Volkswagen at the Dakar Rally (01-18.01.2004), Stage 4 Share Comments Good start in Africa: Jutta Kleinschmidt improves by eleven positions The female Volkswagen works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons succeeded in taking another step towards the front on the first African stage of the Dakar Rally. The German-Italian women’s duo driving the Volkswagen Race-Touareg improved a further eleven positions to take 16th place in the overall classification. On the 752 kilometre journey from Tanger to Er Rachidia in Morocco, which included a 75 kilometre long special stage run against the clock, Jutta Kleinschmidt emerged 14th in the day’s competition. One position and a mere 31 seconds behind the 2001 Dakar winner at the finish line were her team colleagues Bruno Saby/Matthew Stevenson in another Race-Touareg. They moved up from 16th to 13th position on the overall leader board. The stage, which included a long asphalt section, was unusually fast with an average speed of 110.65 km/h. Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director) “Both our drivers chose exactly the right pace to warm up on Africa’s first competitive stage. Both arrived at the stage finish with very similar times. We are sounding out our potential step by step. The long and hard desert stages that set the tone for the rally are yet to come.” Jutta Kleinschmidt (#204) “That was a flawless start for us in Africa. The Race-Touareg ran faultlessly during the first desert stage. Working together with Fabrizia is also excellent. Still, it is much too early to take any risks as our goal is to see the chequered flag in Dakar.” Bruno Saby (#224) “We set a very similar pace on the stage as Jutta and Fabrizia did. I’m getting more and more used to the Race-Touareg, which is also very good to drive over this type of terrain.” For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums at the left.