Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dakar Rally Update: Volkswagen disappointed but not resigned

After losing their lead during the ninth stage, Volkswagen is understandably disappointed. However, the team claims that they have not resigned and are focused on doing the best they can. They will target for victories to improve their overall standing even though an overall Rally victory is out of reach.

Stage eleven begins on the 18th at Ayoun El Atrous in Mauritania.

Jump for Rally details.

Source: Volkswagen Motorsport
WOLFSBURG, Germany - The Volkswagen factory team attacks the remaining four stages of the 29th Dakar Rally with a different strategy.

The factory drivers Carlos Sainz (Spain), Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Mark Miller (USA) will target winning more stages with the Race Touareg to improve the results before reaching the finish on 21 January on the shores of Lac Rose close to Senegal's capital city. Volkswagen has won six of the ten stages held to date.

The team is, however, out of the fight for overall victory, after Giniel de Villiers, who was leading by half-an-hour, and the fourth placed Carlos Sainz tumbled down the leader board on the ninth stage after suffering from technical problems. Leading Volkswagen driver in the overall standings is Mark Miller in sixth position, followed by Carlos Sousa (Portugal) in the Lagos-Team Race Touareg. Saint is tenth, de Villiers twelfth.

"We continue to look forwards and have not resigned, even though we are still bitterly disappointed to have lost the lead we had held and defended since the rally's opening day”, says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "We want to further emphasise our all-round strong and positive appearance in this ‘Dakar' by recording good results on each day. Such problems are a part of motorsport, but they do not detract in any way whatsoever from the performance produced by everybody.” Volkswagen had dominated the Dakar Rally since the start in Lisbon and had filled the top positions on more than one occasion with several cars. Volkswagen won two of the three showcase stages in Mauritania and had led the third before problems intervened. "It is exactly our strength on the longest and most difficult stages which showed that we have done our homework successfully since the previous ‘Dakar',” says Kris Nissen.

After a pure liaison stage without an officially timed section on Wednesday, all the Race Touaregs and the entire team reached the bivouac at Ayoun El Atrous in Mauritania. "The drivers, co-drivers and cars are fit for the final spurt after this day without racing against the clock”, says Kris Nissen. The 484 kilometre stage from Ayoun El Atrous to Kayes in Mali starts on Thursday.

Standings after stage 10, Nema (MR) – Nema (MR); 366/400 km stage 10/total

Pos.; Team; Vehicle; Stage 10; Total time
1. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-P. Cottret (F/F); Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3h51m56s (4th); 37h35m19s
2. Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (F/F); Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3h54m02s (6th) + 9m56s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser/Arnaud Debron (F/F); Schlesser Buggy; 3h57m14s (7th) + 1h30m50s
4. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Alain Guehennec (QT/F); BMW X3; 3h49m48s (1st) + 2h00m13s
5. Hiroshi Masuoka/Pascal Maimon (J/F); Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution; 3h50m16s (2nd) + 2h12m04s
6. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/RSA); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3h51m37s (3rd) + 2h14m07s
7. Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (P/D); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 5h01m14s (53rd) + 5h20m47s

8. Robby Gordon/Andy Grider (USA/USA); Hummer H3; 4h23m51s (23rd) + 6h52m54s
9. Stéphane Henrard/Brigitte Becue (B/B); Buggy Volkswagen; 4h13m22s (14th) + 7h40m21s
10. Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 3h52m36s (5th) + 7h45m59s
12. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D); Volkswagen Race Touareg 2; 4h13m38s (15th) + 8h28m19s

Coming up…

Thursday, 18 January, Ayoun El Atrous (MR) – Kayes (ML): 257 km stage/484 km total. The competitors can expect sandy tracks and gravel roads through the savannah on the 257 kilometre stage from Ayoun El Atrous in Mauritania to Kayes in Mali.


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