Continuation of the team-internal duel: Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) won the third leg of the Silk Way Rally and extended their overall advantage over their immediate rivals, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), by about one minute.
The two Volkswagen pairings fought a close battle for the stage result in their Race Touareg vehicles delivering about 300 hp. In the second section of the two special stages (117/114 km) they were separated by merely three seconds. Giniel de Villers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) achieved places three and four and on positions four and three continue within striking distance of the front runners in the overall classification of some 50 cars. The leg took the teams across a total distance of 548 kilometres from Bougourouslan in Russia to Oral, Kazakhstan (Russian: Uralsk) on quick, hilly stretches. The capital of the West Kazakhstan province is located on the geographical border between Europe and Asia.
Kris Nissen (Volkswagen Motorsport-Direktor)
“The four Race Touareg vehicles ran as expected today: fast and reliable. Even though our lead appears comfortable, for the Silk Way Rally the same is true as for the Dakar: First of all, the rally itself has to be defeated. The really difficult legs are still ahead. We’ll stay focused, the decision remains thrilling.”
#100 – Giniel de Villiers (ZA), 3rd place leg / 4th place overall
“All in all, the leg today was very quick and good to drive. In the beginning, visibility was very poor because there was almost no wind and the dust kicked up by the preceding cars was lingering in the air for a long time. Our Race Touareg was running like a charm, I’m happy.”
#101 – Carlos Sainz (E), 2nd place leg / 2nd place overall
“The first special stage in the morning was a little tricky, relatively dusty and full of bends. We completed it without any problems. The outcome of the second stage was very close; Nasser and Timo were just three seconds behind us. Tomorrow we’ll be driving the longest leg of the rally – that’ll be a very important day. Nasser gets to open the course and we aim to stay on his heels.”
#103 – Mark Miller (USA), 4th place leg / 3rd place overall
“I’m not satisfied with our stage result; we made a couple of minor mistakes which cost us some time. Our car was running perfectly again today and we’re hoping to be able to use our chance of clinching a better result on the very long leg tomorrow.”
#104 – Nasser Al-Attiyah (Q), 1st place leg / 1st place overall
“The battle between Carlos and me is really good fun. Especially this morning we were able to really set a good pace and make up about one minute. In the second part Carlos and Lucas beat us by three seconds but even then I was very happy with our speed. I feel very comfortable in the Race Touareg alongside Timo and within the team.”
Interim standings after Leg 03, Bougurouslan (RUS) – Uralsk (KZ)
231.38 km/547.84 km SS 03 + 04/total
Pos. Team, Vehicle, Leg 03, Total time
1 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 2h 06m 47s (1), 3h 17m02s 2 Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 2h 07m 50s (2), + 3m 56s 3 Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 2h 12m 33s (4), + 10m 06s 4 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2, 2h 10m 22s (3), + 10m 38s 5 Christian Lavieille/Jean-Michel Polato (F/F), Nissan, 2h 21m 37s (5), + 24m 09s 6 Matthias Kahle/Thomas Schuenemann (D/D), Honda, 2h 25m 47s (7), + 30m 15s 7 Alexey Berkut/Konstantin Meshcheryakov (RUS/RUS), Mitsubishi, 2h 28m 32s (9), + 31m 29s 8 Bernard Errandonea/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F/F), SMG, 2h 28m 53s (10), + 32m 09s 9 Andrey Biryukov/Dmitri Kniga (RUS/BY), Mitsubishi, 2h 24m 56s (6), + 34m 48s 10 Ruslan Misikov/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Nissan, 2h 28m 16s (8), + 38m 34s
Coming up next…
With a distance of 878 kilometres (581 timed kilometres) from Oral to Beyneu the Volkswagen drivers will set out on the “prime leg” of the rally on Tuesday. The route leads across vast steppes on rarely used trails through the west of Kazakhstan and offers only few orientation points to the navigators. While the ground so far has been mostly firm and fast to drive the share of sandy and dusty sections will increase now. The service crew will be in for a long day as well: In its MAN trucks, Volkswagen vans and service Touareg vehicles it has to cover an almost 1,000-kilometre distance along the assistance route.
The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on Eurosport
Tuesday, 08 Sep 09
08.30 – 08.45 Leg 3
13.45 – 14.00 Leg 3 (rerun)
The Silk Way Rally 2009 on TV, on n-tv
The news channel n-tv carries daily reports on the Silk Way Rally in its newscasts at 8.00, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 18.00 hrs.
TV schedules subject to change.
Information on the Silk Way Rally: http://www.silkwayrally.com
- Volkswagen Motorsport