2010 Dakar Rally, 4th leg, 05 January 2010
After a successful beginning in Argentina, Volkswagen has proved the qualities of the Race Touareg on the first Chilean leg of the 2010 Dakar Rally as well.
Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) achieved third place at the demanding crossing of the Andes on the fourth leg from Fiambalá to Copiapó with a gap of 2m 26s behind the stage winners Robby Gordon/Andy Grider (USA/USA) in the Hummer and Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F) from the X-raid team.
In the following places, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) in the Race Touareg with TDI power completed Volkswagen’s successful stage. Maurício Neves/Clécio Maestrelli (BR/BR) reached the stage destination for Volkswagen in tenth place. At an average speed of 95.15 km/h Al-Attiyah as the best Volkswagen driver was clearly faster than on the previous day’s stage, which featured lots of dunes and was run at a speed that, on average, was about 35 km/h slower.
After four of the 14 stages Stéphane Peterhansel continues ranking in front of the Volkswagen trio Carlos Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mark Miller while Maurício Neves is in tenth place overall. After achieving a fifth-place finish today, last year’s winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz, who had dropped back the day before due to electrical damage – as a result of an accident – came back with a top position in the Race Touareg.
In view of the high level of difficulty of yesterday’s stage and the fact that various participants had not even arrived at the previous leg’s finish during the night the organizer decided to shorten today’s stage. As a result, the fourth special stage only encompassed the first 163 of the planned 203 kilometres.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport Director)
“It was a thrilling day which Robby Gordon finished as the surprise winner. All five Volkswagen vehicles reached the finish among the top eight cars. The five Race Touareg vehicles were running without the slightest technical problems. This means we’re fully on schedule. And we’re pleased to see that the Dakar Rally is such an exciting and open race.”
#300 – Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 5th place leg / 20th place overall
“After yesterday’s electrical problem I started far at the rear of the field today and had to overtake many cars. That’s why I had to struggle a bit with dust. In addition, I must have caught a cold and started to the special stage with a headache. Every pothole hurts twice as much in that case. Aside from that, it was a great day. The car is running flawlessly.”
#303 – Carlos Sainz (E), 4th place leg / 2nd place overall
“The leg today tended to be one of the faster types on which we had no problems whatsoever. On the contrary: The Race Touareg was running like a charm today. In one of the situations we lost some time because at a tricky place we weren’t sure whether or not we’d taken the right way. So we decided to play it safe there, but that wasn’t the quickest option.”
#305 – Mark Miller (USA), 6th place leg / 4th place overall
“That was probably not the strongest stage for us because we got stuck on a dune for a few minutes. It wasn’t really deep but enough to lose a lot of time. That was my fault because I may have been too cautious in that place. We had to get out of the car and jack it up to free it. That explains our loss of time.”
#306 – Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 3rd place leg / 3rd place overall
“Today, we had a bit of bad luck again. A slow puncture cost us a lot of time. But we decided not to change the tyre and, instead, added more air. Unfortunately, we had to stop twice, so this decision didn’t pay off. I’m sure that otherwise I could have won the special. Consequently, I’m a bit disappointed.”
#312 – Maurício Neves (BR), 10th place leg / 10th place overall
“That’s what ‘Dakar’ days should be like. Gravel stretches on slippery sections, downhill passages and beautiful dune crossings – a landscape right out of a picture book. To experience all this with the Race Touareg is simply fantastic. Unfortunately, we again caught a puncture today – if we hadn’t, our result might well have been better.”
Standings after leg 04, Fiambalá (RA)–Copiapó (RCH); 185/629 km SS 04/total
Pos.; Team; Vehicle; Leg 04; Total time
1 Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-P. Cottret (F/F) BMW X3 CC 1h 40m 22s (2) 10h 54m 50s
2 Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 43m 25s (4) + 7m 36s
3 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 42m 47s (3) + 9m 56s
4 Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 46m 35s (6) + 19m 25s
5 Alfie Cox/Jürgen Schröder (ZA/D) Nissan Pick-up 1h 51m 54s (11) + 59m 30s
6 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Jean-Marc Fortin (PL/B) Nissan Pick-up 1h 59m 22s (17) + 1h 00m 38s
7 Carlos Sousa/Matthieu Baumel (P/F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer 1h 56m 37s (16) + 1h 03m 00s
8 Robby Gordon/Andy Grider (USA/USA) Hummer 1h 40m 21s (1) + 1h 04m 53s
9 Guilherme Spinelli/Filipe Palmeiro (BR/P) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer 1h 54m 53s (14) + 1h 16m 23s
10 Maurício Neves/Clécio Maestrelli (BR/BR) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 51m 43s (10) + 1h 20m 35s
20 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 44m 35s (5) + 3h 04m 59s
Coming up next …
Wednesday, 06 January: 5th leg, Copiapó (RCH)–Antofagasta (RCH). The first day of an extremely tough desert four-pack will start with a 483-kilometre special stage – the second-longest one of the first “Dakar” week. Drivers and technical crews should be prepared for many sandy passages with dune crossings at high altitudes. But the Atacama desert also offers gravel and scree passages to challenge drivers and co-drivers.
The Dakar Rally on TV
00:46–01:16 Eurosport Highlights, 4th leg (re-run)
08:45–09:30 Eurosport Highlights, 4th leg (re-run)
11:45–12:30 Eurosport Highlights, 4th leg (re-run)
18:45–19:03 RTL RTL aktuell (evening news)
20:15–20:25 Eurosport Arrival at the finish; live report
23:00–23:45 Eurosport Highlights, 5th leg
Additional reports on the news and sports programmes of channels n-tv, ARD, ZDF, DMAX and Sky (Motorvision TV).
- Volkswagen Motorsport