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—¬Ň“ő¬Õ» : Sousa finishes first overall in Baja Portugal - 09 Őŗť 2004 - 10:03

Mitsubishi's Sousa makes winning start to FIA European Baja campaign. Germany lady driver Ellen Lohr completes first rally test in 22nd place.

Portugal's Carlos Sousa and Andorra-based co-driver Henri Magne began their quest to win the 2004 FIA European Baja Cup for Drivers by finishing first overall in the 17th Baja Vodafone 1000, which finished in Portugal on Sunday.

Sousa is the reigning FIA World Champion for Cross Country Rallies and began the event as the top seed at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports Team Pajero/Montero Evolution for the first time.

After setting the third fastest time through Friday's 11-kilometer Prologue stage, near Evora, the Lisbon-based driver trailed BMW's Luc Alphand and Portugal's Miguel Barbosa through the first selective section after being blocked behind a slower car. Both Barbosa and Alphand hit trouble before the end of the stage and Sousa headed into the second selective 15m 50s ahead of his nearest rival, the Italian Pierpaolo Larini in a Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero.

Sousa has won the event on four occasions in the last five years and extended his advantage on the repeat run through the stage to start the final stage with a sizeable lead. He went on to win the event for the fifth time in six years by the margin of 34m 12s. Dubai's Khalifa Al-Motaiwi was second overall in a BMW X5, but the Mitsubishi driver Miguel Barbosa retired his Mitsubishi L200 after an accident.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for me to get behind the wheel of the new car for the first time,“ said Sousa. “The Evolution handles more like a conventional rally car than my L200 and this took time to get used to. But I was delighted with my performance.“

“This was an excellent result for Carlos and for Mitsubishi," said MMSP's Team Director Dominique Serieys. “He has been away from the team for six months and did a very professional job. He drove a perfect race. We had no problems at all with the car. The only disappointment over the weekend was the accident for the young driver Miguel Barbosa.“

Sousa's car ran with additional support from Mitsubishi Portugal and Portuguese companies GALP, TMN and BPN.

Carlos had begun his challenge by finishing third overall through Friday's 11- kilometer timed Prologue stage in Evora. The Prologue was won by Portugal's Miguel Barbosa in a Mitsubishi L200.

The event was organised by the Clube Aventura Portugal and was based at Evora, south of Lisbon.

Ralliart Teams
German lady driver Ellen Lohr made her competitive rallying debut in the Baja Vodafone 1000 with co-driver Philipp Tiefenbach in a diesel-engined Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. She went on to finish 22nd overall after delays on the first stage.

The leading female racing driver started well through the opening selective section, but clouted a tree with the rear axle shortly after the start and was classified 79th overall at the first passage control.

The damage was repaired at the service point and Ellen continued to improve as the event progressed to eventually finish 22nd overall.

“It was unfortunate for Ellen that she lost 35 minutes near the start when she hit a tree“, said Ralliart Team Manager JŁrgen Masal. “But we repaired the car and Ellen was delighted with her stage times over the last two stages“.

Press Release
Mitsubishi Motors, [09/05/04 - 21:52]

1st LEG - 07/05
SS1 PROLOGUE 15:00..... , 0 Km
2nd LEG - 08/05
SS2 PREMIERE SPECIALE 09:30..... 270,000 Km
SS3 DEUXIEME SPECIALE 14:00..... 270,000 Km
3rd LEG - 09/05
SS4 TROISIEME SPECIALE 09:00..... 100,000 Km

Final results:

†1.301 Sousa-Magne†††† Mitsubishi- 20 7h56'27"000† 80.6 km/h†† 1†† 1
†2.305 Almutaiwei-Gueh BMW-X5††††† 20 8h30'39"000 + 34'12"00†† 2†† 2
†3.317 Costa-Marques†† Toyota-Land 20 8h33'47"000 + 37'20"00†† 3†† 3
†4.343 Oliveira-Olivei Mitsubishi- 20 8h41'56"000 + 45'29"00†† 4†† 4
†5.353 Marques-Palmeir Nissan-Nava 20 8h44'12"000 + 47'45"00†† 5†† 5
†6.380 Barroco Pereira Nissan-Nava 20 8h48'19"000 + 51'52"00†† 6†† 6
†7.330 Russo-Russo†††† Hiunday-San 20 8h55'11"000 + 58'44"00†† 7†† 7
†8.352 Villar-Lucas††† Nissan-Nava 20 8h55'27"000 + 59'00"0.†† 8†† 8
†9.340 Mendes-Bexiga†† Nissan-Nava 20 8h56'50"000 + 1h00'23"†† 9†† 9
10.381 Sousa-Santos††† Nissan-Nava 20 8h59'58"000 + 1h03'31"† 10† 10

†1.† 1 L.Serra†††††††† Honda-CRF 4 S0 3h12'58"180†††††††† .1†† 1†† 1
†2.† 3 M.Patrao††††††† Yamaha-WR 4 S0 3h13'14"690 + 00'16"51†† 2†† 2
†3. 15 P.Cardoso†††††† Yamaha-WR 4 S0 3h23'06"190 + 10'08"01†† 3†† 3
†4.† 5 S.Marcos††††††† Suzuki-RM 2 S0 3h23'58"040 + 10'59"86†† 4†† 4
†5.† 7 B.Prata†††††††† Yamaha-WR 2 S0 3h24'12"270 + 11'14"09†† 5†† 5
†6.† 2 P.Afonso††††††† Yamaha-WR 4 S0 3h24'12"460 + 11'14"28†† 6†† 6
†7. 17 G.Gaudencio†††† Gas Gas-EC† S0 3h24'21"170 + 11'22"99†† 7†† 7
†8. 32 R.Filipe††††††† Yamaha-WR 4 S0 3h25'20"600 + 12'22"42†† 8†† 8
†9. 45 L.Maximino††††† KTM-EXC 125 S0 3h32'47"810 + 19'49"63†† 9†† 9
10. 22 D.Xavier††††††† Yamaha-WR 2 S0 3h32'51"930 + 19'53"75† 10† 10

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