Baja España : Volkswagen Motorsport - Finish
Successful technical endurance test and hard, dedicated driving: Carlos Sousa (Portugal) and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 of the Portuguese Team Lagos, entered by the Volkswagen semi-works
team Phoenix Sport, finished the Rally Baja España in second place overall despite a major loss of time.
The rally, which started in Madrid and ended in Saragossa, put the teams to a tough test including muddy and partially dusty stretches as well as deep passages through water. On the fourth of five special stages covering 866.5 classified kilometres, Sousa/Schulz – due to a misunderstanding resulting in the timecard not being stamped - had lost over 20 minutes, which cost them the overall lead.
Despite an attack against front runner Jozel Sykora (Mitsubishi) on the last of the four competition days and two of five best stage times the team, in the end, was only able to finish as the runner-up.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
"The first rally independently contested by Team Lagos worked out well. Both the Race Touareg and the entire team proved to be absolutely capable of achieving victory. Unfortunately an avoidable mistake made by the driver and the co-driver during the time check deprived them of the fruit of their labour. Something like this can, but should not, happen. It's better, though, for it to happen here than during the 2007 Dakar Rally."
Carlos Sousa (P), Team Lagos, 2nd place overall
"The rally was marked by ups and downs for us.
Right in the beginning, during the prologue, we spun, but despite the loss of time we were able to push forwards to the front. The mistake at the checkpoint cost us a lot of time as well as victory. After that, we gave everything and made up time again, but it wasn't enough.”
Andreas Schulz (D), co-driver
"The mistake at the checkpoint was mine. We turned in the time card but the stamp was missing. I checked this too late and so we had already left the town. When we noticed what had happened we decided to play it safe and got stamped later to keep from being disqualified in the classification. That ruined our chances for victory. That's too bad because the team and car were perfect."
Rally Baja España : Final results
Pos., Team, Vehicle, Total time
1. J. Sykora/M. Sykora (SK/SK), Mitsubishi Pajero, 11:11.26,0 hrs
2. C. Sousa/A. Schulz (P/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 + 9.37 min
3. P. Larini/P. Mussachia (I/I), Mitsubishi Pajero + 29.53 min
4. L. Palik/G. Daraszi (H/H), Nissan Pickup + 37.28 min
5. B. Moniz/J. Sotto-Mayor (P/P), Nissan Pickup + 43.25 min
Press release Volkswagen Motorsport