav ZAPLETAL (MITSUBISHI L200)- 8:12:05 (+46:32)

SS4 CLASSIFICATION1. Carlos SAINZ (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 56:08 (+**:**:**.*)2. Nasser AL-ATTYAH (BMW X3 CC)- 56:47 (+0:39)3. Guerlain CHICHERIT (BMW X3 CC)- 57:07 (+0:59)4. Giniel DE VILLIERS (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 57:08 (+1:00)5. Stephane PETERHANSEL (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 57:29 (+1:21)6. Luc ALPHAND (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 57:46 (+1:38)7. Joan ROMA (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 58:04 (+1:56)8. Filipe CAMPOS (BMW X3 CC)- 59:39 (+3:31)9. Orlando TERRANOVA (BMW X3 CC)- 59:40 (+3:32)10. Pedro GRANCHA (NISSAN NAVARRA OFF ROAD)- 1:01:05 (+4:57)

AFTER SS4 CLASSIFICATION1. Carlos SAINZ (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 8:21:41 (+**:**:**.*)2. Stephane PETERHANSEL (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 8:24:02 (+2:21)3. Giniel DE VILLIERS (VW RACE TOUAREG 2)- 8:25:00 (+3:19)5. Joan ROMA (MITSUBISHI PAJERO/MONTERO EVOLUTION)- 8:26:31 (+4:50)6. Nasser AL-ATTYAH (BMW X3 CC)- 8:29:12 (+7:31)7. Filipe CAMPOS (BMW X3 CC)- 8:38:17 (+16:36)8. Pedro GRANCHA (NISSAN NAVARRA OFF ROAD)- 9:01:00 (+39:19)9. Guerlain CHICHERIT (BMW X3 CC)- 9:01:24 (+39:43)10. Miroslav ZAPLETAL (MITSUBISHI L200)- 9:13:42 (+52:01)

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