Sainz and De Villiers are confirmed
Volkswagen discontinues cooperation with Jutta Kleinschmidt. The contract signed in 2002 with the former factory driver expired on 31 January 2006; it was not possible to agree to an extension.
"Volkswagen opened negotiations, which
were concluded recently, with Jutta Kleinschmidt and in particular her management immediately after the finish of this year's Dakar Rally. We were unable to agree mutual terms for a continuation of our cooperation”, explained Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.
Born in Cologne, she changed to Volkswagen following her victory at the 2001 Dakar Rally. The 43-year old recorded her greatest moment in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 last year when she finished third in the "Dakar”.
"Jutta Kleinschmidt made an important contribution, to date, to the success of Volkswagen's ‘Dakar' project through her driving ability, her specific know-how, but also her personality”, says Kris Nissen "We thank Jutta for her input and wish her all the best for the future.”
Volkswagen continues its Cross Country Rallying programme and will compete again in the 2007 Dakar Rally. The two-time Rally World Champion Carlos Sainz from Spain and the South African Giniel de Villiers are confirmed as drivers for the proposed four car Race Touareg 2 works team.
Volkswagen finished second overall at the Dakar Rally in January with Giniel de Villiers, in 2005 Volkswagen won the FIA Cross Country World Cup with the Frenchman Bruno Saby.
Press Release Volkswagen Motorsport