Desert Challenge : Volkswagen Motorsport - Prologue
Volkswagen factory drivers Ari Vatanen/Fabrizia Pons (FIN/I) and Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F) finished the two-kilometre prologue at the start to the UAE Desert Challenge in their two Race Touareg 2 cars in places seven
and twelve. On the spectators' special stage held on an offroad track specifically built for the rally near the Burj Al Arab landmark the Portuguese Carlos Sousa together with his German co-driver Andreas Schulz in a Race Touareg of Team Lagos entered by the Volkswagen semi-works team Phoenix Sport shone with a third-place finish overall.
On Monday morning the UAE Desert Challenge will continue with the first desert leg leading from the sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi across 284 classified kilometres to the desert bivouac at Moreeb. Until Friday, 10 November, four more special stages in the sand desert are on the agenda before the teams are expected to arrive at the finish at the Dubai marina.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"For us, the prologue marked the kind of start we had been wishing for because all three Volkswagen Race Touareg cars ran like clockwork. But a two-kilometre special stage does not allow you to determine where you stand. We definitely did not want to open up the first desert leg on Monday, and due to our tactics in the prologue we managed to achieve this goal. Now another team has the honour of starting from first place."
#205 – Carlos Sainz : 12th place overall
"It was a short and rather difficult test before a large audience. Because the field started in the reverse order the ground had been carved quite a bit with very deep grooves.
We started the prologue slowly because today will determine the starting order on Monday, and we definitely did not want to start as the first team."
#207 – Ari Vatanen : 7th place overall
"Driving a spectators' stage in the middle of Dubai is a very impressive way to start a rally. But the prologue was just a small warm-up. The actual rally will only start on Monday with the first desert leg. I'm looking forward to the first leg because after our intensive tests this is my first opportunity to drive the Race Touareg in a competition."
#208 – Carlos Sousa : 3rd place overall
"We're satisfied because there wasn't much to gain but a lot to lose today. On the very tight stage it was about making no mistakes and not to damage the car. Setting the third best time is a good start because the prologue already counts in the overall classification. "
Standings after prologue in Dubai
1 Corbett-Mohr Nissan Navara, 2'51"4
2 Alphand-Picard Mitsubishi Pajero + 0"3
3 Sousa-Schulz Volkswagen Race Touareg + 1"5
7 Vatanen-Pons Volkswagen Race Touareg + 5"2
12 Sainz-Périn Volkswagen Race Touareg + 15"9
Press Release Volkswagen Motorsport