Wednesday, January 11, 2006

De Villiers and Saby Present Volkswagen with One-Two

Text from Volkswagen Motorsport.
WOLFSBURG, Germany - Volkswagen finished the Dakar Rally’s eleventh stage between Kayes and Bamako with a one-two for Giniel de Villiers and Bruno Saby.

After Carlos Sainz won a stage the day before in the Race Touareg 2 four the fourth time, team mate Giniel de Villiers presented the Wolfsburg team with its fifth stage victory. The third placed South African reduced the gap to overall leader Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) by 21 minutes to 42 minutes. Mark Miller is the new fifth placed driver, after team mate Jutta Kleinschmidt retired after damaging the suspension beyond repair in an accident.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"We are very pleased by the one-two scored by Giniel de Villiers and Bruno Saby. After all, the eleventh stage gave us our fifth victory. Its is very unfortunate that Jutta has retired. Immediately after the accident she saw that the damage to the suspension was very serious and waved past her team mates, including our Race Truck, who all wanted to help her. It's a shame that the Race Truck then also had an accident. Everybody in both vehicles was uninjured.”

#301 – Bruno Saby (F), 2nd place (leg) / 8th position overall
"I'm satisfied with second fastest stage time and that I have moved up two positions. It was a difficult day: Loads of stones, potholes and clouds and clouds of dust. The difficult navigation didn't help things either, but Michel's work was perfect yet again.”

#303 – Jutta Kleinschmidt (D), retired
"I hit a tree stump after the steering was torn out of my hands by a pothole. The suspension was damaged irreparably. I have completed more than 50,000 rally kilometres with Volkswagen and always saw the chequered flag – this series is now over.”

#305 – Giniel de Villiers (RSA), 1st place (leg) / 3rd position overall "It's fantastic to win my first stage with Volkswagen! Last year I won the Bamako stage. A big thank you goes to Tina who navigated perfectly. I bent the exhaust on a tree after 50 kilometres.”

#307 – Carlos Sainz (E), 4th place (leg) / 11th position overall
"My stage ran relatively smoothly until I hit a bush with the rear end 80 kilometres before the finish, under which a tree stump was hidden. We continued with a wobbling rear wheel to the finish and were still fourth.”

#309 – Mark Miller (USA), 9th place (leg) / 5th position overall
"Our role today was to support Giniel and Tina. That's why we waited for them for eight minutes immediately after the start. It goes without saying that we support the team. Our Race Touareg was perfect today, Dirk's navigation was perfect.”

Three questions to Team Manager Peter Utoft

What has changed in the team since the 2005 "Dakar"?
"The number of team personnel has grown from 62 to 78. Instead of four Volkswagen Race Touareg prototypes we have five rally cars in action. The most important thing is that we have improved the procedures due to our experience. The operational procedures are more detailed this year, to a large extent they were already established before the rally, so that only small adjustments are necessary to suit the actual circumstances during the event.”

From the organisational point of view what is the challenge of the Dakar Rally?
"Our planning must guarantee that every team member is at the right place at exactly the right time. For this purpose, we must distribute 78 employees in 27 vehicles, and know at the same time where each team member is on the service-routes which are sometimes longer than 700 kilometres.”

How would you summarise events leading up to the final third of the rally?
"Although the team is larger everybody has bonded extremely well with one another, the procedures are more routine and calm. Every team member must work very closely together under the toughest conditions. We know from experience that under such conditions tension can arise. However, we succeeded in knitting the team together from the word go. The atmosphere in the Volkswagen bivouac is still excellent.”

Standings after stage 11, Kayes (ML) – Bamako (ML); 231/705 km stage 11/total

Pos., Team, Vehicle, Stage 11, Total time
1. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-P. Cottret (F/F), Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3:27:59 hrs. (11.) 41:37:57 hrs.
2. Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (F/F), Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3:13:04 hrs. (3.) + 25:09 min.
3. Giniel de Villiers/Tina Thörner (RSA/S), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3:07:01 hrs. (1.) + 42:19 min.
4. Nani Roma/Henri Magne (E/F), Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3:30:26 hrs. (13.) + 1:37:51 hrs.
5. Mark Miller/Dirk von Zitzewitz (USA/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3:25:03 hrs. (9.) + 3:18:06 hrs.
6. Jean-L. Schlesser/François Borsotto (F/F), Schlesser-Ford; 3:25:27 hrs. (10.) + 3:57:54 hrs.
7. Carlos Sousa/Jean-Marie Lurquin (P/B), Nissan Pick-up; 3:18:20 hrs. (6.) + 5:05:17 hrs.
8. Bruno Saby/Michel Périn (F/F), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3:12:34 hrs. (2.) + 8:20:05 hrs.
9. Thierry Magnaldi/Arnaud Debron (F/F), Schlesser-Ford; 3:41:52 hrs. (19.) + 8:29:03 hrs.
10. Guerlain Chicherit/Matthieu Baumel (F/F), BMW X3; 3:16:50 hrs. (5.) + 8:29:23 hrs.
11. Carlos Sainz/Andreas Schulz (E/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3:15:34 hrs. (4.) + 10:01:24 hrs.


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