APN, PR, Pont-de-Vaux, France,
22nd September 2005.
MPR12 versions in punishing endurance test.
Motors Repsol Team has returned from two-week test and
development session in Morocco with new MPR12 versions of
the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero
Evolution put through a punishing endurance test.
Team drivers Stéphane Peterhansel,
Hiroshi Masuoka, Joan 'Nani' Roma and Luc Alphand put the
revised new Pajero/Montero Evolution through a series of
rigorous tests over rocky and desert-type terrain in the
remote Moroccan deserts.
The endurance test was carried out over
9,000 kilometres and was attended by a full squad of
drivers, co-drivers, management and team technicians, It
was the second test of its kind that the Japanese
manufacturer has carried out this summer.
"It was a successful test for the
whole team and we remain on target with our detailed
preparations for the Dakar Rally," said MMSP's Team
Director Dominique Serieys. "We planned the test so
that we carried out rigorous endurance driving with each
of our four drivers. They all had time behind the wheel of
the new MPR12 over gravel, in sand dunes and in camel
grass. The outside temperatures were as high as 42-45
degrees Centigrade on some days, but we were delighted
with the results of the test. 'Nani' Roma and Stéphane
drove during the first week and Hiroshi and Luc took over
for the second week."
Defending Dakar champion Peterhansel
was delighted with the results of the Moroccan test.
"It was a very useful exercise for me," said the
Frenchman. "I had a lot of time behind the wheel of
the new car and there was not one technical problem. The
improvements the team have made to the suspension and
engine characteristics were really positive and the ride
was more comfortable. The new car has proved its
durability and I am looking very confident to the Dakar
again next year."
Motors Repsol Team will continue to work on revisions to
the new Pajero/Montero Evolution at the team's
headquarters in Pont-de-Vaux, near Lyon, with the test and
development program likely to continue over the coming
weeks in readiness for the start of the 2006 Dakar Rally
in Lisbon on New Year's Day.
Continuing Mitsubishi's build-up to the
world's most famous off-road rally, the Pont-de-Vaux-based
team will enter two cars in both the Portalegre-based Baja
Anta Da Serra 500 in October and the UAE Desert Challenge,
the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup,
in the United Arab Emirates in mid-November.
Alphand/Picard and Masuoka/Maimon will
compete in Portugal and Peterhansel/Cottret and Roma/Magne
in the UAE.
For both events the crews will use the modified MPR11
chassis to make sure that preparations for the latest
MPR12 version's debut on the Dakar can continue without
“After the successful Morocco test,
we must ensure that our drivers are fully-prepared,"
added Serieys. "The main goal of the Baja in Portugal
and the longer event in Dubai is to further train our
drivers in race conditions. We have a strong team and have
maintained the same drivers who achieved such a great
result on this year's Dakar Rally. The next two rallies
should be an excellent training environment."
Motors Repsol Team recently extended its partnership with
the Spanish oil company Repsol and will enter four
Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolutions in the 2006 Dakar
Rally, which starts in Lisbon on New Year's Day.
Defending champions Stéphane
Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret will be joined by fellow
countrymen and last year's runners-up Luc Alphand and
Gilles Picard, twice former winner Hiroshi Masuoka and new
co-driver Pascal Maimon and this year's Baja Spain winners
Joan 'Nani' Roma and the experienced Henri Magne for the
15-day African classic.