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Wolfsburg (2 January 2006). Volkswagen holds third, fourth and fifth positions overall less than a minute behind the leader with its works drivers Bruno Saby, Carlos Sainz and Jutta Kleinschmidt after the third Dakar Rally stage.
On the first African stage in Morocco, which measured 386 kilometres (total leg: 672 kilometres), the head of the field has bunched much closer together: The first three Volkswagen drivers are separated by a mere three seconds. Behind Mark Miller, who steered his Race Touareg 2 to seventh place overall today, is Giniel de Villiers in twelfth position only 4 minutes 33 seconds behind the leader.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
“All five Race Touareg 2 prototypes ran flawless on the first African stage. Our best three cars all lie within three seconds of one another at the top of the field. The two fastest drivers in the field – Nani Roma and Hiroshi Masuoka – are only separated by six seconds. It’s incredibly close after more than 500 special stage kilometres.”
#301 – Bruno Saby (F), 8th place (leg) / 3rd position overall
“It goes without saying that I’m pleased to have improved by one position to third place. We lost time 40 kilometres before the finish because of tyre failure on the rear right. We had to overtake a lot of motorbikes on the edge of the track, where the danger of damaging a tyre increases.”
#303 – Jutta Kleinschmidt (D), 4th place (leg) / 5th position overall
“I’ve no complaints about fourth fastest time of the day, especially when you think just how difficult the navigation was and particularly as we also had to drive 60 kilometres in the dust cloud of the car in front. It was possible, but very risky to overtake.”
#305 – Giniel de Villiers (RSA), 9th place (leg) / 12th position overall
“Everything started very well, but we made a navigational error after 140 kilometres and had to turn around, which Jean-Louis Schlesser saw. He got in front of us, set the day’s fastest time and we ate his dust for 170 kilometres.”
#307 – Carlos Sainz (E), 12th place (leg) / 4th position overall
“Today we noticed just what it means to be the first car into the stage. There were no dust trails from a leading car to follow, so we had to plot our route alone. Unfortunately we also got lost. The absence of the GPS data is very apparent.”
#309 – Mark Miller (USA), 7th place (leg) / 7th position overall
“My co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz coped well with the difficult navigation. The pace at the front is incredible. Whether or not all the people in front will reach the finish is another question. Unfortunately I had headache at the finish, but it will definitely be gone by tomorrow.”
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