Dakar Rally : Volkswagen Motorsport - Leg 11
The Volkswagen factory team attacks the remaining four stages of the 29th Dakar Rally with a different strategy. The factory drivers Carlos Sainz (Spain), Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Mark Miller (USA) will target winning
more stages with the Race Touareg to improve the results before reaching the finish on 21 January on the shores of Lac Rose close to Senegal's capital city. Volkswagen has won six of the ten stages held to date.
The team is, however, out of the fight for overall victory, after Giniel de Villiers, who was leading by half-an-hour, and the fourth placed Carlos Sainz tumbled down the leader board on the ninth stage after suffering from technical problems.
Leading Volkswagen driver in the overall standings is Mark Miller in sixth position, followed by Carlos Sousa (Portugal) in the Lagos-Team Race Touareg. Saint is tenth, de Villiers twelfth.
"We continue to look forwards and have not resigned, even though we are still bitterly disappointed to have lost the lead we had held and defended since the rally's opening day”, says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "We want to further emphasise our all- round strong and positive appearance in this ‘Dakar' by recording good results on each day. Such problems are a part of motorsport, but they do not detract in any way whatsoever from the performance produced by everybody. Volkswagen had dominated the Dakar Rally since the start in Lisbon and had filled the top positions on more than one occasion with several cars. Volkswagen won two of the three showcase stages in Mauritania and had led the third before problems intervened.
"It is exactly our strength on the longest and most difficult stages which showed that we have done our homework successfully since the previous ‘Dakar'.”
After a pure liaison stage without an officially timed section on Wednesday, all the Race Touaregs and the entire team reached the bivouac at Ayoun El Atrous in Mauritania. "The drivers, co-drivers and cars are fit for the final spurt after this day without racing against the clock”, says Kris Nissen. The 484 kilometre stage from Ayoun El Atrous to Kayes in Mali starts on Thursday.