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Snippets from Volkswagen bivouac
Three questions to Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz
The Volkswagen drivers were in the spotlight before the start of the Dakar Rally. Ari Vatanen, Carlos Sainz, Mark Miller and Giniel de Villiers and their co-drivers used the days leading to the start of the cross
country classic to give interviews, and posed for photographs at technical scrutineering before signing autographs for employees from the Volkswagen factory "Autoeuropa” and met guests of the Volkswagen importers for informal chats. After the start in Lisbon the four Volkswagen duos concentrate solely on rally events.

Lisbon retains start location status
The Dakar Rally started from Lisbon for the second time. Like the debut year, in 2007 the technical and administrative scrutineering on Thursday was also extremely well attended. The ‘Dakar' will again start in Lisbon in 2008. Portugal's Sport Minister Pedro Silva Pereira emphasised the interest of his country to extend the cooperation beyond 2008.

Farewell colleagues
The Volkswagen factory team must bid farewell after the stages held on the Iberian Peninsula. The ten ‘European Group' employees, who supported the team before the start, return to Germany in the evening. The remaining group also splits-up: While the factory drivers and their race engineers stay overnight in Portimão on the Algarve, the majority of the 78-head team set-off for Algeciras, from where the ferry for the support Armada sets sail to Africa.

Three questions to Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz

This is your second Dakar Rally start, how do you feel?
"I drove a lot of tests last season and competed in three Cross Country Rally World Cup events. Especially since starting the UAE Desert Challenge, where we were able to win three stages, I feel that I've collected a great deal of experience on sand and in the desert. However, the ‘Dakar' is tough and when compared to drivers like Ari Vatanen I'm a relative newcomer in this sport.


You were able to win the opening stages in Portugal last year. Is the pressure greater now as a result?
"It's a completely different ball game this year. The stages are completely different this year, which is why we couldn't draw on much of last year's information. In general, however, both of the opening stages suit me because they are typical rally stages.”

Do you go to the limit on these stages?
"No, since you stand to lose much more than you can win on these short stages. It's important for me to get through these relatively short Portuguese stages without problems. At the end of the day, the only thing that counts is the result after crossing the finish line in Dakar after two weeks of rallying. Also, it's not possible to drive on the limit when you have to follow a road book without notes.”



     Mitsubishi makes cautious start to defence Dakar Rally title
     Volkswagen fills top 5 positions on opening stage
     Faria and Sousa provisional winners of the first special section
     Start of the first special stage from Dakar 2007
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     Schlesser: ''Its bite has to be as bad as its bark''
     Volkswagen Team ready to go
     Discovery time for Yvan Muller
     Carlos Sainz looks ahead
     Sylvain Poncet explains his excitement

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