Dakar Rally : Volkswagen Motorsport - Leg 3
Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz has taken the lead of the Dakar Rally. The Spaniard and his French co-driver Michel Périn took second place in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 on the third stage in Morocco from Nador to Er
The Race Touareg was gifted its third stage victory by the South African Giniel de Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, who led the Sainz/Périn duo by 25 seconds across the line and Stéphane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) by 3:18 minutes to vault to second place in the overall standings. Yesterday's leader Carlos Sousa and his German co-driver Andy Schulz round off the one-two-three lead for Volkswagen in the overall classification.
The Volkswagen duo Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford improved from seventh to fifth overall. The Finn Ari Vatanen recorded the eleventh best time with his Italian co-driver Fabrizia Pons on the 648 kilometre stage. The Race Touareg remains unbeaten in this year's running of the desert classic with three stage victories and as many days at the head of the leader board.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
"We are very satisfied with the first day in Africa. I'm full of praise for Michel Périn and Carlos Sainz, who, despite being first into the stage, were still second on the day and took the overall lead. Giniel and Dirk clinched the third victory in as many days for us. The team also deserves a prize: It was so efficient that it was the first team to enter the bivouac and set-up up shop.
#301 – Giniel de Villiers : 2nd position overall
: "A fantastic stage, but it was an incredibly tough day which was rewarded in the end with the stage victory! I had to overtake loads and loads of motorbikes but chose not to take any risks. I ran for a long time in a Mitsubishi's dust cloud. I only managed to get by when the driver out-braked himself after about 130 kilometres. The route was very twisty and stony.”
#303 – Carlos Sainz : 1st position overall
: "An absolutely perfect stage, everything ran well and Michel navigated superbly. I reckon I had to overtake about 160 motorbikes. The dense dust clouds didn't make things any easier.”
#305 – Mark Miller : 5th position overall
: "Since we only started from 14th place, the dust cloud in front was very dense. We barely noticed some bumps. These conditions cost us about five minutes up to the first time check point. As I was overtaking a Nissan the driver probably didn't see me and he inadvertently touched the left hand side of the car.”
#308 – Ari Vatanen : 57th position overall
: "Because of our starting position we obviously had to fight through masses of dust, but I have no one to blame but myself for yesterday's result. We were stuck behind a competitor for around 130 kilometres and eventually finished eleventh in the day's reckonings.”