Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sainz Takes 5th Place in UAE Desert Challenge

Source: Volkswagen Motorsport
WOLFSBURG, Germany - For the Volkswagen factory team, the second leg of the UAE Desert Challenge was marked by ups and downs.

After Monday's stage victory Carlos Sainz in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 started the 305-kilometre loop around the bivouac in Moreeb in first place. He fought a thrilling duel with Mitsubishi driver Luc Alphand. Up to the third time check both drivers were running in front, separated by merely a few metres. Then Sainz had to stop due to a defect in the drive system and was only able to continue the special stage after a more than three-hour repair break. Volkswagen factory driver Ari Vatanen was quick but got stuck in the soft sand for eleven minutes and defended his fourth place. Finishing the special stage in fourth position, the Portuguese Carlos Sousa in a Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 entered by Team Lagos moved up from fifth to third place.

Detailed stats after the jump.

Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"It was too bad that Carlos Sainz lost a lot of time due to a defect in the drive system. Up to that point he had been one of the quickest contenders in the field. Carlos and Michel stopped and repaired the defect with onboard tools. Because the soft sand made the repair more difficult they lost a lot of time but were able to finish the stage and will continue the rally. Initial analyses have shown that it was a minor defect which does not give us any reason to be concerned."

#207 – Ari Vatanen (FIN), 5th place (leg) / 4th place overall
"It was a strenuous and hot leg, leading us through high dunes all day. There were no tracks, only sand, sand and sand. If he hadn't gotten stuck in deep sand at the end of the special stage for eleven minutes a good result would have been possible."

#205 – Carlos Sainz (E), 24th place (leg) / 21st place overall
"In a hollow we had a partial failure of the drive system. There, in deep sand, it was impossible to continue with two-wheel drive. We repaired the defect with onboard tools. At this particular location it was very difficult to work on the car. Although we lost more than three hours we will continue the rally because we want to set good times the next few days and, above all, gather more experience in the sand for the Dakar Rally."

#208 – Carlos Sousa (P) – Team Lagos, 4th place (leg) / 3rd place overall
"We had a perfect special stage with a good pace. The Race Touareg was running like a charm. Today's leg took us through high dunes and, due to the low speed and high outside temperatures, was extremely difficult and hot."

Standings after leg 2, Moreeb (UAE) – Moreeb (UAE); 305/452 km leg 2/overall

Pos., Team, Vehicle, Leg 2, Total time
1. Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (F/F); Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3h52m30s (1st); 6h41m59 s
2. Jean-L. Schlesser/Emmanuel Guigou (F/F); Schlesser-Ford; 3h56m01s (3rd) + 14m25s
3. Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 4h04m06s (4th) + 15m14s
4. Ari Vatanen/Fabrizia Pons (FIN/I); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 4h10m58s (5th) + 21m26s
5. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-P. Cottret (F/F); Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3h55m51s (2nd) + 26m41s
21. Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 7h21m42s (24th) + 3h45m55 s

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